- Where to Go
- The Best of the Dominican Republic
- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
The Casa de Máximo Gómez (8 a.m.–5 p.m., free) is Baní’s main attraction, really more of a park placed on what was the location of Gómez’s childhood home, with what is said to be one log of the home. There is a bust of him, the Dominican and Cuban flags, and a mural with scenes depicting his life. The Museo Municipal (Calle Sánchez 1, 8 a.m.–noon Mon.–Fri., free) is on the first floor of the Palacio del Ayuntamiento facing the park and is rather uneventful.
Playa Baní, while challenging to get to, is worth the effort. Both fishing and windsurfing are fantastic here, but very undeveloped. You won’t find the windsurfing schools and rentals like in Cabarete. Farther west along the coast, the sand dunes at Las Calderas and salt gardens at Las Salinas make for surreal yet beautiful views and great photo opportunities.
Plaza de Pilones is not exactly a sight per se, but more of a place to buy a necessary object for cooking Dominican fare. You have your choice of very small to gigantic mortar and pestle sets made with the wood from the cambron trees. The Taínos introduced them to the Spanish and they are now found in every kitchen in the Dominican Republic. No kitchen is complete without one.
They are a good, authentic gift to take home with you. The more elaborately decorated ones tend to be Haitian; the Dominican ones are basic and sturdy. You can’t make an authentic mofongo without one (a plantain dish served right in the pilón). Plaza de Pilones is an outdoor market on the left side of the highway outside of Baní traveling toward Ázua. There is a booth to buy snacks. Look for it after you have passed the Parador Cruz de Ocoa.
The fiesta patronal of Baní, held from June 15 to June 24, will give you a chance to see a unique folkloric dance called saran-dunga, which is danced in celebration of San Juan Bautista. Despite the reverence expected in honoring Saint John the Baptist, the customary dance is overflowing with the distinctive Afro-Latin rhythms of the tambor and the güira drums and is a flirtatious circular game between a man and woman occasionally brushing shoulders.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition