Driving Highway 44 along the coast, the road begins to wind and climb while delivering picturesque vistas of red rock mountains dropping into the coast of the intensely blue Caribbean Sea. Then with the emergence of the Bahía de Neyba before you, green fields of sugarcane and bananas begin to brighten the view.
Barahona sits in the western edge of the bay and is the last big town you’ll encounter in the southwestern Dominican Republic . With all the beauty surrounding, one has to wonder why tourists haven’t been flocking here all along. It is virtually undiscovered. Barahona has a satisfactory variety of [nodeL86096 link accommodation] and food choices  (it’s known as the town of the plátano) and a location on a breathtaking coastline within proximity of a number of activities for day trips, so it is a good place, the perfect place, to set up base camp if you want to explore the Península de Pedernales .
While the surrounding area of Barahona is beautiful, the town itself is a little drab. It was founded in 1802 by the Haitian liberation fighter Toussaint L’Ouverture, when the export of wood was a major source of revenue. Then, with Trujillo in power, it became a major sugarcane producer when he had fields planted to make money for himself and his family. Today, the sugarcane gives money to the city, but there is also coffee, bauxite, and gypsum production.
There are no sights whatsoever in Barahona proper, and the public beach of Barahona isn’t nice at all, but there are a number of locations within a short drive for some fun day trips, like the Larimar Mines  and various balnearios  (freshwater swimming holes).
Driving west of Barahona on Carretera 44, you will see some of the country’s most pristine coastline. Often called the Larimar Coast, it is still largely undiscovered by mass tourism and is a favorite vacationing spot for Dominicans. To drive from Barahona to Pedernales takes about a half a day. There are many places to stop and take photos of the dramatic coast, take a dip in a natural spring, head to the beach, or visit the Larimar Mines.
At Aeropuerto Internacional María Montez (Hwy. 44, tel. 809/524-4144), Caribair (tel. 809/567-7050) has small planes commuting from Santo Domingo  on Monday, Friday, and Sunday, departing at 8:30 a.m. and returning at 5 p.m.; there are also regular flights on the weekend to Haiti from Barahona. The charter company, Aerodomca (tel. 809/567-1984, www.aerodom.com ), can get you there, but there are no regular commercial flights.
Caribe Tours (Calle Anacaona, tel. 809/524-2313, www.caribetours.com.do ) has direct service to Ázua  (1 hour, US$2.15) and Santo Domingo (3.5 hours, US$6.70) from Barahona. If you are going to either of these cities direct, this is the most luxurious option. You will appreciate the air-conditioning that guaguas don’t have, especially in this part of the country. Caribe buses leave Santo Domingo (27 de Febrero, Santo Domingo, tel. 809/221-4422) bound toward Barahona at 6:15 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 1:45 p.m., and 5:15 p.m.
The direct buses from Santo Domingo (US$5.50, express US$6, 3.5 hours) pick up and drop off at the Sindicato de Transporte (Av. Luis Delmonte between Matos and Suero, tel. 809/524-2419), a fancy term for guagua station. It is across from the archway entrance into the city and has service starting at 6:25 a.m., 7:30 a.m., and 9 a.m. and every hour afterward until 6 p.m. Reservations are accepted.
Other guaguas leave from on or near the corner of Avenida Luis Delmonte and Calle Padre Billini. For San Juan de la Maguana , take the Santo Domingo (non-express, 1.5 hours) guagua and let them know where you are going so they let you off at the right connection point. From this popular connection point (known as Cruce del Quince) you will need to take a westbound bus toward San Juan (US$3).
Guaguas for the western border, Jimaní  (US$3.70, 45 min.–1 hour), and Pedernales (US$5, 2 hours) leave between every hour 7 a.m.–3 p.m. For guaguas to La Descubierta and Lago Enriquillo  (US$3, 45 min.) transfer in Neyba  (US$2.40, 1.5–2 hours).
Driving to Barahona from Santo Domingo, you will follow the Carretera 2, passing San Cristóbal , Baní  (here you will need to make a right turn to stay on Carretera 2). Continue through Ázua  until you reach the San Juan de la Maguana  junction. Here you will switch over to Carretera 44, traveling gradually southwest until you reach the town of Barahona. Carretera 44 is the Peninsula de Pedernales’ coastal road, eventually culminating at the Dominican-Haitian border town, Pedernales.