Introduction: Barahona is about a 3 hour drive from Santo Domingo and from what I have been told, they have the best beaches and seas in the Dominican Republic, plus cliff top views of the Caribbean ocean which are spectacular.
Places to visit: Los Patos, Laguna de Oviedo, Pedernales (Bahía de las Águilas)
How to get there: From Santo Domingo you have a few different options. We went by car, so you can go by bus to Barahona with Caribe Tours, or another company, rent a car, which I highly recommend as getting to Bahia de las Aguilas from Barahona can be a tad tricky considering it is in the middle of nowhere. The best way to visit the island is by car, so if you have a budget where you can rent a car, 100% go for it. The freedom it gives you is well worth it.
What to do there: In Barahona itself, we did not spend much time, as the most beautiful and exciting places to visit are continuing along the coast towards Haiti.
For example, Los Patos, it has a river, which they claim to be the shortest in the world (61m) when the tide is fully in, basically there is a mountain and the river comes from beneath and within a few metres it is in the ocean. The strange thing is that it being as small as it is, it has some fish. Many people go there to chill and swim.
Another place is Laguna de Oviedo, is a salt water lake surrounded by swamps and mangroves & is ideal for bird watching. You can see parrots, American flamingos, sandpipers and so on. The lake is about 26km squared in size and you can book between a 1 to 3 hour tour by boat. For those who love these kind of things, best thing to do is to just rock up and pay there, you can negotiate the price, however, if you buy online expect to pay more and in dollars too.
Now to leave the best to last, Pedernales (Bahía de las Águilas) this place is past Barahona, as far as I remember, it is about 26km from the border with Haiti, but it has the gem of the island. Bahía de las Águilas or Eagles Bay. It has been said that this beach has the clearest waters on the PLANET!! It has 1 massive 8km white sandy, spotless clean beach. When I was using the drone it could only go so far due to it being a National Park and I also think a part of it is restricted due to some military base. Usually you go at about 9.30am until 1 or 2pm, you decide. They ask you how long you want to stay. There are two ways of getting there. By boat or by 4×4, if you go by boat, you have to pay a fee and a tax, but it is about $10USD or if you have a 4×4 you just need to pay an entrance fee of about 50c, something silly like that.
Where to stay: booking.com (get €15 off using my code) we stayed in a very nice place called @casadelmar. Expect to pay about $100USD per night here, take a look at the pics below to get an idea of what you get for that price which includes a yummy breakfast. Again, you will need to rent a car to be able to move around. Los Patos is about a 25 min drive down the road from here and a few hours to Bahía de Las Águilas. There are other places nearby a little cheaper but to be honest, the view, attention, welcome drink, hospitality, owned and run by Italians, very nice people, free parking and very secure and quiet at night. Again, it really depends on what your budget is, but I would recommend staying here 1 night, then going to Bahia de las Águilas spending the night there in @ecodelmar they have tents and hut like accommodation on the beach and a gorgeous sunset. Check them out! (I have no link to either places nor discount prices, I am purely talking from previous experience)
How to get about: This place is nothing like other parts of the Dominican Republic where you can get a taxi from one place to another, which you can but it would be expensive, plus to hire a bike, the distances are quite long. Having a car really does take the weight off your shoulders and you can go where you want, stop along the way as it has gorgeous views…