Bavaro Travel Guide

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Bavaro Travel Guide

Bavaro Local History

Columbus first sighted the coral-edged Caribbean coastline on his first voyage to the New World. The first permanent European settlement in the New World was on November 7, 1493, and its ruins still remain near Montecristi in the northeast part of the island.

Much of what Columbus first sighted still remains in a natural, unspoiled condition. Almost from its inception, the country was steeped in misery and bloodshed, climaxing with the infamous reign of dictator Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961) and the ensuing civil wars (1960-1966), but the country has been politically stable since then, and is building and expanding rapidly.

The economic growth has not benefited everybody though. The country is still poor, even by Caribbean standards.

The greatest threat to the Dominican Republic these days comes from hurricanes, which periodically flatten entire cities. The major resorts have become adept at getting back on their feet quickly after a hurricane.

Bavaro Attractions

Bavaro Shopping

Bavaro Plaza - This is the largest shopping area in Punta Cana. But each hotel features stores where arts and crafts can be purchased.

A visit to Santo Domingo - A definite must for sightseeing and shopping. Look out for local rum, cigars and amber products. If you are feeling really adventurous you could take to the skies and go for a helitour of the area.

Bavaro Activities

4 x 4 Motorbike Tour of the Coastline - The Punta Cana equivalent to a "city tour", is this 4-wheel motor bike tour that will take you up the Punta Cana-Bavaro beach, with a view of the many resorts that dot the eastern coastline. It is a full day, but most say it is worth it. The excursion includes a visit to the Pozo Azul caverns, with a dive off rocks into the cavern's clear blue waters. Bring a swim suit, sunscreen and sunglasses to shield eyes from bright reflective sand and water.

Ecological Walk at the Punta Cana Beach Resort - This walk ends in a refreshing bath in a cool spring. You will be walking through a real jungle. Bring long sleeves and bug repellent.

Safari Tour - An open jeep takes tourists to visit a rural school, a colmado (country store), sugar cane fields, tropical fruit groves. You will also take a dip in a river and ride horseback on virgin beach after lunch. Operated by Bavaro Runners.

Bavaro Parks & Gardens

Manatee Park Bavaro - This is a 130,000 square meter preserve with permanent exhibits of birds, reptiles, and fish. A show with parrots, dolphins and dancing horses is included in the US$22 admission fee. Optional possibility of swimming with the dolphins for an extra fee. If you want to swim with the dolphins, reservations should be made as soon as you arrive in the country. A free shuttle bus to and from principal hotels in the area, is also available.

Los Haitises National Park - Several hotels offer excursions to Los Haitises National Park, a sanctuary for nature lovers and those interested in natural history. The underground rivers flow through caves replete with pre-Columbian drawings and petroglyphs, silent testimony to the Indian population who dwelled there peacefully for centuries before the arrival of the Europeans. Be sure to visit the Cueva de la Linea (Ferrocarril) and the Cueva de las Arenas. The boat trip to get to these caves that are off San Lorenzo Bay will take you through the largest system of mangroves in the Caribbean. Another option to visit, and a place to have lunch in the area, is the Paraiso CaƱo Hondo river center, a short drive from the National Park Los Haitises departure point.

Plantacion Tropical - A memorable side trip, north from San Pedro de Macoris to Hato Mayor, will reward the entire family with one of the largest horticultural centers in the Caribbean. Tropical Plantation displays scores of exotic species: bromeliads, anthuriums, orchids and others along challenging labyrinthine paths. Complementing their intense colours, fragrance and beauty is an aviary with the island's native birds and a vast butterfly enclosure. It is an entertaining cross between a botanical garden, an amusement park and a working plant nursery that will captivate all for an entire morning or afternoon.

Bavaro Beaches

Barcelo Bavaro complex - The complex boasts some of the most lavish beach and pool facilities in the Caribbean. It is the best choice for families and couples wanting a resort that provides everything necessary for an amazing holiday with no need to travel further afield. The facilities include many miles of fine white sand, a moderate selection of shops, relaxed beach bars and a variety of hotel restaurants.

The complex is famous for its almost unbroken stretch of fine white sandy beach, dotted with tall coconut palms and clear turquoise ocean protected by a long coral reef. There are plenty of water sports activities available, including windsurfing, sailing and diving. The beaches here are simply stunning, making it a blissful location for ultimate relaxation. Bavaro boasts some of the beast beaches in the Caribbean.

Bavaro Restaurants and Bars

The national cuisine of the Dominican Republic include Mangu (puree of green plantains stuffed with meats such as beef, lobster or shrimp), Sancocho (meat and yucca stew), Mondongo (tripe stew), Rice and beans, Mofongo (ground green plantains with garlic), Fried longaniza (salami), Fritos verdes (fried and flattened green plantains), Goat stew, and Rice with chicken. Other favourites to be on the look out for is the island's rice pudding, Dulce de leche, Quesillos (cheese-filled tortillas), and the Dominican beer, Presidente. This is the finest lager beer in the Caribbean, which is best served at near freezing temperature. Other beers include Quisqueya (an old name for the country) and Bohemia.

Bavaro Restaurants

Capitan Cook - The attraction here is the ultra fresh seafood that is simply grilled to order. A battery of smoldering outdoor grills lies near the entrance to a dining area, where tables are positioned beneath palm-frond gazebos overlooking a superb beach. Some guests do not bother to consult a menu, but order their meal based on whatever is sputtering over coals or displayed on ice as they enter. Platters of grilled fish or shellfish, chicken, pork chops, or steaks are accompanied by salad, baked potatoes, or French fries.
As an alternative try a heaping platter of paella. The shrimp and grilled calamari are superb. Beer is the perfect accompaniment for anything served here, perhaps preceded by a rum-based cocktail. Reservations are recommended for dinner, and main courses are $15-$55. The restaurant is located on Playa El Cortecito, Marina El Cortecito. Tel: 809/552-0645. Restaurant Palace - The is the showcase restaurant of one of the biggest resort complexes in the Dominican Republic. Visitors not staying at one of the Barecelo hotels will have to make reservations in advance. The decor is cool and stylish, and formally dressed staff serves superb dishes that include salmon mousse in a prawn sauce, tartar of tenderloin, grilled red snapper, grouper with mustard sauce, and filet mignon with truffles and foie gras. Reservations are required, and main courses are $10-$35. There is also Buffet lunch or dinner available at $25. The restaurant is located in the Bavaro Palace Hotel, within the Barcelo Bavaro Beach, Golf & Casino Resort. Tel: 809/686-5797.

Bavaro Bars & Clubs

Evening Entertainment - Nightlife is centred around the hotels discos and evening entertainment programmes. Some hotels have their own casinos, while most hotels will feature staff-produced evening shows, with guests having the option to dance until the early hours in the hotel discos. Nightlife will be slightly livelier at the larger hotel clusters.

Bavaro Beach Resort Disco - This is the main dance bar among the five large Barcelo Bavaro hotels, and it has been described as "upscale, popular, somewhat dressy." The disco opens at 11pm and usually becomes jam-packed after midnight. The venue is more European than North American, thanks to a heavy concentration of clients from Italy, Spain, and Holland. Entrance is free for residents of the Barcelo Hotel complex, nonresidents pay $45. Located on the grounds of the Bavaro Barcelo Beach, Golf & Casino Resort . Tel: 809/ 686-5797.

Nightlife - At most resorts the nightlife scene has been described as "fairly dull", if you are looking for a party atmosphere. Most discos are small and hardly attract more than 40-70 people in the evenings, mostly couples. The discos will play current dance music so you can bring your own CDs, gather a group of people and turn a small hotel disco into your own personal party.

Bavaro children's activities

4 x 4 Motorbike Tour of the Coastline - The Punta Cana equivalent to a "city tour", is this 4-wheel motor bike tour that will take you up the Punta Cana-Bavaro beach, with a view of the many resorts that dot the eastern coastline. It is a full day, but most say it is worth it. The excursion includes a visit to the Pozo Azul caverns, with a dive off rocks into the cavern's clear blue waters. Bring a swim suit, sunscreen and sunglasses to shield eyes from bright reflective sand and water.

Ecological Walk at the Punta Cana Beach Resort - This walk ends in a refreshing bath in a cool spring. You will be walking through a real jungle. Bring long sleeves and bug repellent.

Safari Tour - An open jeep takes tourists to visit a rural school, a colmado (country store), sugar cane fields, tropical fruit groves. You will also take a dip in a river and ride horseback on virgin beach after lunch. Operated by Bavaro Runners.

Useful Bavaro Links

Bavaro::Punta Cana::Golf::Diving::Spa::Shopping
Information about the Dominican Republic, for tourist and residents. Information about diving, golf, wellness, excursions, spa, beaches, nature, Samana, Puerto Plata. Bars and restaurants, Beauty tips and gossip. Hotels in the area, weddings.

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