La Romana, Dominican Republic
This one-time sugar town on the south coast of Hispaniola is one of the newest ports of call in the Caribbean — the cruise port didn't open until 2002. Some of the island's best beaches lie east of the port, sprinkled along the coast also known for superb golf, scuba diving, and equestrian sports.
What We Love
Playa Bayahibe: Forget the north shore. This is the best beach in the Dominican Republic, with twin strips of golden sand, fabulous beach bars, and that cute little black-and-white-striped lighthouse.
Estadio Francisco A. Micheli: Baseball fans will want to take in a game here, the home of the Toros del Este (Eastern Bulls) of the Dominican winter league. Many of the past, present, and future Major League Baseball can be seen here.
Best Known For
Casa de Campo: This former sugar cane plantation is now a sprawling tropical holiday estate with world-class golf and professional polo, as well as beaches, water sports, a luxury spa, and gourmet dining.
Altos de Chavón: Perched on cliffs high above the Rio Chavón, this reproduction of a 16th-century Mediterranean village is home to restaurants, art galleries, craft shops, and a large amphitheater for concerts and plays.
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Who It's Best For
Eclectic Cruisers: From golf, tennis, and cycling to pro baseball games, polo matches, and art galleries, La Romana offers a lot more than just baking on the beach.
Scuba Divers: Between wrecks like the St. George and Atlantic Princess and pristine reefs like El Peñon, the waters off La Romana offer the best diving in the Dominican Republic.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
The Town Itself Is Sleepy: Despite its new tourism role, La Romana still resembles a practical, hardworking company town.
Santo Domingo Is Far Away: The Dominican capital — and its Spanish colonial landmarks — is a three-hour round trip to the west. And that's in light traffic.
Joe Yogerst is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Travel + Leisure.