Bayahibe, and Punta Cana are the two most popular tourist destinations in the Dominican Republic. Bayahibe got its name because it’s a bay neighboring on the Santo Domingo Peninsula, while Punta Cana is its extension. Tourists have been rowing into the area for years, as they’ve been bused to the south, just in time for the summer, to experience Punta Cana’s beautiful white sand beaches.
While there are no actual large towns or cities in the Bayahibe, it’s a notable development over the past five years. Hotels, condos and more have sprung up seemingly overnight. While there are still some deserted areas, the area is steadily moving towards the former military base of Punta Cana.
I talked to a tourist friends of mine who returned from Punta Cana five years ago. They agree the area is definitely developing too fast. While there are still plenty of isolated areas away from the more developed beaches, resorts like Bayahibe are definitely a getaway.
“They are a ‘renaissance’ in development,” said the tourist. “You have the Park Island Development with the climbing wall and running trails. You have the Humalaqui Beach Resort and the Make Enlightenment Experience. The education is superb at the Punta Cana Resort and the La Playita Resort. dining options are plentiful at the Punta Cana Resort and the La Conchita Resort. The activities are endless at La Santiago and Genovés Beach Club.”
With hotel complexes springing up around the coastline, tourists won’t have a hard time finding a place to stay.
“With the three island resorts, tourism has definitely bottomed out,” he added. “You have a huge choice of places to go and things to do. You can go rock climbing, para gliding, or relax on the beach. To top it all off, there’s absolutely no shortage of golf courses in Bayahibe.”
According to statistics, Bayahibe’s population is now more than cutoff between Bayahibe and Punta Cana. Overall, Punta Cana’s population is around 11,000, while Bayahibe’s is around 8,000. Statistics also show Punta Cana has an annual tourist population of around 190,000.
While Punta Cana’s economy-and this is nothing more than a supposition- tops the list, Bayahibe definitely has the makings of a long-term tourist destination. With little concrete and many long-term planning issues, the city is still in its initial stages of development. But the fantastic beaches, tremendous opportunities for adventure, “amazing” golf courses and documented history are definitely worth the trip.
To this day, the city continues to grow and evolve. The more Bayahibe is developed, the more touristy it will become. In fact, Punta Cana will likely be number three on the list of best tourist destinations in the Dominican Republic by 2010, behind Bayahibe and Santo Domingo.
In 2006, Bayahibe hosted the 2006 Bayahibe International Spa Conference, an event that focused on connecting Bayahibe with the Caribbean. In March 2006, just one month after the conference, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) designated Bayahibe a historic tourism site. In April 2006, the CTO stated that it would begin a stewardship program to care for the site and preserve it for future generations. In June and July of 2006, the CTO recognized Bayahibe as an official tourist management unit.
The Bayahibe Heritage Railway in Puerto Rico
In 2005, the Bayahibe Heritage Railway became part of the Puerto Rico National Rail Museum. The railway played a major role in Bayahibe’s development as a resort destination.
In its network, the railway boasts the only American-style, double-decker railroad in the entire Caribbean, a real tourism power. The railway only operates in Bayahibe, making it the only place in the area where you can ride the railway on an island bus in the morning and then rent a train in the afternoon without changing the destination!
The railway is being renewed and expansion is slated to begin in 2009.
ode TO Bayahibe in the Dominican Republic in 2007 and you’ll experience some of the best kept secrets in the Dominican Republic. But it’s more than just a gorgeous landscape – with each village sporting its own personality and unique tastes. The Bayahibe Valley is rich with the history of thousands of years, and will be a veritable treasure chest of traditions, cultural experiences and gastronomic pleasures.