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This Backpack and Snorkel Travel Guide (La Romana Purple Guide) provides information about the best things to do on a cruise to La Romana and ensures that you will be Making Memorable Moments on a relaxing vacation in La Romana.
The information on this page and much more (google maps locations, more reviews, website links, etc.) is available in our Cruising the Caribbean Guide.
La Romana is the jump-off point to beautiful white sand palm tree lines beaches, turquoise waters and good snorkeling spots. History buffs may want to explore Altos de Chavón, which is a replica of a medieval village with lots of cigar, clothing, arts, crafts and jewelry stores, and restaurants and bars and unmatched view from high above the Chavón River.
La Romana is the 7th largest city in the Dominican Republic and it was founded in 1897 for the oil industry. This changed quickly after the construction of a sugar mill in 1917, when sugar became the primary industry in town.
A "Romana" was an ancient scale to weigh merchandise for export which stood where La Romana is located today.
In the 1960s, the sugar mill was purchased by Gulf and Western Industries, Inc. who invested in the livestock industry. In 1975, they built Casa de Campo, which became one of the largest exclusive tourist resorts in the country. In 1984 the resort was purchased by Central Romana Corporation.
La Romana is different from other cities in the Dominican Republic. Even nowadays, it is still a company town, with the Central Romana Corporation the majority owner of the town. There is almost full employment of the population.
The city itself is not an attractive tourist spot, but more a jump-off point several nearby local resort areas with wonderful beaches like Bayahibe, Dominicus and Casa de Campo, and also a growing number of golf resorts.
When you visit, you can expect to find this climate:
As soon as you leave the cruise port, pass the taxis and tourist guides and walk by the baseball fields, you know you are in a residential area. We liked that many of the houses had beautiful colorful flowers in their yards.
Tourism is highly important to the Dominican Republic and La Romana and lots of tourists arrive as part of a cruise. Please also check out Rudy's Cruise Guide for Beginners & Others.
La Romana has a cruise port, which is about a 25min walk from town. All beaches and other attractions require transportation.
Typical excursions for cruise ship passengers cover one or more of the following:- beach relaxation at Saona Island or Catalina Island
We have visited La Romana only once and it was a rainy day. Instead of getting rained out at the beach we waited for a break in the clouds and then walked into town to check out how the locals live.
I still have the best beaches and attractions section further down on this page, but sadly this is only second hand information. Anyway, I hope you find it useful.
First, let me start with our 15min walk into town. The way is easy to find as there are very few roads and I think it would be hard to get lost here. Just to make sure, here is a map and I have added some waypoints that you can use in your favorite maps app.
For Pinterest users, here are pins that you can use:
After the bridge, the urban area starts and the traffic gets more chaotic. We continued further into town and walked all the way to Parque Del Obelisco where a tall obelisk with beautiful, but sadly weathered, paintings is standing.
We chatted with some of the friendly locals and enjoyed seeing how the locals live, but as I said earlier, La Romana is a company town and a jump-off point to beautiful tourist locations, it is not something that tourists will rave about.
When more black clouds appeared on the horizon, we walked back and reached the cruise port just in time when the rain started.
This white sand and turquoise water beach is the closest beach from the cruise terminal. It takes a 25min ($15) taxi ride to get there. It is a Blue Flag beach, meaning that it meets high standards of quality, safety, environmental education and information. There are restaurants and the village is nice to stroll through.
This white sand and turquoise water beach is a 5min taxi ride from Bayahibe. There is good snorkeling here.
You will need to join a tour to get to this paradise. The island is one of the best beaches and has some of the best snorkeling in the area. The beach has white sand and turquoise water.
This is an uncrowded paradise with miles of coconut palm tree lined golden sand beaches and crystal clear blue water. Like Catalina island, Saona offers some of the best beaches and snorkeling in the area.
This is a replica of a 16th century replica of a Mediterranean village which is entirely constructed of stone. As it is located high above the Chavón River and permits fantastic views over the scenic landscape of the Dominican Republic. Altos de Chavón was opened in 1982 and is a charming medieval village with lots of cigar, clothing, arts, crafts and jewelry stores, and restaurants and bars. The centerpiece is the St. Stanislaus Church, which is also a popular wedding site.
As this is part of the Casa de Campo resort, there is an entrance fee for non-guests.
After you cross the train tracks, you turn left and walk along the local highway Avenida Libertad. On our way back, I got carried away taking too many photos and crossed the busy road at a place where I should not have crossed it. A local policeman saw that and asked me to cross the road further down at a safer place. We had a brief chat and suddenly he asked me if I had ever eaten sugar cane. Well, I had and I told him so. He insisted that Dominican Republic sugar cane was the best and broke his in half and offered it to me. You can see him and me in the photo below. I am eating his sugar cane and let me tell you...it was good!
A few minutes later we came to a bridge over Rio Romana at the edge of town where you have a great view on La Romana and the back of our cruise ship.