La Romana, Dominican Republic
La Romana is located on the island of Hispaniola, on the south east coast of the Dominican Republic, in the western Caribbean. The western part of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti.
Beaches attached to hotel and resorts are generally advisable (available as a day pass). There is a public beach near the village of Bayahibe but facilities are very limited and it is not as well kept as the private beaches.
The 7,000-acre resort village of Casa de Campo, which is like a town itself, is located in La Romana and features lots for cruise passengers to do and see. It’s definitely the main draw during a day in port. Most of the more interesting options (particularly golf, tennis, skeet-shooting and horseback-riding) are available only through ship excursions, and a limited range of activities exist for independent-minded visitors. In addition, some ships don’t even call on this port until mid-afternoon or later, which limits outdoor activities.
With a couple of exceptions, passengers who want to venture out on their own are limited to exploring the area’s nouvelle villages, such as The Marina (which is meant to replicate Portofino) and the more charming Altos de Chavon (which was designed to resemble an old Spanish town). Both have a handful of restaurants and shops, which are pricey and designed to appeal more to Europeans than to Americans.
The disabled cruiser visiting La Romana
Where You’re Docked
There is, technically, no “cruise terminal”; instead, ships dock at an informal facility — one dock on either side of a small river that’s between the sugar cane town of La Romana and the chi-chi resort village of Casa de Campo. There are no services (unless you count a Coke machine).
Ships dock at La Romana. Cruise lines often organize a shuttle service to take passengers to the resort of Casa de Campo, around 15 minutes drive away.
Taxis are available but ensure these are licensed and fares negotiated beforehand.
Good to Know
The Dominican Republic has a reputation for crime. Always be aware of your surroundings, stay in groups, and don’t venture to out-of-the-way places when not on an organized tour or with a reputable guide. As a general rule, leave all jewelry and valuables onboard in your cabin safe, and carry only as much cash as you think you’ll need. We recommend a money belt to keep your cash and room key safe while you’re ashore.
Also be sure to pack bug spray; you won’t have much of a problem outdoors, but you might use some restroom facilities (particularly if you’re headed to the beach) without air-conditioning, making them perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes; and they’re vicious.
The official currency is the Dominican Republic Peso, but it is rarely a problem to use American dollars. ATMs are available throughout La Romana and inside Casa de Campo; they will dispense money in pesos.
Dominicans speak Spanish as their primary language. Some, particularly those who work in tourism areas, speak English. That said, communication can be a problem, so either carry a pocket dictionary, or bone up on basic phrases like hola (hello), buenos dias (good day), por favor (please), gracias (thank you), cuanto cuesta? (how much does it cost?) and donde esta el bano? (where is the bathroom?).
The Dominican Republic is known for Larimar, a cloudy, pale-blue stone that is only mined on the island of Hispaniola. It’s difficult to fake, so chances are good that you’ll be snagging the real thing, but don’t be afraid to bargain; sellers are used to it, and they often jack up prices with the expectation that haggling will occur. Amber and black coral are also popular, but they’re easier to fabricate.
If jewelry isn’t your thing, consider Dominican-made cigars and items made from coconut, and natural cocoa or chocolate, but avoid purchasing woven palm hats. They’re considered live plants, and they’ll be confiscated when you return to your ship.
Authentic Dominican food is generally locally grown and produced. You’ll find there’s an emphasis on chicken and freshly caught fish, rice and beans, and fruits like coconuts and plantains. Many residents operate stands that offer homemade items like bread and empanadas. Drinks native to the area include fresh fruit juices, Dominican coffee and hot chocolate, Kola Real soda and, for those looking for a bit of an alcoholic kick, Mama Juana, Presidente beer and local rum. There also seems to be a surplus of Italian fare in the Dominican Republic.
Points of Interest
- La Romana – a seven-
La Romana Accessible Excursions
Whether your cruise ship stops in
La Romana Accessible Guided Tour
This 4 hour accessible