La Romana

La Romana is a province of the Dominican Republic. The capital is also named La Romana, and is the third-largest city in the country. La Romana was elevated to the category of province in 1944.

La Romana is also home to Casa de Campo, one of the world's largest resorts and top golfing destinations. The "Teeth of the Dog" golf course is world-renowned, and many international and local artists perform at "Altos de Chavón", an artistic community and university.

The City

La Romana is the third-largest city in the Dominican Republic with a population estimated in 2010 at 130,426 within the city limits (metropolitan population: 214,109), of whom 127,623 are urban and 2,803 are rural. The city is capital of the southeastern province of La Romana, opposite Catalina Island. The name Romana comes from a balance that was used to weigh merchandise for export. Santa Rosa de Lima is the patron saint of La Romana.

The modern La Romana International Airport was opened in 1999. The city is near several other cities, such as San Pedro de Macorís and the national capital, Santo Domingo de Guzmán. The city is a hub for a growing tourist industry with several nearby local resort spots, such as the beachfront Bayahibe, Dominicus, Casa de Campo, and the growing number of golf resorts that surround the area.


The city of La Romana was founded in 1897 as an oil town. After 1917 with the construction of a large sugar-mill (owned by Italian immigrants in the region of Rome, Lazio) the economy quickly shifted to sugar production. The commissioning of the sugar mill coincided with the rise in sugar prices worldwide, prompting the sugar industry to welcome workers from other parts of the country, many poor families from the Dominican interior moved to La Romana search of a better life.

In early 1960, Gulf and Western Industries, Inc. purchased the sugar mill and started to invest in the livestock industry which was cemented in the province. Meanwhile, $20 million were invested to rebuild La Romana and build schools, clinics, housing and other infrastructure for workers. During the mid-1970s the American conglomerate began selling its Dominican assets, and at the same time built what is now one of the largest exclusive tourist resorts in the Dominican Republic, Casa de Campo.


Casa de Campo resort complex is the flagship of the La Romana All Inclusive Resorts area. Built in 1975 by Gulf+Western to be the premiere destination in the Caribbean, it has lived up to the hype. In 1984 Casa de Campo was purchased by the Central Romana Corporation which is co-owned by the Fanjul brothers.

Altos de Chavón is a replica of a 16th-century Mediterranean village located just minutes from La Romana.

Casa de Campo International Tourist Port (Muelle Turístico Internacional Casa de Campo), located on the West Bank of La Romana River or Rio Dulce, has been utilized primarily for the docking of commercial ships, primarily for the transport of sugar and molasses. Upon exceeding the capacity of its port, the Central Romana Corporation built its new tourism focused port on the east side of the river. The platform on the western bank was renovated and the river channel was dredged to a depth of 10.50 metres (34.4 ft).

Inaugurated with the arrival of the vessel Costa Marina on December 2002, the Central Romana Corporation invested US$12 million to extend the existing port by over 40,000 square metres (430,000 sq ft). The port is a modern platform and harbor terminal, with a capacity for two large modern cruise ships.


La Romana is not a typical Dominican town; instead, it is a company town, with the Central Romana Corporation owning the majority of the town. It is a town with nearly 100% employment, mostly in the tourism industry or with The Central Romana Corporation, the Duty Free Zone (Zona Franca Romana), or one of the service businesses there.

La Romana has been a one-company town since the South Puerto Rico Sugar Company built the mammoth Central Romana mill in 1917. It was the only sugar operation not taken over by Rafael Trujillo during his reign. From 1964 to 1967, the South Puerto Rico Sugar Company, including properties in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic became part of the conglomerate Gulf+Western. In 1984, the Gulf+Western Corporation sold their stake in the Central Romana Corporation to a group of local and foreign investors which includes the Fanjul brothers.

Gulf+Western acquired Consolidated Cigar in 1968 and shifted the Canary Island cigar-making operation to its Tabacalera de Garcia tobacco plant in La Romana. The Tabacalera de Garcia factory is currently one of the largest cigar factories in the world, and has been owned by the biggest cigar marketing company in the world, Altadis, since 1999. Three world famous brands are produced in La Romana: Montecristo, H. Upmann, and Romeo y Julieta.

This town is characterized by its tremendous influence in the country's tourism programs. It's filled with beautiful beaches and many hotels and resorts. There are also many growing suburban areas and fenced communities This town has a large population, and all the problems associated with high-density areas. It does not have many notable sights in terms of architecture or urban spaces, being barely 100 years old. It grew very fast compared to the much older and slower-paced La Vega or Seibo, which are more typical Dominican towns.


Estadio Francisco Micheli is home to the Toros del Este, a baseball team in the Dominican Winter League.

In 1983, the government of Salvador Jorge Blanco, through the fund for development of this region, built the Polideportivo de La Romana (La Romana Sports Center), which was named after Eleoncio Mercedes in honor of the flyweight boxer who became world champion. The Cañeros de La Romana, a Dominican basketball team, play their home games here.

Casa de Campo

In 1975 Gulf+Western developed 7,000 acres (28 km2) of its Central Romana sugar mill's land into the Casa de Campo resort. Situated in La Romana on the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic, Casa de Campo (Spanish for "Country House") is a Ponderosa-style, tropical seaside resort.

The first to enjoy the luxuries of this enclave were friends of Charles Bluhdorn, Gulf+Western's founder and CEO, who built the retreat. One of Bluhdorn's Dominican friends, Oscar de la Renta, was hired to do interior design for Casa De Campo. After Bluhdorn's death, the Cuban-American Fanjul family (the world's top sugar barons), bought Casa and opened it to paying guests. Without compromising the feeling of exclusivity, they've developed it into one of the most complete resorts in the region.

Casa de Campo's golf has been internationally recognized for more than three decades. Golf architects Pete and Alice Dye have had a home at Casa de Campo since the early 1970s, when they guided 300 local laborers with machetes to blaze the Diente del Perro, (Teeth of the Dog, opened in 1971) through the jungle and along a rocky coast. The world's golfers flocked to the course after it served as a backdrop for the 1971 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. It remains the only Caribbean course consistently in the world's top 100 courses (usually top 50). The Links Course (opened in 1974) and the members-only La Romana Country Club (opened in 1990) are inland layouts spiced with lakes. Dye's newest course, the much-acclaimed Dye Fore (opened in 2000), skirts cliffs 300 feet (91 m) above the Chavón River, with views of the village of Altos de Chavón, distant mountains and the new marina. Dye recently completed another course on the plateau next to Dye Fore, called the Dye Fore Lakes.

In addition to being considered one of the most prestigious resorts in the Dominican Republic, Casa de Campo also boasts over 1,700 private villas, which range in price from US$500,000 to US$24,000,000, making it also one of the countries' most affluent communities, comparable to the Hamptons.

Completed in 2000, Casa de Campo has a modern, 400-berth marina, complete with a shipyard with a 120-ton TraveLift designed by Italian architect, Gian Franco Fini to resemble Portofino. Surrounding this harbor are over 70 restaurants, shops, bars, and homes. In 2010, the Casa de Campo Marina played host to the prestigious Rolex Farr 40 sailing cup.

Casa de Campo served as the backdrop for the 1987 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.


Bayahíbe is a town in the Dominican Republic, located about 10 miles (16 km) east of La Romana on the shore of the Caribbean Sea. Founded as a fishing village in 1874 by Juan Brito and his family, who came from Puerto Rico, the town is now a tourist destination.


Bayahíbe is an indigenous word. Its meaning is not known for sure, but there are many names that include the Tainos word "Baya." "Baya" is the name given to a bivalve mollusk, like clams that are glued to the rocks or roots of mangrove trees. "Jib" (or "hib") is the name of a sieve manufactured from sticks used to sift cassava flour.


Bayahíbe Beach, a public beach, is located less than a mile from the town center, and Dominicus Beach is in about three miles distance. Bayahíbe serves as an embarkation point for boat trips to Saona Island, a thinly inhabited island with extensive beaches located in a national park. In the vicinity of Bayahíbe and Dominicus Beach, numerous large resorts are located.

Scuba Diving & other watersports

Scuba diving is probably the most common tourist attraction in Bayahíbe - Bayahíbe being the best location for scuba in the Dominican Republic. There are numerous scuba diving shops scattered around the main beach that take scuba divers to the many dive sites around the area. There are over 20 official dive sites located near Bayahíbe and all are accessible from the dive boats in the area. There are three shipwrecks in the area including Atlantic Princess, St George and Coco. Bayahíbe benefits from the crystal clear, calm waters of the Caribbean Sea which makes it perfect for many water sports including snorkeling and stand up paddle boarding. Deep sea fishing is another popular activity.

The Pereskia quisqueyana

In Bayahíbe grows a small group of plants that are extremely important to the biological characteristics of this area: in particular, the Pereskia quisqueyana. This plant species is endemic to Bayahíbe. Pereskia quisqueyana is known for its beautiful flowers. The popular name by which this pink flower is known is "Bayahíbe Rose."

Pereskia quisqueyana is one of only several cactus species which contain leaves. Its natural habitat includes subtropical or tropical dry forests that are found on the Southeast coast of Hispaniola; particularly around the town of Bayahibe, its namesake. It is critically endangered due to habitat loss.

The species was discovered by the French botanist Henri Alain Liogier in 1977. He named it quisqueyana, in honor of the Dominican Republic, which is also referred to as Quisqueya. Law 146-11 of the Dominican Republic, established the Bayahibe Rose as the national flower of the country and ensured its protection due to its endangered status.


Between December and May, temperatures in Puerto Plata tend to hover between 28C and 31C. June to November is hurricane season, so the Dominican Republic is often hit by tropical storms – but the hotels are dab hands at dealing with them. June has the highest rainfall, clocking up 12 wet days.