Barahona Inland Route
to Lago Enriquillo
You need to leave for Isla Cabritos early
Next is the village of La Lista , where you'll see a variety of chairs lining the sidewalks. For decades the farmers here have supplemented their income by manufacturing chairs; the chairs are sold all over the country. The lagoon off to your right is not Lago Enriquillo but Lago Rincon, the country's largest fresh water lake and a good spot for birding in winter months.
At La Colonia, the turnoff for Neyba, is a large statue to the Taino leader Enriquillo, the first to fight against the Spanish. At Neyba, note the turnoff for going back through La Colonia.
For some bizarre reason, the roads are marked only for those driving to Lago Enriquillo, not returning from it. It is easy to miss this return turnoff (voice of experience).
Just before Lago Enriquillo is Las Caritas, the cliff of smiley petroglyph faces. If you have a pair of binoculars you can see just as much from the road. The boat ride to Isla Cabritos (Goat Island) at Lago Enriquillo is just a few hundred yards beyond, on the left.
The first boats to Isla Cabritos leave at 8 a.m.; it should leave at 7 since the crocodiles generally leave the island 's beaches by 9. The boat trip costs RD$800. The price can be split if other people are present; otherwise you foot the bill yourself for a private tour, as I did. There is also a park entrance fee of RD$50.
Rhinoceros iguana are easily found near the boat dock. During the mating season (April) the crocodiles also frequent this area and it's not necessary to take the boat trip.
Flamingos reside at the lake year-round but are most common in winter. After the Isla Cabritos trip, you can cool off in the park's clear sulphur pool. For information on the boat tours, fax (809) 696-0327 or call (809) 224-9525.
Continuing north to Jimani, you'll pass through several small villages with swimming pools fed by cool mountain streams. These are usually marked with the sign “balneario.”
At Jimani you can continue north to Mal Paso and walk over into Haiti to shop at the international market there. You'll be leaving the Dominican Republic when you do, so take your passport. If things appear tense at the checkpoint, don't cross over.
The market, in kind of a no-mans-land, offers a few handicrafts but mostly liquor and vegetable oil. The big advantage for the liquor is that it is not taxed. I paid RD$155 ($9.75) for a bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label which I thought was a very good deal; until I saw it selling at duty free in the airport for $11. Not so wonderful after all.
From Jimani, you can either go back the way you came or take the southern route through El Limon, a wonderfully scenic area with good views of the mountains.