The Barahona Region Inland Route
This tour circles Lago Enriquillo and includes the
famous Polo Magnetico where cars parked in neutral
This is an important agricultural region for growing fruits, vegetables, bananas and sugar cane. There are two roads to Lago Enriquillo.
The longer and initially the more scenic goes along the lake's northern edge. However, this route is populated with many small towns with numerous speed bumps and ditches, which makes the going torturous.
These were installed to slow down the Haitian drivers who came across the border to shop, then sped back home recklessly, sometimes hitting pedestrians. The local Dominicans often retaliated by killing the Haitian driver.
In the interest of maintaining good relations between the two peoples, the speed bumps were added which, as one Dominican noted, solved one problem by creating another.
An alternative route is the southern road through Cabral , then turn right at La Colonia to Neyba (also spelled Neiba on some maps) which joins the northern road.
This is the fastest way to Lago Enriquillo and cuts the 2-hour drive down to 90 minutes. Incidentally, the majority of the small villages you'll pass through are not on any of the maps, so it's sometimes difficult to know precisely where you are.
Starting the southern route, at Cabral is turnoff into the mountains to the famous Polo Magnetico , a site of considerable debate. This is one of those places where if you park your car it supposedly rolls uphill.
Although some say that this is only an optical illusion, that does not appear to be so. I placed a bottle of water on the road, and the water clearly indicated there was a slight uphill incline. That uphill incline continued over the entire section of the road.
Furthermore, when I placed the almost-full 2-liter bottle in the road, the container started vibrating, which I attributed to the wind. Although the wind continued, the bottle was never rocked again. Later, I realized the bottle should have been too heavy to be affected by the breeze. I have no explanation for anything, only observations.
Just beyond Cabral is the small community of El Naranjo where Dulce Maria the shaman lives. If you speak Spanish and want your future told, or you have a few demons you'd like to get rid of, just drop in.