On the southern Caribbean side of the Dominican Republic is La Romana and Bayahibe. La Romana is the largest of the three, with Bayahibe being a former fishing village. Both of them are great starting points for some of the best fishing in the world.
Fishing is a way of life for many in these and other small villages and towns up and down the coast. The area is paradise. With the perfect weather year-round and the beautiful surroundings, you will think you are in heaven. And, of course, the fishing is top-notch! The best way to get the most of your day or days on the water here is to join one of the many charter boats in La Romana and Bayahibe. The captains all know the area, the waters and most importantly, the fish so they can get you hooked up fast. And with the deep water just offshore, you get to spend more time fishing. You get to put your lines in faster and hopefully catch the fish faster too.
La Romana is surrounded by rivers and, of course, the Caribbean. This gives an angler many choices for his or her fishing pleasures. There are high flying Tarpon, Bonefish and Snook in the rivers and flats areas, so if you love to flyfish, make sure you bring your pole. But you do not have to be casting a fly to catch these fish. Light tackle will give you a real fight and a fun fight too. A guide will be able to get you to areas you would not be able to get to, and they are locals, so they are familiar with where the best places to find these fun-to-catch fish are.
Inshore it is calm with little to no waves. This means it is a much more relaxed trip than offshore. It also means that if you are prone to seasickness, this is your trip of choice. Going out to catch a Marlin may be on your bucket list, and you can still go out if you wish, but the waves are always choppy, thanks to the strong tradewinds. So, you may not bag your Marlin, but fishing the reefs is fun, and there are plenty of fish that you can land. Many types of Snapper and Grouper make the reefs home. There are also Permits, Parrotfish, Amberjacks and many more. Fishing on the reefs is fun, and you do not need strength or experience to reel these in. This type of trip is also perfect for families and novices. The experienced and knowledgeable captains and crew will show you the ropes and be there to help you when you get a bite. Experienced anglers love the bottom-feeding too, because many of the fish are fun to catch, and they are also delicious to eat.
Offshore is where the action really heats up. The D.R. is famous for its Blue Marlin catches throughout the summer thru October. Fishing for Blue Marlin in the Dominican Republic should be on every angler’s bucket list of things to do, and this region of Bayahibe and La Romana is one of the top three spots to make your dreams come true. People come to fish these waters here because the energy and excitement are just as hot as Punta Cana and Puerto Plata, but it is a lot less crowded, and there is a laid-back, relaxed atmosphere. The Marlin are in the waters offshore all year round, but it is during June – October that they are in huge numbers. When you are fishing for your Marlin, you will also come in contact with other fish in the sea. Other Marlin like the White Marlin can be caught, especially in the spring and don’t forget the sailfish in the winter months. Yellowtail Tuna, Wahoo, Dorado (Mahi-Mahi) and barracuda may also bite your line. But there is nothing like the thrill you get when that Marlin strikes and the line just screams out. The exhilaration of getting into the fighting chair and getting ready for a fight. The emotion you feel watching this giant beast leap out of the water and the feeling of joy when the war is finally done.
Casa de Campo Marina puts on a few tournaments for pros and amateurs throughout the year, like the International Blue Marlin Tournament. There are other tournaments in the area as well. One note: The Dominican Republic has a catch and releases policy for all billfish except swordfish. All other fish are fair game, but the marlins and sailfish are tagged and released to be caught another day.
There is plenty to do in La Romana and Bayahibe when you are not fishing or for your family while you are on the water. The beaches here are some of the best on the island. Playa Dominicus was the first of 29 beaches in the D.R. to achieve “Blue Flag” status. With one of the longest shorelines of white sandy beach dotted with resorts, restaurants, beach bars, cabanas, palm trees and azure water, you can see why this beach is one of the most popular on the island. But in this region, there are many picture-perfect beaches to choose from, each with its own allure.
Close to La Romana is the interesting art enclave Altos de Chavon. Located right on the Chavon River, this is the most prestigious art and design school in the Caribbean disguised as a medieval village. Altos de Chavon is also home to a famous amphitheater that has hosted the likes of Carlos Santana, Elton John, Placido Domingo, Jennifer Lopez and many more.
Off the coast of La Romana is Isla Catalina. This small island has beautiful white sandy beaches, but the main draw is the reefs that offer spectacular snorkeling and scuba diving. Isla Soana, one of the country’s most visited places, is located off the coast of Dominicus, a short boat ride from Bayahibe and La Romana. It also has sugar-white beaches lined by palm trees and a reef system with crystal clear waters perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Isla Soana is larger than Isla Catalina and is part of the Eastern National Park. It has a small fishing village, Mano Juan, and caves to explore. The island is home to over 100 species of birds and has many indigenous animals too.
Located halfway between La Romana and San Pedro de Marcos is the Cave de Maravillas, or Cave of Wonder. This cave has over 500 paintings and engravings from the Taino tribes. La Romana is also home to one of the world’s most famous resorts, Casa de Campo. At the resort are a multimillion-dollar marina and two championship golf courses, including Teeth of The Dog. This course is consistently ranked among the top 100 courses in the world for its beauty and its difficulty.
The area is also a great place to go into the water as the visibility of the water is perfect for diving and scuba diving. One of the more popular areas is the waters just off the coast of Playa Dominicus. Here the water is crystal clear, and the reef system is full of fish, but the best part is there is little to no undertow here. You can, of course, dive at many other spots along the coast. Just a short walk from town is Bayahibe Beach. This beach is lined with palm trees for shade and is a favorite of the locals.
La Romana and Bayahibe are great towns to visit. La Romana also has a large port that brings many passengers on cruise ships to the area. But many of the visitors to these towns are in search of their great whale… the Giant Marlin. And here, there is a great chance not only to see one but to have the thrill of reeling one in. Come experience the wonderful hospitality, food and hot action on the waters.