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Searching for the Road Less Traveled

Bahía de Las Águilas

Bahía de Las Águilas photo courtesy of Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism.

Travel has changed, some say. For all the incalculable good the Internet age has bestowed upon us, it’s also divulged the once closely held secrets of the world’s explorers. As a travel journalist, I harbor a share of the blame—not so much for iPhones and Yelp and crowdsourcing and Instagram but for shouting from the rooftops step-by-step directions to paradise, despite knowing that doing so might irreparably derail paradise.

Which is why I sometimes think about trading my passport for an office. But then I travel to another amazing place and experience the kind of moment that folks will tell you the Internet age has stolen.

I’m on my way to the Dominican Republic’s Bahía de Las Águilas, the country’s most remote and beautiful beach, which nearly hugs Haiti in the criminally undervisited southwest corner of the Pedernales Peninsula.

Despite spectacular scenery, tourism is a novelty here. I share the road with no one once I take the signed deviation from the main highway into the intriguingly anti-Caribbean desertscape to Cabo Rojo and beyond. During lunch, I have the most insane blue ocean views all to myself at Rancho Tipico, a waters-edge retreat in Las Cuevas, a minuscule fishing community that’s the jumping-off point for these fairy-tale shores.

There, I’m told that Dakar Rally-level off-road driving experience is required to go any farther. With my poor econo rental already barely cresting 15 miles per hour on potholed, crevice-ravaged asphalt, I decide to hire a boatman.

During the 20-minute boat ride, we weave among stunning craggy cliffs serving as platforms for throngs of kamikaze-diving pelicans. Both boatman and birds zig and zag to avoid collision, an absolutely spectacular scene. Around the final rocky outcrop, a six-mile stretch of nearly deserted sun-toasted coast is abruptly framed, a postcard-perfect arc bookended between two prominent capes. Paradise found—and I can’t help but share.

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