Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge
What We Love
- Private balconies with views of the mountains or the Caribbean
- Friendly and attentive service at this family-owned resort
- The infinity pool, with its sea views
- A plethora of activities can be arranged through the resort
What To Know
- Rooms have air conditioning
- Free parking and WiFi
- Santo Domingo is about 130 miles away
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Flourishing green mountains form the backdrop for this secluded hilltop resort on the Dominican Republic’s unspoiled southwestern peninsula. Made up of 12 rooms, the family-owned Casa Bonita puts ecological wonder within reach, in the form of vast Jaragua National Park. And after a horseback ride, a cycling adventure or a hidden cave trek, a dip in the infinity pool followed by a sunset dinner of fresh-caught fish in the open-air dining room will feel just right.
Bed and Bath
Transformed from a private summer house into a boutique escape in 1991, the property has 12 cabanas that have either a kingsize bed or two double beds and are minimally decorated with wooden furnishings and accents, tile floors and thatch roofs. The graphic art adorning the otherwise spare walls is by acclaimed conservation photographer Eladio Fernandez. The spa-like bathrooms have open showers, sand-tinted tiles and cool wood surfaces. The private balconies off each room have 180-degree views of the Caribbean or the mountains. There’s also a small wine cooler in every room, which can be stocked in advance of your arrival for a fee.
Despite its secluded location, Casa Bonita’s restaurant uses the freshest local ingredients, including daily deliveries of fish from nearby Barahona. The simple breakfast menu includes sweet crepes, while the standout dinner menu digs deeper into Dominican flavors, with dishes like zesty shellfish spaghetti or pork chops with passion fruit sauce, served in the open-air thatch-roofed dining room. Once they’re settled in, guests can immerse themselves in the natural surroundings. The resort’s wide variety of active adventures in Jaragua National Park, an immense nature reserve, will keep you busy; from horseback riding and cycling to nature walks and birdwatching excursions, the resort can arrange it all.
In the Area
Down the hill from the resort, Bahoruco Beach has some of the best surf in the area. Grab your board and hang ten with the locals. Immerse yourself in the thermal waters of Canoa, which top out at 108 degrees, and let the natural properties soothe your body. For an equally refreshing experience, take a dip in the cool rushing waters at Villa Miriam, a private waterfront villa. Discover ancient pictographs and rock engravings in the caves of Jaragua National Park, a lush ecological treasure that includes a sun-soaked pebble beach. Many attractions in the area are just off the Barahona-Paraiso highway, including such small villages as Paraiso and Cachote, secluded beaches and scenic overlooks worth a photo op. The resort can help you plan an itinerary or arrange a tour.
How to Get There
Casa Bonita is a hidden gem. The infinity pool has a view you will never tire of! We traveled with our college daughter and one of her friends - so a party of 4. Be prepared to use you Spanish, very little english is spoken. Also super important to have all the Dominican money you need as there is no way to get cash at the resort or anywhere nearby. The drive from Santa Domingo did feel long. We opted to hire one of the drivers from Casa Bonita.Rooms - there are the main series of rooms down some steps below the pool. We saw room 102 which was a regular double and there was a partial view of the ocean. Quite nice. The ocean view suites are along this side as well. There are also 4 or so rooms on the river about a 5 minute walk form the main building. They are in a forested area. The outdoor shower area and tiles were beautiful. Very quiet and peaceful. The spa is in the same location with and outdoor pavilion for massage, and spot they do massages over the river.My favorite was a reading pavilion that also looked over the river. We stayed in the villa, a 2 bedroom house up the hill about 2-3 minutes walking. It was spacious and had its own outdoor deck and pool. The resident rooster and his hens were nearby every day as well as providing a early morning alarm. The bed was super comfortable and there was an AC unit in the room but for us the ceiling fan was adequate. Food is really only available at the restaurant although we did have one meal at a local beach restaurant which was amazing. The food and service are overall quite good but can get a bit repetitive as the menu does not change. If certain foods are not in season i.e. avocados for us they are not available. Half the evenings they did not have the fixings for mojitos for example. So don't get your heart set on one certain thing. . We also did a pizza making family activity that was amazing. The activities book was only in Spanish and all activities advertised on the web site were not available such as horse back riding. It was a little difficult to interpret what to bring and what to expect from the outings. We took a drive to 2 of the local beaches and those were both perfect although the first one the drive was much longer than we expected. But that's the beauty of it, the unexpected and Carlos stopping at local spots! We also did a hike about 45 minutes on a trail around the property and took a guided hike to a slot canyon and waterfall that was wonderful.Also did the biplane on the property which was perfect. The trees are huge and magical. All of the activities and the property require some basic fitness for sure. We did not do any yoga but they offered it at any time if we wanted to. We did have massages which were very nice. We also had a ton of fun venturing to the beach and looking for larimar stones. All in all this is an off the beaten path adventure with a combination of luxury and roughing it. The small size of the resort and its proximity to true local life make it unique.
Truly the wonderment of Dominican Republic. The property is consistently cleaned and maintained daily. Service is prompt and courteous from everyone encountered. Lots of ecotourism options in the area. Did a five miles walk in the neighboring forest - simply tranquil. I also elected to take the day trip to Bahia de les Aguilas. The hotel provides chairs, table, plenty of food, wine, beer, and assorted beverages in a cooler to take along. Arranges for transport, and boat to deposit you onto this isolated beach. Just spend the $400 USD. You'll understand why is worth the price. The room was fine. Don't open your patio door if you don't want swarms of mosquitoes inside. Hotel food was fine. Wifi everywhere. Pool water temperature rather cold. Jacuzzi temp hot.
This is my third visit to Casa Bonita and I intend to return. The property has improved over time but presents marked Highs and Lows:
1. The view is spectacular
2. The open air spa by the babbling brook in the tropical forest
3. Amenities have been upgraded over time
4. Food options for all meals are excellent
5. Personnel are friendly and their scripts have been improved over time as well
6. Bathrooms have been upgraded
7. New Villa options by the river and a larger family unit are now available
8. Ziplining is fun and we'll organized here
1. Our unit was infested with mosquitoes. We never opened the unit. When we entered initially we swatted down three. Sleeping was difficult at best with the continuous mosquito buzzing and itching mosquito bites.
2. The AC console in our room spewed cold air directly on our heads...not good for avoiding congestion. We wound up sleeping with our heads towards the opposite side of the bed.
3. Service was friendly but poor. During lunch we ordered drinks twice and they never came. We wound up fetching drinks from our room.
During the initial reservation I requested a massage for our initial afternoon. This was reconfirmed by email and then subsequently by phone. When we checked in promptly at the designated check in time we were informed our slot had been given to someone else. Ultimately we received a call reconfirming our slot, but his back and forth should not have happened in the first place at a Small Luxury Hotel of the World member.
4. As an "amenity" the hotel has an employee who "washes" your vehicle before your departure as a "courtesy". It is a nice gesture, but NO ONE should wash my vehicle unless it is done with clean cloths and appropriate amounts of water and car shampoo. Otherwise the grime accumulated driving to Casa Bonita SCRATCHES the paint finish and exterior plastics, which is exactly what happened to my new vehicle with the old rag used by the nice gentleman who "washes" cars there. AT A MINIMUM VISITORS SHOULD BE ASKED IF THEY WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THEIR CARS RECEIVE THIS TREATMENT.
Having said all of this, I will be back, with insecticide, selecting a room with a different AC placement, with clear instructions not to "wash" my car which will have received paint treatment after the current scratching, and with renewed patience to anticipate service shortfalls. The view, the food, the spa, the zipline and the nice attitude of the staff are actually worth the hassles.
Stayed at the river cabanas, incredible setting, great service. Food was excellent, room service too.. Did not want to leave the room! The tour to the Cave of the virgin was fantastic, the Temascal and massage session were great.
Amazing weekend surrounded by nature, the river suites are immerse in the jungle right in front of the river, Spa service and treatment are one of the best I’ve had in the world, including a Temascal. Would definitely come back very soon 🙏🏽