Dominican Republic // The southwest //


Thirty-five kilometres west of San Cristóbal, coastal BANÍ is relatively prosperous thanks to a nearby naval base and the saltpans that lie to the south of the city – an upswing that has spurred much population growth, if not exactly prettified the place. There are few diversions within town – the Parque Central is nice enough for people watching, and you can stop off at Botánica Chango on Duvergé and Carretera Las Calderas for a look at the wares used in the local folk religion. There’s also a unique fiesta patronal held from June 15 to 24 in honour of San Juan Bautista, with dozens of musicians performing a distinctive Afro-Latin music called sarandunga, which has heavy rhythmic influences from Senegal but is unique to Baní.

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