Baní Things to Do Tips by marielexoteria
Baní Things to Do: 6 reviews and 28 photos
Santuario a San Martín de Porres
This sanctuary is in the middle of nowhere, about 20 minutes from Baní.
The church, also known as Iglesia de Las Tablas, is located in the small town of Las Tablas and is dedicated to San Martín de Porres, the first black saint of America. The church is made of stone on top of a small hill with nice views.
To get to the church you go up some stairs. The altar is very little and has a statue of the saint, as well as some paintings, a rosary and some offerings. Nov 3 is his day and a big mass is then done in the patio, where there's space for the lots of pilgrims who come from all over the country.
The sacristan was there when we visited the church and I asked him why it was build there and not in a smaller town. He said that they chose that place because it was poor and the saint is one of the saints of the poor (with San Vicente de Paúl) and he made miracles in poor places.
If you're going here, part of the road isn't paved and the place itself isn't handicap friendly for those with wheelchairs.
Address: Las Tablas
Art on the windows (arte vitral)
The patron saint of the province of Peravia is la Virgen de Regla and this church, who became a cathedral, is in her honor.
Where the cathedral is today, there was a small church with the same name. The church was ready and opened for services on Nov 6, 1689 when Carlos II was the king of Spain and where it is today is where there was an apparition of the Virgin. The church has been destroyed or damaged several times due to natural disasters, and part of the actual design is from 1929-1931. In 2008 it had the latest renovation works, including installing a projector, speakers and a/c because they need it when they celebrate the day of Virgen de Regla (Nov 21), as the sacristan told us. The art in the windows is from 1993.
This cathedral is the seat of the Dioceses of Baní.
Address: In front of Parque Duarte
One of the many dunes
The South West region is the driest in the country and the one with the least amount of rain fall. We joke that when it rains there, the gates of heaven have opened up in the South East hehe. And here in Baní, part of the South West, you'll find the one area where desert-like dunes exist.
The dunes area is about 18 sq km long and the fine, brownish sand is rich in quartz. The dunes area was 26 sq km long before but people wanting to get materials for construction have taken a large area.
We climbed the easiest dune, a couple of meters from Hotel Salinas. The one thing we all noticed was vegetation you usually would find in a mangrove swamp, as well as a kind of grape tree known to us as "uva de playa" (beach grapes) - but with no grapes, hehe. From above we took in the views to the town of Las Calderas, the sea, the mountains, and a herd of goats who ran away the minute one of them saw me with the camera pointing at them (but I didn't get closer).
The dunes have been a popular day trip since as long as I can remember, and they've even been used in some music video filming.
Address: Las Calderas
Directions: Between Matanzas, Las Calderas and Las Salinas.
The beach and salt mine from Hotel Salinas
At the little fisherman's town of Las Salinas you'll find one of the salt mines that produce salt for human consumption, and a very nice beach.
The salt mine has a wooden bridge, known as "el puente de palo" where the wagons full of salt are pushed up and then dumped on the ground to be put in big bags and transported to refineries. Although it's known as a mine, the salt really comes from the sea, by evaporation in the "salaos" (see my separate tip about it).
See a small video of the salt extraction process on Youtube.
Following the same road until it finishes, you'll find Playa Salinas. This beach has brown, fine sand and it's good for kite surfing and windsurfing. The first part under the water is rocky and we saw a lot of sea urchins so take precautions, but a few meters after then the sea floor has sand.
The beach has 2 sides, as it is located on what's called Punta Salinas. One side has a lot of palm trees that will guarantee a tiny patch of shadow, while the other side has none. We sat on the shadowed part and enjoyed a gentle breeze, sitting on "not so HOT" sand, hehe.
The best time to visit this lovely beach is during the week, on weekends you'll find a lot of people (which isn't necessarily bad).
Address: Las Salinas
Museo Máximo Gómez
Máximo Gómez was born in a cattle rancher family and joined the army when he was 16. He fought in several wars, including the one who would lead to Cuba's independence from Spain.
The Cuban government built this park and this museum as a thank you for giving birth to this great man. The museum shows letters that Gómez wrote (because he was also a man of letters), pictures of him, his family and of the wars, as well as information signs about him and the wars he fought.
In the park you'll find a bust of Máximo Gómez, the last wood "plank" of what was originally his house and a painting on the wall of what his house looked like.
Free admission to both.
Address: Ave. Máximo Gómez esq. Nuestra Señora de Regla
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