La Romana. The name of the city comes from, according to tradition, an ancient scale to weigh merchandise, which existed on the site where the city stands today. Other authors associate the possible Taino name “Bomana” of what is today the Dulce River. The first time the name La Romana appears, referring to the river, on a map dating 1785, traced by Tomas Lopez.
The establishment of La Romana as a town dates from early 19th Century, linked to the traffic of precious woods and the traditional cane industry, which was and has been for a long time, the principal means of sustenance of the inhabitant of the Eastern region of the Dominican Republic. At present, we find in the same city’s Buena Vista district, the largest sugar cane refinery of all the Caribbean: the Central Romana, established by the banks of the Salado River. Inspite of its name “River,” the Salado is really an estuary which reaches inland. From its northern bank, a real river flows, the Dulce River. At the bank of this estuary, the city evolves. This was the site of the first commercial port in the end of 19th century, having been designated officially as a port in 1851. The ancient dock is the precursor of the city’s modern marina for cruise ships, property of the Central Romana Corporation and inaugurated in 2003.
La Romana presents an extremely interesting old town center, surrounding the Parque Duarte. The city was traced in the shape of a game board in the early 20th century, following the modern urban tendencies of the period. One of the most interesting buildings of the city is the Santa Rosa of Lima Church, facing the central park, which was constructed as of 1924 and consecrated in 1940. Surrounding this park, known as Duarte park in honor of the Founding Father, we find the Bomana Foundation cultural center, the old Social club and a traditional establishment typical of the city: the Don Quijote Restaurant.
Visitors to La Romana may purchase the best example of Dominican handicrafts in the many shops that line the streets of the town center. The Central Market may also be visited. It is typically Dominican and a place where tourists can mingle with the community in the framework of the town’s commercial activity. Visitors here may enjoy the gastronomical variety offered by numerous restaurants, selecting from typical Dominican cuisine, Middle Eastern, Oriental or well known American fast food brands.