La Romana is the third-largest city in the Dominican Republic with a population estimated in 2005 at 250,000. The city is capital of the southeastern province of La Romana, opposite Catalina Island. The name Romana comes from a balance that was used to weigh merchandise for export. Santa Rosa de Lima is the patron saint of La Romana.
The modern La Romana International Airport was opened in 2000 and the city is near several other cities, such as San Pedro de Macorís and the national capital, Santo Domingo de Guzmán. The city is a hub for a growing tourist industry with several nearby local resort spots, such as the beachfront Bayahibe, Punta Cana, Casa de Campo, and the growing number of Golf Resorts that surround the area.
La Romana is not a typical Dominican town; instead, it is a company town, with the Central Romana Corporation owning the majority of the town. It is a town with nearly 100% employment, mostly in the tourism industry or with The Central Romana Corporation, the Free Zone (Zona Franca Romana), or one of the service businesses there.
La Romana has been a one-company town since the South Puerto Rico Sugar Company built the mammoth Central Romana mill in 1917. It was the only sugar operation not taken over by Rafael Trujillo during his reign. From 1964 to 1967, the South Puerto Rico Sugar Company, including properties in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Dominican republic became part of the conglomerate Gulf+Western. In 1984, the Gulf+Western Corporation sold their stake in the Central Romana Corporation to a group of local and foreign investors which includes The Fanjul Brothers.
Gulf+Western acquired Consolidated Cigar in 1968 and shifted the Canary Island cigar-making operation to its Tabacalera de Garcia tobacco plant in La Romana. The Tabacalera de Garcia factory is currently one of the largest cigar factories in the world, and has been owned by the biggest cigar marketing company in the world, Altadis, since 1999. Three world famous brands are produced in La Romana: Montecristo, H. Upmann, and Romeo y Julieta.
This town is characterized by its tremendous influence in the country's tourism programs. Its filled with beautiful beaches and many hotels and resorts. There are also many growing suburban areas and fenced communities This town has a large population, and all the problems associated with high-density areas. It does not have many notable sights in terms of architecture or urban spaces, being barely 100 years old. It grew very fast compared that to the much older and slower-paced La Vega or Seibo, which are more typical Dominican towns.
In 1983, the government of Salvador Jorge Blanco, through the fund for development of this region, built the Polideportivo de La Romana (La Romana Sports Center), which was named after Eleoncio Mercedes in honor of the flyweight boxer who became world champion. The Caneros de La Romana, a Dominican basketball team, play their home games here.
Casa de Campo Resort complex is the flagship of the La Romana All Inclusive Resorts area. Built in 1975 by Gulf+Western to be the premiere destination in the Caribbean, it has lived up to the hype. The resort houses 3 championship golf courses, one of them being the famous "Teeth of The Dog" which is ranked 25th in the world. The Casa de Campo resort also houses its own polo fields and a private airstrip. In 1984 Casa de Campo was purchased by the Central Romana Corporation which is co-owned by The Fanjul Brothers.
Altos de Chavón is a replica of a 17th century Mediterranean village located just minutes from La Romana. Here you’ll find artists’ studios, craft-shops, galleries, restaurants and bars to satisfy all types of visitors. Take in a show at their 5000 seat amphitheater that still attracts big name artists. Altos de Chavón is one of those must-visit locations on a trip to La Romana All Inclusive Resorts.
Casa de Campo International Tourist Port (Muelle Turístico Internacional Casa de Campo): Over the last century, The Port of La Romana (located on the West Bank of La Romana River or Rio Dulce) has been utilized primarily for the docking of commercial ships, primarily for the transport of sugar and molasses. Upon exceeding the capacity of its port, the Central Romana Corporation built its new tourism focused port on the east side of the river. The platform on the western bank was renovated and the river channel was dredged to a depth of .
Inaugurated with the arrival of the vessel Costa Marina on December of 2002, the Central Romana Corporation invested US$12 million to extend the existing port by over . The port is a modern platform and harbor terminal, with a capacity for two large modern cruise ships.
Today the new facilities boast two docking platforms (East Dock: in length, West Dock: in length), a passenger terminal and parking facilities which accommodate 24 buses.