San Juan, also known only San Juan de la Maguana , is located in the Southern Region of Dominican Republic. Located in a valley region that borders the provinces of Baoruco, Azua, La Vega, Santiago de los Caballeros, and Santiago Rodríguez in the north and west Elías Piña, near the border with Haiti.
The Providence of San Juan is crossed by numerous rivers, most notably the San Juan River, the Rio Yaque del Sur River Sabaneta, the Macasías and Mijo. It has two dams, the Sabaneta and Sabana Yegua.
Within the territory there are three provincial parks and protected areas, including Parque Juan Ulises García Bonelly, and the National Parks (los parques nacionales) José Armando Bermúdez and José del Carmen Ramírez. In the area of Las Matas de Farfán there is the much-visited spring of sulfur water (aguas sulfurosas) called la Zurza.
San Juan has a semitropical climate always cooled by the mountain breeze. Average summer highs are in the 90s, and average winter highs in the 60s. The annual average precipitation is around 60 inches of rain. The summer has very high humidity. The wet season is from June to September.
San Juan's economy is primarily agricultural. It was given the title of "Granero del Sur" "South Farm" for its production of rice, peanuts, sorghum, beans, pigeon peas, cassava, sweet potato, onion and vegetables.
The valley area of San Juan was the seat of Maguana whose leader was Caonabo. Caonabo in aboriginal language means gran señor de la tierra or Great Lord of the Earth". Caonabo was the cacique or chief of the Tainos. Upon the death of his uncle and became the most important and powerful ruler in Hispaniola at the time. He led the Taino revolt against the Spanish invaders and was captured and died in a shipwreck while being taken to Spain as a prisoner. A brother of Caonabo and other allied Taino caciques led the revolt against the Spanish and finally lost the battle in 1495. http://www.stjohnbeachguide.com/caonabo.htm
San Juan de la Maguana is one of the oldest cities in Dominican Republic. Captian Diego Velázquez founded it in the early 16th century around 1504. Nicolas de Ovando, governor of the island at this time, ordered the mandate for its creation.
The epic Battle of Santomé that occurred here on December 22, 1855 was fought between the armies of Haitians and Dominicans. The Dominican army commanded by General Jose Maria Cabral y Luna, was victorious. This sealed the independence of the country.
Francisco del Rosario Sánchez (one of the Trinitarians of the republic) was buried in San Juan until 1875. At this time his body was moved for burial at the Altar of the Patria, along with Juan Pablo Duarte and Ramon Matias Mella, in Parque Independencia in the capital, Santo Domingo.
San Juan de la Maguana (capital providence)
Juan de Herrera
Las Matas de Farfán
Getting to San Juan de la Maguana from Santo Domingo
Caribe Tours - from Santo Domingo busses leaves at 6:30AM, 10:15AM, 2:00PM and 5:30PM. The stop is on Calle Dr. Cabral #29, San Juan de la Maguana in the center of the town. More information, times and tickets at http://www.caribetours.com.do
Hotels in the town of San Juan
Hotel Gallery - Calle Independencia #5 809/557-1007 or 809/557-2317
Hotel Libano Trinitaria 33 (809) 557-2810
Hotel D'Angel 19 de Marzo 3 809-557-3484 or 809-557-4653
Hotel Maguana - Calle Independencia #72, tel. 809/557-2244
Hotel Corona Anacaona 65 809 5572665
Areito Hotel Calle Mella #25 809-557-2045
Fiestas and Activities
*La Fiesta del Espírito Santo usually held on the first Sunday in June. This religious festival starts in El Batey with a procession ending in the center plaza in San Juan. There is lots of drumming and singing with both Haitian and Taíno influences.
*The feast of San Juan de la Maguana held June 24 each year to celebrate the patron saint, San Juan Bautista (John the Baptist).
*Centro Ceremonial de los Indios / The Corral de los Indios
This is a pre-Columbian ceremonial and astrological site. It is located 5 kilometers north, about a fifteen-minute ride, of San Juan de la Maguana. Head toward Juan de Herrera on Avenida Anacaona. It is considered to be located in the very center of the island. The circular monument is approximately 235 meters in diameter. In the center there is a 1,5 meter long stone with a carved face on one end. This stone is where the chiefs were supposed to be seated. It is thought that from this center rock astronomical phenomena could be observed and lined up with the outer stone rings of rock with great precision.