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Larimar

Larimar From Dominican Republic

Larimar is a beautiful stone only found in the mountain area of Barahona, Dominican Republic. Larimar is found under the ground in deep mines. This rare stone is the color of the Caribbean Sea on a bright sunny day.

About Larimar | The Mines of Barahona | Gift Shops | The Powers of Larimar | Purchase Larimar

An artist is shaping and polishing raw Dominican Republic larimar that will be made into jewelry.
An artist is shaping and polishing raw Dominican Republic larimar that will be made into jewelry.

About Larimar

Volcanos many millions of years ago formed Larimar. Larimar is a type of Blue Pectolite that can be found all over the world, in Canada and the U.S.A. But, only Dominican Republic produces the rare variety known as Larimar. Larimar often has a white spider-veined look to it. It is very abundant in the Dominican Republic, for now. It can only be found in the mountains of the Barahona in the Southwest region of the country. Los Chupaderos, in the Los Checheses area. This is the only place where this gem appears on the terrestrial crust. When these mines have been depleted of this rare stone it may be gone forever.

Raw and sliced Larimar
Raw and sliced Larimar

It was originally thought that Larimar came out of the sea as pieces flowed down the river into the sea where they were originally found. There were mentions of this beautiful blue stone throughout history (The first written mention of the “blue stone” is when Father Miguel Domingo Fuertes Loren, November 1916, asked for permission to explore more for this rock he found. It was never mentioned in geological studies or literature and was forgotten).

A large piece of raw Dominican Republic Larimar that can be seen in the Larimar Museum in the Colonial Zone
A large piece of raw Dominican Republic Larimar that can be seen in the Larimar Museum in the Colonial Zone

In 1974 a Peace Corps member and a Dominican man, Miguel Méndez, located the source of the stone thus the name Larimar came into existence. Miguel Méndez’s daughter’s name was Larissa and the Spanish name for the sea is mar. So the name Larimar was born.

Here are some good looking pieces Larimar jewelry for sale at Amazon.com

An opening to a Larimar mine in Barajona region of Dominican Republic
An opening to a Larimar mine in Barajona region of Dominican Republic

The Mines

If you should decide to make a trek to visit the Larimar mines in the mountainous area of Barahona it is a great experience. These mines can only be accessed by long, bumpy, rocky and dusty roads and the trip is not an easy one. If you make this trek you will feel as if you were going back in time. It would be a truly memorable experience.

The larimar mines are long, deep holes in the ground formed by the chimneys of the volcano. The mining is very dangerous and done primitively using manual labor. These local miners have no modern tools to extract the Larimar. There are no safety measures takes in the mines here in the country so there are many collapses and many lives have been lost. Most of these miners live near the mines in small villages and have done this work their entire lives.


Larimar jewelry sold in a gift shop in the Colonial Zone, Dominican Republic.
Larimar jewelry sold in a gift shop in the Colonial Zone, Dominican Republic.

Gift Shops

Larimar jewelry can be found in gift shops and jewelry stores throughout the Dominican Republic. Larimar jewelry is one of the tourists’ favorite purchases when visiting the country.

Larimar is graded according to its colors. The volcanic blue color is considered high quality. The cheaper jewelry coloring is usually white to light blue. The green-colored stones are lower quality also unless the green is very intense.

Larimar jewelry found in the gift shop La Placita in the Colonial Zone.
Larimar jewelry found in the gift shop La Placita in the Colonial Zone.

To see some great examples of larimar make sure to visit the Larimar Museum on Calle Isabel la Católica near Padre Billini in Colonial Zone. Also, almost every gift shop will have some larimar jewelry for sale in a wide price range.

Larimar is rated between .5 and 7 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.

Polished Larimar slices.
Polished Larimar slices.

The Powers of Larimar

The cosmic powers of Larimar are said to help one view events from a different perspective. The color of Larimar looks like the sky blending into the sea with a touch of clouds or foam. Water and air are the most changeable of the physical elements. Its cool and calming color helps teach us how to change anger into a more peaceful form of feeling expression. It softens, enlightens and heals in a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual way.

Larimar is said to stimulate the heart, throat, third eye and crown chakras helping with inner wisdom and outer manifestation of this wisdom. It represents peace and clarity. It radiates healing and love energy. It is recommended for people who are stressed. Larimar helps a person to communicate from the soul thus promoting the flow of expression and creative ideas yet its grounding qualities help one to make these ideas turn into reality.

Larimar tells us that life, like the skies and seas, is always changing and in chaos yet underneath this seemingly chaotic exterior is the peace of the eternal soul.

Larimar Cabochons ready to be made into jewelry.
Larimar Cabochons ready to be made into jewelry.

Purchase Larimar

If you cannot make the trip to come to the Dominican Republic to purchase your own larimar you can always buy it online at Amazon. There is a wide variety of beautiful pieces from which to choose. Here are just a few samples.

Beautiful Dominican Republic larimar from Amazon

Barahona

Barahona (full name Santa Cruz de Barahona)

Barahona is a province located in the southwestern coast of the Dominican Republic. The capital is Santa Cruz de Barahona. The people are friendly and down to earth and the scenery is spectacular. This area has not been touch with the tourism frenzy. It is a paradise only seen by few tourists and well worth the visit.

1.The Province 2.Getting Around 3.Towns 4.Barahona 5.Things To Do

Barahona Postal code : 81000

Here there are dry deserts and lush forests. There are fresh, clear mountain streams and wild and beautiful beaches. The land can be flat and dry and also mountainous and green. The coastal highway 44 (also called Enriquillo) has a spectacular view and leads to the beaches past the town of Barahona.

Most of the beaches in this area do not have sandy beaches. They consist of small pebbles, which are unique to the area. It is spectacular to see the beautiful turquoise blue waters in contrast with the green lush colors of the mountains. It is also interesting to note the small piles of white beach rocks people collect to sell to the landscapers.

Getting around:

Caribe Tours bus – It takes about 3 ½ hours by to get there from Santo Domingo.

Barahona Airport if you would like to fly into the area

Guaguas – These are the large vans-small busses that run along the highway. They pass by about every 20 minutes and make stops along the way as you wish. They can seem confusing at first especially if you do not speak Spanish. Just write down the name of the place you want to go and have them take you there. Get the hotel your staying in to write the questions for you, as most of the larger hotels employees will speak enough to help you out. Ask when they will return past again so you can get back to the town (have then write it down).

Motoconchos – (around town about 25 pesos) The motorcycles you see everywhere on the streets. Just look a bit dumbfounded and usually one will stop to see if you want a ride. These are fun to get around as you can really see lots of the area and stop as you desire. A very reliable and honest motor driver is Ruddi (809-353-3901). He loves showing people around. His English is very poor but he can understand more than he can speak.

Taxis – They are always around the streets.

Your own feet – Get out and walk around. Stop and talk to people even if you cannot speak the language. This is the best way to really know the area, the culture and the wonderful people of the country.

Towns

San Rafael bay and beach area

Playa San Rafael

/ San Rafael Beach- The bay as you drive along the highway is a spectacular sight. When you drive down to the beach area where the river enters the sea there are both natural and artificial swimming holes. Locals enjoy this area and also there are small stands that sell cold drinks and fresh fish.

San Rafael swimming hole.
Los Patos swimming hole

Los Patos

(The Ducks)- The town is small and the friendly townspeople all know each other. Here there is a pretty white-stone beach with rugged waves that is great for small shell collecting. The best place to hang is where the river meets the sea is a shallow swimming hole where the locals like to refresh themselves and even take a cool bath. I found it interesting to watch the little fish enjoying the fresh water swimming along with the locals. There are many little restaurants to sit and enjoy a drink and some fresh fish including Dorado, Colorado, and local catches.

Hotels:
Hotelito Oasi Italiana – 829-926-9796

Los Patos, Barahona beach
Playa Quemaito stone beach

El Quemaito

Beach and Town (quemar means “to burn”)- A small town off the beaten path with a large and popular pebble, sand and gravel warm water beach and refreshing river on the other side of the highway. If you look close enough you can pick up small water worn pieces of larimar on the beach. It is 10 kilometers from the city of Barahona along the Barahona-Paraiso highway. There are a few stands where one can buy a cold drink and some food. The small town has a few little shops, typical Dominican restaurants and even boasts a small pool hall.

Hotels: Hotel el Quemaito 809-649-7631

River for swimming in Quemaito

Paraíso

– A small village that is just what its name says, Paradise. There are 2 rivers Nizaito y Sito which, depending on the season, the waters change colors. In May the sky seems to change colors as the butterflies arrive brightly colored wings crossing the plain.
Hotels:
*Hotel Piratas del Caribe
*Rancho Don Cesar
*Hotel SeaBreeze

Enriquillo

– A typical small town with about 21million inhabitants. The sea is in the front and the rich green jungle is behind the town. There are a few small beaches in the area that are very tranquil. There is a nice little watering hole along the main highway where there is a man made pool to collect the river water. It is very clean and refreshing.

Hotels:
*Hotel Al Mare

Festivals: Patron Saint Ana celebrated from the 18 to 26 of July
http://www.enriquillo.net/

Bay and Port in Barahona

Barahona

– Barahona is the biggest city in the southwest, a larger small town with all the normal things found in any Dominican Town of its size. There are banks and restaurants both small and large. It is a very active and friendly town centrally located near to much of the eco tourism areas of the southwest. There is a mix of both typical wooden houses with tin roofs and modern homes as well. The main streets are very bustling while the side roads can be quite calm.

Cabo Beach in Barahona

Barahona has a large port dominated by the large sugar mill. Here the sugar and molasses is loaded on ships for their journey to other parts. There is also the sugar train that runs with its load of sugar cane collected from the farms along its route. You can see one of the old steam locomotives not far from the mill area.

View of the Malecon in Barahona

Stuff to do

The Barahona Market – Here is a shopping conglomerate where one can find just about anything at very reasonable prices. It takes up a block or more of the street and a few alleyways also.
The Malecon – The usual seaside road where there are all types of restaurants and nightspots. There is usually music blaring from all these spots and people enjoying a drink, talking, eating or some dancing.

The Central Park – Lots of small bars, restaurants and places to eat outside. A good time in the evenings.
Festivals:
Virgen del Rosairo – October 7

Statue in Parque Ciencia, Barahona

Hotels:
Loro Tuerto (translated One-eyed Parrot)
This small hotel is big on service and friendliness. The rooms are simple, comfortable and clean. They have cable tv, air conditioning, 24 hour electric and hot water. It is located in the southwest town of Baharona on the main street. It is about 1 and 1/2 blocks from the bus station and within walking distance to the park. There is a nice patio where you can sit and unwind from an active day in town or at the beautiful local beaches. The staff is very friendly and helpful and speak English, French and Spanish.
The casual dining cafe on site serves a nice little variety of dishes and is decorated with lots of interesting items.
Rooms start at $1300 pesos per day. No credit cards accepted. WiFi hot spot.

*Hotel Caribe – 809-524-4111
*Guarocya Hotel and Casino – 809-524-4121

Search for all the hotels in the Barahona area at Hotels.com

Old steam engine train

Stuff to Do

Polo Magnético/ Magnetic Pole – Where the secondary road forks between the town of Barahona and the community of Cabral. Park your motor vehicle in neutral gear on the lower part of the hill and it ignores the force of gravity and moves upwards by itself.

Aguas Termales en Canoa/ The thermal waters at Canoa – Usually visited by French and Japanese tourists for some years now everyone now is discovering this unique spot. The strong scented sulfur waters are bluish in color and can reach up to 42° Celsius. People who enjoy the curing and relaxing properties of these waters visit it.

To read about my trips to Baharona area go to The DR Gringas Blog (both open in a new window)
Barahona Road Trip Tour
Trip To Barahona – A 4 Day Adventure

Sideshows of the Barahona area:
pictures around the Barahona area.
pictures around the Baoruco area.
pictures around the Los Patos area.
pictures around the San Rafael area.