About half an hour out of Barahona you will find Paradise. It’s a small township hugging a mountainous coastline that truly lives up to its name. And just a few minutes beyond that, you will find the locality of Los Patos.
The Ducks – Los Patos
The reason there is a township at all is the river Los Patos, or Duck River. I came here to find out why it was called Duck River and what is so special about it.
There is several things about this river that stand out. First of all, the name. While ducks do exist on the island, they are not exactly the most common fowl. You will find the odd domesticated duck, but truly wild ducks are rare. About a hundred years ago, that was different. You could find ducks all over the place and particularly in this river. However, ducks have one big problem: they are delicious.
By the 1980s the ducks were virtually extinct in the Duck River. Only the name remained. When I visited the river in the mid-2000s on my motorcycle tour of the island… Oh yeah, I’m now shamelessly plugging my old motorcycle show Rubberside Down… There were no ducks at all in the river. Thus for many the name made no sense. A duck river without ducks? That’s just crazy.
But on my recent trip… They were back! Since the river has become a local tourist attraction, the local tourism board decided to bring in a few ducks, so the river could live up to its name. They’re now kept, fed and nobody is allowed to hunt them.
And because they are now completely tame, they will take advantage of you.
One Of The Shortest Rivers In The World
Another thing that makes this river unique is its length. With just 61 meters — depending on the tide — it is the shortest river on the island and among the shortest rivers in the world, but nowhere near as short as some of the shorter rivers on the list, such as the Reprua River in Georgia that is reported to be only 18 meters. But the confusion is popular, since the Roe River in Montana used to be listed as the shortest river in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records, and that one was listed as being 134 meters at the time. But due to changing tides and river beds Guinness no longer has a ‘shortest river’ category, as it is way too hard to determine shortness in rivers.
Finally there is its temperature, something all of the rivers and creeks in this area seem to have in common. It is unexpectedly freezing cold. With the uncomfortable heat in the area the icy cold river is a welcome change, but it’s still a shock… A welcome shock. Bathing in water that had just come out of the ground a few seconds ago is an amazing experience. I can’t prove it, but i suspect the water, being natural spring water, has mineral qualities. But who knows. Still, I felt like a kid again bathing in that water. Of course, it could just have been the cold temperature.
And as you would expect, with so much water running through and out of these hills, the hills are perforated with caves and chasms, all of which remain largely unexplored. But that’s a different story.
So, if you come here, it will have to be on your own as you will be hard-pressed to find tours available. There are very few hotels in the area, and tourism is scarce. There is a good hotel right next to the river, but other than that, there is very little concerning accommodations. Also make sure to come during the week, as on the weekends it gets very full here with local tourists. It would seem the area is an italian secret, as you will find a lot of italian tourists here, but only the adventurous kind. There is no large scale tourism infrastructure in place and for now Duck River with its ducks and natural spring water is an off-the-beaten-track secret.
And let’s keep it that way.