Columbus dropped anchor here in 1494, and Puerto Rican fishermen founded the town in the middle of the 19th century. Now many of the local fishermen either moonlight or have totally given up their poles and nets to skipper the speedboats that bring tourists back from Isla Saona. The small fishing village has flourished in modern times by embracing tourism, and in town Italian immigrants have opened gelato stands and seafood restaurants. Some vestiges remain from earlier times, including the green wooden church on the waterfront, constructed in 1925. It is from this church that a picture of the Virgin Divine Shepherdess, patron saint of Bayahibe, is carried at the front of the annual marine procession. Between the church and the nearby school, an archaeological dig is ongoing, uncovering artifacts from pre-Taíno dwellers, who were potters, as well as an old circular house.
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