Dominican Republic, love you either way
Nature is simply perfect. After visiting Dominican Republic you can’t think anything else. But…
Palm trees all around
Before our Dominican journey even started, we got all excited by watching advertising spots and fabulous photos on catalogues or omniscient Google. Anyway we had a doubts, if all that beauty is a masterpiece of mother nature or just a sample of the skills of some nifty graphic. After 10-hours flight and hopeless search for a right position on the plane seat, we found out, that the reality is even better!
Dominican Republic has it all, everything what makes a soul of any traveler happy: mountains, rainy forests, waterfalls, white sand, turquoise water and palm trees wherever you look. Coves and a secret hidden places of this country, located on the eastern part of the Hispaniola island, are very photogenic and so loved by all kind of cameras. We even got a feeling, that our traveling agencies back home use pictures from Dominican Republic to promote the holiday destinations in Europe. Later on poor disappointed customer desperately looks for a white sand on a beaches in Croatia (which are mainly rocky) and crystal blue water in the north part of Italy (where the water is everything but definitely not blue).
Do you still remember the advertisements of a company which produce a famous chocolate- coconut bar called Bounty? Back in 90’s we all believed, that if you want to jump into the paradise, all you have to do is to have a bite. The place where they were filming all those ads is called Isla Saona. This island is located on the South East, very closed to Dominican coastline, and it’s absolutely gorgeous! We are sure, that the real paradise looks alike. Isla Saona is a part of the National park ”del Este”, which means that all the nature is protected by law. Thanks God, because it’s also not allowed to make it private and build a hotel resort or villas over there. So the hotel magnates and rich people from all over the world can only make a sad face and walk away. Tourists can get to Saona island by boat, a big catamaran actually. On the way there most of them stops also on a sandbank close to the coast, which is full of shells and huge starfishes. The water is so calm and clean, that you can see them even from the boat. If you want a cool picture for Insta profile (for example), just dive a little bit and get one for a quick posing. Just please, remember to do it fast, cause if the starfish is out of the water for a long time, it dies.
But let’s ”swim” back to Saona. The island is covered by Coconut and Royal palm trees, which also line the fairy tale beaches all the way. Seeing that beauty makes you feel like a poet just hit by a muse 🙂 . Saona and also Dominican Republic itself are coral islands, which means they have the whitest sand on most of their beaches. Anyway Isla Saona is like a crown on a top of the beauty of the Dominican nature (we totally agree). Locals are very proud of it and for them is a No.1 must-see part of their country. Attention, important note for the ladies: Older, but still incredibly charming Hollywood star Johnny Depp has also visited this piece of land. It happened during his filming of the movie Pirates of Caribbean (somebody told us it was part 2) and that really means something, right? 🙂
Cayo Levantado is another treasure of the Dominican nature. You can find it on north of the country in Samaná bay and everyone calls it the Bacardi island. Oh yeah, if you are guessing, that it has something to do with advertisement of the famous Caribbean rum, you are absolutely correct!
Explore, discover, learn!
Ladies & gents, I beg you please, if you are traveling to such a country like Dominican Republic, go out, discover, explore and learn about it as much as possible! Do whatever is close to your heart, just leave your comfort zone (and hotel resort) behind and experience the atmosphere of the country. It’s worth it!
And why we beg you so much? Because we still have in mind a little speech of one fancy lady, who was so complaining about this paradise on Earth, how disappointed she is with her stay in Dominican Republic. No, we are not listening private chats of other people, but she was sitting right behind us in a transfer to the airport, and she was yelling, so the whole bus could hear all that. But at the moment, when the bus moved (but still didn’t leave the hotel area) she was like: ”oh, my God, look at those shops over here…and is this an aqua park? Why we did not go?” We can imagine how this pure soul, who never left the hotel beach (pool and clearly a bar), was telling stories and giving advices to her friends back home.
It’s really sad, because Dominican Republic is a destination, with tons stuff to do. For example, doesn’t matter if you are adult or still feel like a kid, simply everyone loves dolphins. Just the possibility to get close to those beautiful creatures is a lifetime experience. Maybe even more fascinating adventure is to observe a families of the whales. Every year from December until the end of March these amazing animals come to shores of Dominican Republic to have their babies. And boats get so close to them, that you can have goose bump on your skin from the excitement.
Another way how to get to know this beautiful country a little bit better is safari tour. In Dominican Republic it means a trip to the countryside and local plantations full of sugar cane, coffee, cacao and vanilla. You can also get a chance to visit local school or take part on horseback ride through the jungle (Don’t worry if you never ride a horse before. Dominican horses are fully automatic, as locals say, and extremely calm 🙂 We can prove it, we also have a personal experience).
They offer a wild ride on a karts as well. After that you will probably have a mud behind your ears and teeth full of sand, but if you love it…go for it and have fun 🙂 .
The capital city Santo Domingo is the oldest city in the whole America established by Europeans. Its streets are full of history, you can hear the typical Dominican merengue (music style) from the bars and smell the smoke from the cigars. Just a little bit of rum in your mojito (for example) will make you love this atmosphere for sure.
Sometimes rains also in paradise
We suppose, that all of you are waiting for our ”BUT”, so let’s make it clear: nature is simply perfect in Dominican Republic, BUT people are definitely not, they are just people, like everywhere else in the world. They are friendly and they call you a friend or brother (sister or any other relative person) as long as there is a chance, that you have so money in your pocket which you want to spend. We know, that probably their life isn’t so easy, but all those tricks what they use to rip tourists off, won’t change it.
And why we are saying that? Mamajuana is a name of the typical Dominican drink – mixture of some kind of herbs and wood in rum, red wine and honey. After leaching all together for couple of months it’s really strong and delicious. Dominicans proudly say, that their men don’t need any blue pill, they have Mamajuana 🙂 . So we told ourselves, that it’s gonna be such a cool souvenir for our family and friends. We got couple bottles for very reasonable price and gave them to our love ones. But soon, we found out, that the drink inside of the bottles has nothing to do with the one we tried back there. Somebody handy open the bottles of Mamajuana without even breaking the seal, took the original alcoholic drink out, full filled it with water and closed it again. Thanks God, that the herbs and wood is useable for year and you can prepare it at home by yourself. Otherwise this story wouldn’t be funny at all.
And locals use so many other ”innovations” like this. For example, you have to be also careful when you want to buy some cigars. Or when they sell big beautiful shells on a beach and they are gonna swear to you, that you can take it home without any problems. But the truth is just the opposite. And another way how to make money for Dominicans is to borrow an exotic pet like parrot or iguana to the tourists for a picture. Some owners do it for voluntary contribution and some have their fixed tax.
Yeap, yeap, yeap, it rains also in this paradise on Earth from time to time. Or somebody just rips you off. BUT that’s life, and we should enjoy it and take it with a humor.
Dominican Republic is made for it and we love it there anyway 🙂 .
Our rating :
Safety ★★★★★ Baby friendly ★★★★☆ Beaches ★★★★★ Total ★★★★★