I just spent seven days in the Dominican Republic and over the next few days will be sharing a series of post highlighting my experience and the places visited. A bit of disclosure by saying that I was born and lived in the Dominican Republic until age 9 before arriving in New York and I have visited multiple times during the years. Home-based was my parent’s hometown, the small city of Mao, located in the middle of a lush valley known for rice production and plantain plantations.
Flights from New York take a bit over 3 hours. I flew into Santiago, the second largest city also located in the middle of the country. This option tends to be cheaper than other airports (Puerto Plata, Punta Cana or Santo Domingo), as Santiago is less of a tourist destination.
My goal was to visit some of my favorite locations, in addition to a few places I have heard about.
Day 1 – Started with a trip to one of my favorite beaches Playa La Ensenada, a remote gem, which as of the last few years have become more crowded due to the improvement of the read that leads into it. I would not recommend going there on weekends if you are looking for peace and quiet. Fortunately, I visited on the Sunday which coincided with elections day, which meant most people where not planning of a beach day. At this place you just drive up to the beach and enjoy. The water is warm, clear, tranquil and shallow, which allows you to walk far into the ocean on less than hip deep water. Note that while the water is clean, visitors have not grasped the concept “Carry In, Carry Out”. The recent explosion of shacks selling fresh fried fish and tostones (fried plantains) is also not helping in containing the waste in the area. Still, you should have fried fish and plantains for lunch here. Just make sure your Styrofoam cups are disposed of properly.
Ten minutes away from Playa La Ensenada, you will find Playa Punta Rucia another heavenly beach with a fishermen’s village feel. In Punta Rucia you will find two main lodging options Punta Rucia Lodge and El Paraiso Ecolodge, both on the water. Note that these are remote locations. El Paraiso Ecolodge does not have any TVs so bring a book. I stopped by to enjoy the view and an ice-cold Presidente, the national beer of choice.
Come back for my day 2 experiences…