Return to “How Did I End Up Here?” Wendy’s previous article in this series about living in the Dominican Republic.
Monte Christi, northwest and close to Haiti. It has some charm. I believe they have an eco-hotel there now, which could be interesting. There were no hotels of any size there when I visited. It has been 12 years since I was there but I liked it. Whilst there I went to Dajabon, the crossing into Haiti, walked across and took a taxi for a quick tour. When you think the DR is poor, Haiti is a whole other world, quite sad. If you do visit Pop on vacation, they do coach tripe to Haiti, I don’t recommend it. It is a very long day and the journey is not that great from a sightseeing perspective.
Samana is in the northeast and is famous for whale watching between mid-January & Mid March. It is beautiful and well worth visiting. The journey from Pop to Samana is very scenic. However, I do not recommend that you do it in a day. You really need at least an overnight or better 3 days. Visit the waterfalls at El Limon and the mountain road out of Las Terrenas, where you can get a spectacular view of the Bay of Samana.
I cannot comment about Punta Cana & Bavaro as I have not visited them. I have heard they are beautiful but very commercialised. I have been to Boca de Yuma which is a little further south, and Punta Macao which is a little further north. The beaches are lovely but the land is very flat, not very scenic away from the beaches.
La Romano, Casa de Campo is where all the celebrities live, Julio Iglesias, Oscar de la Renta, Rafael Nadal, Shakira, it has a private airfield.
Santo Domingo needs to be visited with a guide. The roads are manic and not well signposted. I really try to avoid it as I am not really a city person.
The southwest of DR is very different. Here the climate is hot and dry and the landscape is different. The lush tropical landscape gives way to desert with cactus. This is a very unspoilt, non-commercialised part of the country, very beautiful and worth exploring. Lake Oviedo has flamingos and Lake Enriquillo has large iguanas & crocodiles. You must visit Bahia’s de Las Aguilas, which I think is the most beautiful beach in the DR. This is a left turn just before Perdanales and the Haiti border. It is a national park & the last part can only be approached by boat. It is stunning and the underwater sights are fantastic, too. Make sure you have your sunscreen, plenty of water, and whatever else you need as there is nothing on the beach. Please take all your rubbish away with you.
The whitewater rafting centre is at Jarabacoa, south of Santiago. This heavily wooded area is in the highest, coolest part of the island where the rich Dominicans have their summer homes. The rafting is fun and well worth a trip. If you carry on further south from here you come to Constanza, where the locals grow lots of vegetables, potatoes and flowers.
Santiago is a commercial city. I would go there for a larger selection of shops for everything.
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