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Thread: Planning a tour

  1. #1
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    Default Planning a tour

    My wife and I are coming for two weeks in July to do a bit of touring of the North Shore. We’re considering buying or building a home in Sosua or Cabarete.

    We want to see some of the rest of the area and are looking for some direction. We will have a rental SUV.

    We’re considering Santiago (to see what the “Big City” of the region is like, as well as Las terranas and Samana, Río San Juan, Cabrera etc.

    What do you all recommend as the best/ most beautiful/ friendliest / interesting places to see?

    Thanks in advance!

    Tripp



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  2. #2
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    I have found a lot to enjoy on the north coast of DR!
    While I have written about some places here, http://dr1.com/forums/showthread.php...-and-roadtrips there are many, many more I have yet to write about.

    Lets see from West to Samana then down
    Monte Cristi and the Morro: It's cool to see, but the swimming here is not good and the restuarants in town? I'd rather skip a meal

    Playa Buen Hombre: Very cool beach, shallow with some deeper parts, like a swimming pool. Can't wait to go back

    Puerto Plata: Not the biggest fan of the beaches here, I feel like they are full of tourists. But you should see the Malecon, see the fort, and ride the Teleferico, see the Christ statue. There is a nice walking path on top and there is even a small cave you can climb down if you are adventurous

    In Sosua, I would skip Sosua Bay and go to Playa Alicia instead. Snorkel around the corner (carefully, there is boat traffic!) and stop at the tiny beach created recently under the Piergorgio hotel, go to sosoa bay then swim back.

    Next is Playa Encuentro, worth the stop. If it's windy, don't stay. Go early to watch surfers, late to watch kite surfers. If it's calm, walk around the point to swim. Surf lodge has ok sandwhiches but nothing amazing.

    In Cabarete for breakfast try Vagamundo, it's a waffle (waff-ley to dominicans, and now I will forever pronounce like dominican, it's more fun) that will fill you up. Drink a coffee too, delicious.

    Then go to Kite Beach. Take 3 days and learn to kite surf, except it will actually take you 5-8 days. Take 1 day off after your first day because your neck will be killing you. Lots of shops but I like Big Willy's, I think the guy is Cedric, hell of a good coach. Only there in the afternoons, mornings he teaches scuba diving. There are lots of units on kite beach on airbnb for a decent price.

    Also go visit the Cuevas de Cabarete. Bring a flashlight if you are a nerd and bring flashlights in your luggage, the ones they have are weak. Wear a swimsuit and go swimming in the last one, jump in after watching the locals.

    Then go to Laguna Gri Gri and find someone to take you on a tour to Cueva de las Golindrinas

    Next is Caleton. Swim out on the left to the smaller beach "Playa las Enamoradas" with a cooler of presidente. If you want more privacy (hubba hubba) walk through the forest (it's small) to the cove that is the perfect height for...swimming. The snorkeling here is ok, but be careful on the main area as there are boats. Don't ask about the head sculptures, I haven't met anyone who can explain.

    Rinse off at Laguna DuDu. Careful with the zipline, some locals have been injured but I think it's pretty safe. They have 2 places there to swim, crystal clear water, cool place. Underneath, like 20 meters down, is a hydrogen sulfide layer from decaying trees that will make your lips go numb, and the cave here is awesomely cool. A 30 minute swim and you surface in a room filled with bats, and the floor is littered with millions of bat bones. But they don't rent scuba gear, if you are a certified cave diver and want to dive, let me know and I can give you some numbers.

    Then go to Playa Breton. Depending on time of day, walk to the Faros, it's a short trip. The guy will watch your car for 100 pesos but careful he is an alcoholic and he will hit you up for some more pesos when you leave, he's always 100 pesos short of a bottle. The local kids are awesome and will show you the trail if you ask them, give them 50 pesos each, but you don't need them it's an easy trail. Don't fall off the cliff but if you walk behind the faro there is a small path in the vegetation and you can get right to the edge. Again please don't fall, you will die. If the weather is good, go swimming here too, but frequently the water is rough. On good days the locals spearfish off the coast here.

    Then you are heading in to Samana area, I really liked our stay at "la finca" (airbnb) in Las Galeras, amazing view, especially from the bathroom. You have to go to Playa Rincon. At the far end there are places to eat and a freshwater river.

    A lot of people will tell you to go to Limon. Ignore them. It's not that beautiful, the price is high, the horses leave you scared you will fall and die, and it's crowded.

    Samana is ok. Take a photo in front of the colorful stores. Take a day trip to Los Haitises and then to Cayo Levantado. Walk the foot bridge if you have an hour to kill.

    Then go to Bayaguana, to Salto Alto. More fun than Limon.

    If you want to go to Punta Cana, go to Miches/Montana Redonda and swing on the edge of the earth. Playa Esmerelda is nice but it's an hour drive through rough roads. No problem in an SUV but gave me a headache. Playa Macao is pretty good, take a hammock.


    There are 4 ways to get from north coast to Santiago, or more. From POP there is the road through Luperon. Don't take this death highway of deathness. Terrible road. Next is Ruta Panoramica. It's not finished but it's fine in an SUV and even a car, I like this route. Careful, no gasoline or anything. On this route is Rejoya, a really cool set of waterfalls that are over an hour hike through wilderness, and hard to find. Next is the road through Jamao by Cabarete and it's also pretty good. If you pass here in the afternoon, stop at Cafeito before Moca to enjoy dinner with Santiago below you. Then if you come from Samana area, the road goes through San Francisco de Macoris and it's ok, they even have a subway there...

    Outside of Santiago, go to Jarabacoa. They have waterfalls too. Stop at Parada Corazon de Jesus for the best ribs of your life. The salto jimenoa was closed recently due to bridge falling and I don't know if it's open again or not. The river is fricking cold. Stop in town for Helado de Ivon, it's delicious.

    In Santiago, of course you have to stop at the new heart sign on Autopista Duarte heading to Santo Domingo by the army base. Then go to the Monument, which is nice at night. Don't bother eating at a restaurant by the monument. If you like burgers, go to Yonas Buffalo. If you like sushi, go to Sushi Ban. If you can't make up your mind, go to any of the food truck neighborhoods (there are 3) on Juan Pablo Duarte. If you like trips and want a good view go to Camp David. Afterwards, go to Vinoabeber and enjoy the best selection of imported beers. I think Olis Room has live music on thursdays.

    Let me know if you want to meet for dinner when you are in Santiago!

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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jahjahwarrior View Post
    I have found a lot to enjoy on the north coast of DR!
    While I have written about some places here, http://dr1.com/forums/showthread.php...-and-roadtrips there are many, many more I have yet to write about.

    Lets see from West to Samana then down
    Monte Cristi and the Morro: It's cool to see, but the swimming here is not good and the restuarants in town? I'd rather skip a meal

    Playa Buen Hombre: Very cool beach, shallow with some deeper parts, like a swimming pool. Can't wait to go back

    Puerto Plata: Not the biggest fan of the beaches here, I feel like they are full of tourists. But you should see the Malecon, see the fort, and ride the Teleferico, see the Christ statue. There is a nice walking path on top and there is even a small cave you can climb down if you are adventurous

    In Sosua, I would skip Sosua Bay and go to Playa Alicia instead. Snorkel around the corner (carefully, there is boat traffic!) and stop at the tiny beach created recently under the Piergorgio hotel, go to sosoa bay then swim back.

    Next is Playa Encuentro, worth the stop. If it's windy, don't stay. Go early to watch surfers, late to watch kite surfers. If it's calm, walk around the point to swim. Surf lodge has ok sandwhiches but nothing amazing.

    In Cabarete for breakfast try Vagamundo, it's a waffle (waff-ley to dominicans, and now I will forever pronounce like dominican, it's more fun) that will fill you up. Drink a coffee too, delicious.

    Then go to Kite Beach. Take 3 days and learn to kite surf, except it will actually take you 5-8 days. Take 1 day off after your first day because your neck will be killing you. Lots of shops but I like Big Willy's, I think the guy is Cedric, hell of a good coach. Only there in the afternoons, mornings he teaches scuba diving. There are lots of units on kite beach on airbnb for a decent price.

    Also go visit the Cuevas de Cabarete. Bring a flashlight if you are a nerd and bring flashlights in your luggage, the ones they have are weak. Wear a swimsuit and go swimming in the last one, jump in after watching the locals.

    Then go to Laguna Gri Gri and find someone to take you on a tour to Cueva de las Golindrinas

    Next is Caleton. Swim out on the left to the smaller beach "Playa las Enamoradas" with a cooler of presidente. If you want more privacy (hubba hubba) walk through the forest (it's small) to the cove that is the perfect height for...swimming. The snorkeling here is ok, but be careful on the main area as there are boats. Don't ask about the head sculptures, I haven't met anyone who can explain.

    Rinse off at Laguna DuDu. Careful with the zipline, some locals have been injured but I think it's pretty safe. They have 2 places there to swim, crystal clear water, cool place. Underneath, like 20 meters down, is a hydrogen sulfide layer from decaying trees that will make your lips go numb, and the cave here is awesomely cool. A 30 minute swim and you surface in a room filled with bats, and the floor is littered with millions of bat bones. But they don't rent scuba gear, if you are a certified cave diver and want to dive, let me know and I can give you some numbers.

    Then go to Playa Breton. Depending on time of day, walk to the Faros, it's a short trip. The guy will watch your car for 100 pesos but careful he is an alcoholic and he will hit you up for some more pesos when you leave, he's always 100 pesos short of a bottle. The local kids are awesome and will show you the trail if you ask them, give them 50 pesos each, but you don't need them it's an easy trail. Don't fall off the cliff but if you walk behind the faro there is a small path in the vegetation and you can get right to the edge. Again please don't fall, you will die. If the weather is good, go swimming here too, but frequently the water is rough. On good days the locals spearfish off the coast here.

    Then you are heading in to Samana area, I really liked our stay at "la finca" (airbnb) in Las Galeras, amazing view, especially from the bathroom. You have to go to Playa Rincon. At the far end there are places to eat and a freshwater river.

    A lot of people will tell you to go to Limon. Ignore them. It's not that beautiful, the price is high, the horses leave you scared you will fall and die, and it's crowded.

    Samana is ok. Take a photo in front of the colorful stores. Take a day trip to Los Haitises and then to Cayo Levantado. Walk the foot bridge if you have an hour to kill.

    Then go to Bayaguana, to Salto Alto. More fun than Limon.

    If you want to go to Punta Cana, go to Miches/Montana Redonda and swing on the edge of the earth. Playa Esmerelda is nice but it's an hour drive through rough roads. No problem in an SUV but gave me a headache. Playa Macao is pretty good, take a hammock.


    There are 4 ways to get from north coast to Santiago, or more. From POP there is the road through Luperon. Don't take this death highway of deathness. Terrible road. Next is Ruta Panoramica. It's not finished but it's fine in an SUV and even a car, I like this route. Careful, no gasoline or anything. On this route is Rejoya, a really cool set of waterfalls that are over an hour hike through wilderness, and hard to find. Next is the road through Jamao by Cabarete and it's also pretty good. If you pass here in the afternoon, stop at Cafeito before Moca to enjoy dinner with Santiago below you. Then if you come from Samana area, the road goes through San Francisco de Macoris and it's ok, they even have a subway there...

    Outside of Santiago, go to Jarabacoa. They have waterfalls too. Stop at Parada Corazon de Jesus for the best ribs of your life. The salto jimenoa was closed recently due to bridge falling and I don't know if it's open again or not. The river is fricking cold. Stop in town for Helado de Ivon, it's delicious.

    In Santiago, of course you have to stop at the new heart sign on Autopista Duarte heading to Santo Domingo by the army base. Then go to the Monument, which is nice at night. Don't bother eating at a restaurant by the monument. If you like burgers, go to Yonas Buffalo. If you like sushi, go to Sushi Ban. If you can't make up your mind, go to any of the food truck neighborhoods (there are 3) on Juan Pablo Duarte. If you like trips and want a good view go to Camp David. Afterwards, go to Vinoabeber and enjoy the best selection of imported beers. I think Olis Room has live music on thursdays.

    Let me know if you want to meet for dinner when you are in Santiago!
    I would recommend exactly the tour JahJahwarrior just laid out, I have been to many of the places. In Cabarete hit Claro Cafe for breakfast too, it's awesome. I like the Cabarete Coffee Company & Vitamin D cafe as well. Be sure to eat at Casa Mami's in Cabarete. I enjoy hanging out at Rocky's Aqua on the beach.

    Sent from my SM-T550 using Tapatalk

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  6. #4
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    Thanks. Anybody have any recommendations for hotels in Santiago or the other places?


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    I have stayed at a lot of places that ranged from "great value" to
    "little expensive but also good value"

    I liked both my stays at Kite Beach, they are like a hotel/condo, and
    I have stayed with them by calling directly as well as by looking for
    kite beach on AirBNB.

    But for much less money, I also really enjoyed my stay in "Waterfront
    Village" bungalows on Playa Alicia. You are a 2 minute walk from the
    beach and can't see the beach from the bungalow, but it was cheap,
    right next to a restaurant, and I would love to stay there again.

    As I mentioned I also loved La Finca in Las Galeras, they have a
    website and also are on AirBNB.

    In Santiago, I have stayed at the Platino hotel and casino and felt it
    was a great value, but some friends hated it. I have had friends stay
    at the Matum and love it, and friends who hated it. There is a small
    hotel behind the Hodelpa in Los Jardines that is supposed to be very
    nice as well. If you stay at Platino, they have breakfast, but if you
    want something better, right next door is Square One in the gas
    station, they have great food. I'm currently avoiding them because
    they ran out of Presidente one Thursday night recently. First Black,
    then Normal, then Light. I couldn't believe any place in DR ran out of
    Presidente, and didn't even have the thought to send a waiter out to a
    colmado to buy more. But generally, they are awesome. If you want the
    same food but with a better view, drive in to PUCMM campus across the
    street. They will give you a card that is completely meaningless. Turn
    left, and drive for like 2 minutes until you see what looks like a gym
    on your left. Turn left and park, that's Cafeteria and Body Shop, a
    gym and restuarant also owned by Square One, so it's basically the
    same food but it's calm, quiet...eating outside there once, I had a
    colorful bird land on my plate and take a bit of pancakes, and ever
    since I really do enjoy returning for a tres golpes in the hopes of
    another bird visit. If you stay at the hotel behind Hodelpa in LJ,
    drive left on that road until you reach a big field, across from
    Vincatto, and go to the trailer La Desayuneria, they also have Tres
    Golpes that are delicious and the price is lower than Square One. BTW,
    Square One is open 24/7.

    The cheaper places on AirBNB don't necessarily have AC. By now, I'm
    used to the heat and the idea of not having AC doesn't bother me in
    the slightest. In the country, Booking.com seems to be popular for
    looking up hotels but if you are looking just a few hours in advance,
    you should call to confirm they really do have availability.

    I forgot to mention you could also go to Playa Ensenada, it's next to
    Buen Hombre, about an hour drive. From there you can take a boat to
    Cayo Arena, which is just a big sand bar but it's pretty cool day.
    There is also a sanctuary for manatees a few minutes drive away that I
    haven't visited yet, but I have heard good things about it.

    This country has a lot to offer when you aren't busy reading threads
    about tourist cards. Just remember to bring $2 to give to the police
    There are some checkpoints on the roads where they will quickly
    look inside your car to see if you have any haitians inside, and at
    those checkpoints they often don't say anything they just wave you
    onwards, and they shouldn't expect any money in exchange. I don't know
    if you have any concerns about either of those topics but they seem to
    be popular here.

    Any chance you can extend your trip and take a few days to go to the
    south west corner? Lago Enriquillo, Azua, the Dunes de Bani, Barahona,
    and best of all: Bahia de las Aguilas. It's practically magical.

    I don't know if I would want to buy something here, for a few reasons.
    If you aren't here full time, then you need to consider how to keep
    your place secure. Where I am in Santiago, half the apartments are
    empty and we have a building maintenance guy keeping an eye on things.
    I think it's safe. My apartment is also the one one without iron on
    the windows... if I were going to be gone more than 2 weeks, I would
    put iron bars on the windows. I do have security cameras (Wyze, at $25
    a pop, put one in every room!), and smart power plugs (Kasa brand by
    TP Link. I used to recommend Wemo, and still have 2 of them, but Wemo
    lose connection every few months. When using for my water heater, that
    meant every so often, I would wake up with no hot water. The Kasa
    switches are the same price and have never even once lost connection
    in 9 months of use. Wemo brand is dead to me...3 cold showers....Kasa
    brand is much better.) that turn lights on and off even if I'm not
    around, plus with Amazon Echo I can play music remotely, turn on my TV
    remotely, etc. If you buy a house, and it's not in a complex, I would
    imagine you would want someone watching it when you aren't there.
    Razor wire on the fences, etc, just to keep honest people honest.

    But secondly, and maybe more importantly, this country has a lot to
    offer. A lot of different areas. I try to travel around frequently and
    I don't know how I would be happy spending all my time in one area. So
    if you buy something here, make sure you have money in your budget for
    1-2 trips out of town a month. Depending on the vehicle, and your
    living preferences, that can mean $100-400 a month. But what is the
    point of living in paradise if you aren't going to aprovechar cada
    esquina?!

    For example, if you live here full time, you might want to spend 3-4
    months in Samana/LT/LG area Dec-Mar, watching the whales. For Semana
    Santa, they close every beach basically, so the only good option for
    beach is Bahia Las Aguilas, might as well go to Pedernales for April.
    Summer in the capital is too hot, so escape to the north coast, spend
    May through August in Cabarete, or Rio San Juan. Then go to the south
    east, La Romana, or the capital, for September to November.

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  9. #6
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    Thanks again! We are looking at a secure community between Cabarete and Sosua. 24/7 security etc.
    This trip will be the test as we’re two gringos with muy poco español. I’ve done a lot of traveling in years past in much stranger places and always got by somehow!


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  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jahjahwarrior View Post
    I have found a lot to enjoy on the north coast of DR!
    While I have written about some places here, http://dr1.com/forums/showthread.php...-and-roadtrips there are many, many more I have yet to write about.

    Lets see from West to Samana then down
    Monte Cristi and the Morro: It's cool to see, but the swimming here is not good and the restuarants in town? I'd rather skip a meal

    Playa Buen Hombre: Very cool beach, shallow with some deeper parts, like a swimming pool. Can't wait to go back

    Puerto Plata: Not the biggest fan of the beaches here, I feel like they are full of tourists. But you should see the Malecon, see the fort, and ride the Teleferico, see the Christ statue. There is a nice walking path on top and there is even a small cave you can climb down if you are adventurous

    In Sosua, I would skip Sosua Bay and go to Playa Alicia instead. Snorkel around the corner (carefully, there is boat traffic!) and stop at the tiny beach created recently under the Piergorgio hotel, go to sosoa bay then swim back.

    Next is Playa Encuentro, worth the stop. If it's windy, don't stay. Go early to watch surfers, late to watch kite surfers. If it's calm, walk around the point to swim. Surf lodge has ok sandwhiches but nothing amazing.

    In Cabarete for breakfast try Vagamundo, it's a waffle (waff-ley to dominicans, and now I will forever pronounce like dominican, it's more fun) that will fill you up. Drink a coffee too, delicious.

    Then go to Kite Beach. Take 3 days and learn to kite surf, except it will actually take you 5-8 days. Take 1 day off after your first day because your neck will be killing you. Lots of shops but I like Big Willy's, I think the guy is Cedric, hell of a good coach. Only there in the afternoons, mornings he teaches scuba diving. There are lots of units on kite beach on airbnb for a decent price.

    Also go visit the Cuevas de Cabarete. Bring a flashlight if you are a nerd and bring flashlights in your luggage, the ones they have are weak. Wear a swimsuit and go swimming in the last one, jump in after watching the locals.

    Then go to Laguna Gri Gri and find someone to take you on a tour to Cueva de las Golindrinas

    Next is Caleton. Swim out on the left to the smaller beach "Playa las Enamoradas" with a cooler of presidente. If you want more privacy (hubba hubba) walk through the forest (it's small) to the cove that is the perfect height for...swimming. The snorkeling here is ok, but be careful on the main area as there are boats. Don't ask about the head sculptures, I haven't met anyone who can explain.

    Rinse off at Laguna DuDu. Careful with the zipline, some locals have been injured but I think it's pretty safe. They have 2 places there to swim, crystal clear water, cool place. Underneath, like 20 meters down, is a hydrogen sulfide layer from decaying trees that will make your lips go numb, and the cave here is awesomely cool. A 30 minute swim and you surface in a room filled with bats, and the floor is littered with millions of bat bones. But they don't rent scuba gear, if you are a certified cave diver and want to dive, let me know and I can give you some numbers.

    Then go to Playa Breton. Depending on time of day, walk to the Faros, it's a short trip. The guy will watch your car for 100 pesos but careful he is an alcoholic and he will hit you up for some more pesos when you leave, he's always 100 pesos short of a bottle. The local kids are awesome and will show you the trail if you ask them, give them 50 pesos each, but you don't need them it's an easy trail. Don't fall off the cliff but if you walk behind the faro there is a small path in the vegetation and you can get right to the edge. Again please don't fall, you will die. If the weather is good, go swimming here too, but frequently the water is rough. On good days the locals spearfish off the coast here.

    Then you are heading in to Samana area, I really liked our stay at "la finca" (airbnb) in Las Galeras, amazing view, especially from the bathroom. You have to go to Playa Rincon. At the far end there are places to eat and a freshwater river.

    A lot of people will tell you to go to Limon. Ignore them. It's not that beautiful, the price is high, the horses leave you scared you will fall and die, and it's crowded.

    Samana is ok. Take a photo in front of the colorful stores. Take a day trip to Los Haitises and then to Cayo Levantado. Walk the foot bridge if you have an hour to kill.

    Then go to Bayaguana, to Salto Alto. More fun than Limon.

    If you want to go to Punta Cana, go to Miches/Montana Redonda and swing on the edge of the earth. Playa Esmerelda is nice but it's an hour drive through rough roads. No problem in an SUV but gave me a headache. Playa Macao is pretty good, take a hammock.


    There are 4 ways to get from north coast to Santiago, or more. From POP there is the road through Luperon. Don't take this death highway of deathness. Terrible road. Next is Ruta Panoramica. It's not finished but it's fine in an SUV and even a car, I like this route. Careful, no gasoline or anything. On this route is Rejoya, a really cool set of waterfalls that are over an hour hike through wilderness, and hard to find. Next is the road through Jamao by Cabarete and it's also pretty good. If you pass here in the afternoon, stop at Cafeito before Moca to enjoy dinner with Santiago below you. Then if you come from Samana area, the road goes through San Francisco de Macoris and it's ok, they even have a subway there...

    Outside of Santiago, go to Jarabacoa. They have waterfalls too. Stop at Parada Corazon de Jesus for the best ribs of your life. The salto jimenoa was closed recently due to bridge falling and I don't know if it's open again or not. The river is fricking cold. Stop in town for Helado de Ivon, it's delicious.

    In Santiago, of course you have to stop at the new heart sign on Autopista Duarte heading to Santo Domingo by the army base. Then go to the Monument, which is nice at night. Don't bother eating at a restaurant by the monument. If you like burgers, go to Yonas Buffalo. If you like sushi, go to Sushi Ban. If you can't make up your mind, go to any of the food truck neighborhoods (there are 3) on Juan Pablo Duarte. If you like trips and want a good view go to Camp David. Afterwards, go to Vinoabeber and enjoy the best selection of imported beers. I think Olis Room has live music on thursdays.

    Let me know if you want to meet for dinner when you are in Santiago!
    Damn! Now this a review!!

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