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Thread: The DR - on a shoestring!

  1. #1
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    Default The DR - on a shoestring!

    My intrepid friends prove that it can be done - a budget backpacker trip to the DR.

    Cheap flight-only deal from the UK with Thomsonfly - £250 per person for a two-week stay.

    Of course, it helps to have friends with a spare room a few minutes away from Punta Cana airport. They spent the first few days with us here and we made a couple of day trips to Bayahibe/Saona and Playa Macao. They thought they might hire a car, but after one minute of driving in Verón they changed tactics.

    They set off for SD on the Expreso Bávaro which is about RD$320 (US$9) per person.

    Armed with the Rough Guide, they looked for a moderately-priced hotel in the Colonial Zone. They tried Casa Elvira (which has been highly recommended in the past) which the Rough Guide (published Jan 09) put in the US$30-US$50 price range. They found that the price was actually US$140 and were shown a very small cramped room for US$110 so they decided to try elsewhere.

    So, they ended up staying at El Refugio on Meriño for RD$1,000 (US$27) a night. They ate traditional Dominican food at Mimosa's on Nouel and had breakfast at La Cafetera del Conde.

    After a sightseeing in the Colonial Zone and shopping in the Mercado Modelo, they travelled to Samana on Caribe tours and spent one night at the Hotel Docia (RD$ 1000 per night). After whale watching with Kim Bedall (US$55 per person and worth every penny) they continued to Las Galeras.

    In Las Galeras they stayed at Gri Gri's (also RD$1000 per night) and ate at the local comedores/on the beach. Took the boat from LG to Playa Rincón for RD$600 per person. On their last day in Samaná they took the guagua or camioneta to El Limón and went to the waterfall from Parada Doña Nega. RD$500 per person including lunch and horses.

    They returned to Punta Cana via ferry to Sabana de la Mar and took guaguas to Miches (against my advice because the road is so bad, but they made it OK) and then on to Higuey and then on to Punta Cana.

    This information is incomplete when it comes to some of the prices, because it's a second-hand account posted with their permission.

  2. #2
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    A little creativity goes a long way!

    Interesting trip report and nice to have a "different" perspective. I am sure the information provided will be of help to other prospective travellers looking to go this route.

    Thanks for sharing Chiri.

  3. #3
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    It can be done. I did it one year for 1000 US including air from Maine. You have to have friends, be willing to try local things, and not have airs....something tells me your friends don't have airs.....

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    They don't have airs, no. Not that much Spanish either but enough to have basic conversations about everyday stuff and one of the main things for them was active engagement with Dominicans, chatting on the guaguas, bantering with the food sellers, etc.

    They have enough experience of Africa and the Middle East between them to be aware of hustlers without being suspicious of everyone who approached them.

    I haven't travelled like that for a long time but apparently some old backpackers never die.

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    very risky

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElizaJ View Post
    very risky
    Life is full of risks

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    I really don't think that a budget vacation in the DR is all that risky. And you really don't need to have a friend willing to share thier home with you. There are several inexpensive hotels in the capitol and around the country and there are an equal number of good restaurants that won't break your budget. Of course, if you require five star hotel accommodations and restaurants that cater to the rich and famous, then bring your American Express Gold Card and a pocket full of dineros. One of the great things about the DR is that there is something for everyone.

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    Nicely put RonS

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElizaJ View Post
    very risky

    In what way?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElizaJ View Post
    very risky
    I suspect that eating food in many AIs for two weeks is a riskier activity than what these two did.

    DR is great place for a budget trip - I would also recommend Constanza/Jarabacoa, the South West and Monti Cristi for good areas to explore.

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