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  1. #1
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    Default Trip to mountains of San Jose de Ocoa

    The alarm went off in Santo Domingo at 5 a.m. We showered, made coffee and it was already a little steamy, so I changed into a lighter weight top [big mistake]; my in-laws picked us up at 6. The ride there was an amazing difference from last year - the road from Santo Domingo to Bani is just a dream, right down to the reflectors in the lanes and sides. We were in Bani is less than 1/2 hour. The ride up the mountain was greatly improved too, several sections of the road and a bridge had been washed out with the heavy rains/mudslides awhile back, and it's all been repaired. We drove through the city of Ocoa around 7 am and I was surprised how many people were out and about already. Continued up the mountain, with the road in surprising condition; my brother-in-law mentioned that the road is so good now that we could actually get there now in the little Nissan car we rented. The pavement ends abruptly, as before, and we continued the final 3-4 km on packed earth. Shiny new cement electric poles - and electric wires - caught our attention. It's great that it's there, but my brother-in-law was quoted close to $200,000RD for a transformer and to connect his 1200 tareas to the grid. We have a small [70 tareas] section across the road from him, but we're not even close to being ready for electric.

    We arrived at his finca about 7.30 a.m. and I wasn't prepared for the cold air that enveloped us when we got out of the car. A brisk wind whipped all around, and went right through us - thermometer said it was 15 degrees C. but it felt like it was a lot colder than that. I can't count how many times I've been there before, and never felt so cold. I used to kind of chuckle to myself at the warm coats my in-laws brought there, but yesterday I was very jealous of their warmth. I was wearing a lightweight t-shirt, cropped pants and open sandals - my husband had a t-shirt, shorts and sneakers.

    I scooted inside very quickly, once out of the wind it was bearable. The family who live there and care for the finca greeted us warmly, and soon began cooking breakfast for all of us with food from the finca. [They grow everything imaginable, have chickens, goats, sheep, pigs, cows, oxen, pigeons, you name it, they have it]. Scrambled eggs with onions, boiled green bananas, arepa [kind of corn bread but with coconut milk], coffee.

    Heavy equipment arrived to flatten an area for three greenhouses, and to carve out another road up the facing hill.

    When the sun finally came out it was bearable outside. My husband, brother-in-law and I drove down the hill to cross over to our property to plant some lemon trees that we bought last week at a vivero in San Cristobal. The entrance was totally overgrown, so they opened part of the barbed-wire fence and climbed through - I supervised from the car.

    They saw a tree in the distance that they said was full of naranja agria [bitter orange, great for cooking and marinading], so after planting the trees they came back to the car and we drove down the road a bit and they went back into the property, this time up an even steeper hill. They came back exhausted and empty-handed - what they thought were oranges were bright orange baseball-sized flowers on the tree.

    My husband and I got dropped off down the road a bit further at our other brother-in-law's house, where we were all having lunch. The house has been there for a couple of generations, it was his father's house. It is completely solar powered, because until this year there was literally no other option. Pollo criollo prepared two different ways, arroz con guandules, fried eggplant, fruit salad, vegetable salad, potatoes au gratin, etc., everything but the rice came from the finca. Coffee, then back down the road and up the winding road to my husband's brother's house. There we watched as the heavy equipment continued their work.

    We left about 5, and came back down the mountain uneventfully. We did come across a large group of motorcyclers - maybe 20 of them - on the side of the road. One of them had had an accident, and they were loading the cycle onto a pickup truck.

    In the city of Ocoa the area around the park was bustling with a fiesta. Booths everywhere, selling everything, music playing, everyone in party mood. It will go on for 11 days, feast of Altagracia, patron saint of DR.

    At the end of the road, where it meets the highway heading east to Bani, is a booth sitting in the middle of the road - about the size of a toll booth. Inside the fellows sell the BEST dulce de leche I've ever tried. We never leave without some. You buy it by the pound and they cut it off a huge cake. Perfect end to a perfect day in Ocoa.

    AE

  2. #2
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    Great report!

    We were up there Wednesday with 11 V-Stroms and the MC minibus. The road is much improved. We had no accidents, so those weren't us...

  3. #3
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    Default Ocoa

    Great description of Ocoa, It reminded me a little of my trip there. The dulce stand is the best. We got dulce de guineo. Next time i will stock up on dulce de leche too

  4. #4
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    Nice report - I can picture the place and imagine the taste of the food.

  5. #5
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    I forgot to mention there were signs all over the city of Ocoa near the park about concerts the next week or so [in case any of you are interested]: Los Hermanos Rosario, Tono Rosario, I think Johnny Ventura. We can't remember the other. Ocoa should be hopping.

    AE

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLongBeach View Post
    Great description of Ocoa, It reminded me a little of my trip there. The dulce stand is the best. We got dulce de guineo. Next time i will stock up on dulce de leche too
    I found out this trip you can tell them you want a 30 peso sampler - they put a little bit of all the flavors for you. The peanut butter was a surprise, and not bad at all. I'm a purist though, I like the plain one - but then I like vanilla ice cream too Bought two pounds of plain, wrapped separately. Yum.

    AE

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    AlterEgo, is the finca located in San Jose de Ocoa or is it located further up the Constanza - Ocoa highway? This is probably my favorite drive in the country coming down from Valle Nuevo to San Jose de Ocoa. The other being the coastal highway between Bahoruco and Paraíso.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caribbeandreamto View Post
    AlterEgo, is the finca located in San Jose de Ocoa or is it located further up the Constanza - Ocoa highway? This is probably my favorite drive in the country coming down from Valle Nuevo to San Jose de Ocoa. The other being the coastal highway between Bahoruco and Paraíso.
    It's on the mountain road to Constanza - the one with the mile-deep drop-offs and no guard rails, haha.

    Two views of the valley below from our property:




    The rather anonymous entrance to our property - as you can see, 4x4 required. [and yes, that's a new electric pole recently installed, we're finally peeking into the 21st century]


    A section of our property where the road was washed away, the fence hanging in the breeze. It's an almost vertical drop from there to the valley below.


    AE
    Who truly prefers solid ground under her feet - and a sandy beach.

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  10. #9
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    beaches are overrated AE... just think of the therapeutic affects of those mountain breezes and all the peace and quiet benjammin' (who is blessed to live at the beach but wants to retire to the mountains of the DR)

  11. #10
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    Oh, AE, what a gorgeous place! I've been longing to do more exploring, and San Jose de Ocoa may just be the next stop. Stunningly beautiful and oh, I could use some cooler air right about now! Thanks for sharing. Please keep posting of your adventures!

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