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Thread: Backpacking In Dominican Republic Alone With No Spanish

  1. #1
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    Default Backpacking In Dominican Republic Alone With No Spanish

    I came to the country almost 2 months ago. My plan was to sail from Luperon to Cartagena, something that never happend since we never recived the sails and parts necessary to make the trip. Apperantly the captain got scammed or something (after 3 weeks of waiting i gave up waiting and went on vacation by myself).

    So it all started in Luperon where i was for roughly 20 days. Or well it started in Santo Domingo, but i took the bus (Caribe Tours) to Puerto Plata for 330 Dominican Peso the same day.

    Here i stayed overnight at a hotel named Purtofino (i think) for about 1500 pesos. Its down at the Malecon and has its own pool. Very standard room, fridge, aircondition, doublebed and a small bathroom. I would stay here again (but i didnt really like Puerto Plata (the little i saw of it).

    Anyways, the day after i hired a car for 4000 pesos to drive me to Luperon (this was very expensive) but well this was my second day here and i didnt really knew the prices yet. So a lesson learned (the hard way). I found out later the normal price would be around 1500 pesos.

    I arrived in Luperon after dark, and after several efforts of reaching contact with my boat on the radio down at the marina, i decided to check in at a hotel once again, i cant remember the name of this hotel, but its very close to the marina. I payed like 1200 pesos for the night, had a very good meal in the restaurant and went to bed.

    The next day i finally found my crew, i got to the boat, and i stayed here for like a week before i decided to check in at a hotel in town instead since taking the dingy back and forth became very bothersome.

    I found a gem of a hotel called Hotel Diamante. I payed 800 pesos here, and its maybe one of the best hotels ive stayed at the entire trip. The cleaning lady is a really funny woman. The room is standard though (backpacking standard), but very clean. It has aircondition, fan, refrigirator, safebox, hot water, and double bed. I stayed here for about 2 weeks before i told my crew i was leaving. And i really enjoyed Luperon. A very small friendly town with about 30 gringos who live here all year around. The gringos bar is run by a Dominican family which is very very helpful and loving people. They helped me a lot with everything and anything. Big thanks to everyone at Wendys Bar.

    Anyhow, it was now time for me to go on my own adventure. Everyone i talked to recommended the north coast so i made up a milkroute of small towns i wanted to see and headed off.

    I took the guaga from Luperon to Imbert (where the 17 waterfalls are) which costed 60pesos, and then i took the guaga from Imbert to Luperon for 40pesos. This is the only way to get to Puerto Plata from Luperon if you dont want to hire a car w/driver. This costs around 1500 pesos.

    When i arrived in Puerto Plata i took a Caribe Tour bus to Sosua, i think i stayed here for about 3 hours before i had enough of the place. I mean the prostitutes here are worse than the mosquitos. To make it short, it was not my kind of place at all. I took a motorconcho up to the ''highway'' again and after about 5 minutes the guaga to Samana passed by (it leaves 2oclock everyday from Puerto Plata), and i decided to jump on. I payed like 270 pesos or something (roughly a 4 hour drive).

    I arrived in Samana just before the sun went down, i went to a hotel called Samana Spring which is very close to the Malecon. I payed 1500 pesos a night. Big rooms, very clean, hot water, fan, aircondition, but no safe. Although this to me was one of the hotels where i felt that my things where really safe. I tried several times to tip the cleaning ladies/girls by putting 50/100 pesos bills in a empty water bottle, but they never took it, not until i wrote a note that it was for them. I befriended the guy who owns the hotel, a really really nice guy (Jose(f) who speaks perfect English. He was very helpful with all questions i had. I stayed here for about 5 days until suddenly the hotel was overbooked and they had no room for me.

    I then went to a hotel called Hotel Docia which is also down at the malecon. Its very much the same except for no hot water, and the rooms are a bit more ''old''. Its about 500 pesos cheaper though (1000 pesos a night), so all in all a good deal. The owners here do also speak English as they are American, they are usually not in the hotel exept for in the morning. They helped/tipped me for some other places to go, and where all in all great help. I stayed for 3-4 nights here.

    Time to change city again. This time i took the guaga to Las Galeras (100 pesos/30 minutes drive), and i stayed at a hotel i got recommended by at the guys at Hotel Docia. Its called Hotel Playita and i payed 1200 pesos which was a special deal you got if you came from Hotel Docia. I saw at the poster in the bar that my room was originally 1700 pesos. Anyways, Las Galeras was really beautiful, but again really small. There isnt that much to do here except for the beautiful beaches. The nightlife is pretty much non existing. I went the first day to the beach Playita which was the best one in my opinion, then the second day to Playa Rincon (which was dirty and full of garbage :/ ). And the third day i had a sunburn :P The owner at Hotel Playita is Jose a spanish guy, a very nice guy, we got drunk together at the hotel and had the lengthiest conversation i ever had on google translate till like 5 in the morning. He and his wife runs the hotel, two very nice people. Jose even drove me back to Samana personally (for free) when i left the hotel.

    I came back to Samana, stayed for 2 more days and then i went to Las Terrenas. I was a bit skeptical about this because all the hotels i could find online where ''expensive'' and i had no tip to go with when i came here. I took a guaga (100 pesos) and i payed him 50pesos extra to help find me a hotel. I found one very fast, actually the first hotel i told the driver to stop at was a win. The name was Hotel Palmeras, and its 1000 pesos a night. The room is basic, but clean (as all the other places hehe). It didnt have aircondition but it had a fan that was very silent, and since i was very close to the beach it wasnt that warm during the nights so there wasnt any problem with the heat. Dominican owners at this hotel, but the husband spoke english. The day i arrived was a saturday and on Saturdays they have this giant barbeque (eat all you want), for 450pesos. This was by far the best meal i ever had down here. I ate so much i almost puked in my room later that night hehe. I liked Las Terrenas so good that i stayed here a week, beach during the day, party/drinking during the night.

    Time to go back to Samana (again) ^^

    I stayed a week or so this time, since i met a lot of cool people here, especially at the ''gringos bar'' Cafe De Paris. I took the ferry over to Cayo Levantado (500 pesos t/r) every now and then. I did the whale watching and the zipline. Besides this there isnt that much to do, so i stayed mainly because travelling alone can get a little ''lonely'' sometimes and i wanted to stay since i met so many people here.

    Now im currently in Santo Domingo, i have about 2 weeks left before my vacation is over.

    Im currently staying at the first hotel i dont like which is called Casa Pina. The room is nice enough but they have this curfew, i cannot leave after 11pm. And its no smoking. I cant get out because the door is locked, i feel like im in prison. Everytime you want to get out, the receptionist has to ''lock'' you out. And now there is nobody there so im ''locked in''. Kinda crazy if you ask me.

    Luckily i only payed for 2 nights (1200 per night). I might just leave tomorrow and see if i can find something better.

    Anyone with any advice?

    I will update this tripreport as the days goes by, might also fill in some more information here and there =)

    All in all, i love this country, but i wish i spoke spanish ^^

  2. Likes malko, Harleysrock, RGLRM, mofongoloco, agw and 11 others liked this post
  3. #2
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    Wow nice rip report. Glad you liked it.

  4. #3
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    Holy detailed!! Sounds like you have had an awesome trip. Have fun in SD if they let you out!!

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    Wonderful travelogue! Thanks for contributing something valuable to dr1.

    Lindsey

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  7. #5
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    I think it is great you undertook this journey alone and without speaking spanish. Did you expect to crew on that boat? tell us more about that.

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    Sounds good. If you have 2 weeks left I would try and get down to the SW - Caribe Tours have buses to San Juan de Maguana - carry on to the Haitian border for the market etc then continue by gua gua to Barahona.. Caribe Tour also have a bus to Barahona and then continue down to Perdenales by Gua gua and Bahia de las Aguilas. - remote and beautifuk area.

  9. #7
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    Nice report. Teh only thing that would put this over the top would be some pictures. Keep it coming.

  10. #8
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    Nice. Glad you are having a good time. pics would be nice.

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derfish View Post
    Well you cannot learn any younger at your age, so go for it. THat is what those girls are for in Sosua. 1000 pesos a night and they speak Spanish all night long.
    Der Fish
    Obviously I am hiring the wrong teachers. They're either laughing at my Spanish pronunciations or they're on the phone talking to somebody named Papi.

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctrob View Post
    Obviously I am hiring the wrong teachers. They're either laughing at my Spanish pronunciations or they're on the phone talking to somebody named Papi.
    You are still a lucky guy. My teachers speak a funny language, sounds like a dialect of french.

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