Page 6 of 6 FirstFirst ... 456
Results 51 to 55 of 55

Thread: The best of beaches, waterfalls, views and roadtrips

  1. #51
    Gold
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    8,802
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Tony has been servicing this beach for 20 years. Ask for him and get the best food, nice chairs, table, etc.

  2. #52
    Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    129
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    On my first trip to DR in 2011, someone told me I had to come visit 27
    Charcos...well, 7 years later I finally went!

    It's pretty easy to find, located just off the highway between
    Navarette and Puerto Plata. I do have to mention that in the last 2
    years, I don't feel like much progress has been made on this route. I
    have avoided it for 8 months...it's not in terrible shape, but it's
    narrow, full of slow trucks that are overloaded, the edges are in bad
    shape and it has no shortage of potholes. And it's been under
    construction for years...

    The buildings where you park are surprisingly close to the road. When
    you walk in, there's a shop with souvenirs and water shoes and stuff,
    and a small window with a guy doing math and notes on a piece of
    notebook paper. He asks you how many waterfalls you want to see, and I
    think the options were 1, 7 or 27. Kids under 8 can only go to the
    first fall.

    I think the price is over $700 pesos for foreigners but $550 for
    dominicans or gringos who arrive with dominicans and know enough
    spanish to get by. Then, a guide will ask how many are in your party
    and tell you where to go to join a group. The guides probably speak
    some english, and they are all trained in first aid and CPR.

    They have lockers for something like $2 or $5, but I brought a
    waterproof box in a pocket. A lot of people lost small things like
    earrings...so beware. You get a lifejacket and a helmet, and then
    start walking! Don't forget sunscreen. Also, even though it's a river,
    that river runs to the ocean eventually, so zinc or tio2 sunscreens
    are preferred over oxybenzone, avobenzone, etc.

    This is not a trip for retired fat gringos who walk less than a few km
    per week. I run 5km in the gym 3 or 4 days a week, and it was still a
    decent amount of work. First you walk across a dry river bed, then up
    stairs, then down a path, then up stairs, then on a path, then up
    stairs...you walk for about an hour before you get to the first
    charco! Note: At the first charco they have a guy with a trash bag, so
    you can bring a water bottle and dispose of it there. I highly
    recommend it, because it's a lot of walking.

    The water seems cold at first, but after you are used to it, it just
    feels refreshing! There is a decent amount of walking between some of
    the charcos, but not all of them. The bugs weren't bad. Wear some
    shoes that can get wet, because you will be walking on small rocks and
    slippery rocks. Flip Flops are out of the question, so is barefoot.

    About half of the charcos are jumps, and half are slides. Half of the
    jumps are around 6-8 feet, the other half are more like 12-20. I think
    all of the jumps are bypassable if you want, but not all of the slides
    are. The guides will tell you exactly where to aim when jumping, when
    to do a cannonball to avoid hitting your feet, etc. The guides are a
    bunch of fun, joking around, and very knowledgable and helpful.

    Towards the end, there are a few really, really cool spots, that are
    like canyons, that range from so narrow you can touch both sides, to
    enough room to float side by side with your friend. There are spots
    that are too deep to walk, but the vests help...still who goes on a
    water excursion if they don't know how to swim?

    In total we spent about 5 hours from arriving to leaving, and we were
    completely wiped at the end of the day. It was absolutely worth the
    $11!










  3. #53
    Regular
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    444
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Another great post! thanks!

  4. #54
    Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    129
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default The best of beaches, waterfalls, views and roadtrips

    Here's one that is very well known: Cayo Arena!

    The first time I visited, I decided to move to DR. Took a while to make it back but finally, found a good weekend to go.

    This island is probably best reached by Playa La Ensenada, by Estero Hondo. I don't really love La Ensenada, but it's not that bad. It's chock full of little shacks serving food, and it's shallow for a long way out, so if eating and relaxing in knee deep water is your thing, this beach is great for you.

    You do have to watch out for the boats flying by though. The Cayo Arena boat drivers like to show off by whipping their boats by swimmers, only a few feet away, and one day someone's going to get killed...

    They have a big parking lot where you pay $100 and get a parking pass. Several of the shacks on the beach have showers for you to use for $.25 for around 2 minutes worth of showering.

    After the best friend grouper I've had in a while (careful, it's like $400 a pound, not a cheap fish), we started looking for a boat going to the island. You can get a trip for around $3,000 per boat, but you are really looking for a guy with a boat almost full that will take you for $500-$600 per person.

    The ride out to the island can have some good sized waves. You are going to get wet. Bring a waterproof bag for cell phone or anything else you want to keep dry. They will stop at "piscina natural" which is just another coral mountain that usually has 3-6 feet deep water, compared to 20-40 feet deep around it. They'll let you hop out and swim for 2 minutes before taking you to Cayo Arena.

    The Cayo itself is a nice sandbar with a few shacks on it, where you can set a cooler or something, and then you can go swimming. The water around the cayo is pretty shallow, and they normally bring some snorkeling gear if you want to snorkel. If you to the north east point there is a little channel that lets you get outside of the coral, into deep water, and you can swim around back to the west side where the boats enter.

    In between those points, the water is shallow enough that you can't swim directly back to shore, there are corals, so you can't swim or walk. So if you are going out there snorkeling, you are committing to the swim.

    In the shallow water, you can find some anemones, a few types actually, and lots of fish. Beaugregory jacks, tangs, cowfish, a ton more that the names escape me, even flamingo tongues. In the deeper water, you see yellowtail, big tangs, trumpetfish, not to mention big corals and sponges. The water is the most beautiful dark blue!

    The boats normally like to stay for an hour before they round you up to return. The return trip is through the manglares/mangroves, and again the drivers like to show off by hitting tree branches and whipping the boats in circles. Careful with glasses, if you look behind you, you will lose them. Hats too.

    As usual, remember to only use sunscreens that are either zinc or titanium dioxide based. There is a Dominican brand that is zinc based that works ok but it leaves you looking a little pasty. Blue Lizard from Australia is good, as is Pacifica, Stream2Sea, and SolrX from the US. The sun is crazy strong and there is almost no shade on the island, you will be baking.

    I think it's best to go early in the morning before the wind is strong, but it's 3 hours from Santiago, so it's a little tough.

    Cayo Arena is one of the coolest little places to go in this country, even if it can be crowded, it's a stunningly beautiful location.












  5. Likes CFA123, keepcoming, frank12, AlterEgo, dulce and 2 others liked this post
  6. #55
    Gold
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    9,775
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Wow, once again, amazing photos!!

    Keep them coming!!

Page 6 of 6 FirstFirst ... 456

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •