DR Trip 2011

ben jammin

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Aug 3, 2007
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Will try to give a day by day description with some pics (everybody loves them!) :)

Day 1: Arrived in SDQ early afternoon, met with our Dominican friend at the airport, got rental car (Ford Explorer thanks to recommendations by helpful DR1ers) got through SD (man i hate big cities) and off to Barahona. First night we stayed at the hotel Gran Barahona, ok for first night as we were mucho exhausted.

Day 2: Started down the coast looking for places to stay for the duration of our SW adventure (wife likes to spread out and have a home base, normally we pre-book something but decided not to be on a schedule this trip). Went to a few places but came back to the Playa Azul, which was the first place we checked out and very nice. We lucked out and got the detached villa closest to the water and our guide/friend got the other unit in it. Totally awesome place. The beach below (53 steps down the cliff) was very nice, with sandy beach(unusual for this area) and places to swim and hike. I have nothing but good things to say about the place, Sylvio and Karin were great hosts and we enjoyed our stay and would recommend highly. After check in we drove to playa san raphael, had lunch and stayed to enjoy this nice place. Back to hotel and dinner there (superb)!.


Beach at Playa Azul



our bungalo at Azul


San Raphael

 

ben jammin

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Aug 3, 2007
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Day 3: The second day we also rode to Paraiso and our friend had an uncle (he is from Barahona) who owns some property on rio paraiso. We packed a lunch and cooler and headed back for a relaxing day on the river. Most beautiful place and so tranquil, many highlights of the trip but this place was certainly one of them. Afterwards we carried some food to the caretakers family and they cooked for us. Bought enough rice and beans i'm sure they had enough for the whole week but the meal was superb (as most we have had while visiting locals:) ) and well worth it.


Family in Paraiso


path to the river


our piece of paradise for a day!




san raphael

 

ben jammin

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Aug 3, 2007
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Day 4: We actually went back to rio paraiso for a while and then on to los patos. Can't seem to find my pics(taken so many!) but the place was awesome as well. Saw many quads and motocross bikes on the beach, had a nice swim and back for early night at the hotel. We often ate at Fidels sandwich shop in Barahona. Heard good things about los robles too but wasn't impressed, later heard it was under new management and the local friend of our friend says he actually often went to playa azul for dinner as the food in town was has much to be desired :)


Barahona


Barahona

 

ben jammin

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Aug 3, 2007
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Day 5: Early start and off to Lago Enriquillo. When we got to the intersection to the statue of Enriquillo I asked our friend, who up to this point had been doing all the driving, which way we were headed. He wanted to go along the southern part of the lake and I agreed :( Wish I had known better ( i kind of did but went with the flo). After a long ride through rather boring scenery (at first was OK but not much change IMO) we neared Jimani. Here is the start of our squabbles with our Dominican friend :) I told him I had read about Jimani and did not wish to spend alot of time there and didn't care to see the border crossing. He got a bit of an attitude after this :( After seeing so many herds of goats up to this point and as we were getting hungry we started asking people from the next couple of towns where we could eat some chivo, but to no avail. Wound up eating at a nice place (descueberta?sp or bario?) where they had a swimming hole. The water, even though in such a desert setting seemed extremely cold. Very nice place and as with all the swimming holes we visited in the area where locals gathered seemed very safe, friendly and much fun. The kids were having a ball playing baseball with a stick and plastic bottle and the wife and I even joined them for a few outs (mine came quickly :)). By the time we arrived at the ranger station for Lago Enriquillo the boats were done for the day (another reason to take the northern route) so we enjoyed and fed the iguanas a bit and headed on. Pretty much straight to the hotel from there with a stop to Fidels for a lambi sandwich which they were out of the day before :)
 

ben jammin

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Aug 3, 2007
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wife impressed with Enriquillo!


border


Baria


Posing with the soldiers


cooked us lunch... baria?


rio fria!


lago enriquillo


for prehistoric relics they sure are friendly and sloooow!!

 

ben jammin

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Aug 3, 2007
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Day 6: Certainly a place of wonder and beauty this day (and I wish it was more!) was bahia de las aquilas. The drive from barahona was a bit long but we left early, saw some terrific scenery along the way and got to cabo roja and the park entrance around 11am. The boat and park entrance was only $55 which i thought was good (having a dominican with you, no matter how aggravating, does have its upside:) ) and heading out to BdlA. The boatride was stunning! Only way it could be better is if i were the captain, although with all the places i would have stopped on the way may not have actually gotten to the main beach :) There is a hut and also a tower on the beach i assume built by the park service, and as we were the only ones on the whole beach decided to be put off at the tower for the views. very nice and if you're ever there look for the FEBE carved on one of the posts(old kids do graphitti also!) The only other people we saw all day were just as we were leaving, a couple of young dominicans who had travelled from san juan to spear fish, and we were surprised they spoke very good english! I took the reins and drove on the way back to Barahona and never let our friend drive after that (his attitude was deteriorating rapidly :(
 

ben jammin

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Aug 3, 2007
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pier at cabo rojas


cabo roja (an awesome beach itself if you don't want to do a boat to aquilas!


ride to pedernales from barahona


cave at park entrance


boat picture (reminds me of trip from bayahibe to saona)




could easily spend a day here!


wifey and I (gotta love the tourist hat!)


view from the tower




(couldn't help myself)



 

ben jammin

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Aug 3, 2007
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Day 7: Knowing what a drive we had in store for us and being tired and beginning to get irritated at our friend (i'm sure the feeling was mutual :) ) We began our next phase heading to samana. One reason to rent the explorer was to go through the center of the country and see the mountains. I would really have liked this part to have lasted longer but as we didn't have any reservations and were a bit tired we rushed a bit(maybe eager to rid ourselves of our guide, also) Left barahona and took the mountain road through San Jose de Ocoa (what a lovely town, worth a day or two to enjoy in itself! not to mention the fabulous coffee G forgot to remind me of) Had lunch there, excellent, finally got my chivo! and off through the stunning mountains through valle nueva. My punctuation is getting sloppy and hopefully not to difficult to read :) Absolutely stunning! After a week in Barahona enjoyed the cool weather (said they had ice the night before). Wanted to stay at villa pajon but was a bit early to end our drive for the day so went on to Constanza. We checked on a few places in Constanza but decided to take the new highway to Jarabacoa and stay there for the night. Another mistaake as 5 minutes before the end of the new highway we got stopped in construction zone for over an hour and was too late to take any good pics of the new highway. Stayed in a cabana (an experience in itself!) in Jarabacoa, had some rabbit stew creole stle and off to bed. Was too tired to even enjoy the heart shaped jacuzzi, love gels and condoms provided LOL!
 

ben jammin

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Aug 3, 2007
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Day 8: Really wanted to drive through Mocha to the north coast but by this time wanted to part with our friend and guide. Asked him to go part way with us and get us familiar with where the road from la vega went to Mocha and then take him to a bus station but let him talk us into taking him back to SD as he said the road to the north coast was long and difficult (i knew better but was giving up at this point!) so off to SD we went. I was still driving and as we entered town asked him if he would not drive while in the city as he knew the way through this jungle (figurative expression and nothing against SDers but i refer to NYC the same way:) ). He made me drive and needless to say by the time we got to the bavaro express station or wherever it was, was very glad to have our privacy and the relaxing part of our vacation to begin. The drive to LT was easy once we found the new highway and once in town checked into the hotel playa colibri. Has been a very relaxing time ever since (muchly needed) and for the exception of a few excursions on the peninsula (playa moron and el valle) has been calm and nothing much to write about. Like to thank Grace AE and Robert CB for guidance through the mountains and everyone else who has helped answer questions and give such good advise. May add another post or two once back describing the hotel and moron and el valle but done for now... Feliz Navidad to all, Ben
 

beastwood

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Jun 30, 2011
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wow

Ben, this thread and photos are really fantastic...thank you. I have been to the RD 10 times in the last 1.5 years. My tasks in biz, and cultivating my relationship with my (now wife), has kept us close (with only one or two exceptions), to the capitol and area towns. But my intuition and senses fueled by a love of Dominican people, music and food, along with reports such as yours, has convinced me this wonderful country will be a huge part of my future years (I am now a thumbnail shy of 50). I have so much more to see, taste, smell and learn.

Beautiful account.
 

suarezn

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Feb 3, 2002
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Excellent report...I've been all over the island it seems, but it also seems there are always little hidden gems I never knew of (i.e. that pic of Rio Paraiso or Playa Azul). I'm homesick already (good thing I'll be there in another week or so), but always feel like I need a lot more time to see all the things I want to see.
 

BPL888

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Sep 7, 2004
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Great report and excellent photos. Thank you for taking the time to post them for us. I will be in the Southwest next month and your report reminds me why I go.