Have you heared of the local organization/agency Guanaventuras?

Emina

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Mar 23, 2017
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I read about the local organization Guanaventuras from La Cienaga in Barahona province. I found their website http://coopdeci.org/.

As I understand, they support local women and offer local products produced by women. They also offer tours and accommodation in private homes, I think.

Has anyone of you heard of them or, even better, used their service/products? If so, can you recommend them?

Thank you!
 

Hillbilly

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Jan 1, 2002
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I see you are looking about things Dominican.

Okay, look up Chocal in Altamira (near Santiago). It is a women's coop that produces chocolate, and a very good chocolate it is. They offer tours and their product to visitors. I often take students there to see what grass roots gumption and a little help can do.

It is only about an hour or less from Santiago. You can combine this with a trip to La Isabela National Park where the Admiral set up the first European successful (+/- successful) settlement in the New World.

FYI, Barahona is very far away from Santiago. A trip there would mean at least a full weekend with a lot of travel time involved. Fantastic area, but far away--unless you have a lot of time.

Cordially

HB
 

Matilda

RIP Lindsay
Sep 13, 2006
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Guanaventuras have been used by friends of mine for home stay - around US$10 a day - and the tours and come highly recommended. But they are hard to contact by phone and rarely answer emails as is a group of local Dominicans with limited access to internet and hardly any electricity to charge phones. But give them a try. They are based in Paraiso around 20 ish km to the west of Barahona.

matilda
 

Emina

New member
Mar 23, 2017
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I see you are looking about things Dominican.

Okay, look up Chocal in Altamira (near Santiago). It is a women's coop that produces chocolate, and a very good chocolate it is. They offer tours and their product to visitors. I often take students there to see what grass roots gumption and a little help can do.

It is only about an hour or less from Santiago. You can combine this with a trip to La Isabela National Park where the Admiral set up the first European successful (+/- successful) settlement in the New World.

FYI, Barahona is very far away from Santiago. A trip there would mean at least a full weekend with a lot of travel time involved. Fantastic area, but far away--unless you have a lot of time.

Cordially

HB

You are right, I want this first visit to the DR not to be only about laying around at the beaches (which we will do too!) - and I want to practice my Spanish with the locals:) We will actually have quite some time, a total of three weeks. And our schedule is packed - Bayahibe, Semana, Santo Domingo, Barahona, Santiago, moving every 3-4 days. We don't mind spending time in transportation, as this will also be all part of the experience. But since it will be so packed, I would like to have all the technicalities figured out before we get there.

Thanks for the advise, I'll definitely check out Chocal:)
 

Emina

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Mar 23, 2017
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Guanaventuras have been used by friends of mine for home stay - around US$10 a day - and the tours and come highly recommended. But they are hard to contact by phone and rarely answer emails as is a group of local Dominicans with limited access to internet and hardly any electricity to charge phones. But give them a try. They are based in Paraiso around 20 ish km to the west of Barahona.

matilda

Awesome, thanks! I sent them an e-mail but as you say, who knows if/when they'll answer. I guess the best will be to call them up once we arrive in DR.
 

ju10prd

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Guanaventuras have been used by friends of mine for home stay - around US$10 a day - and the tours and come highly recommended. But they are hard to contact by phone and rarely answer emails as is a group of local Dominicans with limited access to internet and hardly any electricity to charge phones. But give them a try. They are based in Paraiso around 20 ish km to the west of Barahona.

matilda

Not surprising you say this.

I stopped at their sign posted café just after the Esso station and the sharp bend in La Cienega and before the Larimar museum going in the Barahona direction. Almost non existent and not that interested in selling their produce which amounted to the marmalades which one can also get in Nacional for less.

I suspect they do the same excursions and use the same drivers and guides as do Casa Bonita, Rancho Platon and the other small hotels in that area. Their prices posted in the brochure in the OP are the norm. The saving is the rooms.
 

Yacine

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Oct 23, 2005
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its a grassroots - community based operation

Indeed they have some communication and service failures, because it is a grassroots - community based and owned operation, and operates with local capacity. They deserve to be supported, as 100% of the income goes back to the families headed by women of the community contributing to better social education health and encourages preserving environment. Same with jam/mermeladas, thay are very good by the way, taste them for free, are all from fruits associated with sustainable shade coffee ecosystem... Casa Bonita at first used to hire their guides services but i hear they now bypass them. Please visit and encourage them and tell them what they need to improve. You can experince and taste the rual rural local grassroots - community life. I participated in its creation few years ago: here is the catalog they had then http://www.slideshare.net/Yacine/catalogoguanventurasecoturismo2011
www.guanaventuras.com is their current web site
Yacine

Not surprising you say this.

I stopped at their sign posted café just after the Esso station and the sharp bend in La Cienega and before the Larimar museum going in the Barahona direction. Almost non existent and not that interested in selling their produce which amounted to the marmalades which one can also get in Nacional for less.

I suspect they do the same excursions and use the same drivers and guides as do Casa Bonita, Rancho Platon and the other small hotels in that area. Their prices posted in the brochure in the OP are the norm. The saving is the rooms.
 

ju10prd

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Nov 19, 2014
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Indeed they have some communication and service failures, because it is a grassroots - community based and owned operation, and operates with local capacity. They deserve to be supported, as 100% of the income goes back to the families headed by women of the community contributing to better social education health and encourages preserving environment. Same with jam/mermeladas, thay are very good by the way, taste them for free, are all from fruits associated with sustainable shade coffee ecosystem... Casa Bonita at first used to hire their guides services but i hear they now bypass them. Please visit and encourage them and tell them what they need to improve. You can experince and taste the rual rural local grassroots - community life. I participated in its creation few years ago: here is the catalog they had then http://www.slideshare.net/Yacine/catalogoguanventurasecoturismo2011
www.guanaventuras.com is their current web site
Yacine

Yacine, I do recall that you posted about this cooperative over a year ago in a thread about the South West with a link given and brochure included.

On my last trip to the area several months back, I did take the effort to find the cooperative and their restaurant by firstly asking at the Esso station in La Cienega. It is a modest place with a small sign outside, but as I posted there was a complete lack of enthusiasm when I asked about their products and excursions at that place. They had the five types of marmalades they promote on sale, no tasting so I bought one of each and they are indeed good. As for the coffee that they promote it wasn't available and I got a complementary cup of what they were brewing and it was foul.

This was not very reassuring.

I am totally behind the idea and support of small scale community based tourist and especially eco friendly ventures, and clearly they have had some good help in setting up a website and preparing a good brochure which I note has been updated since your previous posted link. But to be successful and benefit their community, which for those that know La Cienega is a very small one, they do need to work hard at promoting their offerings and especially to the passing interested tourist. As is often the case, small Dominican communities get outside help and rush to a good idea but quickly become complacent. You have indicated in your post that you may have helped them and that is fantastic. The whole area is ripe for this type of community involvement in developing a sustainable local ventures which will capture the imagination of local and foreign eco tourists which may be a small market but is a growing one.

This part of DR is imo worthy of a week or more of any tourists time who wants to explore and interact with the local communities and artisans and experience beach, sea, rivers, forests and mountains, and whilst some of us will prefer the other smaller and the boutique hotels in the area as their base, this local venture with cheap accommodation will suit others if promoted sufficiently. Ultimately more tourism whether local or foreign will benefit all the small communities in the area.
 

Emina

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Mar 23, 2017
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I received an answer to my e-mail within a day and yes, the accommodation is still 10 USD per person per night. There is one part of the e-mail I am not sure I understand. It might be DR slang:) I asked for the price of a transfer and they replied:"le cobran 150 pesos por las gres." So, "gres" is exactly what in this context? :)
 

Yacine

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Oct 23, 2005
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probably a typo but could be that, the cost of tranfer

I received an answer to my e-mail within a day and yes, the accommodation is still 10 USD per person per night. There is one part of the e-mail I am not sure I understand. It might be DR slang:) I asked for the price of a transfer and they replied:"le cobran 150 pesos por las gres." So, "gres" is exactly what in this context? :)
 

Matilda

RIP Lindsay
Sep 13, 2006
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I received an answer to my e-mail within a day and yes, the accommodation is still 10 USD per person per night. There is one part of the e-mail I am not sure I understand. It might be DR slang:) I asked for the price of a transfer and they replied:"le cobran 150 pesos por las gres." So, "gres" is exactly what in this context? :)

If there are three of you would be las tres. The t and g are next to each other on the keyboard!

Matilda
 

RDKNIGHT

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I wonder when they are going to get the two meatheads on motobike that patrol MaxGomez in SDQ shaking down everyone ...Thoses two should be tied up and flogged by everyone they have shook down... i watched them one day shaking down at least 10 cars for gringo while driving..