Hi! I've created a website to give clear, accurate & useful info for travelers to DR

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dr-backpacking

Guest
Hi! I've created a website to give clear, accurate & useful info for travelers to DR

Hello everyone!

These forums have been a great help to me and I love the community here!

A bit of a background: Me and my girlfriend hopped on a plane to Santo Domingo with two backpacks and no plans at all and traveled almost the entire coast line of DR. We both have traveled and backpacked in many other countries, but what struck us as odd is the real lack of information online about the DR. There is also barely anyone who is interested in backpacking through the country (not only staying in an all-inclusive resort).

We decided that since we had the chance we could help change this. We documented everything that we did during our trip: bargaining prices, bus routes/times, budget hotel locations, restaurant prices/locations, etc. and have been working on our website for over a year now to get it up and running.

We do this because we love the country and want to see it get the attention especially from people like backpackers who will support locals by staying in their hotels, eating at their restaurants and doing their tours. We don't aim to cash out on this, or get Instagram likes, or have you buy a subscription. We don't use any photo-shopped or edited pictures and we try to stay neutral and just provide real information. This is just a nice project for us to do.

We hope to come back within the year to expand our information and add a lot of the lesser known cities to the site to really get a full one-stop shop of DR information on one site.

We have hired a designer to help us do the more technical aspects of the site and he is currently working on it so please excuse any bugs/technical errors/spelling mistakes for now. We hope to have the full site done and designed within a month.

We would love if anyone could just help give recommendations, or tips or just let us know what you think. We want to hear what you would love to see in a site like this!

The website: dr-backpacking.com

Thank you guys and I hope to hear your thoughts!
John and Maria
 
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El Rey de Mangu

Guest
Hello everyone!

These forums have been a great help to me and I love the community here!

A bit of a background: Me and my girlfriend hopped on a plane to Santo Domingo with two backpacks and no plans at all and traveled almost the entire coast line of DR. We both have traveled and backpacked in many other countries, but what struck us as odd is the real lack of information online about the DR. There is also barely anyone who is interested in backpacking through the country (not only staying in an all-inclusive resort).

We decided that since we had the chance we could help change this. We documented everything that we did during our trip: bargaining prices, bus routes/times, budget hotel locations, restaurant prices/locations, etc. and have been working on our website for over a year now to get it up and running.

We do this because we love the country and want to see it get the attention especially from people like backpackers who will support locals by staying in their hotels, eating at their restaurants and doing their tours. We don't aim to cash out on this, or get Instagram likes, or have you buy a subscription. We don't use any photo-shopped or edited pictures and we try to stay neutral and just provide real information. This is just a nice project for us to do.

We hope to come back within the year to expand our information and add a lot of the lesser known cities to the site to really get a full one-stop shop of DR information on one site.

We have hired a designer to help us do the more technical aspects of the site and he is currently working on it so please excuse any bugs/technical errors/spelling mistakes for now. We hope to have the full site done and designed within a month.

We would love if anyone could just help give recommendations, or tips or just let us know what you think. We want to hear what you would love to see in a site like this!

The website: dr-backpacking.com

Thank you guys and I hope to hear your thoughts!
John and Maria

"White beaches, crystal clear water, palm trees, luxury hotels and the paradise for cruise ship and all inclusive tourists. That is what most people have in mind when they think of travelling in Dominican Republic. However, our 2,5 months backpacking-trip without any information and into the blue showed us one thing very, very clearly: With the flexibility of your backpack you will have the possibility to see so much more for little money! On this page we will provide you with all the information we wish we would have had beforehand: Local transport system, specialties of the country, tips, quirks and some inspiration for your trip. And if any question is still unanswered: write us!"

Now all you need to do is soar in the Google rankings as the unbiased experts with a whopping 2.5 months of experience in the Dominican Republic.
 
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mountainannie

Guest
I must agree with the King - One certainly can not gather that much information about the country inside of a couple of months.. Nor is it to anyone's credit that they would arrive in the country without reading the several guides that are available for the "off-road" travelers - such as Lonely Planet, the Moon Guide, and Petit Fute (in French).

Certainly NO ONE is going to be a Master Of The GuaGua Routes....

To get from Dajabon to Jarabacoa? Changing stations in Santiago?

Or where even where the bus stop in Capital is for the direct bus to Las Terrenas?

(Quick Quiz - Do you know?)

Have you been to Pedernales? Constanza? Mao? San Jose de Ocoa? San Juan de Maguana? Can you recommend the swimming at Guaycanes vs Bayahibe vs Juan Dolio vs Andeas vs Boca China?

I lived there for 14 years and traveled about EXTENSIVELY - and STILL would not presume to write a Guide. The country is VAST.



Nor do I think it particularly polite to come to this Board - in order to drive traffic to your site.

Should you have anything to contribute here, I am sure it would be welcomed.
 
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dr-backpacking

Guest
We don't claim to know all the information about the country or what to do here. All we want to do is try to provide simple information to people for the most common issues they may have, and a lot of times can't find online or will find a forum from the early 2000's.

We have in total about 6 months through the DR, sorry about that typo. I know it's not a lot and its nowhere close to 15 years. We are 21 and 28 years old and people who really just love the country from what we saw. Wed on't want to drive traffic on the website. We just want people to know it's there if they need it, or people who are hesitant to travel there (especially with everything happening now) and need some confirmation that there are ways to do it and that it isn't as scary as it may seem.

I'm sorry if I offended you in some way. Thank you for the feedback though.
 
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franco1111

Guest
So, do you make money when you drive traffic to Amazon or the sellers of the "useful items" on your list? And, can we expect more useful ads soon? Nothing wrong with making money. Just curious. Nice photos.
 
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dr-backpacking

Guest
I must agree with the King - One certainly can not gather that much information about the country inside of a couple of months.. Nor is it to anyone's credit that they would arrive in the country without reading the several guides that are available for the "off-road" travelers - such as Lonely Planet, the Moon Guide, and Petit Fute (in French).

Certainly NO ONE is going to be a Master Of The GuaGua Routes....

To get from Dajabon to Jarabacoa? Changing stations in Santiago?

Or where even where the bus stop in Capital is for the direct bus to Las Terrenas?

(Quick Quiz - Do you know?)

Have you been to Pedernales? Constanza? Mao? San Jose de Ocoa? San Juan de Maguana? Can you recommend the swimming at Guaycanes vs Bayahibe vs Juan Dolio vs Andeas vs Boca China?

I lived there for 14 years and traveled about EXTENSIVELY - and STILL would not presume to write a Guide. The country is VAST.



Nor do I think it particularly polite to come to this Board - in order to drive traffic to your site.

Should you have anything to contribute here, I am sure it would be welcomed.
No I don't know some of the things you commented, but I never claimed anywhere in my post that I did. We are trying to expand our knowledge. We never said we knew everything. What we did say was that if anyone had questions we would do our best to help answer them.

We are not worried about visitors on our site. As I said in my post we are not in this for money and we don't even have ads on the site. Overall we have lost money and 1 years of time doing this, but we do it because we truly believe DR is an amazing country and should be just as much of a spot for low budget travelers to visit than somewhere like Mexico or Peru.

We know we don't have anywhere close to the experience a lot of you do. Again, we never claimed we did. When you moved to the Dominican Republic I was only 7 years old.

I don't think it is wrong to write a guide about travelling in the country no matter how much experience you have. The reason other countries can be so successful with tourism (especially young backpackers) is because people share their experiences. Think about the Nicaragua: some of the older generation still thinks of Nicaragua as a place you should never visit because of the revolution. But, young people traveled there and shared their experiences and this made it more comfortable for others to go. Even my grandparents were shocked when I told them I was visiting Nicaragua.

Again, I'm sorry if I've offended anyone here. I didn't mean for this to happen. I was honestly looking for some feedback on the site and what some people would recommend but I see this is not the place for that. But, I still believe if you want to start to change the view of foreigners to really match what this country is like then we all have to share our experiences. Or else the only voices being heard will be the media and people with bad experiences.

Thank you for your feedback though we will think about everything you said.
 
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dr-backpacking

Guest
So, do you make money when you drive traffic to Amazon or the sellers of the "useful items on your list? And, can we expect more useful ads soon? Nothing wrong with making money. Just curious. Nice photos.
No we do not make any money on the site right now. These are no affiliate links, just links to help visitors find the items we liked easier :)

Could you explain what you mean with the more useful ads? What kind of things would you be interested in?
 
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frank12

Guest
We don't claim to know all the information about the country or what to do here. All we want to do is try to provide simple information to people for the most common issues they may have, and a lot of times can't find online or will find a forum from the early 2000's.

We have in total about 6 months through the DR, sorry about that typo. I know it's not a lot and its nowhere close to 15 years. We are 21 and 28 years old and people who really just love the country from what we saw. Wed on't want to drive traffic on the website. We just want people to know it's there if they need it, or people who are hesitant to travel there (especially with everything happening now) and need some confirmation that there are ways to do it and that it isn't as scary as it may seem.

I'm sorry if I offended you in some way. Thank you for the feedback though.
Fantastic job guys! Seriously, excellent in every way. I read your entire report. I even shared it on two different Fb pages where its getting a lot of hits.

I have bicycled around the country, motorcycled around the country, but what you guys did is absolutely fabulous! I even shared your photos!

When you are able to receive Private Messages, let me know and i will send you the links to your stuff i shared.

I have a friend in the Colonial Zone, Chris (he's a member on here) he has a Back-packing hostel right in the middle of the Colonial Zone. You might have met him? He's a super good person, and has one of the most beautiful renovated (400- 500yrs old building) Hostels i have ever stayed at in the Colonial Zone.

Anyway, great job, and ignore all the grumpy people on here.

Frank
 
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Africaida

Guest
Tough crowd !!!!

While MA and Mangu made good points, I do believe that it is a good idea that someone gives a different perspective on DR, especially someone younger. DR is not exactly on backpacker map and it has everything to be, so why not?

Last thing, there is a tons of guidebooks as MA pointed out, never used ones for DR so I can judge on the quality, but some of these author may have spent less time on the ground than the OP (6 months!) and I can bet that none of the authors could master the guagua routes. With the internet, younger people rely less and less on guidebooks and more and more on blogs and travelers forums.

Good luck to you OP !
 
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dr-backpacking

Guest
Fantastic job guys! Seriously, excellent in every way. I read your entire report. I even shared it on two different Fb pages where its getting a lot of hits.

I have bicycled around the country, motorcycled around the country, but what you guys did is absolutely fabulous! I even shared your photos!

When you are able to receive Private Messages, let me know and i will send you the links to your stuff i shared.

I have a friend in the Colonial Zone, Chris (he's a member on here) he has a Back-packing hostel right in the middle of the Colonial Zone. You might have met him? He's a super good person, and has one of the most beautiful renovated (400- 500yrs old building) Hostels i have ever stayed at in the Colonial Zone.

Anyway, great job, and ignore all the grumpy people on here.

Frank
Thanks so much Frank your reply put a smile on our faces :)

I will let you know about the private message (I guess right now the account is in a probation period? I will look into that).

We never got a chance to stay there (I suppose Island Life?) but that looks like such a nice place to stay. I can't believe I missed that! We will be adding it to the site :) It's a shame you cant find many hostels like this in DR!
 
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mountainannie

Guest
While MA and Mangu made good points, I do believe that it is a good idea that someone gives a different perspective on DR, especially someone younger. DR is not exactly on backpacker map and it has everything to be, so why not?

Last thing, there is a tons of guidebooks as MA pointed out, never used ones for DR so I can judge on the quality, but some of these author may have spent less time on the ground than the OP (6 months!). With the internet, younger people rely less and less on guidebooks and more and more on blogs and travelers forums.

Good luck to you OP !
How Gracious Of YOU!

I did not read 6 months-- read it somehow as 2 months!

And - indeed - I am a fossil

and so do actually Read Books

And even Internet forums such as DR1 and the Lonely Planet ones

Certainly there ought to be more BackPacking in the DR since it can be done very inexpensively

It was simply the TONE -- as in We Have Now Done Something That No One Else Has Done

But then - perhaps that is simply good marketing...
 
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El Rey de Mangu

Guest
While MA and Mangu made good points, I do believe that it is a good idea that someone gives a different perspective on DR, especially someone younger. DR is not exactly on backpacker map and it has everything to be, so why not?

Last thing, there is a tons of guidebooks as MA pointed out, never used ones for DR so I can judge on the quality, but some of these author may have spent less time on the ground than the OP (6 months!) and I can bet that none of the authors could master the guagua routes. With the internet, younger people rely less and less on guidebooks and more and more on blogs and travelers forums.

Good luck to you OP !
I saw there was some cat looking to do real estate in San Cristobal. He may need a link to their site. Unless by "real estate", he meant "procurement" or "laser beam"
 
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mountainannie

Guest
Fantastic job guys! Seriously, excellent in every way. I read your entire report. I even shared it on two different Fb pages where its getting a lot of hits.

I have bicycled around the country, motorcycled around the country, but what you guys did is absolutely fabulous! I even shared your photos!

When you are able to receive Private Messages, let me know and i will send you the links to your stuff i shared.

I have a friend in the Colonial Zone, Chris (he's a member on here) he has a Back-packing hostel right in the middle of the Colonial Zone. You might have met him? He's a super good person, and has one of the most beautiful renovated (400- 500yrs old building) Hostels i have ever stayed at in the Colonial Zone.

Anyway, great job, and ignore all the grumpy people on here.

Frank
I Own Being Grumpy

I am Often Grumpy These Days

If YOU SAY IT IS GOOD

Then -- OK--I am down with it..

But - still? Not to read Lonely Planet? Not to Read the Moon Guide? Not to Read Petit Fute? And then Brag On That? How is that OK?

But - like you - I do hope for more tourists - and do think that there are hundreds of places not yet seen.

so -- ok

(but - really - the Mosquitos in Monte Christi Are Not To be Ignored)
 
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Africaida

Guest
Gracieuse

How Gracious Of YOU!

I did not read 6 months-- read it somehow as 2 months!

And - indeed - I am a fossil

and so do actually Read Books

And even Internet forums such as DR1 and the Lonely Planet ones

Certainly there ought to be more BackPacking in the DR since it can be done very inexpensively

It was simply the TONE -- as in We Have Now Done Something That No One Else Has Done

But then - perhaps that is simply good marketing...
You are welcome :)

I admit my first instinct was also that the OP was trying to drive traffic to his blog. However, in the current state of DR in the news, we should welcome positive advertisement for the island IMHO.
 
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dr-backpacking

Guest
I Own Being Grumpy

I am Often Grumpy These Days

If YOU SAY IT IS GOOD

Then -- OK--I am down with it..

But - still? Not to read Lonely Planet? Not to Read the Moon Guide? Not to Read Petit Fute? And then Brag On That? How is that OK?

But - like you - I do hope for more tourists - and do think that there are hundreds of places not yet seen.

so -- ok

(but - really - the Mosquitos in Monte Christi Are Not To be Ignored)
We never wanted to sound like we were bragging about not reading a guidebook or anything like that. We just wanted to show that it could be done! You can fly to Costa Rica with no plan and there is free information, maps, bus schedules, hotel locations EVERYWHERE! We just wanted to provide our experience and try to help to get some of this information all in one place.

I certainly remember when I landed in DR for my first time and how nervous I was. I'm sure we all remember our first time being in DR and how overwhelming it can be at first. We just wanted to help people who might need it or are hesitant about coming to the DR.
 
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El Rey de Mangu

Guest
You are welcome :)

I admit my first instinct was also that the OP was driving traffic to his blog. However, in the current state of DR in the news, we should welcome positive advertisement for the island IMHO.
well they sure seemed to get some free press on this site this morning. Too bad it's a little late to help poor Roy Van Tinteren or Darryl F (RIP)
 
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franco1111

Guest
No we do not make any money on the site right now. These are no affiliate links, just links to help visitors find the items we liked easier :)

Could you explain what you mean with the more useful ads? What kind of things would you be interested in?
It will be interesting to see how long you can resist the lure of placing ads on the site. You already have the ads that drive traffic to Amazon. Either intentionally, or intentionally. Maybe others, it took less than five minutes to find the Amazon ads. Most sites now have the intention to make money. It's great to make money to finance your adventures, the site, etc. The possibilities are vast. But, it does change the landscape. Good luck. And, thanks for the great photos.
 
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Caonabo

Guest
We never wanted to sound like we were bragging about not reading a guidebook or anything like that. We just wanted to show that it could be done! You can fly to Costa Rica with no plan and there is free information, maps, bus schedules, hotel locations EVERYWHERE! We just wanted to provide our experience and try to help to get some of this information all in one place.

I certainly remember when I landed in DR for my first time and how nervous I was. I'm sure we all remember our first time being in DR and how overwhelming it can be at first. We just wanted to help people who might need it or are hesitant about coming to the DR.
A truly interesting concept indeed. Very popular globally. May I ask what measures of personal defense you utilized or recommend for others while backpacking within RD, especially outside of the tourist areas?
 
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dr-backpacking

Guest
It will be interesting to see how long you can resist the lure of placing ads on the site. You already have the ads that drive traffic to Amazon. Either intentionally, or intentionally. Maybe others, it took less than five minutes to find the Amazon ads. Most sites now have the intention to make money. It's great to make money to finance your adventures, the site, etc. The possibilities are vast. But, it does change the landscape. Good luck. And, thanks for the great photos.
We never want the site to become a full on "millennial" blog site with Instagram and Facebook links, edited pictures, and ads everywhere. These were the sites we couldn't stand reading from when researching a country!

Those really aren't referral links, they are simply direct links to each product. We thought it would be easier than saying "We own this backpack and love it, now Google it yourself". But now I can absolutely see how it can look like an ad or something we are monetizing. We will work on changing that!