I got a travel problem. A friend invited me to head out to the Dominican Republic for a relatively last minute trip. She would be attending a film festival, but had a free place to stay and knows I have an impulsive travel addiction. What I didn't have was any additional vacation days to use, so the trip would only be for a weekend. Would that be worth it? Probably not as I'd have to travel after work on Thursday, then leave Saturday night to be back at work Sunday. I'd never been to the DR, but if you factor in travel time, I'd be there for around 36 hours.
Lo and behold… I ended up working a 6-day week, earned a comp day, and could apply it to this trip. 60 hours is a different ballgame! I'm in. Fly out of New York late Wednesday, fly back Saturday afternoon. Done.
What I didn't realize was that this film festival was in Santo Domingo, which is the country's capital and very metropolitan. I was told there's a significant amount of crime in the city and its one of the most dangerous cities to drive in. No disrespect to the city of Santo Domingo, but there's no way in hell I was about to fly out there for just a couple days to sit in a city (even though there are some places to check out like Christopher Columbus' burial site in the Colonial Zone). If I was going to the DR - I needed to see some beach.
As I researched where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do, everything pointed to the northern part of the island. There's a nice surfing area called Playa Encuentro near Puerto Plata, but even more thrilling - a place to jump off 27 f'n waterfalls called Damajagua! I had to do that. Problem is the only way I can get there without renting a car (which turned out to be way too gnarly) is taking a 4.5-hour public bus ride. That would mean spending around 9 hours - on an already short trip - sitting on a bus. Nobody wants to sit on a bus that long except Otto from the Simpsons, but 2 days of chilling with Columbus' remains didn't sound that enticing. Hello bus.
|There's no swimming allowed because it's all reef in the area and you'd get cut up. There's also no life guards, unless those sleeping dogs miraculously wake up and save your drowning ass.|
|Rented a longboard for $20 US/day|
|See you later, Encuentro. #AndByThatIMeanIHighlyDoubtIWillEverBeThereAgain|
|This is a ray. Angela took it with her GoPro. That's all I got.|
|Apparently this dude has never heard of Steve Irwin.|
|We booked a 2-bedroom villa with kitchen, living room in Cabarete… for just $50! AirBnb is the best!|
|Dinner at Papi's, a seafood place on the sand where we got ceviche, a lobster skillet with spaghetti, crab cakes, and mama juanas - a local liquor. Tipping at restaurants isn't necessary as tips are included.|
|Lobster skillet. Not too shabby.|
|This is the main street in Cabarete; the city centre as it's called. Looks quiet. And on the street it is.|
|But on the other side, there's a strip of clubs, bars, restaurants, people even playing volleyball. It's a very deceptive scene from the street.|
Next: Waterfall and cliff jumping with Iguana Mama.