Dominican Republic

At the end of February, I went on my fourth trip with EF Ultimate Break. I have always had such good experiences with their company and this trip was no different. Feel free to ask me any questions you might have or I can shoot you an email with a referral code for a little bit of money off of a trip of your own!

Dominican Republic is a place that I’ve always wanted to travel to and when I saw the trip EF had planned, I was sold. It was the perfect mixture of sightseeing, beach time and a beautiful place. I arrived in Santo Domingo on a Saturday with a whole afternoon to kill. The weather was amazing and the city was lively with plenty to do. That was also enhanced because we would be in the DR while the locals were celebrating their Independence Day.

The next day when we all got together as a group, we did some sightseeing of Santo Domingo. The buildings are all very old and full of history. Our tour director, Cesar, knew pretty much all there was to know about the different focal points in town. We traveled by bus out to Los Tres Ojos, a really beautiful nature park that makes you forget that the city of Santo Domingo is only 5 miles away. I will mention now that our bus driver for the whole trip was Juan Martin and I LOVED him. I wish he could be my driver for every trip.

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Los Tres Ojos
Look at how clear the water was!

Next up for our day was an afternoon spent at the beach eating a late lunch and getting to spend some time in the water while getting to know my fellow travelers on this trip. This trip definitely turned into one of my favorites due to the people on it and how amazing the DR was. I would go back in a heartbeat.

That night was our Welcome Dinner with the whole group followed by a big celebration that was being held for their Independence Day. There was live music, dancing and drinking. I learned very quickly that people love to dance in the DR and even if you don’t like to, you’ll probably end up dancing anyway.

The next day we stopped off briefly at the Columbus Lighthouse on our way to Jarabacoa. Jarabacoa takes you into the mountains with such amazing views. We stopped for lunch at Alta Vista restaurant which sits right on the side of a mountain. It was gorgeous. We checked into Rancho Baiguate for the next couple of nights. This place was amazing with tons of land, activities and killer typical Dominican food.

We took dance lessons that night there at the Rancho from some local Dominicans. It was so much fun! They taught us bachata, meringue and a little bit of salsa. Up first the following day was white water rafting on Baiguate River. This excursion was SO much fun. Our group split up into smaller groups and we were all laughing the whole trip and having an amazing time. The guides on the river made it even better.

Columbus Lighthouse

Bunnies on the Rancho’s property

That afternoon we went to the Baiguate waterfall for a little hike and to get our feet wet. Later we headed into town to sightsee. Our first stop was Heladeria Ivon, homemade delicious, best I ever had, ice cream. Go here for sure. They had a really cute setup and of course, we took lots of photos. Our next stop was to check out the small local shops that are popular on almost every street corner in the DR. You can buy beer, local food and supplies…then you enjoy that beer on chairs out on the sidewalk in front of the store. It’s a very traditional practice in the Dominican and you’ll probably see guys playing checkers too.

For dinner that night we went to El Punto Steakhouse for some delicious variations of meat. They had amazing burgers, steaks and sides. To make the restaurant even better for our group…there was karaoke and a stage. We all had an amazing time with their happy hour drink deals and the microphone in our hands.

We headed out the next morning towards Cabarete, a beach town in the DR. Along the way though we were in for a little surprise. They had an extra excursion planned to Paradise Island, Cayo Arena. This was a small island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean filled with people partying and all you can drink beach cabanas. The water was amazingly clear and the boat ride to and from the island felt like a theme park ride but was so fun and worth it.

Our hotel for our stay in Cabarete was the Velero Beach Resort and it was perfect. Right on the water with great views of the city and the water sports that people were doing. I would stay here again anytime. Cabarete was a really cool beach town with plenty of bars, restaurants and shops to keep you busy while there.

Could I be any happier?

We did take a cable car up Mount Isabel de Torres to see a much different view of the city. There’s a huge statue of Christ the Redeemer that a lot of people come to see. And the top of the mountain has lots of greenery and areas to walk around and explore.

Most of our nights in Cabarete were spent at a club called LAX which had great music and drinks. Our group had a ton of fun there each night. I think we were all pretty sad to say goodbye to Cabarete. We had one last night back in Santo Domingo for our farewell dinner, which was bittersweet and perfect. It’s crazy how within such a short amount of time you can become great friends with people you’ve never know.

This trip really was perfect in so many different ways and I look forward to making my way back to the DR sometime in the future. Have you ever used a tour company to book trips? I’ve always had such a great experience with EF, so I’m curious what other people have gone through. What spots do I need to add to my next visit to the Dominican Republic?

Happy travels! 🙂

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Juan Martin taking the best group photos.

 

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