Happy friday, and welcome back to our blog! For those of you who are dreaming of summer like us, we’re coming at ya with a little throwback to some warmer and happier times.
Last summer we traveled to the Dominican Republic along with another friend. We traveled with a teen service/vacation program called Rustic Pathways, which has trips in almost every category all around the world. We had a generally very good experience with Rustic Pathways, and it’s a great way to get involved in local communities, and to learn more about the countries culture and nature than you possibly could on your own. Our one complaint was that we both like to be able to explore foreign countries in depth, and one of our favorite parts of travel is spontaneous adventures. With an organized trip, this is a little more difficult, as there is a set itinerary. However, the service exposure was incredibly, and overall I would recommend the program.
This was both of our first times in the DR, and were amazed at how beautiful it is. We visited 3 places in the Dominican; Santa Domingo, Jarabacoba, and Sosua. We were impressed by all 3 places, and decided outline what we most highly recommended in each location.
Our first day in the Dominican, we arrived prior to the start of our Rustic Pathways trip, and hence had a day to kill exploring Santo Domingo. However, this ended up being among our best days of the whole trip, and we were super happy we decided to go early. We drove about a half hour into Playa de Bocachica, which is a stunning beach on the outskirts of central Santo Domingo.
This beach is definitely more of a local beach, and while it isn’t deserted and tranquil, you really get a feel for Dominican life, and the vibes are a ton of fun. We accessed the beach through an adorable hotel (super sorry but we couldn’t find the name). The street itself is nice enough, although we were warned to not walk alone through the neighborhood. However, nothing in the area remotely compared to the beach, which is a few miles of golden sands, palm trees. turquoise water, and Dominican music playing everywhere you go. The beach is also surrounded by a reef, and so it’s no deeper than 4 feet no matter how far you go. And I didn’t even mention the banana boating around the mangrove cove, which I think is self explanatorily amazing.
Our second location on the trip was Jarabacoba. Jarabacoba is a gorgeous area in the mountains of the Dominican Republic, and the location of most of our service work. While I’m sure there are things to do on your own in Jarabacoba, I would recommend finding some way to get involved in the local communities, as this was an amazing experience for us, and there are so many ways to make a difference in the local communities. We spent a day building a black water treatment plant for river water at an ecological college in the area. We also spent a day working on building an aqueduct, and a day running a camp for local children. Both our personal favorites was the kids camp, as the kids were all adorable and so fun to work with, and it was incredibly rewarding to see how happy they were to be at camp. The nature in Jarabacoba is beautiful as well, and we spent a day white water rafting (I only fell out 3 times), and an afternoon at a breathtaking waterfall.
Our final location in the Dominican Republic was Sosúa; a chill beach town on the Northern coast. Unfortunately, we only has one night in Sosúa, but we loved every second of it. We stayed in the Peirgiorgio Hotel, which is genuinely on my list of most beautiful places I’ve ever been. While the interior of the hotel is completely fine, the outside is beyond belief. Picture marble terraces with balconies and towers extended over cliffs and turquoise water. We also found a little secret staircase carved into one of the cliffs that led to the water, and if you want, you can swim right of the rocks at the bottom of the stairs. I’m not even going to try to describe the sunset, as I think it’s a “you have to see it to believe it” kinda thing. Piergiorgio Hotel is about $75 per night, which is an insane deal given the experience that you’re guaranteed to have.
Our day in Sosúa was mainly spent at Sosúa Beach, which consists of more golden sand, turquoise water, and some great opportunities for cliff jumping. If you can tear yourself away from the beach, it might be worth it to grab some ridiculously good pizza at the little restaurant on top of one of the cliffs. You can also get some insanely cool braids done at a little shop about 5 minutes from the beach.
Overall we had an amazing experience in an amazing country, and we both hope to go back some day. We both love traveling and adventure, so hopefully we’ll be back with more posts of new destinations soon.
-Iman & Chloe