Category Archives: Dominican Republic

Saona, island in the stream

When you want a perfect beach, local colour and grilled lobster sometimes you just get lucky!

After my round the island tour of the Dominican Republic I was hankering for a dip in the ocean however I still wanted to see some real DR. I was very fortunate to get a place on board Seavis Tours Eco adventure tour of Saona Island, set in a national park to the south east of the island as well as get in some wreck diving nearby.

Once again I found myself in Bayahibe, this time ensconced in the main hotel there. Being out of season (my favourite time to travel) I was able to get a deal for five nights at half the regular rate. If you travel as a couple here it can work out much cheaper as you often pay for the room and solo travellers feel the pinch a little more.

the telephone tree

With so many great things to do here and running out of time I opted for the dive first and booked once again with Ingrid at Scubafun Divers in the village. For those interested in great scuba diving or equally learning to dive I think that this part of the DR offers some great diving, little current, good corals and plenty of wildlife. I was keen to dive the St George wreck and was not disappointed, plenty of room for exploration and a little penetration, good depth and enough time on the wreck to have fun without worrying too much about air consumption. We finished the day off with a reef dive, plenty of light and colour with abundant fish, I was feeling hungry already!
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Packed in, not packaged – travelling around the Dominican Republic

Being a regular tourist can be an altogether easy task; everything can be laid on for you, all inclusive, gated living, clean beaches and no hassle from the locals. What is missing for many is the interaction with the daily life of the host country and the feeling that, for all intents and purposes, one could be anywhere in the world.

I had chosen the Dominican Republic, referred to as the DR, as an extremely last minute trip and had magnificently underprepared, getting a guidebook at the departure gate. In a previous article I talked about getting last minute tickets and the joys of local transportation. In this story I want to talk about the country in general and the opportunities for an independent traveller in the land of the package tour dollar.

bag and bike in the dr

First of all do not be put off by the lack of hostels and pre bookable budget accommodation, with most visitors taking the all inclusive options it is relatively simple, in all but high season, to get a bed for the night at a reasonable price. Secondly cast away all doubts on how to get around, the transport system is designed to get almost everyone and anything anywhere although not usually at night!
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Dominican Republic: Last minute first glance

Travelling at the last minute can be stressful, there are many things to think about and getting all your ducks in a row can be problematic, remembering to turn off the gas may be the least of your worries. For excitement and adventure however, it is a great way to travel; not knowing your final destination until just a few hours before gives a totally different tension to the normal pre travel concerns.

I knew I was going to leave these last few days and potential destinations ranged from the extremes of Northern Scandinavia to the deserts of Arabia. As it turned out the best flight deal by far for my travel dollar was to be Punta Cana, the all inclusive destination, par excellence, of the Dominican Republic or DR as it is frequently referred to. A destination so imbued with the closed resort mentality I had not seriously considered it for independent travel before.

well maintained guagua

I had booked the ticket from London at an incredible bargain price of $300 USD (including tax and baggage) just sixteen hours before takeoff and scrambled to find a guidebook and some idea of where I should end up on the first night at least. In these situations the Internet is a must have resource. Trawling forums such as the Thorntree and DR1 I was able to latch on to the small village of Bayahibe as my primary focus for the first few nights. It seemed more tuned to independent travellers and looked to have a relaxed, laid back beach vibe as I could hope to find on short notice.
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