First things first, it’s a new year and I spent it in a hot climate! Woohoo! First time ever in my life I escaped the Canadian winter and spent New Years Eve outside my home country, so that was pretty cool.
My husband and I, along with his family went to Dominican Republic after Christmas for 12 days… but not the average 5 star all inclusive resort. We spent a lot of time with his family and extended family and visited 3 different cities, Santo Domingo, Punta Cana and Manabao (the country side)
I was hesitant at first on going because I knew we weren’t going to a luxury resort and it was going to be a much different experience than what I’m used to.
When we landed in La Romana we drove straight to Santo Domingo, where his father, great grandmother and great uncle live. We slept the night and the next morning we drove 3 hours to Manabao to visit his stepfathers family and to celebrate New Years Eve.
This part of the trip was actually the hardest for me, very different and uncomfortable but I managed to not throw myself off the mountain! It was a lot like camping and that’s not much of an interest for me.
This is the house everyone gathered together, ate and spent the day. It was a decent home, hot water, stove and some furniture. The house was always full of people and lots of kids, the kids were fun to be with.
We visited a river in the country side, it was a beautiful sight with extremely fresh, cold water!
After the first day, we were ready for bed and my husband took me down the path from the house to this abandoned looking shack and I just thought we were picking something up. To my surprise, this is where I would be sleeping! I almost died. I remember telling my husband I felt like I was in the Blair Witch Project; pitch black inside, very little lighting. I was scared to open up the doors without knowing what was behind them LOL!.
I was shook, I literally almost cried the first night, (LOL) because I was so uncomfortable and out of my element, but I sucked it up and never let go of my husband the entire night. It was concrete walls, floors and a sheet metal roof. We did have a semi-working bathroom and a small kitchen, just not what I’m used to.
I was ready to go after 3 days, I needed the city, I needed the beach. However, it was very peaceful and calm. I woke up to roosters every morning, had fresh organic coffee, homemade food, beautiful trees and mountains. They cook a lot pork, salami and Frito (my fav!); which is a typical breakfast. The organic fruits and veggies were also a nice change from the usual Canadian produce.
After 5 days, my husband and I were out! We left on our own back to the city, Santo Domingo. We took a greyhound bus; they offer these everywhere to get around the country. I instantly felt better when we arrived, busy streets, hotter weather and just more things to see and do.
In Santo Domingo we slept at my husbands’ great grandmothers house. Every morning after waking up we walked 2 houses down to his uncles home; his uncle lived there with his wife and daughter. They treated us very well, cooked us breakfast and coffee every morning and took us different places around the city. (I never knew where I was going, I was just told to “get up were leaving”). They didn’t speak any English, so my husband was a 24/7 translator for me.
While In Santo Domingo my husbands cousin took us within the city to eat and drink. I loved the freshly squeezed juices, you could get them anywhere!
Presidente beer was also more readily available than water! You could get it anywhere and everywhere in stores like this throughout the city.
We explored Old Dominican where we rode bikes around the city. This was a really fun experience, we saw churches and prisons from the 1500’s. I can’t even remember the last time I rode a bike!
The best part of our time in the city was Saona Island. Jaleel’s cousin took us on an excursion to a private island far from Santo Domingo. We took a beautiful 1 hour boat ride to this secluded beach where we could relax, swim and enjoy a lunch.
This island was AMAZING! Look at that water and sand, these pictures don’t do it justice.
Finally, after 10 days we made it to a resort! (crying tears of joy). This was the best decision all vacation, we were finally all alone; just us two and completely relaxed in my kind of environment. The resort was invaded with palm trees, white sand beach and most importantly a comfy bedroom! We stayed at The Occidental; very good choice, had lots of food options, late night food service and it was very clean.
We left for home on a very good note; relaxed and tanned! I was fortunate to meet my husband’s extended family; including his biological father for the first time! (they look nothing alike, btw).
I’ve been to Dominican Republic before but nothing like this. I was able to explore the county and see many things besides a resort. Travelling to foreign places makes you appreciate the quality of life you live at home and made me realize that I think I deserve an award for Wife of the Year, just sayin..
So, the biggest question…would I go back? Of course….. to a 5 star resort.
Let me know if you’ve ever visited Dominican the way I did or if you’re planning a visit in the near future! xo.