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Cabarete, Dominican Republic

by christina.kronstal on January 26th, 2012
Monument

Monument

Our road trip from Santo Domingo to Cabarete started with a full history of the Dominican Republic given by our friend, Armando.

Viewpoint in Santiago

Viewpoint in Santiago

Veronica, another friend of Armando’s who is actually from Quebec, but studying in Chile also joined us and put in corrections about names/dates, since she is a Latin American studies student, trying to earn her Masters Degree. It was an educational ride and the first three hours flew by – before we knew it, we found ourselves in at our rest stop, Santiago, the island’s 2nd largest city next to Santo Domingo.

Carnival Costumes

Carnival Costumes

We took a tour up through their large monument, which can not be missed since the main highway seems to go right passed it – and learned a few more interesting facts about Dominican history, but truth be told, we probably at the best in-depth study in the car. There were several levels of paintings and murals, all depicting important historical events and the top level displayed some of the crazy costumes that the locals wear for Carnival. Armando explained to us that these costumed men would run around and smack people’s butts with their pillows, and it’s a huge game to try to taunt and run away from these folks.

Santiago Monument

Santiago Monument

After our tour, we ate at a nearby restaurant and relaxed for a bit before pressing on to Cabarete. We hadn’t made any reservations beforehand, but Armando got us a pretty good deal with a hotel just 3 km outside of town and surprisingly enough, turned out to be right next door to the hotel that Dan & I would be checking into for the rest of the week. We washed up and napped before heading out for dinner around 9:30pm.

Dinner with Armando & Veronica

Dinner with Armando & Veronica

Armando took us to the main beach strip, which was exactly like Boracay. The bars and restaurants lined the beach and offered all kinds of local and international cuisine. We settled under the white canopy of a restaurant and made ourselves comfortable on the soft lounge chairs.

Hip shaking lesson

Hip shaking lesson

By the time we finished dinner, the music from the nearby bars seemed to increase in volume and so we joined the crowd and made sure we had either beer or rum in coke in hand.

Dancing the Bachata

Dancing the Bachata

Dan even got a quick hip-shaking lesson from Armando. The clubs’ music filled the air with bachata, salsa, merengue, reggae and reggatone. We all had a great time and stayed out until 3am.

The next morning we woke up bright and early (by our standards) at 9:30am and headed south to 27 Los Charcos. We were unsure of how the weather would be up in the mountains and if the river would be cold, but we were willing to find out. When we got there, we suited up in our lifejackets, shoes and helmets and followed our guide, Chico, through the forest. After crossing several streams, we finally got to the bottom pool – so we jumped in and started swimming towards the first waterfall. Luckily we only did 7 of the 27 waterfalls, because I quickly realized at how unfit and how bad of a swimmer I was. At one point I wasn’t moving as I swam with all my might against the current of one of the waterfalls. And then once you get to the bottom of the falls, then you are heaved over with the help of the guides. While the climb up was exhausting the ride down was pretty exciting. Once we got to the top of the 7th waterfall, we turned back around and this time slid (or jumped down) the waterfalls. It was a pretty sweet experience and I’d probably do something that like that again (but only after working out the arms and buffing up on my swimming). :) After our excursion, we said goodbye to Armando and Veronica, and we headed back up to Cabarete via what they call ‘gua guas’ down here, which are basically local transport vans packed with as many people as possible.

Kite surfers

Kite surfers

The rest of the week was spent hanging out our hotel, Kite Beach Hotel, while admiring the dozens of the kite surfers bombing down the water and taking jumps. Every now and then we would walk into town, a 45 minute casual walk down the beach, and just hang out in the numerous restaurants. While we had some good weather, it was mainly overcast until our last day in Cabarete – go figure, but that didn’t matter much, since I was excited to start heading back down to Santo Domingo and to get over to Punta Cana.

Our bus ride down was comfortable enough and Armando and his family were extremely generous and had us stay at their beautiful home for the night. We went out for dinner at a nearby fusion restaurant and Armando had¬†clandestinely¬†asked the wait staff to sing “Happy Birthday” to me when it hit midnight. We were pretty tired from travelling that day and knew we had to catch a 10am bus the following morning, so we called it a night. The following morning we said our goodbyes to Armando and his family and hopped on our bus to Punta Cana – finally!

One Comment
  1. Mom and Dad E. permalink

    I’m intrigued about the story behind the butt smacking…..
    Dominican Republic seems to be a cool place to visit!

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