This is a two-week itinerary for the Dominican Republic, including visits to Cabarete, Samana, Jarabacoa, and Santo Domingo.
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Dominican Republic14 days / January 2017
Highs & Lows
Tubing down the Rio Yaque del Norte
Tours in Ciudad Colonial were not inclusive of African and Indigenous history
For two weeks in January 2017, I decided to travel to the most popular responsible tourism destinations in the Dominican Republic. After landing in the capital of Santo Domingo, I spent a day wandering through the historic neighborhood of Ciudad Colonial. Ciudad Colonial is a great place to spend an afternoon walking among colonial buildings, pleasant parks, and lively restaurants.
From Santo Domingo I took a shared car to the scenic mountain town Jarabacoa. Famous for its cool temperature, pine forests, coffee plantations, and extensive river systems, Jarabacoa is known locally as the town of “eternal spring”. Here I decided to tube down the Rio Yaque del Norte and swim in the region’s natural wading pools.
From Jarabacoa I headed to Cabarete, the adventure sport capital of the Dominican Republic.
I spent time in Cabarete snorkelling by an extensive coral reef shelf and exploring caves in El Choco National Park. The breezy beach is also a great place to take windsurfing lessons with a local guide.
Finally, I ended my two week stay in Samana, a charming town surrounded by some of the country’s most beautiful natural landscapes. I finished my two week trip by swimming in the picturesque waterfall of El Limon and whale watching with local biologists. Overall, a wonderful experience!
Q & A
What would you have changed?
I would have enjoyed spending more time in Samana and less time in Cabarete. Samana offered a much quieter and eco-conscious tourism experience. Although Cabarete is a fun place with lots of nightlife, it is starting to show signs of over tourism and pollution.
How was the food?
Food varied widely throughout the trip depending on price point and location. For inexpensive meals, traditional rice, beans, and fish (near the coast) was a popular option. Restaurants in Jarabacoa were focused on fine dining and offered a variety of European and fusion cuisine.
In most areas of the Dominican Republic the weather is hot and humid. I wore loose dresses for the majority of my trip. In Jarabacoa I would recommend multiple layers, as the weather is quite chilly at night and when hiking at a high altitude.
Although I enjoyed walking around Ciudad Colonial in Santo Domingo, I was disappointed that museums, landmarks, and other tourist attractions focused only on European history in the country. I would have liked to learn more about the indigenous populations that lived on the island prior to Spaniard arrival, as well as the inclusion of African descendants, who have played a tremendous role in shaping the identity of the Dominican Republic today.
I chose to stay at boutique hotels in Cabarete, Santo Domingo, and Samana which I found through booking.com. In Jarabacoa I stayed at an ecolodge which was recommended to me by a friend.