Monday, January 23, 2017

A Week in the Warm

I recently returned from a week's vacation in the Dominican Republic. January is a great time to get out of Michigan's winter and enjoy some Caribbean weather. (Here's some more pictures, besides those you see here.)
The beach in Costambar.
A group of guys I know make this trip nearly every year, and this is the third time I've joined them over the last decade or so. We spent a few days in each of three different areas: Costambar, Puerto Plata, and Sosua. Going with a group that's used to the trip makes things easy. I'm able to mostly leave the trip planning to others and enjoy the ride. Nice to have insider knowledge about good places to visit.
Food on the beach in Costambar.
Costambar is mostly an ex-pat community. There's a nice beach area that's not too crowded, since most of the tourists are elsewhere. Several local restaurants are run by folks from places like Germany and Italy. For the golf-inclined there's a local course, not that I made any use of it, but the paths around the outside of it made for a nice jogging route.
Big Lee's on the Malecon.
Puerto Plata and Sosua are much more tourist destinations. There are several all-inclusive resorts in the area. We weren't staying at those, but you see a lot of groups from them wandering around. In Puerto Plata, we took tours of a couple of local factories, Del Oro chocolate and Brugal rum. More good food, too. I particularly enjoyed visiting Big Lee's Beach Bar on the Malecon (roughly, "road along the ocean") - great fish and chips, and my friends knew Lee from years past so we hung out for a while and talked with him. And the main beach in Sosua is a big tourist attraction with a ton of small shops and food stalls, though I spent more time at the smaller Alicia Beach where it's not so crowded.
Ugly tourist by a beach sign in Sosua.
Streets and buildings are noticeably more run-down in most places in the Dominican Republic than we're used to here in the United States, and you have to be careful to drink bottled water. The traffic is pretty crazy - I certainly wouldn't want to drive myself around, so it's a good idea to make friends with a local cab driver. But those are fairly minor things to deal with, and it's pretty safe as long as you stay with a few friends and don't go wandering around in the dead of night or anything. And the cost is very reasonable - I spent less than $200 per day overall, including all the flight and lodging expenses. In a lot of places, you'll spend that on hotel alone.
Alicia Beach in Sosua.
Taking a trip down to the Caribbean makes a fine mid-winter break from the cold and snow. I'm not sure I'd ever want to move down there full-time like some of the ex-pats I met, but as a vacation spot the Dominican Republic is a fun place to visit.

No comments:

Post a Comment