Dominican Sunshine: Trip to Punta Cana

I bundled up my 2 ninos and flew to the DR for sun, the beach, and to experience the amazing, warm people.  

I remember reading that memories families build from traveling are those they carry with them throughout their entire lives.  Just in looking back from the trips I took my kiddos on, I find this to be true.  

It’s also said that travel is the one thing you spend money on that makes you richer.  Again, I couldn’t agree more.  My one regret with this trip was that we couldn’t stay longer.  

I also wanted to instill a thirst and desire in my children for travel, for different cultures, and other languages.  I may not be able to provide a full-time cultural language immersion but, I can instill a love for language.

Charming and colorful house in the countryside.

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.   Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I myself found that just hearing the basics of Spanish which I know that I know but don’t practice day-to-day felt these words seep into my poor just like the warm sun.  

Great things to do in the Dominican?  Anything you d*$m well please.  That’s island life.  Let the bachata, salsa and reggeton lead the way.  

Things to try and do in the Dominican:

  • Coffee  

I’m not sure what it is about the coffee but it’s rich, dark and tastes as if it holds mysteries in it like the mountains from which is was grown and if I can just drink enough, I might just get a glimps of them.

  • Chocolate  

Take a drive into the countryside and you’ll see scores of cocoa trees and the cocoa pods. Inside are white, slimy beans that taste like organic sweet tarts. But, these precious seeds dry to become rich chocolate.

Cocoa trees growing on the side of the road.
The white pod-like seeds are the cocoa seeds.

  • Explore the vast network of caves  

Many of the caves were used by the Taino Indians who were brutally and furiously sly murdered tin to oblivion by the Spanish.  But stepping inside them feels like a time warp into history.  Other caves were used to house rum and some have pools of water perfect for a lovely swim.

People can swim in this cave.
The locals said that the Taino Indians inhabited this cave before the Spanish came.

  • Ocean and beaches  

Of course  you can’t travel to the Dominican without visiting the ocean and its almost 800 miles of beaches.  In Punta Cana, be sure to check out the Macao beach with its white sand.  Bavaro beach is equally spectacular.

Surfer hit at Bavaro beach.
  • Mamajuana 

This is the local specialty said to cure everything.  Forget aspirin.  It’s a rum infused with herbs and tree bark.  The locals add it to red wine and honey, let it set for 4 days and then drink.  I liken the taste as a combination of caugh syrup and mulled wine.  

The Dominicans really love mamajuana
  • Activities galore 

Dominican is a perfect place for sun worshippers (for those still who do such a thing), beach bunnies, and adventurers.  What’s your poison?: parasailing, SCUBA, dune buggy rides through the jungle, rafting, horseback riding, kayaking, snorkeling, visiting monkey sanctuaries, zip lining?  The list goes on.  

I will caution you that the Dominican offers many “swim with the dolphin” excursions.  While many of these companies listed sponsor community programs like schools and desperately appreciate your dollars, please remember that dolphins are best enjoyed in their free habitat and responsible, global citizens put their dollars where their conscience is.  Don’t take my word for it, check out End Captivity for more information.

  • Visit Santa Domingo including Diego Colon’s Palace, the Cathedral Primada, the Fortaleza and more.  

At the end of the day when I’m lying in my bed, all the words and sounds I heard and phrases I’ve rehearsed pop up in my mind like balloons rising into the clouds-vamos, quieramos un taxi por favor, y tu tambien, and so on.  

They are mixed with the sachets and sings of the island’s music and I am finally lulled to sleep in a Latin Caribbean dream.  

Rainbow after an afternoon shower.
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One thought on “Dominican Sunshine: Trip to Punta Cana

  1. beautiful rich imagry, and as a lover of coffee this quote almost made me feel like I would unlock mysteries of the world if I drank it! lol…”dark and tastes as if it holds mysteries in it like the mountains from which is was grown and if I can just drink enough, I might just get a glimps of them.”… wonderful wording and I really want a cup of that coffee now!

    Your writing is great! A great example of how someone can paint a picture and make you want to visit a place with words. The DR didnt really appeal to me as much as other islands but your post has swayed me!

    Liked by 1 person

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