Are you planning to travel to the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean islands next summer? I would say that is a great idea as I had found out recently from my visit to that beautiful country.
Before you plan your travel you should know something about the country so that you can really enjoy the vacation. The Dominican Republic is located at the eastern side of the Caribbean island called Hispaniola and the capital of this beautiful country is Santo Domingo located on the Southern coast.
The English language is usually spoken in the major towns and tourist spots only. If you speak a bit of Spanish as I do, it would come in very handy as it is the language spoken by everybody around there. It was a great vacation for me and I had an exceptionally good time there with my wife.
Let us talk about the places that I liked the best. There are a large number of places to be seen in the Dominican Republic and I decided that the town of Puerto Plata on northern coast was the most interesting place to spend my vacation. This town has an international airport with most of the major airlines touching down here with tourists from all over the world.
Wind surfing, wakeboarding, kite surfing were the things which attracted a big part of the tourist trade here. The beaches were lovely and the scuba diving offered was also great. At the end of day the dinner on the beaches was simply ethereal.
The morning I arrived there, the first I did was a bit of scouting around town. The town is a one street affair with all the shops and establishments offering the various attractions on either side of the street. So I had no difficulty in planning my activities at all.
We wanted to start our vacation with scuba diving. The best place to go for a scuba dive was a place called Sosua. This place was about 20 minutes drive from Puerto Plata. We drove through the countryside enjoying the sights and sounds of nature that were typical to this part of the world.
The boat used by the operator was a comfortable one and we had no problems with it. The people were divided into small groups and the dives commenced. The apparatus provided by the dive shop was simply terrific and was suitable for all age groups. There were people who were not at all adept at swimming who wanted to go snorkeling. The instructors were such experts that even these people started feeling at home in a very short while. Both of us, me and my wife, thoroughly enjoyed the warm water and the reefs. The instructors helped us all the way and we had a perfect day.
The next place to visit on our itinerary was the Danajacua Cascades. These are a series of waterfalls, twenty seven to be precise, which has a beauty of its own. It took us about 25 minutes from Puerto Plata to reach this place. The place was simply marvelous. The charges depended on the number of falls you want to see. To see all the falls was not possible in a day. So we settled for seven falls as there was a lot of walking and climbing to be done.
We put on the life jackets and helmets which were mandatory and were included in the overall charges. We got some water shoes on rent and chose the sizes carefully so as not get immobilized by blisters on our feet. These water shoes helped us a great deal as the pathways were slippery and wet from the spray. At the end of another marvelous day we felt completely convinced that we had come to the correct place for our vacation though we were totally exhausted by the strenuous exercise.
Next day we visited Paradise Island and the mangrove on it. We rented a vehicle for this trip. We had to reach a fishing village and then take a boat to the island. We started quite early so that we could have the place to ourselves for some time before the other tourists turned up.
The journey by road to the fishing village took us almost an hour over some very bad roads full of potholes. On the way we passed a town where we had a coffee and a bathroom break. The coffee was really good but the bathroom facilities were a bit dismal.
Once we reached the village we got into the boats used for taking us to Paradise Island. We first entered the mangroves which are similar to the mangroves found in other parts of the world. We roamed about on the beach enjoying the scenery and the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean in front of us. The sun was quite hot and the sun lotion we were carrying was not strong enough to make us feel cool. So we decided to get into the water as fast as possible.
We had a few drinks and then put on our snorkeling equipment and life jackets. The tour guides and the diving instructors helped us feel comfortable. Though the currents are a bit strong for weak swimmers we managed to swim down to the reefs. We saw a large number of different brightly colored fishes in the clear waters. The fishes were so accustomed at seeing people that they approached us without fear. The tourist guides had brought some bread with them to be fed to the fishes. We were highly delighted to see the fishes nibbling at the bread pieces in our hands.
We finished our dives within a couple of hours and found that already the other tourists had arrived at the island and were getting ready to go snorkeling. We got into our boat and went back to the fishing village where a lovely lunch awaited us. We gorged ourselves on rice, salad and fried chicken and soon were on our way back to Puerto Plata.
On the fourth day of our stay at Puerto Plata we visited the Rancho Lorilar for excursions on horseback. As none of us had never ridden a horse before, we were a bit apprehensive at first. But as we were told that we could see a lot of greenery during the excursion we decided to give it a try. We were picked up from our hotel and taken to this ranch. It was a beautiful place with a lot of friendly people around. The horses were very well trained and we moved around the country side without any problems. There was always somebody to guide us around so that we missed nothing on our excursion. In between the two halves of the day we had a gorgeous dinner at the ranch. The lunch and the ride made us wish that we could stay here forever but it was not to be so.
The Ocean World Adventure Park with its marina and casino was the next attraction for us. This Adventure Park is located about three miles away from Puerto Plata on the Cofresi Beach. We were overjoyed to see the marine animals here. My wife was simply delighted to see and touch the dolphins and sea lions at the park. She had the experience of a lifetime by seeing sharks and other marine animals so close. We had lunch in the restaurant and spent some time at the casino. Overall it was another joyful day of our vacation spent in The Dominican Republic.
With the start of the sixth day we felt very crestfallen that our vacation was coming to an end and we had to go back to our daily lives. We had so many more things to see here that we promised to ourselves we would come back to this heavenly place again if we get another opportunity.