After two jam packed days of serving in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, on our Sensabugh “Missionmoon” Mission Trip, we were awarded one day of fun to take in the beauty of the country! Our group did so in style in a fleet of ATV’s and Dune Buggies!
We drove the rolling hills through the neighborhoods of those we served, to the crystal blue ocean but the coolest stop was at a secluded watering hole for locals!
I started out in a Dune Buggy, but it, like all the rest in our fleet, broke down mid trip. The ATV’s were definitely the better choice! Going through the rural dirt roads made it hard to dodge the piles of poo, and being so low to the ground in the Dune Buggy made for one fragrant trip. I did a good job of dodging the doo-doo – until my Dune Buggy broke down and I needed to be pushed by an ATV – which pushed me right through a pile of poo! Just Awful! I was happy to have to switch to an ATV after my Dune Buggy refused to start!
This tour was a great way to see all parts of the Dominican Republic!
After our tour, we headed to the market for some Dominican style shopping – yes, poo covered and all – ugh! The Dominican Republic has a few things they are known for that we had to take advantage of…
Vanilla – Fresh made Vanilla is super fresh and super cheap here!
Mama Juana – A drink and aphrodisiac – this was Patrick’s souvenir 😉 It comes as a bottle of tree bark and herbs. When you get home, you mix rum, red wine and honey into it allowing it to soak into the bark.
Larimar – A pale turquoise stone which is only found in the Dominican Republic is very popular sale item. Look for a “Happy Hour Ring” – a ring that flips and switches stones – it was pretty unique!
Dominos – This game is the National Pastime of the Dominican Republic!
Cinnamon – Fresh cinnamon sticks are harvested and sold here.
The shop owners were very persuasive, offering extra goodies and discounts to buy from them! This is definitely an area where bargaining is accepted which always makes for a fun shopping trip 🙂
The Dominican Republic is probably best known for it’s affordable, all-inclusive resorts. We stayed at one of them, the Lifestyles Tropical. This was kinda tough – we knew we were there to serve, but our selfish side wanted to indulge in all the included drinks, scenic pools and the breathtaking beaches. It was sometimes hard to keep in mind that we were staying at the resort purely for safety reasons! Doing so provided us with a safe place to stay, safely prepared food and drinkable water at a really affordable price.
After our ATV tour, we had some free time to enjoy the resort before our final dinner. Myself and Sandra, Dominique’s mom, and my roommate, decided to beat the heat and check out the spa! After Sandra’s impeccable bargaining we indulged in a discounted massage, which included access to a private hot tub, steam room and sauna, with freshly prepared fruit smoothies! I mean, I think we earned it 😉
The next morning, we had the option of waking up early and heading to Teleferico, which is one of 3 Christ The Redeemer statues in the world! Being that Christ The Redeemer in Rio de Janerio is the TOP thing to see on my bucket list, I needed to surpass sleep and make the trip!
We rode the funicular up the mountain and experienced beautiful views all around us, but my favorite of course was the statue at the top!
They had some amazing guides at the top who were so helpful in taking the coolest photos!
Under the statue were some shops that were very much so like the shops we went to the day prior.
While at the top I spotted a GIANT beetle – ahhh! Fellow traveler, Matty, was brave enough to pick it up and freak us all out with it!
Some of the group got together for a photo before heading out. How fun is this?!
It was such a pleasure working hard and playing hard with this group! Nobody else can say they experienced exactly what all of us did together and that is pretty darned special and will bind us together for life! Until next year, new friends!
Be Blessed + Be A Blessing
TIPS FOR VISITING PUERTO PLATA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
In late June, it’s hotter than hot! It was unlike any other heat I’ve experienced! Load up on the water and sunblock!
Like most other foreign countries, don’t drink the water! Always carry bottled water with you.
Zika Virus is pretty prevalent here, load up on DEET heavy bug spray. Prior to this trip, I hadn’t known that you can find 100% DEET sprays. I got mine at Dick’s Sporting Goods.
We had one meal off of the resort, and it was downright delicious! Can I highly suggest a visit to Las Palmas?! I had the lasagna and it was so on point! My roommate had a steak and dubbed it the best of her life! The prices were just as good to! The Address to this deliciousness is…Av. Luis Ginebra, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic
Currency in the Dominican Republic is the Peso…I found that the markets all took U.S. currency as well though.
The language in the Dominican Republic is either Spanish or Creole depending on if the person is Dominican or Haitian. There is some discontentment between Dominicans and Haitians that one should probably be aware of before visiting. I was not aware and found myself in an uncomfortable conversation not knowing what was acceptable to ask or say without offending. I had wished I’d read this article prior. Rule of thumb, darker skinned people are Haitian, while lighter skinned people are Dominican.
Some of my favorite Dominican Foods to try: Tostones (fried plantains), Yuka (I had it fried…this comes from the plant, which I happen to have in my back yard!) Rice Pudding (I had no clue this favorite of mine is considered a Dominican food!)