My trip to Paradise
01 . 21 . 14
First, I want to thank everyone who send kind emails and left comments regarding my beauty post. I’m still trying to get through all the emails so if it takes me a few days to reply, please forgive me. I think most of you completely understood why I wrote that post but a few of you suggested that I ignore negative comments and rude people. You don’t change things by ignoring them. If my post causes even one person to think before they criticize another person’s looks, then I will have done my job.
Second, I wasn’t quite sure how to follow up that post so I thought why not focus on the natural beauty of the Dominican Republic. A lot of you were asking me for advice and details of my trip and since it’s currently snowing again, I figured there was no better time than the present. I’m sure a few of you are going to need a warm weather escape soon!
The best part of the Dominican Republic is the weather.
Jet Blue and other carries fly into three airports close to the Hotel La Catalina on the North Shore where I stayed. I found that flying into Puerto Plata was half as expensive as flying into the closer airport of Samana. The hotel can arrange a car to pick you up and it was about $100 each way to the airport and they can add it to your hotel bill. I recommend tipping your driver $20. Everything else on the island is very inexpensive though. On my next trip, I might fly into the capital of Santo Domingo to see the old city which is also where Christopher Columbus first landed. A lot of you visit Punta Cana so this might be a fun side trip too.
Hotel La Catalina is a small hotel near Cabrera that has a hotel side where I stayed that has only 12 rooms and also a condo side. It’s perched on the cliff so you do not have direct beach access but the Playa Grande beach is very close and every room has a view of the ocean.
This was my hotel room that had a balcony too. I plan to rent one of the condos on the other side of the property next time that include living rooms and kitchens too.
I realized that I didn’t take too many interior photos of the hotel because I was always focused on the gorgeous ocean view. The reception, restaurant and bar, are located in a building in the middle of the property which I jokingly called the Club House. It has wifi too.
What I loved most about Hotel La Catalina was the landscaping. The property was insanely beautiful and relaxing.
There are two pools and this one was on the hotel side. The umbrellas were made from old satellite dishes.
This is Reggae who belongs to Sue who works at the front desk. The island cats help keep critters at bay. I will warn you that I found a little lizard in my room but they eat the bugs so try not to freak out if you see one.
More pretty flowers.
It did rain a little each morning but it always blew over quickly. And you can’t see a rainbow without a little rain. There is a really nice tennis court on the property too.
Even more pretty flowers.
Everywhere I looked was picture post card perfect.
I have no idea what this was but it was amazingly large!
The hotel has a garden on the property where they grow fruits and vegetables for the restaurant. It is not safe to drink the water and you will be offered bottled or filtered water and ice cubes. You should be careful off the property though. Some places will wash fruits and vegetables with tap water which could make you sick. Anything broiled, baked or fried will kill any potentially harmful microbs.
The walkway to the condo side of the property.
The pool on the condo side of the property.
The hotel had been owned previously by a French Canadian so it attracts a lot of French people. They speak some English and French on the island but mostly Spanish so I highly suggest brushing up on some basic phrases before you visit. I downloaded a Spanish translation app so I could look up words too.
One of the pretty condos.
More amazing landscaping.
The natural beauty of the Dominican Republic is breathtaking. We took a little walk to see where the local surf spot at La Presiosa. It involves a walk through the jungle and down the cliff to surf so I’m not sure I recommend it for everyone. You can also paddle over from the beach too.
I mean how pretty is this?!
At some places, you might be one of the only people on the beach.
You can take surf lessons at Playa Grande.
You can also rent beach lounge chairs or a table and chairs to order lunch . Or just take a siesta in the sand.
The Dominican Republic is a third world country and many residents are very poor. But there is a beauty in the simplicity of their homes and lives. This trip reminded me that some people can be very happy with a lot less stuff.
A pretty little house up the mountain.
The people of the Dominican Republic are very beautiful too. There was something so striking about this man and his machete that I asked if I could take his photo. I didn’t realize Banca was the lottery. Because it is such a poor country, I recommend tipping generously.
A humble church.
The coconut palm trees are really beautiful too.
We also visited a very undisturbed area popular with the locals called La Entrada. There are little “restaurants” where you can order food and drinks and also rent tables.
Parrot fish before being cooked. They are served in a traditional style with white rice, fried plantains, and avocado. I also drank a lot Presidente Light beer which is available everywhere.
I was surprised not to see any hotels in the La Entrada area but I was told it might be because of the wind.
Dogs are everywhere on the island but I was warned not to touch them because they most likely have fleas. They won’t really bother you and you can always shoo them away if they get too close.
La Entrada means the entrance.
The Dominican Republic is even beautiful as evening arrives. It did get a little cool at night so you might want to pack some white jeans and long sleeve tops. During the day I just wore a bathing suit and cover up. Please note that for some reason you can’t carry on an umbrella or seashells in your suitcase. You also have to pay $10 to enter the country so you should have some cash ready. They will take American dollars. The hotel will also charge you in American dollars so you won’t have to pay a conversion fee from your bank and they also exchange money. Everyone at the Hotel La Catalina could not be nicer or more helpful for anything you might need during your stay.
If you’re looking for a beautiful place to escape the cold and snow, I highly recommend the Dominican Republic. I know I can’t wait to go back!
All photo taken on iPhone 5 by me.