Bayahibe, Dominican Republic
A treasure in the Caribbean and an excellent alternative to Punta Cana.
Ever since I visited Isla Saona (a fantastic island in the south of the Dominican Republic) for the first time, I had been curious to discover that area. So, when I arrived in Portugal, after another trip to Punta Cana, I did my homework and discovered two seaside resorts in that area, Bayahibe, and La Romana. In the end, I opted for Bayahibe, since La Romana is closer to the Chavón River mouth, and this means that in rainy seasons, there is the possibility of debris from the river reaching this location.
On July 18, 2016, we boarded around 3:15 p.m., and at 4:00 p.m. we were taking off towards Punta Cana airport. The flight was with Orbest, without much turbulence, and with reasonable room for the legs. The meals presented the expected quality since I already knew this company from other trips in previous years. Around midnight in Portugal, almost seven in the afternoon in the Dominican Republic, we finally landed without any problems.
We chose the Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus hotel as it seemed to be the best option in the area. We stayed in the block closest to the sea (block 7) and to the swimming pool and, consequently, the furthest away from the lobby and buffet. Although this didn't cause great inconvenience, since the hotel was quite small and it didn't take us more than 5 minutes from the room to the lobby (at the other side of the resort). At night, the walks after dinner were spectacular, as the gardens and pools were impressively illuminated, in perfect harmony with nature. Regarding the room, it was large and very nicely decorated.
Upon arrival at the hotel, still in the lobby, we were treated to a welcome cocktail and the friendliness of the staff. After check-in was completed, the bags were sent to the room and it was time for dinner. The buffet was varied and had a lot of quality compared to other resorts I've been to. By the end of the dinner, we were already getting tired, but we still went to take a look at the beach and only after that we went to get our well-deserved rest.
The first day started with soft rain that quickly stopped, so we decided to stay by the pool while my parents went to the usual meeting. To my astonishment, the pool was almost empty! And it wasn't because it was bad or anything else, because it was quite big and with a very nice structure, even having a small island in the middle of it. It also had a wet bar and the water temperature was ideal for refreshing.
As soon as my parents returned, we went straight to the beach, which is fantastic and much, much better than Punta Cana... Here we are in the Caribbean Sea with the white sand, the coconut trees, and the warm turquoise blue sea! In the middle of the beach, there was also a lighthouse (which I had already seen twice when passing by speedboat and catamaran towards Isla Saona), which served as a support bar and which gave the beach a certain beauty! Without any doubt, a Caribbean beach in every sense! We even realized why the pool was empty! Hundreds of baby turtles were being released and so the beach was full of people. But after an hour or so, everything was back to normal! We spent the rest of the morning enjoying the beach and in the afternoon we took the opportunity to take a dip in the pool and play ping-pong. In the evening, after a great family dinner at the buffet, we went to rest.
The next day, after a good breakfast, we walked a little to the right and explored the beach area until we reached some stalls, right by the sea, selling "recuerdos". Honestly, I love these places so typical of the Caribbean, full of color and things that symbolize the country itself. Negotiating prices is very important to not be deceived! The rest of the day was spent snorkeling on the beach, in the pool, in the jacuzzi, and playing a few games of ping-pong! At the end of the day, we decided to go for a night walk around the hotel and enjoy that tropical environment... Simply divine!
The next day I went to see the sunrise... It wasn't one of the prettiest I've ever seen, because the sun rises on land, but even so, it's always a unique moment to watch this phenomenon, especially in the Caribbean! Later, it was time to go snorkeling in the corals... (trick - always take some bread)...The variety of fish was spectacular and you could even see a moray eel... But I was in a good mood! Before lunch, there was still time to participate in several games provided by the animation, which was simply spectacular throughout my stay, very good mood, energy, and fun! From Boss Eliezer to Richard Gil, to Wendie Delgado (sorry for those whose names I've already forgotten)... All good people with very positive energy! We will definitely see you again!...
In the evening we decided to try the restaurant La Guleta (steakhouse), dishes with excellent presentation and very tasty meat. Nothing to point out!
The next day, after a photo session on the beach, we went for another walk, this time to the left side of the beach, towards some shacks. In front of the tents, the water was a magnificent blue... Almost unreal... The landscape was breathtaking! After some shopping, we returned to the hotel to enjoy the beach and once again have fun with the animation.
It was not the first time that we visited the Dominican Republic. And as such, we had already made several excursions, for example, we had already visited Cap Cana, the heights of Chavón, Isla Saona twice, Isla Catalinita, the national park of Los Haitises... but I still felt the lack of an essential part of this beautiful country, the countryside! I needed to know a little better about the daily life of that population and to visit the mountains.
So the next day we left around 8.00 a.m. from the hotel towards a sugar cane plantation. There are hundreds and hundreds of hectares full of sugar cane... The owners of the plantations are North American companies that export sugar produced here to the USA. Most of the population that works in these fields lives in small "pueblos" next to the plantations and is of Haitian origin. For each ton they collect, the workers only receive four to five dollars... a very low value for someone who works all day in the sun and in the middle of the fields with incredible temperature and humidity... The children ran after our bus asking for sweets... it is in these little things that sometimes we see how lucky we are... we continue on our way. We passed through a small typical village, like so many others, where we can see the typical Dominican butcher shop, meat being sold outdoors, Dominican fruit shop, fruit for sale scattered on the ground, motorcycles everywhere... with two, three, four, five passengers... What a mess - ahaha. After some time, we arrived at the tobacco factory... We were able to see how cigars are made by hand. We also went through a selection of typical drinks from both the Caribbean and the Dominican Republic, such as the famous Mamajuana (one-third rum, one-third of red wine, and one-third of honey). After that, we went for a ride on a (Dominican) horse... in a rural area. It looked like some horses were already automatic, but without buttons and they also looked more like ponies!! ahaha... After this beautiful experience, we followed a dirt road full of curves in the middle of the mountains. The greenery was incredible! Everything around us was painted in different shades of green. We then arrived at the house of Maria, a lady who currently uses her house and garden as a tourist spot. Even before entering, we were able to come into contact with cocoa and coffee beans (from the lady's garden) and we could smell the food that was on the fire... Then, upon entering, we immediately noticed the simplicity of the house and I remembered how much it must be scary to be in a place like that when hurricanes pass through there... In the backyard, we were shown various types of fruit on the trees, such as pineapple, coffee, and cocoa... And also how you can make powdered chocolate homemade from cocoa... And the method is approved (LOL)!! We were also able to try some products made on that farm! More natural was impossible! At the end of the visit, we followed the path through the middle of the jungle to the place where we went for lunch. Lunch, as expected, was very pleasant and in a typical environment from the interior of the island. This was followed by the Basilica de Higüey, (Basilica Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia). This Basilica is quite tall and imposing and the ladies have to cover their legs with skirts that they distribute at the entrance... After that, we returned to the hotel.
In the evening it was time to try the La Gueisha (Japanese) restaurant. The initial show was very good and it was worth it only for that! Unfortunately, we chose the main course wrong, since none of us ate what the chef prepared on the grill... Lack of experience!! But even so, the dishes were very well prepared.
In the end, we went for a cocktail in the lobby.
The next day, more of the same, because life here is very hard... Beach, animation, and much, much rest! In the buffet dinners, in addition to the quality and variety, there were three or four times free lobster for fans. I would also like to highlight the friendliness of one of the cooks, António, who chatted with me every day and served me some divine shrimp.
On the 25th, we decided to spend the morning in a big photo session, snorkeling, and playing games on the beach. In the afternoon we enjoyed the pool (we usually went to the beach in the morning and the pool in the afternoon, because the animation was very strong in the morning at the beach and in the afternoon at the pool).
The next day would be just another normal day of rest if it weren't for the afternoon foam party at the pool! Amazing! Lots of fun, music, and joy... In fact, the animation deserved our congratulations. After a lot of fun, there was still time for a few more swims on that fantastic beach, and some games of ping-pong and basketball. On the last night, contrary to what happened throughout our stay, there was a queue to enter the buffet and there was a lot of confusion... Everyone wanted to get ahead... An unnecessary situation, but everything was resolved with professionalism of Carlos.
On the last day was the farewell. It was time to say goodbye to everyone. I got up very early to go see the sunrise and then I went for the last swims, to participate in the last games on the beach after lunch there we headed towards the Punta Cana airport. After an 8-hour flight (almost always sleeping - ahaha) we were back home a little tired and already wishing we could return soon. See you soon Eliezer!
*The pictures are taken by me and do not present any type of edition.