A Travellerspoint blog

Isla Saona

catamaran tanning, free rum, and a speed boat ride!

sunny 30 °C

As I wrote earlier, Billy runs a tour company where he takes people to see the different parts of the Dominican Republic for a better price than most other tour companies. The thing about the Dominican Republic that drives me nuts is the high amount of tourism and the fact everyone is out to exploit each other. Obviously everyone needs to make a living, but the taxi fare of $50 from the airport to the city is not fair – and Billy does it for $25 -$30 a run and still makes a little money from it! $50USD here is a lot of money, it can buy gas and groceries for two people for a week - and still leave some money left over.

Anyway, so one of Billy’s tours is to go out to some of the islands off the coast of the main island. We had been arranging to go for a few weeks and organising the people – organising Latinos is a career in itself I swear! The day finally came, and I was super excited because Arjan, Nicolas, and Johanna had decided to come down and go to the island with us!

Snail had come down with them from Cabarete as he needed to catch a flight to Amsterdam to surprise his mother for her 60th birthday. It was really cool because they came the day before the tour, so Billy took us all on an amazing adventure around Santo Domingo to see some of the sights of the old city.
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We also went to see the monument; el faro de Colon, that was created for Christopher Columbus as the island of Hispaniola (the island that is half Haiti and half Dominican Republic) was the first place he landed on his discovery. The monument was a very strange place, full of inscriptions and shaped as a cross as it was also commemorating the first missionaries who came to spread Christianity at the same time of the discovery.
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We went to a place called tres ojos, another area which was used during Jurassic Park filming. This place was a fresh waterhole that collapsed during an earthquake to create 3 different areas (tres ojos/ three eyes) for bathing. However, swimming is no longer allowed due to the Dominican’s inability to keep anything clean and trash free (sorry if my frustrations are becoming more and more apparent, but I have never in my LIFE seen such utter disregard for the environment as I do on this island). But even though we couldn’t throw ourselves into the fresh, cool, and inviting blue water, it was an amazing place to visit.
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Especially as Billy could tell us all about the history of the caves; when the Spanish were invading, they were raping and hurting many of the indigenous women. The native tribesmen would hide their women and children inside the caves because it was nice and cool, safe and protected, and there was fresh water for bathing and drinking.
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The following day we had to get up really early so we could pick up all of the other tour participants and drive across the island to where we were going to catch the boat from in a small hippy town called Bayahibe.
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We had to wait in Bayahibe for a long time as there were a LOT of people booked through other tour companies. Finally it was our time to board the little speed boat which we all presumed we were taking straight over to the island…But no, it delivered us to a giant catamaran that was pumping music and serving free rum!
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Oh it was bliss, we sailed across the water for at least 2 hours under the hot shining sun with the wind in our hair and rum in our hands…
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We danced on the boat and joined the party for a while, but mostly sat up the front on one of the giant nets that brought back many fond memories of the giant hammock in Colombia. It was really cool to look down and watch the Caribbean underneath us.
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Billy even tanned his hands and feet a little bit
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When we got to the island we had a buffet lunch and sat on the sand to eat it. There was an open bar on the island so the rum drinking continued…
We wandered off with a rum bottle in hand (sneakily pinched from the free bar along with a bottle of coke) and found a secluded part of the island to tan, swim, and enjoy the amazing view.
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We ended up staying on the island for sunset, which was magnificent. There are not many places I have seen the sun set into the sea in the Dominican Republic because the west coast is Haiti.
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We were on the last speedboat back to the mainland, after a minor problem with an oil shortage we were speedily on our way back!
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By the time we made it back to Santo Domingo after the long drive and delivery of everyone on the tour it was quite late and the hangovers had started to kick in. I feel so lucky that I got to go on one of Billy’s tours and I can’t wait to go on the next one – maybe to another island, my island; Isla Catalina!
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Posted by chasingsummer 16:10 Archived in Dominican Republic

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