Dominican Republic Lowcost II

We left Macao at 7 and wanted to be in Juan Dolio beach at 11.

Because there was no direct bus to Juan Dolio, we needed to go to Higuey and take another bus from there. This was the very first time we were given regular price. The ticket cost 90 pesos per person, which was 2 dollars. And it was billion times further than the airport.

In Higuey, we were supposed to take another bus to San Pedro and from there to Juan Dolio. What a suprise when there was a bus driver claiming he will take us directly to Juan Dolio. I knew we needed to get off by the traffic lights in Juan Dolio, and he assured me couple of times that his bus is the right one and he will stop where I need. This was not small local bus as previous one, this one was big, regular, long distance air conditioned bus. So we were happy to be delivered directly to Juan Dolio. Everything went smooth that morning.

Until we stopped at highway and the „ticket boy“ (you do not buy the ticket at the driver, but the employee collects the money during the journey) pointed at us and said, this is it, get off. I was instantly panicked what is going on, this was definetely NOT our stop, we were at the middle of the highway! I was getting pissed of quickly when the bus left. But the ticket boy stayed with us, we crossed the highway together and a moment later he stopped the first bus passing by. At the highway. Just so. He handed us over and we left him at the highway. Well, this was new experience for us. We arrived exactly where we were supposed to and easily found our next stay. It was 11 o’clock. Not bad at all!

Juan Dolio

We could be be easily on the beach in couple of minutes, but there was no employee to be found. We tried to call the host and tell her we are here and ready to check in. This was the time when we found out we are not able to make any phone calls. We could receive the calls, text messages, but that was it. So we waited until someone came eventually and checked us in.

We had a tiny room with private bathroom and shared kitchennette. We threw our bags on the floor and hurried to see the beach. It was maybe 200 metres away. But first we needed to find some restaurant, because we were starving. We already knew we need to pass the typical restaurants for turists and go further from the beach. There should be what we were looking for, local food for local people. We left behind all the Italian, American, French restaurants  for the rich clientelle and bingo! We enjoyed the true kitchen of Dominican republic!

 

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Typical Dominican street food.

 

We stuck with this lady mainly for the rest of our stay. We tried also local Picca Pollo style restaurants but we didn’t like it. It was again full plate of dry rice and meat – chicken, beef or pork. Very dry and ordinary. We also went to a restaurant for tourists which was warmly recommended to us. This one had decent prices and good international food. We had the seafood and fish and it was really good. Unfortunatelly, our booth lady did not have such a treat as fish or seafood at her stand and we were overfed with their typical cuisine quite soon. We missed salads, vegetable and fruit! I missed also ice- cream. There were zero gelaterias. 🙁

 

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Typical local restaurant. Street food million times better!

 

According to the Internet and given information, Juan Dolio should be less crowded with tourists, therefore cheaper than other, more popoular destinations (this aquation does not apply to Macao). And you could swim and snorkel there! The location was good for us, though – it was much more civilised than Macao, but not too much.

 

The beach

Juan Dolio beach was mainly enjoyed by local people, especially during the weekends and holidays. The beach would be stunningly beautiful if there was no RUBBISH! You do not want some glass fragment to be stuck to your foot while having a romantic stroll. There were zero dustbins and the rubbish ended just…on the beach, where people left it. Or kind of collected under the palm trees. Alcohol bottles, plastic cutlery, empty coconuts, a lot of cap beer bottles etc. The Caribbean sea was beautiful, clean, turqoise. The beach was full of palm trees which gave you relieving shade and the most relaxing sound of its leaves gently rustling above your head. It was calm and beautiful place. Juan Dolio beach is few kilometres long and ideal for long walks.

If you are charmed by this town very much, you have plenty of opportunities to buy an appartement, restaurant, or hotel, because  every other property was for sale.

 

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Juan Dolio beach facing the sea…

 

 

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…and facing the opposite direction. Waste pile just next in the left.

 

War over the palm trees

The first day, we could choose any palm tree at the beach. The second day, some plastic chairs with table and umbrella were placed where we were lying the previous day and under few more palm trees, too. Of course we were approached to pay for the chairs. CHAIRS. They were not even loungers, but ugly plastic chairs! Am I supposed to sit on the beach like in the office? Never mind, we found another shadow and had a great day.

It got worse and worse every day until we had no place to be. I mean shadow. No free shadow. There was no restaurant to which these chairs belonged to. Just some people came and wanted you to pay for a shadow on a public beach. This was quite dissapointing and we found another spot hundreds of metres away. By the way, no one used that chairs all day. At 4 or 5 pm, local families were coming to beach and they usually used these chairs, because they brought beverages and food.

The beach vendors were sometimes persistent, but mainly OK, and a LOT if them.

 

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During the weekends and holidays it is crowded. Families come and bring food, drinks and music.

Dominican republic rip off level 3000

Did everybody say to you that you need to negotiate in Dominican republic?

If you place your foot on Dominican Republic, you are treated like a millionare.

 That means you are constantly wearing a neon sign „RIP ME OFF“. How you, fucking millionaire, dare to negotiate? You dare to refuse being ripped off?? Nonsense! If you are not willing to pay my price, fuck off and never come back!

We were not being told it in this exact words, but this was the message we got and understood immediatelly. We were kind and nice and tried to negotiate, because we knew what the prices should really be. Mostly we were only laughed off, but twice they huffily scolded us, refused to talk to us or sell us anything else and we were told to fuck off go away.

 

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Palm trees and holiday reading.

Crazy nights

The days were fine, but the nights were NIGHTMARES! We had very unfortunate location of our room. Directly above the huge ACs. They were extremely loud themselves. I don’t know what on Earth happened during the nights but I was waking up shocked thinking that the war begun and they were bombing us (no joke). The sounds were following:

  • Hurricane
  • Heavy raining
  • Figters flying very low
  • Bomb attacks
  • Dogs fighting/barking
  • Local children shrieking until deep night (happened once, but they were very persistent and under our windows)

We had very hard times during the nights, especially me, since I am noise sensitive and I suffered as hell. Not to mention we were sleepless 10 nights in a row (unfortunatelly, and still counting).

Can this be any worse? Yes! The electricity dropped – out one morning. They were repairing it all day, but unsuccessfully. The moment of drop-out, the next hotel’s  HUUGE generator was activated. And that was completely new level of horror and it was far, far the worst night. It was like trying to sleep at chain saw opera.

 

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Some tiny snorkelling was possible, but there was mainly sea grass. Looking for shells was more fun.

 

Only Spanish, please!

I don’t know why, but I expected people working in tourist industry talking at least basic English when you daily have to deal with people from all around the world. I regretted not preparing the basic Spanish phrases, though. We were a little bit shocked when the host had no clue what toilet  meant when I tried to explain that it is not working. Thank God for online translators. I learned the valuable lesson that day. I need to be more prepared! And indoro.

But somehow, we coped quite OK with a help of translator. Unfortunatelly, the wifi was not stable, so sometimes we were literally speechless.

Maybe it was the language barrier, I don’t know, but the host couldn’t give less fucks about us or the guests generally.

 

Santo Domingo

They celebrate the end of carneval season last Sunday in February. We were very looking forward to this celebration in the capital city – Santo Domingo. Because I had article from last year, I did not realise that 27. February was Sunday LAST year and this year it is Monday. So we came to Santo Domingo for one day trip on Monday, because it was 27. February. As my „guide“ said, this is the day of great costumes, dance and celebrations!

It was around 10 o’clock in the morning and it didn’t look like some party is about to begin, but I believed people are just getting ready and it will start maybe in the afternoon. When we came to the centre and there were no people, I still thought everything is OK. We were at the Plaza de España for 2 seconds, looking at Alcázar de Colón when the guide approached us offering us a guided tour at museum, whole city or whole world. We said politely we want to look around first. When we wanted to enter the museum – Alcázar de Colón, it was closed. Hm. That was strange. I saw a small booth with information sign. I was hoping that there will be someone speaking English. But I was hoping more  what the lady said was some mistake.

„Today is the Independece day and everything is closed. The great celebration of the end of carneval saison was YESTERDAY.“

I couldn’t believe my ears! What? I had this… printed out article who claimed it is supposed to be today! Then it hit me and I realised it must be the last year’s date. I was so upset from this massive fail of mine. Not only we missed it, in addition everything was closed, because there was an army parade planned for afternoon and the president was coming! This means, that some parts of the city were totally closed and everywhere were policemen.

Sweet. There were just couple of churches opened, so we entered the one closest to us. As a bonus to already ruined day, some small demostration was taking a place there, in front of this church.

 

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Another tip I found on the Internet was that Santo Domingo is a paraaadiseee for shopping and souvenirs. I don’t know which Santo Domingo were these people in, but the prices were high and the price tags pretty solid for negotiation. The whole negotiation extinct, because millionares do not negotiate. They are happy to pay 5 times more than normal price. If you are not a millionaire penny-pinching millionaire, then fuck off, I will sell this for the price I want, because another 10 people will buy it for my price. I have no reason not to overprice and negotiate with you.

The best thing that happened to us that day was the supermarket. This was the first normal shop with price tags and nobody was going to charge us for our skin colour.

 

 

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Zona Colonial

 

The prices were more or less similar to other shops, it depended on the goods. For example rum and fruits were much cheaper than in Juan Dolio. Sweets were quite expensive, but delicious. And extremely sweet.

The other perfect thing, we found a tiny shop with beverages and coconuts. The coconuts had unbeatable price and the seller was very kind. Just for comparison: the coconut at the beach Macao 3 $, Juan Dolio 2 $ versus Santo Domingo 0,5 $.

The historic Zona Colonial with tiny cafeterias and restaurants was really nice. The rest of the city… We haven’t seen much of the sights, but from what I saw… I haven’t seen uglier capital city. And we didn’t feel safe.

We took the local bus which cost us 2 $ each one way. From Juan Dolio it is only one hour.

 

Would I recommend Santo Domingo?

If you have a chance, I would definetely suggest visiting this city. It has some beautiful sights that worth visiting, the carnevals must be also great.

 

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Asking for a photo while waiting for the president.

Juan Dolio

Pros

  • less tourists
  • no waves
  • swimming, snorkelling possible
  • seashells can be found
  • limited, but very cheap street food options
  • cheap accomodation

 

Cons

  • rubbish at the beach and on the streets
  • it is still a tourist location, so the prices are according to this
  • „fighting“ over place under the palm trees
  • noise
  • a lot of beach vendors
  • tourist rip off „tax“
  • except the beach there is nothing to do in Juan Dolio

 

Would I recommend Juan Dolio?

It depends on your requirements and personality. If you seek a rich nightlife, attractions, sightseeing or some action – this is not place for you.

If you are looking for a budget tight accomodation and food , almost perfect beach and you are not a party animal, this might be for you. To the snorkelling – do not come here solely for this purpose, there isn’t much to see (at least approachable from the shore).

Overall, we were happy with this choice, but I couldn’t wait to move to our final destination, Samaná. Hoping to finally sleep well.

Samaná is considered the paradise of the paradise. Do I agree? And the most important, how much it all cost us? Check out the expences breakdown in last article!

If you missed part one, click here.

Ali

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