We had great holiday in Dominican republic. Lowcost. Backpacking. Tips and more!
Dominican republic LOWCOST? Backpacking!
When I was searching for backpacking tips in Dominican republic, I found barely a thing! Some information I found also sucked, so I decided to give you some tips from my expereince and tell you how I managed to have cheap holiday in destination for millionares!
Me and my husband Mike had no holiday during the summer, because our jobs kept us really busy. (When it’s too busy for your holiday, then your job pretty much SUCKS as hell).
I hate winter and I always welcome the opportunity to change freezing cold weather for a beach and palm trees. When it comes to holiday, we are not very picky. Of course we have our travel dreams, but this time, the lowcost level won!
So when we found flight tickets for a super amazing price on Wednesday, on Saturday we were already lying under the palm trees. In Caribbean. In Dominican republic. And lowcost.
It is no secret that Caribbean is generally expensive place for a holiday. Of course you will spend some Money, depending on your requirements, but you still CAN have an extraordinary holiday for „few bucks“. I dare to say even students can save up for this.
You are probably the most curious about the moneyyyyy. Soooo…
We spent 2, 100 $. Overall. Together. For 17 days in Dominican republic. Now I will tell you how.
We found our super cheap flight tickets at fly4free.
We were expecting 10 hours of freezing in the air plane, but the air conditioning was OK and the whole flight was fine. Except. Fucking. Crying. Children. EVERYWHERE! This was when I learnt to never forget to bring the ear plugs onboard. Hardcore 10 hours.
Because this trip was spontaneous, we didn’t have much time to study about Dominican republic, so I printed out some articles and studied them on our way.
Welcome to Caribbean! We arrived at Punta Cana Airport. Nice, white and green, straw roofed airport.
As soon as we collected our backpacks (by the way, we were the ONLY backpackers! ) I knew that :
- we need to store our winter jackets at the aiport storage box and
- find a bus station
Only there do not exist any lockers, storage boxes or anything like that. So we were looking like alliens with our backpacks already AND we were holding our winter jackets in aiport full of turist with flip-flops. Well, what can you do, so with heavy jackets under arms we went searching for a BUS. Normal, cheap, local bus. As soon as we stepped in to exit space, TENS of taxidrivers wanted us in their taxi. I knew it has no sense to try to explain that I need a bus, but I tried anyway, hoping that they will tell me where is the bus stop. Mistake. Every single one, no mater what we said, took us apart in a promise of advice, but they gave us calculation for our trip. It way everytime arround 50 – 70$ for a ride to our hostel.
We were circling there like crazy looking for some competent, NO taxi, nor shuttle bus company employee to ask WHERE THE FUCK is that bus stop! But there was literally no one to help. EVERYONE we asked said there does not exist such a thing that bus at this airport.
Because Mike started to be irritated by the whole situation, we took the taxi for 50$. I did not want to believe that there is NO bus stop at the airport in the capital city. But as I informed beforehand at our host at hostel – he also said there is no other way how to get from the airport to his accomodation, but the taxi (which should cost 45 $). So damn it, we took a taxi. These people were really agressive and we finally wanted to be gone.
When couple of taxi drivers „captured“ me before and when I showed them the address of our hotel and they had NO idea where it is, I was a bit worried. This taxi driver said he knows where it is (which basically means, he has no clue, but he wants his profit).
A moment later as we left the airport parking lot – wooow, there was a local bus stop. What a miracle!
When our taxi driver couldn’t find our hostel in the jungle, passing by the cows, his vehicle jumping at catastrophic dust road, I got really nervous. Fuck. Nobody knows where it is! Why??!! I tried really hard to tell him, this must be the wrong way, not knowing it, but hoping for it. He tried to call the host couple of times to ask for the directions, but there was no answer.
This was just horrible. If at least that damned Miguel would pick up his phone, it would be less painful. I don’t know how, but finally, he found it. I tried for the last time tell him this must be miastake, we were in total rural middle of nowhere, and the photos looked different. But the driver was right.
Whatever, we arrived and could finally calm down a bit after the long hours of travelling.
Our host was called Miguel and he didn’t speak much English. We didn’t speak Spanish. But we coped somehow OK.
The accomodation didn’t look bad at all. Actually, it was far and wide the best house! As I mentioned, it was very rural area, but anyway, Miguel’s house looked far the best. We had our own room for two with our own bathroom. There was also a big kitchen for everyone to use and big plus – drinking water in containers that we could use.
At that time there were 3 solo travelers and us. And there was also a treehouse you could sleep in.
When we wanted to pay Miguel after our arrival, naturally, with US dollars (as I read all over the Internet), he was really surprised to see the dollars and said he has no change. He has only pesos. I didn’t think that was a big deal at that time, I still thought we are fine with only dollars having NO single peso. Mistake.
Whatever, give me break, I wanted to go to the beach and say hello to Atlantic ocean! As I read, the most beautiful beach in Punta Cana – Macao beach. It was couple of minutes by walk. And the beach was nice indeed!
The next day, we ejnoyed the beach more, the weather was beautiful and water was turquoise. There were no shells, no sea grass, no rubbish – no worries. Clear water, but waves! I can not imagine having small kids there.
Macao beach was really clean. You can barely see there turists in Macao so there are very, very few options of accomodation. However, there were organised trips from resorts to this beach. We were lying under the one of two palm trees at whole beach and reading when a collective trip of mainly Russian turists came. Their guide organised them via megaphone. Have I mentioned they stack their national flags 1 metre from our heads and were taking „catch me jumping in the air“ photos? Fortunatelly, they stayed only about an hour.
This beach was crowded by local people and once or twice a day with these trips. They came by boat or rode a horse or buggy. If you were unlucky to meet the huge group of tourists riding a buggy, you ended pretty much suffocating on you way to/from the beach on the dust road. Because of the lack „full time“ tourists, in whole macao beach were only 2 restaurants. Pricey. Waiting for these tours of rich tourists. Oh, yes, and none shops. I don’t mean shops with fancy clothes, I mean food.
So we ended up in jungle, with no pesos, no affordable restaurant, no food shop. Well, at least, some kind of normal food shop.
We found small food shop, though. Inspite they had basically nothing, we spent there a lot of time thinking what the hell are we going to eat. The closest normal supermarket was some 17 km away. After an eternity we bought a spaghetti, some canned, watery, cheese sauce and a can of peas, we wanted a bread, but they had only sweet pastry. Then we bought some canned sardinnes, chocolate milk and beer. Having no price tags, we were still not expecting a huge receipt,but we were surprised – it was quite expensive. I need to say, that to calculate our purchase, couple of people came to discuss the right price for us. I really regretted not speaking Spanish!
The next day, the weather was not good, so we explored Macao a little bit. We found a little local restaurant. I mean very local. „We are the first tourists ever in this restaurant“ type. The offer was rice with chicken feet at different styles or rice with some fried vegetable. We chose option number two. Because the slices were so micro thin, that it tasted like fried paper towel, but I guess it was eggplant. We were dissapointed to be given a tourist price again. Be ready for expensive plates of dry rice in Dominican republic.
We also found the most ridiculous bank ever. Later seen everywhere, also in the capital city and others. We were happy to exchange some dollars to dominican pesos. You could pay with dollars, though, and get back pesos, but the the exchange rate was not good for you.
Half of the next day we were thinking of our next location and booking the accomodation. We got huge help with this from our fellow traveller, who travelled Dominican republic criss – cross. We were deciding between Boca Chica and Juan Dolio. Our requirements were the snorcheling, affordable restaurants, some food shops and civilisation, for God sake! Eventually, we decided for Juan Dolio.
We spent the rest of the day at the beach, but boy, those waves were crazyyyyyyyyy that day! HUGE! And dangerous! We had great fun, though, but it was rough! You needed to be really good swimmer to survive those waves. The way out was a bit painful and scary, but we made it!
We also needed to plan our way to Juan Dolio. Miguel the host claimed there is no such thing as a local bus in Macao, therefore we need to take taxi again. And he volunteered to give us a 20 km ride for 20 $. But our experienced fellow traveller told us, there DOES exist a local bus and exactly where the bus stop is. Hm, interesting, but it was not far from Miguel’s place.
We went to bed early (jetlagged) and woke up at 6. The nights were perfect! Even though it was the jungle, it was absolutely quiet in the night – no scary sounds and totally urban noise free. At that time I had no idea this was the very last time when we slept good on our whole holiday.
- clean beach
- waves (if you want to have fun or surf)
- good sleep, not noisy
- if you seek abandoned island experience, this might be place for you
- public transport POSSIBLE
- cheap accomodation
- very few beach vendors
- turist trips comming to Macao beach
- lack of restaurants
- lack of shops
- only Spanish language in this area
- PRICES and „tourist tax“
- no snorcheling
- no shadow at the beach (2 pieces of palm trees, but that was it)
- not suitable for children (waves)
Would I reccomend Macao beach?
One day trip is enough for Macao, I would probably consider it especially if you have a car or you want to buy a trip there.
Was the legend about bus true? How we managed to get to our next destination? Is Juan Dolio worth it? Find out in next article!