Today we skirted the edges of Santo Domingo – the oldest city in North America founded by Europeans. It dates from 1496. Now we find ourselves in the small but very busy town of Las Terrenas on the Samaná Peninsula – about a 2.5 hour drive from Santo Domingo.
Kite Surfing is popular here – several outfitters offer introductory courses – usually lasting 6 – 9 hours spread out over several days. We became inspired by the combination of athleticism and a natural looking skill that only a “veteran” of the sport could posses as we watched several pros race through the water, shooting in and out from shore – all the while dancing with a strong breeze that was blowing.
We walked around Las Terrenas stopping by the several Kite Surf shops – all were closed. So we headed to the beach where we spotted the bobbing kites through the trees. We found Alex the owner of Kite Life Kite School who gave us a verbal introduction to the nuances of Kite Surfing. Short on the rest of our stay here – unfortunately we did not have multiple days to take lessons. On our return visit to the Caribbean – our number one priority will be to learn how to Kite Surf.
Like elsewhere in the country we found roads dotted with nasty prominent speed bumps. Only here we spotted an entirely different level of speed control. Several man hole covers were missing in the middle of the one road that hugs the beach north of town – leaving large holes that would kill a tire and or suspension should some unsuspecting driver drive over one of these road hazard “traps”. Fortunately we were paying very close attention to the road and spotted these some distance away.
One finds beautiful beaches north of Las Terrenas, no high rises and like elsewhere in the country, very friendly people. Small beaches are located right next to the road. A freshwater stream flowed into the ocean near one such beach providing a refreshing quick shower from the salt water.
We spotted a young guy on one of the dirt side streets selling huge lobster like crustaceans. They were obviously still living – he had caught them himself – far off shore. With our broken Spanish we were able to communicate that we wanted to purchase two of them. He cut them in half, bagged them and we were on our way.
But we had to make a few more stops – for fresh mangoes being sold out of the back of a flatbed truck. These delicious tropical fruits were piled high along with lesser amounts of passion fruit, papaya and small watermelons. We bought as many of the mango’s as we could carry. These particular mangoes are somewhat creamy and full of both flavor and sugar.
So anxious to get back to the luxurious Semana Sublime Resort where we are staying to start our cooking – we increased speed and narrowly passed a truck who was slowing down for one of the numerous speed bumps while simultaneously skidding down a steep hill while turning onto the small road that leads to Semana Sublime (where we are staying). Several onlookers quickly looked up wondering what was up with this tiny car skidding down the road through a turn!
I enjoy properties that have both character and class – having stayed in places most people wouldn’t touch as well as classy resorts which are also memorable but for entirely different reasons. There are so many properties in the middle – where nothing really stands out. The best property in my opinion is one that combines something memorable from the human element along with the natural one.
This resort combines a picturesque created setting with a natural one – the backdrop of a small bay. A stay here is very quiet and relaxing (just what we need after the stresses of travel the past few days). It is an ideal property “to do a whole lot of not much”. There is a bar on the beach – and a full moon tonight shining through the gentle swaying palm trees on this cloudless sky. Despite already experiencing the exuberance and high of alcohol, I’m not going to argue about drinking yet another Caipirinha to cap off a wonderful day exploring this part of the Dominican Republic.