Dominican Republic — A Peek at the Countryside
We just got back from a great, albeit short (though don't trips always feel short?), honeymoon to the Dominican Republic. Visions of lying on the beach danced through our heads the whole way there, but it was the breathtaking countryside and its various terrains that really captured our attention. The beach? Awesome.
Mountains, valleys, and endless wilderness? Amazing.
We flew into Santiago and hopped into a van packed with other travelers. Puerto Plata, our final destination, was a two hour drive away.
Two hours cramped in a hot van? (It was at least 85 degrees Fahrenheit and humid.) If you've read our post on bus travel, you know being on the road for several hours can be uncomfortable. Sardined between two other sweaty people you don't know with no room to move your arms? Even worse.
I had a window seat, so I settled in and leaned my forehead against the glass.
Thank god I had a window seat. The views were so much more stunning than I could've imagined.
My camera was low on battery the entire time, but I managed to take some photos through the window of the culture and beauty just outside.
Did you know? Families in the Dominican Republic often build their own houses. It can take up to 12 years to complete the construction, so most homes are unfinished and built out of materials like metal, stone, and wood.
Did you know? The terrain in the Dominican Republic ranges widely—from mountains and hills to and valleys and beaches. The entire island is very lush, very green, and very humid. It's awesome.
Did you know? Families in the Dominican Republic often own a variety of cattle, including cows, horses, chickens, goats, and donkeys. We saw several donkeys and horses tied up on the side of the road as we drove, and children chased chickens across the road ahead of us with sticks. We also saw the occasional family dog and cat.
Did you know? Other than its delicious Brugal rum, the Dominican Republic exports a variety of crops: cocoa, coffee (which is really quite good, by the way, though perhaps not as strong as the way Americans brew it), mangoes, coconuts, sugarcane, and tobacco, among others. We're not sure what was to be planted in this picture (our bet is on tobacco), but a lot of the countryside had been recently tilled for planting crops.
Did you know? Dominican cigars are handmade using a long process of picking the leaves, drying them, pressing them, rolling them, and letting them age in an environment-controlled room. We don't smoke much, but these cigars are some of the best we've ever tasted. They come straight or in a variety of flavors (chocolate is my personal favorite).
Did you know? Most people in the Dominican Republic travel by motorcycle because of how inexpensive they are to maintain! At any given time, there were at least three motorcycles around our van. They whipped by on the curb or wove through traffic (and traffic laws are basically non-existent, so if you rent a car on your trip be eeeextra careful). Keep an eye out, too, for people carrying barrels, infants, long boards of wood, or other deliveries on their laps as they drive.
Did you know? Those who live on the water tend to do a lot of fishing, either in fishing boats or standing waist deep in the water with a fishing net. There are plenty of fish to be found—fat and colorful!
There you have it! Just a small sample of the absolutely amazing scenery we saw on our two hour drive to and from our resort in Puerto Plata. There's something special about the Dominican Republic that we can't quite put our finger on yet, but there's no doubt in our mind that we'll return to the island as soon as we can.