After the Atlantic crossing adventure, our second stop was the Dominican Republic after Antigua and Barbuda. In January 2015, my sister and I spent 10 days in the Dominican Republic. We visited Bani, Santo Domingo, La Romana, Las Terrenas, Punta Cana, La Cabarete, Puerto Plata and some other places. I would like to share some of the things that really caught my attention there.
1. Shabby Cars
You will see many old and shabby taxis, cars and minibuses. Maybe this is the reason why Dominicans are so creative in repairing things and cars 🙂
2. All Around Bachata and Merengue
The music and dance of Bachata and Merengue were born in the Dominican Republic. Wherever you go, you will hear Bachata and Merengue songs like in taxis, bars, restaurant and in the streets. If you hear a loud music of Bachata or Merengue, it is not necessarily coming from a bar or a club. Most probably the sound comes from a local shop or market.
3. The Sound of Muck
Get used to hearing the sound of a kiss, Muah or Muck, while you walk around in streets especially if you are a woman. I guess it is a universal way for men showing interest in women. I generally ignore these kinds of yelling or sound making.
4. Rum and Happiness Island
The Dominican Republic produces some of the best rums in the world. Dominicans drink rum in every possible occasion and you don’t see them drunk ever. Of course it is not a wealthy country like Nordic countries but the more rum they drink, the happier they are.
5. Moto-Taxis or Motoconchos
Besides taxis, buses and minibuses, moto-taxis are very popular and common way of daily transportation. Don’t get surprised if a motorcycle approaches you and asks if you need a ride.
6. Friendly and Helpful Dominicans
Dominicans are really smiley and friendly people. You ask people on the streets and they reply back in a very smiley way. To give you an example once on the highway, my sister and I stopped for a photo break. A car stopped behind us and the two men came to us and asked if we need a help about our car. We said that we only stop for a break and taking photos and thanked them.
7. Iron Gratings and Fences
The country had hard times in political and economical terms. Sure it affects the people and the economy of the country. I saw many iron fences or some other house protections but in the Dominican Republic, some houses on 10th floor have iron bars and fences. I guess it somehow shows the effects of burglary.
8. Brand New Tags on Clothes
I like public transportation to be close with the local people and life to observe while I am travelling. In Santo Domingo, we saw many people who wear,t-shirts, hats and shoes with its new labels. We found out that Dominicans like to show off about their new clothes and shoes.
9. The Best Baseball Players
The national sport of Dominican Republic is baseball. There are many well-known Dominican baseball players in the world.
10. Colomb Faro- Colomb Light House
The 210 long and cross-shaped lighthouse is constructed for the 500th anniversary of Christopher Colombus’s discovery of America. 70 million USD was spent for the construction of this monument. When I saw it the first time, I thought it was an abandoned factory. Because of its different and somehow uncommon appearance, some people don’t like this monument.
11. FC Barcelona Soccer School
One of the best football (soccer) teams in the world, FC Barcelona, has a soccer school in Santo Domingo. I was surprised when I heard about it because the Dominican Republic and soccer words doesn’t occur together too much.
12. Azure Blue Sea, Palm Trees and Marvelous Beaches
The island has a great nature. Most of the tourists go and visit the east part of the island, Punta Cana. But La Cabarete, Las Terrenas, Puerto Plata and Samana regions are also great and worth seeing.