The cobblestone streets of the Colonial Zone, Santo Domingo
When you arrive to a new harbour or anchorage often there is only a beach to see and maybe a small town to have a look around. Sometimes you come to an anchorage that is a gateway to exploring the rest of the country. This is what we found by coming to Luperon. After doing a couple of day trips by motorcycle we were dying to see more of the Dominican Republic and believe me there is so much more.
We rented a cheap car from a local guy in town for about $25/day and planned on doing a road trip to visit the capital city of Santo Domingo. There is a gorgeous brand new paved 4 lane hwy that traverses the Island, but to us, that is far too boring! What are you gonna see by driving the hwy?
Pulled over to the side of the road to check out the amazing view. You don't get this on the 4 lane hwy.
After checking out the map we decided on a more adventurous path that ended up taking us through small village after small village. The road was very windy but incredibly scenic. Colourful houses built on cliffs would line the roads. Despite the poverty in the Dominican Republic the houses were very well kept and while the people may not have money to paint the whole house the front always seemed to have a bright colour of paint and beautiful plants. It was nothing to see a bright red poinsettia tree outside someones front porch.
One of the many coloured homes along the roadside.
Beautiful wild Pointsetta tree shows the pride in their home.
The traffic was almost none existent with the odd motorcycle passing by. Thank goodness because there wasn’t room for much else to pass since the streets were so narrow. What we noticed was that people didn’t often leave their own small community, so it wasn’t uncommon to see someone walking in what seemed like the middle of no where or riding by on a donkey.
A young boy carries water home on his donkey along the road.
Colourful laundry would be strung from barb wired fences or roadside girders. Since the roads were not only windy but mostly empty we were able to soak up the scenery and the small villages, often being called out buy the locals as we drove by. A few times a friendly “Hey Gringo” would be yelled out from a front porch. Remember we aren’t blending in, and to see a bright white rental car cruise through your village with a gringo family is worth a call out. Of course Brad responds to the greeting with a loud “Hola Amigo, que pasa? “ The full bellied laughs as we drove on could be heard from the friendly locals.
Colourful laundry hung to dry on the fencing along the roadside.
We drove inland to the beautiful valley town of Constanza. This place is overflowing with agriculture for as far as the eye can see. Although the land is far from flat the amount of food grown in this country was amazing. We were totally surprised by the variety of veggies growing on the hillsides, from cabbage, and eggplant to lettuce and squash, to name a few. No space was waisted with things growing right up to the roads edge. What was really impressive were the trucks piled high with the veggies, many times in a pyramid shape, 10 feet above the truck, with cabbages or carrots. They would pile them so precisely it was like the packers were all Tetris champions!
Farm workers stand outside the veggie market selling their pick from the morning and getting ready to load the rest onto trucks to ship out to the rest of the country.
A beautifully inviting fresh fruit stand along the roadside was a common sight.
Constanza is in the mountains in a beautiful valley scattered with farms.
Constanza is a beautiful farming valley with little to no focus on tourism. I’m pretty sure we were the only Gringos in town so the language barrier was solid, but we loved that since it forced us to push ourselves to speak and learn more Spanish. When the locals heard us trying to speak their language we were always greeted with smiles and laughs, but we always seemed to get the point across.
Fresh squeezed juice with a ham and cheese empanada makes a great breakfast.
Our hotel was far from fancy at $30/night but one thing for sure was how authentic it was. For us, its just a place to lay our head and as long as its clean, we're all good. There was hot water but it had to be turned on by request and no shower head, but hey it was $30 bucks, so no complaints. That’s what makes travel an adventure.
Our cute little $30 a night hotel. Not too bad at all.
After a drive through the countryside the next stop was the Capital City of Santo Domingo. This place is nuts! Traffic was full on, with cars that looked like they had been rolled off the side of a cliff and then put back on the road. Here we are with our undented rental car driving through the centre of the city.
Oh, did I mention that the closer you get to the centre that the large man hole covers are missing? Ya! Crazy right? They are commonly stolen for the metal leaving a larger than normal hole in the middle of the road! Brad described it as a real life video game. If we hit one of these it surely would have taken out the front end of the car. Once again, Trio’s Captain pulls it off and drives us to safety. Disaster evaded.
Vendors selling you name it at each stop light coming into the city. And no this was not a car accident! lol This is a typical car.
We stayed in the Colonial District of town and it is historic, rustic and beautiful, with cobblestone streets and buildings dating back to the days of Christopher Columbus.
One of the Cathedrals in the Colonial Zone, dating back to the days of Christopher Columbus.
Ruins of the first hospital with a newer church in the background.
Beautiful cobblestone streets are found throughout the Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo.
These kind of opportunities are what make cruising so amazing! Not only being able to see a country’s capital city but all the small villages that make up the country along the way. We feel that to get a true sense of a country you need to step away from the tourist zones and try and experience what life for a local is like. This is what we love and seek out, so thank you Dominican Republic for inviting us in with your welcoming smiles and attitudes we will no doubt be back.
"Trio" soaking up the views from the mountains of the DR