posted on May, 23 2005 @ 10:22 AM
Been to the Dom Rep twice in the late ninetys, and loved it both times. We stayed up in the Puerto Plata area (NorthWest of the island) at The Riu
Merengue hotel (All in) which was fairly new then and a lovely place to stay.
Most hotels on the island (Hispanola) are all inclusive and a pretty good standard. Apparently, hotels can only be a maximum of two storeys high which
gives the place a nice feel - no ugly high rises to spoil the views. A lot have signed up to the 'Crystal' programme which is there to ensure high
food hygene standards, and certainly we never encountered any problems with the food or drinks. Our hotel even had a minibar in the room which was
part of the AI deal and restocked daily! Mmmm Beer.
The locals are warm and friendly, but sometimes it was a little off putting to see young men wandering the beaches with an AK47 or similar slung over
their shoulder! Don't worry though, we were reliably informed it was just for show, a status symbol thing, and they definately couldn't get hold of
any ammo for them. It's probably worth remembering that the Dom Rep is still a relatively poor country, so while venturing out of your hotel is safe
to do, it just may not be too pretty to see how some of the locals live. Another little fact about DR is that when you see ornamental dolls in shops,
they never have any faces on them - they're just blank. We were told it's because there is no 'typical' Domincan - not black, not white - because
of all the different invaders over the years. I thought it was a voodoo thing first, because it's a little spooky.
Having said that, it is a beautiful place to be and worth seeing on an organised trip. We did a Monster Truck Safari on a couple of old 8 wheeler US
Army troop carriers that were supposed to have been destined for Vietnam but never made it. It was a great day out, seeing parts of the Island where
they filmed Jurassic Park, driving across rivers (soaking the folks in the other truck) and ending up at a small riverside retreat for lunch and a
swim. Oh, and a beer/rum stop about every ten minutes.
Another thing to see would be the Amber Museum - Jurassic Park, again. It's pretty cheap to buy as is other jewelry, but that's on the north side
again and I don't know where you will be going. If you like your watersports, most hotels will have all the usual - scuba, jetskis, paragliding, and
Anyway, have a blast - I'm sure you'll love it. I certainly did and I'd like to go back there again soon.