My Fit Trip to the Dominican Republic was a much needed break from the East Coast tundra. When I returned I felt energized and recharged thanks to the active nature of my stay. Here is my final post from my visit sharing some of my favorite activities, restaurants and accommodations.
1. Iguana Mama
An adventure tour company based out of Cabarete, Iguana Mama took us to 27 Falls for a repelling, jumping and hiking excursion. This trip was not for beginners and I loved it! We swam down/along a shallow river, jumped off cliffs, repelled down the ones that were too high and finally hiked back up to where we started. Anne, Gina and I had a blast!
What makes this trip so cool is that part of you feels like you are in a Disney World water park theme ride with the strong current and coincidental deep ends near cliffs but really this is extremely dangerous and challenging. We wore our own sneakers in the water and were given wet suits. I would recommend bringing a pair of sneaks you probably don’t mind throwing out at the end of the trip.
You have the option to jump off a 10 ft, 50 ft and 25 ft cliff in that order. We jumped the first, repelled down the 50 and jumped off the 25. I forgot I had a GoPro strapped to my chest and bonked my nose with my camera on the 25 ft jump when I landed which was painful and resulted in a minor bloody nose. Thank god I skipped the 50 ft jump because that would have been much worse. The misfortunes of being blonde.
The hike back up was no joke and really steep. You do not have a harness holding you. You slip and you better pray you can grab a branch or your life jacket pads your fall. This adventure is only recommended for fit groups that like a challenge.
The best part at the end, is that you get to enjoy a delicious home cooked Dominican lunch, waiting for you to arrive. We left Cabarete around 8:30 and got back around 3pm so this is a long excursion but well worth it.
2. Fresh Fresh Restaurant
My diet consisted mostly of fruit while visiting the DR. Fresh, Fresh is a local restaurant with two locations. One is in Cabarete and the other is in Puerto Plata. Their menu was extensive with smoothie, juice, sandwich, bowl and salad options. Mango, avocado and shrimp are three of my favorite foods so together in a salad, I had to order it.
I also tried two smoothies. One was a green monster with kale, dates, mango, banana and coconut water. The other was papaya, mango, lime and coconut water. Both were delicious. Can you tell I like mango?
This place is gorgeous! We stayed here by accident for one night. We were schedule to stay in 2 hotels but a glitch in our plans left us without accommodations for a night.
Luckily, our guides have friends in high places and we got to stay at one of these villas for a night. Sea Horse ranch is like a gated community with villas to rent or own. We stayed at the Villa Irina. It had 4 large bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and a pool! Priced at $980/night, it’s about equivalent to a $250/night hotel room if you are with 4 couples which is much more reasonable sounding. I pictured this place as a perfect destination wedding location or family holiday retreat.
There is a restaurant within walking distance inside the compound that overlooks the ocean where we ate dinner as a group.
The restaurant is owned by the same woman as Fresh Fresh so there was a heavy influence on whole foods and Middle Eastern influences.
Our housekeeper even made us breakfast! Anne and I went for a 4 mile run in the rain and were greeted with a warm Dominican breakfast when we got back. I felt spoiled and grateful.
The best part about Monkey Jungle is that the entrance fees go towards funding a free health and dental clinic for people in need who live in the DR. In order to maintain their operations free of charge, they opened up the zip line adventures and monkey jungle experience in 2009. Over 25,000 free prescriptions have been dispensed and 21,000 patients have been treated by the medical or dental clinics since. The clinic is funded through ticket sales and donations.
How have I never gone zip lining? I thought it would be a lot scarier but I did not get the adrenaline rush I got from the trapeze. The DR was used in some shots for Jurassic Park and you can tell zipping over the tops of the trees. Our guides were friendly and made the experience fun. This is a very family friendly adventure.
Afterwards, we headed down into monkey jungle where they have 45 squirrel monkeys that are able to live in a 5 acre botanical garden while being protected. They are the cutest things! I was nervous at first but their hands and feet were so soft and gentle. As long as you don’t pet them, they don’t scratch or bite. I could see my nephews loving this. It’s cash only but all profits go to charity to support the clinics at Monkey Jungle so arrive prepared.
This was my first all inclusive resort experience ever. This place is an affordable getaway from the frozen winter we had this year. The rate includes all drinks and meal while at the resort, including alcoholic beverages. If you want fancy liquor, I assume you pay extra but I didn’t see it anywhere. It looks like it’s $165/night on Expedia right now.
The food was delicious at the two restaurants we ate at which included a Brazilian steakhouse and Japanese hibachi grill. At the breakfast and lunch buffets, I could and might have eaten my body weight in fresh mango.
To top it off, the alcoholic beverages weren’t bad and I loved the entertainment guys. Each night there is a different show that almost feels like camp entertainment. We only stayed out late enough the first night where we experienced some killer karaoke ranging from your awkward cousin whispering Celine Dion, your crazy Uncle belting out classic rock, the bachelorette party singing “Like A Virgin” and finally the young lady who could belt out Adele like a true American Idol contender. I agreed to sing with Taralynn but we were sadly never called up. I was slightly relieved because she wanted to sing Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.” My current karaoke go to is “Turn Back Time” by Cher. Instead I sang from my seat and was serenaded by the MC who was hilarious.
Will I regret posting the picture above on the internet? Probably. It’s not the Ritz but if you want an affordable all inclusive beach vacation that is safe, comfortable, delicious and close to an airport by a 20 minute taxi or shuttle, then check out the Iberostar Costa Dorado. I will advise though that if you cannot wake up early to reserve a chair at the pool, you better be happy near the beach.
I have some more video footage that will be uploaded from our excursions soon, so if you are interested, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you get notified when it goes live.
Today is the first day of 2015 that Boston has been above 50F so I’m excited to go take advantage and run outside. Spring really is coming after all…