A Week Off: The Dominican Republic

A&H Magazine prides itself on inspiring our readers to live a full life, one chalked with experiences. With that in mind, we’ve always believed that travel opens up the mind and provides an unparalleled caveat for learning. In what other circumstance would one be privy to unfamiliar circumstance than leaving the comforts of home? We present to you, A Week Off, a new series where we showcase a trip abroad, filled with adventures and of course, new experiences.

Ryan Neeven is our Travel Corespondent, and Journal Editor. Safe to say, he gets around the world  a lot,  so we, at A&H get to live vicariously through him. Ryan had the opportunity to visit the Dominican Republic this past November, and we asked him to keep a journal of his travels. Here’s what he had to say about the experience, cliff diving, rum drinking and all.A-Week-Off5

Ryan- My journey started off on the north coast of the Dominican Republic at a very laid back Caribbean town called Cabarete, known as the Kitesurfing paradise of the DR. This beach village is a hotspot for surfers and kite surfers from around the world to come enjoy the great wind and great waves that can be found here. The Millennium Hotel and Spa was our amazing basecamp for the next couple of days while we were exploring the great amenities that Cabarete had to offer, which were plentiful. Our first full day we had the opportunity to surf at 321 Takeoff (well at least try to surf) and also learned the basics of Kiteboarding at the Laurel Eastman Kiteboarding School, sadly we didn’t get into the water because the wind was not cooperating with us on this day.

The next morning, sore and tired from the previous day, we boarded a bus and headed deep into the jungle of Sosua to visit the Monkey Jungle and Zip line. While there, we got to “monkey” around with about 23 squirrel monkeys and then got to experience the zip line adventure on the property. The views and thrill of flying through the treetops was unlike any other. Monkey Jungle DR is a must visit, the experience that you will get here will last you a lifetime and you will miss those squirrel monkeys, trust me. Later that night we ventured about 2 hours to attend the Gigantes vs. Aguilas game, part of the Dominican Republic Winter baseball league. If you are looking to immerse yourself in the culture and life of the Dominican Republic I highly recommend attending a baseball game, just sit back and take in the sights and sounds of the game and of course enjoy an El Presidente while doing so!

Up bright and early the next day to do some canyoning with Iguana Mama Tours before venturing on towards Puerta Plata where we would be staying for the remainder of the trip. I didn’t really know what I was getting into when we hiked down about a mile into a river, and began wading through the rocky river bed. About halfway through, we had to rappel down the Magic Mushroom cliff and then shortly after that jumped off a 45 ft. cliff, which wasn’t scary at all (read as I shit bricks).  The final part of the canyoning trip was climbing out of the river up the side of a cliff for about a mile or so, which proved to be a daunting task. Continuing onto the Blue Jack Tar hotel, located in Puerta Plata, after an intense day of canyoning, was the perfect move. A relaxing beach front hotel with amazing views of the Pico Isabel del Torres mountain was just what we needed for the rest of the Mancation.

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Being special guests of the hotel, we got to play a  round of golf at Playa Dorado located on the property of  Blue Jack Tar resort. Golfing next to the ocean on a Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed course, was a great experience for every type of golfer. After finishing up my round shooting a 41 on a par 36, I was ready to enjoy some Rum at the Brugal Rum factory tour. Located down the road close to the colonial center of Puerta Plata, the Brugal Rum factory is home to the DR’s most sought after rum. Here we got to taste all the different varieties of the famous Brugal Rum, my favorite being the 1888.

Dominican Republic, MancationThe hospitality of the Millenium Hotel and Spa and also the Blue Jack Tar Resort, were top notch, don’t think I could have found two better resorts to spend my time in the Dominican Republic. Also a huge thank you to all the places such as 321 Takeoff, Laurel Eastman Kiteboarding, Monkey Jungle DR, Iguana Mama Tours, and the management at Blue Jack Tar for making this trip truly an experience that I will be talking about forever. And finally, the biggest thank you goes to our lovely hosts, Jess and Annie from BVK, and also Carlos from the Ministry of Tourism, without you guys this trip wouldn’t have been possible!

So next time you are looking for a little week getaway definitely take a look into booking a trip to Cabarete or Puerta Plata where you will find the best of both worlds, the local culture of the Dominican Republic with the relaxing beach vibes of the Caribbean. Both places have the best amenities to offer as you can see from the places that I had the opportunity to visit which are some of the best that the Dominican Republic has to offer.

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Ryan Neeven

|Editor at Large, A&H Magazine| Travel Well, Travel Often.