While you are at Chichén Itzá, you have to visit a Cenotes! Cenotes are formed by lime rock that dissolves, and then collapses and creats these large open water pools. The water is very clear, as most of it comes in the form of rain water infiltrating slowly through the ground. Its cool and refreshing in the Hot summer Mexican heat, and very beautiful to boot!
We took a public bus from the entrance of our hotel for a couple of dollars that took us into the city of Higuey (about 45 minutes away). The buses run every 30 mins or so and are perfectly safe (although you will be riding with pretty much only the locals). Definitely a must for travelers who aren't afraid of their own shadow and who want to see more of the REAL Dominican Republic.
You will know when to get off in the city because you will see a massive Cathedral that is one of the scariest looking I've ever seen in my life. Blue design and Light Congrete slabs. Beautiful inside.
If you dare......listen for music from the street and stroll into one of their unmarked buildings for a booming nightlife experience in the middle of the day. People will be dancing and drinking and you'll feel like you're in a club.
I am writing this tip in the section off the beaten path as it is not a TO DO TIP. You will most probably land at the Punta Cana airport, unless you are travelling to this lovely destination from some other city like Santo Domingo by road.
This is one of the most unique airports that I have seen on all my trips, very thematic and original in its decoration. I suppose it has a lot to do with the local architecture. Well worth looking into the details. The securtiy conditions at this airport are totally different from all others that you can ever experience. You can be having dinner just a few meters away from the airplane that will carry you back home with out any glass or wall separating you from the aircraft. They even have a childrens playground or open air sitting area just feet away from the airport maintainance areas.
a couple of miles from the hotel a small "barrio" was a change of scenery at the end of 2/3 days at the resort.
a group of portuguese travellers grabed a few bycicles and there we went.
at a tipical south american envyronment we could do some shoping and enjoy an entire morning with dominican people.
No no..I'm serious. One of my fondest memories was the day that we wanted to find El Cortecito. We set off following the directions that I found here under someone elses travel tips. The directions said to go to the beach and turn right...walk for a short while and then it would be a right turn into the little shopping "town". So we set out one day and walked down the beach until we came upon a path that head away from the beach. We assumed that that was it. Nope...we had passed it ten minutes before!! Since we didn't know that we followed this path up. We passed an area where there was construction being done on what I can only assume was a new resort. It was amazing to watch these people building and working so hard in the insane heat. The kind of heat that here in Canada you would call your union rep about because it wasn't fit for man. There was no crane. There wasn't much of anything but these hard working people of the Dominican Republic....and it made me realize that that is how every one of those resorts got built. The resort that I stayed in was built in heat so scalding that I have to hide under an umbrella with my drink by people who were happy to have the jobs and money for their famillies. It was a humbling experience. We continued to walk up to the main road and then turned back towards our resort.. I loved that walk. I loved passing people in the street who actually lived on the island their whole lives. The old beat up cars. The people though. That's what I am most fond of. All of the wonderful people that I came across and met while I was there. We found the little shopping "town" ... it was only three minutes from our resort, lol.
From the Gran Bahia, you will have quite a hike ahead of you. About 45 minutes walk South, you will come across a number of vendors selling everything from jewelry to booze, to cigars. Never pay more than 30% of their initial offer. If you do, you're getting ripped off. Be weary of the cigars. They are often fakes.
Take this oportunity to buy your firends gifts. You can get jewelry, ashtrays, rum, art, carvings, and more for cheapie cheapie.
You copuld do all this shopping at your resort, but you will pay 5 times as much.
This is a popular day trip that many tourists at our resort decided to do. Personally I think that this is not worth your time. The beach is the same as any other beach on the resort (unless your resort is not on the beach). Locals try to sell you lawn chairs, drinks and other sorts of nonsense
On our day trip to Manati Park, we passed several homes like this one. Constructed of concrete blocks with a corrugated tin roof, these buildings are very basic, but appeared to be sturdy. Many of the houses were made of wooden slats, and were brightly painted in pink, baby blue or mint green - very colourful!
Cooking is done outside, under a ramada to keep the sun and rain off, and to keep additional heat out of the house itself.
Around the homes you would usually see bicycles, occasionally a horse, donkey or motorcycle, and rarely, a car.
A short walk down the beach south of the Allegro brings you to the little fishing village of Cabeza del Toro. In the morning, you can see the fishermen coming back with their catch, and watch the little kids running around, excited to see what everybody caught. My husband video taped some of them running around, and played it back for them - they laughed and laughed to see themselves on camera!
There are no way to go off the beaten path here. Everything is organized for your pleasure and fun. At most you can play with the waves. Punta Cana is on the Atlantic Ocean coast, so the sea is often rough. I liked diving in the turbulent water!!
This is one of the best pictures i made this holiday...at least that is what i think..never saw something like that in the Netherlands ha ha...normally there is a name on the side from the builder who is working with it...
If you cant dive but you wanna try and see if you like it you have a free lesson in the pool. Just ask the man from the diveschool when and where and he will teach you all you need to know. If you like it you can get your PADI in the Dominican (see travelogue called BEACH for more info).
The beach is protected by police and guards...and there is not OF THE BEATEN PATH near the hotel. There is a little piece when you go to the shops on the beach, but all the rest is beach, sand, trees and rocks...Wanna know more..just go to my travelogue called BEACH
This is something i never ever saw before in my live and never would have known what it is / was if i didnt had seen it with my own eyes.....this is what would have been a coconut. This are the seeds of a coco. So....did you learned something today?
The Dominican Republic is a very colourfull island...even on the beach. Dont forget to look at my travelogue called BEACH, to see more colourfull pictures and learn more about the Dominican.
This is what you could do for free all day...in a canoo, sailing, surfing, going on a waterbike...have fun!