Liane and I recently returned from a 7 day tour of the SW region of the country. It’s been over three years since we’ve taken time for ourselves. Getting well off the beaten path and discovering the lesser known back country away from the hustle bustle of the cities and towns is what inspires us so we decided to make the time. Since the DR Escapes tours are already booked well into fall and winter this was perhaps our only chance so off we headed.
Liane and I have discovered over the years of traveling together that for us going with the flow when touring always reveals the most of the two aspects we’re looking for. These aspects are discovering new destinations that are seldom seen by expats (for that matter seldom seen by most locals) and gaining new experiences in both the terrain and the people. I guess most would say their one and the same but to Liane and I there’s a vast difference between them.
Our trip started in Cabrera and spanned as far as running along the Haitian border past Pedernales. We then took a dirt road and ended up in Duverge. This trip included so many cut roads in between our destinations that are not on any map (at least any map I’ve ever seen) and far too many of them to mention. I’m going to cover this trip in 3 or 4 parts but we’ll be editing a series of YouTubes so watch out for them over the next six to eight weeks. We’re confident you’ll love them.
OK let’s get rolling. Leaving Cabrera early in the morning we started out and took the new highway to the Capitol. I had to return some clothes I purchased a couple of weeks prior and since we had to go through the Capitol to arrive at our first destination we figured why not take care of it then. Since I hate clothes shopping sometimes I don’t try things on and simply purchase only to later discover that I should have. It’s a me thing I guess.
To gain a better understanding of our route click onto the PDF map and you’ll be able to place the locations of the many places we were in. It’s important to note that most of the roads we traveled are not on this map. Several were cut trails spanning well into the mountains along rivers. Definitely you will need a high ground clearance four wheel drive vehicle if ever planning to venture into these parts on your own. Some of these trails ran five to six hours in duration and the most extreme started at 123 feet BELOW sea level and five hours later was just less than 8000 feet sea level and in fact well above the clouds. The Temperatures were ranging from around 100 Fahrenheit at the beginning to slightly over 65 degrees at the summit.
Not for everybody I know but for Liane and I being the off road nuts that we both are… was it ever. The adventure yielded us discovering some of the best scenes I’ve witnesses in all my extensive travels. For all you folks that don’t fall into that category fear not there are plenty of nice places to stay accommodating all budgets and tastes.
When exiting the Capitol we wanted to stay as close to the sea as possible so we ventured through the town of Haina and San Cristobal. By the time we were finished with the gridlock traffic of the Capitol it was already 3:00 in the afternoon. Since we decided that Barahona will be our first night resting place it didn’t leave time to check out any of the sea side turn offs that would take you to Cuevas del Pomier which is a series of natural caves or any of the few scattered beaches. Since Knowing a few friends in the Capitol asking them revealed that we were not missing much.
Continuing onward we had to pass through the small cities of San Cristobal, Bani and Azul. All three cities seemed to take on a similar appearance to Nagua. All three cities featured very congested traffic but not a difficult drive to maneuver through it. All of these cities hosted hundreds of stores ranging from hardware to furniture with everything in between. Didn’t see any need to stop except for fuel and the ATM over at Ban Reservas.
Noteworthy point I always carry extra cash with me and if venturing into any these areas so should you. It’s very common for the ATM’s to run out of cash early into the afternoon and if your running low on cash might take up over an hour of your trip waiting in line to either withdrawal or convert dollars. Just an FYI for whatever it’s worth.
Leaving Azul about one and a half hours later entered Canoa. Canoa is just a small town located right on the highway. As with many towns when slowing down at the speed bumps people try to sell cold water fruit or other snacks. The one which is by far my favorite is roasted and salted cajuiles. Cajuiles are cashew nuts and they grow here rather plentiful. Running around 100 pesos or 2.75 for a large bottle filled to the brim makes for an excellent nutritious snack and cheap as it gets.
Taking the choice the highway offers by veering to the left you’ll on your way to Barahona. We arrived into Barahona around 7:00. It was already dark and we just wanted to stop and enjoy dinner together. After that we were tired and wanted to find a place to bed down for the night. So after a couple of rums with Liane’s home made Chinola juice (passion Fruit never travel without it) that’s exactly what we did. Yes you can actually bring your own juice and rum into any restaurant. They don’t care or try and charge you anything since they know you’re going to eat there. They’re even happy to oblige with as much ice as you need. Like I’ve said in many past posts I LOVE THIS COUNTRY!!!
Our next day started out in a very interesting way. I’m sure you won’t want to miss it. I’ll continue on the next post from that point forward. Don’t forget Larry the tech guy will be formatting our video footage over the next six to eight weeks. Until next time this is Barry (and Liane) in DR.