The Dominican Republic ticks every box for the independent and imaginative traveller. From unspoiled postcard beaches and palm trees to history and culture, the Caribbean’s second biggest island has loads of it in (plastic) spades.
There were a number of firsts on this two-week break to the
Caribbean. It was my visit to the region, it was my first all-inclusive holiday
and it was the first time I only took a phone camera with me.
Going late in the year (after organising a national
conference with work) the idea was to get away from it all and laze on the
beach with a decent chance of sunshine – even in November.
The island of Little Spain
Looking into the history of the destination, I hadn’t previously appreciated that the entire island (shared with impoverished neighbours Haiti) is actually called Hispaniola (little Spain). The island was the first permanent European settlement in the Americas. And its capital, Santo Domingo, contains the first ever church set up in the Americas. Yes, European irrationalism has a lot to answer for!
Puerto Plata Resort
Christopher Columbus first visited the island in 1492, reaching the north coast of the island, where our resort near Puerta Plata is situated. He certainly couldn’t have picked a more photogenic part of the planet.
Columbus’ voyage across the Atlantic aboard his flagship,
the Santa Maria was in search of a new route to India for the trade of spices. Known
as the silver city on the amber coast, Puerto Plata, in the north of the
Dominican Republic, is as precious to the country as its name makes it sound.
The first village in the New World was founded in this region on the 2nd of
January 1494, and throughout the 16th-century, Puerto Plata harbour was of
A visit to the Santo Domingo
Although the capital is around three hour’s drive away, it
is well worth a visit to get a taste of the real day-to-day life of the
residents and to visit some of the unrivalled historic sites.
It’s also a chance to see how fertile the countryside is. Anything
grows in the soil. DR also has Latin America’s largest gold mine. So, from
coffee and tobacco, agriculture is hugely profitable resource for the country.
If only they and their neighbouring countries were free from colonial
interference to enjoys the fruits of the land. Everyone, from the French, Spanish
and British to more recently the USA have had an economic finger in the pie of all
the Caribbean jewels.
Although I hadn’t taken my “big” camera gear, I wasn’t disappointed.
I was lucky to enjoy some spectacular sunsets and the iPhone camera managed to
capture them in all their beauty.
The only drawback is the seven-hour flight: the longest time
I had been on an aircraft but once you get that over with you are truly in
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