I’m a firm believer that if your a good traveler you can find local parts in even the most touristy destinations. That was one of the reasons I opted to stay at the hostel instead of at one of Punta Cana’s ever popular all-inclusive resorts.
One of the best parts of staying at a hostel is that it gives you the opportunity to meet other travelers. I especially recommend this if you’re traveling solo, but want to meet and travel around with other travelers. In my case, I met someone who wanted to get off the beaten path just as badly as I did.
So we pooled our money, rented a tiny little car and took off for a few days to discover the mountain sides of the Dominican Republic.
Our plan was to drive North and head to the deserted but gorgeous Playa Limon. First let me clarify that roads and “highways” in the DR are not quite like they are in the states. For one thing, a lot of these roads don’t really have names, and if a road does by chance have a name or way to be identified, don’t bother pulling out your map and asking locals directions by using said name for the road. Locals know roads and which directions they head, they do not bother with names or identifiers of roads.
Basically you should be prepared to be slightly lost at all times. If you’re not comfortable with this thought I suggest you stay in Punta Cana. If you are up to the challenge of driving to a remote location, trust me, after a long trip you will be rewarded.
When we finally arrived at Rancho La Cueva we were please to see that our wanderings had actually taken us where we wanted to go. We had this quaint little get away nearly all to ourselves. The place is owned and run by a very entertaining Austrian man, who you can find on the front deck nearly all day conversing with guests or staff. Through a few conversations I had with him, I learned he’s owned the place for 20 years and when asked if he would ever go back to Europe he responded without missing a beat by saying, “I’m not stupid”.
Breakfast: fried eggs with mangu (mashed plantains, prepared with olive oil garlic, and diced red onions, always served with salami)
Lunch: fish soup, squid salad, and a side of fried plantains
Dinner: fried fish served with rice beans, salad and beer…aways beer.
A short walk from the guesthouse will take you down a path, and eventually to a coconut forrest where you’ll start to hear the crashing of the waves against the shore.
A small hill will keep the shore hidden, but you’ll know from the sound that the water is close. Over the hill an abandoned beach of silky smooth sand and turquoise blue water will hit you like a ton of bricks.
Leaving this place was hard, but since we our beach fill had been satisfied we were ready to see some mountains next. Of course we got lost in quite a few other places before we got to where we were headed.