There are very few times that I have felt a complete change of culture as I did when crossing from Haiti to the Dominican Republic.
People were light skinned instead of black, spoke Spanish instead of French, it was quiet and clean instead of messy and chaotic. Prices were higher and the roads were better. This was a place for having a holiday.
When checking in at my hostel I was told that there was an outdoor salsa concert going on at the San Fransisco ruins, and just an hour later I was heading there together with a group of new friends who I had just met at the hostel.
I got to explore the old city and Zona Colonial a lot with my pennyboard while being there. The streets were so smooth that it almost felt that they were made for skateboarding. The second evening we went to a “…..” which is like a small grocery store with beer, booze and all kinds of snacks where also the locals go for a cheap drink and watch baseball games.
Santo Domingo is a place that I think have a good balance of safety, price, familiarity and friendliness and is a place I would love to live in for a couple of months if I ever manage to find a job that I can do on the road
In order to break up my journey from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo I decided to stop for a night in Bayahibe, a town near La Romana on the Caribbean side of the island. It was different from both Bavaro and Macao. There were quite a lot of tourists, but most seemed to be there on a day trip from Punta Cana as the village is the gateway to Saona Island.
There were no waves in the ocean, nor were there big resorts- Bayahibe was more of a charming little city with more small cafés and guesthouses. There was not much to see, other than the beach, the clear turquise waters and the many smal cliff formations so after a few strolls up and down along the ocean it was time to move on and get back to the capital, Santo Domingo.
When I wanted to get out of charterland, I wrote a sign saying “Macao” and stood by the highway. 5 minutes later a Canadian who was living in the Dominican Republic stopped his car and told me to jump in. He drove me all the way to the camping place where I would spend the following nights in my hammock.
Just as I had mounted my hammock and mosquito net, I heard a familiar voice from behind saying “Jørn Bjørn”? I turned around and saw Pernille who I had shared a villa with in Bali last year and not seen since- what a coincidence! Together with her new Dutch boyfriend and a friendly Sweden we stayed up talking about how we all had similar goals in life and how wonderful it was to travel without having a home or a job. The beach was also a great place for surfing (I couldn’t goe because of an injured toe) and it was much more empty and relaxing than Bavaro. This was a place that I liked.
A place where I just had to go, as it probably is the most famous place in the Dominican Republic is Punta Cana. As I got off the bus from Santo Domingo, I reallized that Punta Cana was a huge place, but luckily I managed to find a hostel in Bavaro where they had let me off, even though Bavaro mainly consist of all inclusive resorts.
It was still not a place to meet likeminded travelers. Most of the people who were there were mainly interested in laying in sunchairs, paying 10 dollars to take pictures with parrots or go on bananaboats just like they do in the resort beaches in Spain. It was not quite my taste but the beaches and waters were absolutely stunning so I could understand why people want to go spend their holidays there.