Best Vacation at Caribbean Sea

    And at last we left US... We've got 2 weeks off finally! And we just enjoyed at Santana Beach resort in Dominican Republic.
    Dominican republic is situated on Haiti island. Atlantic ocean is on the north of the island and Caribbean sea is on the south. We flew from NY (JFK) to Santo Domingo (capital). It took about 3.5 hours. You know there is a big contrast between rainy NJ and hot sunny Dominican republic.  At first you think it's too hot but after while you like it...
    Our travel agent met us in the airport and we drove to our hotel. It's about 1 hour from the airport on the south coast. We drove through several villages/towns which are very different from US. It's quite a shock to see poor small houses, dirty streets and trash everywhere, a lot of people ride motorbikes and ... weird drivers. Everybody passes everybody, continuously honking and etc. Even a guy from NY told that he doesn't want to drive there ....
    But the hotels are different, they are actually resorts separated from the outside. Most of them have guarded entrance. We lived in the Santana Beach resort, 5-star hotel. We had all-inclusive package, it means all food, drinks (alcoholic too), sports, and other facilities are free! The food was very good, we had a big buffet 3 times a day, also there was a restaurant near swimming pool what works from 10am till 5pm. You can go there anytime you want and eat, eat, eat :) Mike liked it a lot.  The food was delicious and served well. There are 3 restaurants where you can have dinner free (Italian, Mexican or seafood). The swimming pool was giant and it had a bar nearby , so you can sit in the pool and drink Bahama Mama!
    English is enough to communicate but of course if you want to go outside yourself Spanish is very much needed. When we arrived we felt very strange because everybody was speaking Spanish and joking about something but we didn't understand that at all!
    The weather was hot but in the afternoon we had a small rain and this is good actually. Once we've been in a trip on the Saona Island and sun was so bright during a day that next day we had a terrible sunburn... (protection lotion didn't help). The water was very warm about 28C, like milk, you can swim there a whole day!
    So, during these 12 days we were eating, drinking, swimming, touring the country and ... and DIVING!
    Yes, we both took a special Open Water diver course. We had practice lessons in the pool and then we had dives in the sea. It was exciting! It was little bit scary at first time but then it's just exciting. There are a lot of colorful fish, corrals, shells and etc. Underwater experience was just like I saw in the movies before. In the last day after we got our certificates we made 2 more dives at the other dive site locations. We've been down there at 18 meters. So, we decided next time we have a vacation at a resort we'll dive again and again! Last dive we even took a special underwater camera with us and made photos during a dive.
    Also Mike tried wind-surfing, he liked very much, so next time he is going to improve his skills :*) I tried water ski and it was exciting too, next time... Also we did kayaking, banana riding and etc.
    Besides that we went on a tour to Santo Domingo, the capital of Dominican Republic. We saw a house of Columbus's son there. As you maybe know Columbus discovered Haiti first. Dominicans remember him and have several monuments. The city has some big buildings, especially official ones, it even has a university there but the living districts are dirty and mostly poor except of some places ( I guess new rich Dominicans). Besides this trip we've been on the truck safari, we drove through the Haiti island to the northern coast. We were riding horses (very cool) and swimming in the Atlantic ocean. It has much bigger waves than Caribbean sea that you can jump on them.

As you can see these 12 days passed so quickly and it was sad to leave...

Created: December 14, 2001