All posts filed under: Central America

Walking Around Santo Domingo

From Samana it’s about three hours to Santo Domingo by bus. We woke up at 4:30 in the morning to catch the 5:00 AM guagua bound for Santo Domingo. The guagua is a local minibus which stops often to load passengers, mainly Dominicans, headed to the capital. The bus was full but extra seating was improvised in the aisle space between the seats. We sat like sardines, shoulder to shoulder for the next 3 hours. We arrived in what seemed to be a sketchy part of town. We were ready to walk and asked around for directions to Zona Colonial but we were told to forget it as the neighbourhood was “muy peligroso”. So we jumped into a cab that took no longer than 5 minutes to Zona Colonial. It seemed as if we were already there.    We had booked a night at hotel Portes 9 in Zona Colonial, a quaint little hotel on a quiet street. We set to explore the city and headed downtown and along Santo Domingo’s Malecón. We walked for a …

Beach Hopping in Dominican

To escape the cold winter in Canada, we recently visited the Dominican Republic. We chose Samana as our pied de terre but planned to take several day trips to explore the beautiful beaches nearby. Samana has a lot of great beaches and Playa Rincon was one of my favorites. This beach stretches for kilometres and it’s appeal is the fact that it’s still a virgin beach unspoiled by resorts and commerce. As we walked east, the beach got wider and the white sand cleared of seasonal seaweeds. Waves crush against rocks and the beach ends with an impressive rock which mimics the entry to a cave. Really stunning! We rented a car and drove further east to Las Galeras which also has a good beach. From there we stopped at Playita, a beach that was recommended to us by a Spaniard from Barcelona who made Dominican his home in recent years. This beach is a favorite with locals and it’s memorable because of the coral corridor we had to walk through to reach the open ocean. We had a great walk along the beach from El Portillo where …

5 Things to Do in Panama

We only had one week to explore Panama so we had to be selective about what we could see. Here are my five favorite things we did during our stay. 1. EXPLORE CASCO VIEJO NEIGHBORHOOD Stroll the narrow streets of Casco Viejo and take in the colonial architecture. Check out the Presidential Palace, Plaza Herrera, Iglesia de San Jose and the National Theatre. End the day with dinner at The Fish Market, a food truck nestled inside the ruins of a colonial building. All of their dishes are under $10. 2. HAVE LUNCH AT MERCADO DEL MARISCO  A quick walk from Casco Viejo, the fish market is a great place for lunch. For $5.00 you get a satisfying lunch for two consisting of two cups of fresh ceviche and two local beers. Once you’re done with your lunch, walk around to see the catch of the day, men cleaning fish and preparing ceviche. 3. VISIT A NGABE CHOCOLATE FARM  The Oreba Chocolate Tour in Almirante is run by indigenous Ngabe farmers. The guide takes you on a great hike of a …

Jamaica: Garden Island

I’m not the type of person to spend my entire vacation laying on the beach and for that reason I decided to visit Ocho Rios in the eastern part of Jamaica. Unlike Negril which is well known for its beautiful beaches, Ocho Rios and its surroundings are a great blend of mountains, rivers, waterfalls and remarkable flora. Only a thirty minute walk from Ocho Rios’s town center are the wonderful Mahoe Falls. Although Dunn’s River Falls are the bigger and more popular falls in the area, they also tend to be crowded with tourists and to lack the charm and tranquility of Mahoe Falls. Surrounded by Coyoba River Garden, Mahoe Falls is a little piece of paradise. This fall can be climbed with ease because it doesn’t have the force of Dunn’s River Falls. The surrounding gardens are lush with exotic flowers and colourful butterflies. There is a lookout point with a panoramic view of Ocho Rios and small history museum of Jamaica from its Spanish occupation to present day. This was truly a charming …