Around Dominican Republic

Route 3_2024

Route: Boca Chica-Casa del Campo-Cap Cana-Puerto Bahia-Cofresi
Date: 31-14/02/2024
Miles/hours: 335nm/ 78h

Santo Domingo Tres Ojos and Columbus Lighthouse

A beautiful cave with four lakes in the eastern part of Santo Domingo. Admission costs 200 pesos. You can only pay via the app – they provide internet access and help with purchasing. Then you go to the cashier with the QR code and get a wristband, which you cross off at the entrance. First, you visit a complex of caves with 3 lakes with beautiful blue water. You take a cable “ferry” across one of the lakes – the cost is 50 pesos – this time in cash. After visiting three lakes, we go up and admire the fourth lake – you can walk around it along a path. The whole place is beautiful, the caves are full of stalactites and stalagmites, and the rocks are reflected in the blue water.

Walking towards the Zona Colonial, we visit the Columbus Lighthouse – a monument built in the 19th century. It is a cross-shaped monument that is approximately 800 meters long and 36.5 meters high. It currently houses a museum – admission 100 Pesos per person.

Local check-in

In the Dominican Republic, between local ports you need to have a despacho – a travel document between ports. You need to have an exit document from one port to another – you have to wait until the next day (usually) and you can do it at Armada or at the marina (Boca Chica) which acts as an intermediary in arranging the documents. In the next port, the same thing – we desperately exchange it for another port. You must have passports of the entire crew and a yacht document. The Armada office is usually open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Marina Casa de Campo

The huge marina is 90% occupied by private people, so it has a lot of free places, but they do not allow people to stand on them. They will rent two dolphins from the pier and a separate small bridge for going out. They put us at the quay next to the gas station, there is a big swell and the marina staff do everything to make us sail away, but in the end we agree that we will sail the next morning, and now I will arrange a despacho to the next port. The marina staff takes me to the Armada office (about 500m, but no one walks here), where I give the despacho from Boca Chica and arrange to pick up the despacho to Cap Cana for the next day.

In the evening, we go for a walk around the marina – there are many elegant shops, a sailing shop (unfortunately now closed), a grocery store, many shops selling clothes, souvenirs and various accessories, all elegantly lit and air-conditioned. Everywhere is clean (completely different than in Boca Chica)

Isla Saona

Nice, second largest Dominican island. It is worth anchoring near it and swimming in the blue water. If you feel like it, you can go to the beach or to a beach bar, of which there are plenty on the shore.

Cap Cana resort

Marina in a huge hotel resort. They take melex buses everywhere (for free), you just need to call them or make an appointment in advance. They even carry something if it is 100 meters away. You can also rent electric scooters for $20 per hour. The marina costs $1.21 per foot + tax. Water costs $5 per day. Electricity according to the meter: $0.5 per kWh. Everything is in dollars, but you can pay by card in pesos (conversion rate 59 pesos to one dollar). There are some bars, restaurants and several nice beaches in the complex. The marina is quiet, although some of the houses are not perfectly maintained. In the marina there are mainly motorboats for fishing and a few catamarans, there are about 5 single-hull sailboats, including us, and the marina is huge.

Everything happens slowly here – they were supposed to pick me up to take me to the marina office at 11:30, but they arrived at 1 p.m. Armada had the biggest delay – they were supposed to bring the despacho first at 10 a.m., then at 10:30 a.m. and we got it after 1 p.m., okay that we had time – only 80nm to the next marina, so we spent the night in the sea.

Puerto Bahia

Another lovely resort, but nicer and better organized. For the yacht we pay $1.45 per foot and $0.45 per kWh. Wi-Fi water and garbage collection included in the price. In addition, the price includes a swimming pool, gym and billiards. A guy from a car rental company comes to the place ($50 per day). The entire complex is neat, green, and the marinero is helpful. The only zong is traditionally the Armada – the gentleman showed up only around 2 p.m., and even then only the Armada, and then I was waiting for the customs officer.

Car rental

Here we took a car from a local rental company for $50 per day. The car runs only on gas – in the place of the fuel filler it has a protruding gas filling tube – for convenience, the same as gas cylinders. All windows are covered with dark foil, with dark foil on the side windows and a slightly lighter foil in the front, but to make something visible there is a cut-out strip at the driver’s eye level, as well as small pegs next to the side mirrors. The car is beat up, but the guy doesn’t care – he rents it with full insurance.

El Limon

El Limon is the name of the town and the highest waterfall in the Dominican Republic. We leave the car near the restaurant and set off on the trail. It’s worth taking wellies, because the last section is very difficult muddy, especially when it rained earlier. On the way we pass a small waterfall (cascada pequena), and entry to the large waterfall costs 50CUP per person. You can swim under the waterfalls (there is even a changing room at the main waterfall). The water is cold, but the brave crew manages.

Boca del Diablo

In our words, it’s the devil’s mouth – a promontory where, when the waves are bigger, a fountain of water shoots out from between the rocks, and when the waves are smaller, it only murmurs menacingly. You can get there by car on a very potholed and muddy road, so if possible, it is worth renting a 4×4 car with high suspension. Apparently, whales come to the bay at Boca del Diablo at 4 p.m. (a few people are even waiting for them, and on our way back we pass several cars going there). From Boca del Diablo there is a beautiful path to Fronton beach with viewpoints, a cave and beautiful rocks and tropical plants. It takes about an hour each way.

Ocean World Marina – Cofresi

Nice marina next to the Ocean World theme park. The area is guarded, traditionally transported in vans, although you can also go on foot. The marina costs $1.26 per foot of boat length ([plus 18% tax), an additional $0.45 per kWh and $0.2 per gallon of water. There are large waves in the marina, so it is worth mooring the boat well and protecting the mooring lines against abrasion (the piers are concrete)

Puerto Plata

It’s worth taking an Uber from the marina – it’s cheaper and more comfortable than the bus (we paid about 160 DOP). A must-see is the cable car ride to Mount Isabel de Torres ($10 per person) – it’s the only cable car in the Caribbean – it’s almost 2,700m long. It is worth walking through Isabel de Torres National Park – a beautiful park on the top of the mountain with paths, a cave (small) and the statue of Christ the Redeemer at the top (a replica of a statue from Rio de Janeiro). If you wish, you can also enter on foot or by car.

The next point is the Fortaleza de San Felipe fortress – a 16th-century fortress built to defend against pirates and invaders. It once served as a prison, now a museum (entrance fee 100 DOP). The price includes an audio guide, it’s even in Polish!! On the way, we pass through a children’s carnival area – large groups of costumed people are getting ready to perform. It is colorful, cheerful, loud and crowded. We take Uber back to the marina.

The next day we visit the Macorix House of Rum rum factory (entrance $4). During the tour, we go through a cellar with barrels, the lady tells us something about rum production and we watch a film in English but with Polish subtitles. The guide also knows a few words in Polish.

At the end, a tasting, and after leaving, a visit to the company store.

27 Damajagua waterfalls

27 Waterfalls of Damajagua National Park. Guided tour ($24 per person with lunch). Additionally, we buy a place in the safe for $4, where we leave items that are not water-resistant (e.g. documents and car keys). It is worth taking swimming equipment, a swimsuit and a waterproof camera.

You start at the bottom – first you need to take a helmet and a vest (included in the ticket price), they also recommend taking a bottle of water. We take waterproof backpacks, but most people start in swimming shoes with a bottle in hand. We go to the top of the waterfall – about 20 minutes with stops. Due to the small amount of water, only 7 waterfalls are active. Upstairs we change shoes and take off our blouses. The first position – you can jump or go down the ladder – Tomek and Piotrek jump, and I choose the intermediate option – I go down a little and then jump. The water is cold, but not icy. We swim a short distance to the waterfall. We overcome the next waterfall by sliding down a water spout – it’s great. All in a beautiful canyon. This is how we overcome the next few waterfalls, and at the last one there are three options – you can jump, slide or climb down the ladder. Only three of us go down, the rest either jump or climb down the ladder. We return to the starting point, return our helmets and vests and go change. Then we go for lunch – we can eat anything as long as it fits on the plate. There are lots of vegetables, some meat, some fruit, rice, beans and pasta, and of course fried bananas.

Las Cuevas de Cabarete

A trip through 3 caves with nice dripstones for those willing to jump into the underground lake in the cave. Admission is $20 per person – including a helmet (useful) and a guide with a flashlight.

The entrance fee to the national park itself costs 100DOP (already included in the $20), but all caves have padlocked entrances and the guide has the key.

Comments are closed.