Feb 18 – We are staying this week in Villa la Caleta, which is run by a very nice Italian named Dario. We are at the eastern tip of the Samaná peninsula, and far from the cruise ship crowds. This area is frequented primarily by Europeans, and we have been hearing mostly French, some German, and some Russian in addition to Spanish.
So against all odds, one of the other villas is inhabited this week by Americans – a retired couple from Philadelphia. It’s strange but nice for us to make English conversation at dinner.
Dario runs a little restaurant, which serves an egg and fruit breakfast, and dinner of anything you want as long as it’s spaghetti, at prices much higher than we are accustomed to paying. We’ll have to get creative if we’re going to last the week.
We walked down the beach this morning, arriving after 15 minutes at a resort, with rows of sun worshipers slathered in lotion, lying on beach loungers, and a line queued up for drinks.
We kept walking. There were a few vendors along the beach, selling coconut milk and touristy stuff. I thought these carvings were particularly good.
After another 15 minutes, we reached the little town of Las Galeras, which we had not been able to properly inspect on our whirlwind journey yesterday.
There were lots of little cafés, spas and shops. It’s evident that English is not the primary language here.
The food offerings were still overpriced by our standards, and we had to walk a good way up the street before finding a place where the locals eat. We had a lovely lunch of chicken, beans, rice and salad, then found a very good grocery. Our room has a fridge, so we stocked up on sandwich fixings, a very tasty local cheese, and, of course, some Presidentes.
We purchased a little bottle of Mama Juana – the local specialty drink made of rum, red wine and honey, steeped in various medicinal barks. The locals say it will cure whatever ails you.
We swam in clear waters at the sandy beach.
We took a long walk up the hill to see the sunset.
I think we’ll manage here just fine.
Feb 19 – This morning we broke out our snorkels and set out to see what denizens may lurk beneath the gentle waves. Right outside our villa is a brown coral beach, with lots of places for critters to hide. We had to wear footwear into the water so we didn’t cut our feet on the sharp coral.
I have not been snorkeling since I was a kid in a swimming pool. I had reservations about how clearly I would be able to see under water without my glasses, but I was pleasantly surprised. Lots of colorful little fishies and anemones. It really is pleasant to lie face down in the water and just drift.
Here’s some of the wildlife we’ve encountered.
So this will be our week – eat, walk, swim, snorkel, eat. Repeat. I’ll check back in if there’s anything exciting to report!