Tag Archives: Rio San Juan

Back to Santo Domingo

Mar 1 – We survived Dominican Independence Day on 2/27, and we survived Saturday night in Río San Juan last night. The two celebrations sounded about the same, with every car and motorbike cranking up their sound systems to the max, on the supposition that everybody has the same favorite song. It felt like little Zumba classes on every corner. Mercifully, all the noise stopped at 10pm, and you could hear the sound of the ocean again.

This morning we awoke to a gray, rainy day, so we didn’t mind bidding adieu to Río San Juan. We boarded a big air conditioned Caribe Tours bus at 9am, and it took us directly back to Santo Domingo. We returned to Hotel Casa Aluge for one night.

So, one more stroll down the shopping street.

One more Quinceañera celebration. This beauty was fussing with her dress, but gave me a big smile when she saw my camera.

What else can I show you? Did you know that cigars are made here?

We haggled for souvenirs – a plate for our wall, a magnet for our fridge. One more shot of Mama Juana for the road.

We thought we’d get away without concern about the corona virus, but today the first case was reported from a tourist to the D.R., and the government has begun turning away cruise ships. The checkout clerks in the supermarket have donned masks. A good time to go home.

We had a lovely time.

Laguna Gri Gri

Feb 25 – Aside from the beach, the other claim to fame here at Río San Juan is Laguna Gri Gri, a small lake surrounded by gri gri trees. Gri gri is either a reference to a mangrove or a black olive tree, both of which are known for their big roots. Wikipedia has no opinion on this subject, so this is the opinion of blogs I consulted.

According to the travel sites, a visit to Laguna Gri Gri is a fine diversion for those tired of the resort beaches of Puerto Plata, about 60 miles away. For us, it is just one block away, so off we went to explore.

The lagoon has lots of little boats, waiting to take folks out on tour, but the boatmen are not pushy. We walked all around the lake on foot, marveling at the still waters and the elevated roots.

Lots of birdsong. Here’s a little crab sunning herself on a rock.

The tour boats take tourists out to the ocean, but we couldn’t see a trail from here that would take us to the beach.

The restaurants surrounding the lagoon had lots of fine wall art, though.

More mosaic tile work and wall art on the walk home.

We returned to our apartment for a swim in the rooftop pool. Here’s a picture of the exterior of our place.

Now here’s a shot of the place next door. Yes, this is a very poor country, and has no resort nearby, so the folks we meet are not much involved with tourists.

Our pool is not Olympic size, but fine for cooling off.

The view from our rooftop. See the beach?

So here we are for a week of eat, walk, swim, croissants, swim, eat. Jim is serving up super delicious meals, and has made a friend of the grocer nearby. I’ll check back in if anything exciting happens…

Rio San Juan

Feb 23 – we said goodbye to Villa la Caleta, and Dario drove us to Las Galeras so we could catch the morning guagua back to Las Terrenas. He seemed surprised to learn we were heading for Río San Juan. Why would anyone ever want to go there?

It was early Sunday morning, so for much of the ride the van was only partially filled. Blessed relief! Back through Samaná and El Limón we went.

When we reached Las Terranas two and a half hours later, there was a lively discussion among the driver and other riders about what should be done with us. It was 11:30 am, and some riders felt we should wait in town until the big bus heading north left at 2pm. The other, equally vocal contingent thought that in the interest of time, we should continue to guagua on to our final destination.

We opted for the guagua, so the driver brought us to the next van, which took us to Sánchez. (We know in retrospect that we should have asked for this route at Samaná, but oh well.) The nice thing about the guagua system is that there are no layovers or downtime. Each driver takes you directly to the next van, and tells the next driver where you are going.

After Sánchez, we headed up into the hills, and it started to rain like crazy. On to Nagua, then finally to Río San Juan, where the final driver actually took us right to our place on the beach.

So we are now in northern D.R., in a very nice apartment with a stove and fridge and everything needed for Jim to whip us up some of his very tasty meals, once the stores open tomorrow. For tonight, we found a shop selling hot ham and cheese empanadas, and that suited us just fine.

Feb 24 – We walked around today and found several grocerias, and stocked up on essentials that included vegetables! We haven’t really had any vegetables since we arrived in country. We found a French patisserie with excellent coffee and crusty fresh bread. We also found an ATM that dispensed more than the equivalent of $20 maximum per day, which has been a challenge in every town here, as hotels and everybody else accept only cash.

Our place has a small pool on the roof, but as we are just one block from the beach, we did our swimming in the Atlantic today. Playa de los Minos has more waves than we encountered in Las Galeras, but the water was warm and the swimming was fine.

The town has a little park with lots of mosaics.

We’re going to like it here!