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We just got back from a much needed vacation. My husband was recently away on an extended work trip, while I was home solo parenting (with my Village backing me up! Thanks Village!). It was a long winter, and we needed to relax, recoup and reconnect from the time apart. We flew down to the Dominican Republic where we spent 6 days chilling on the beach at an Airbnb in the town of Las Terrenas. It was a dream vacation, and although I came down sick with what we now know was …is, ongoing, ugh… flu and then the rest of the family dropped like flies, we did our best to make the most of it. I wasn’t about to let a little thing like the plague ruin my vacay.
Las Terrenas is an old fishing village- turned European expat community- growing into a tourist destination. Its located on the north side of the Samana peninsula on the Atlantic coast of the Dominican Republic. It is so beautiful and secluded. In planning this trip, we had a few criteria. . . We wanted a location where we could relax without rowdy spring breakers nearby. Somewhere that we could put the boys in their own room so we didn’t have to tiptoe around them while they slept. Do a load of laundry if necessary (babies and their messes, I tell ya). An outdoor area to enjoy the weather and a view while the boys napped, or after their bedtime. And, most importantly, be on the sand and back in a minute. Our Airbnb on Playa Bonita ticked all the boxes and then some. It also had three pools and a bar, plus a bi-weekly cleaning service. If you’re planning a family vacay and you’ve never Airbnb’d before, look in to it. Having your own space to spread out really makes all the difference in helping every family member get the most out of their vacation and reduces the stress involved in traveling with children.
Playa Bonita is, bonita. Like, dream-come-true, palm trees over turquoise water, beautiful. We relaxed on the sand and played in the ocean. There is a shallow river that empties into the sea at one end of the beach. Beyond that, a short trail into the jungle connects to an uninhabited beach, and beyond that, another (beware the nudes). There are a string of hotels with restaurants along the other end of the beach, which we enjoyed walking to for dinner and breakfast. There were only a handful of other vacationers out at any given time. Otherwise, it’s the closest you might ever feel to having your own private paradise. We felt very comfortable there as a family, but would have felt equally accommodated had we been on a couple’s vacation.
We flew in to Santiago, about 150 km away and the only, only thing that prevents me from 100% recommending everyone take this trip, and I mean this in all seriousness, was the drive. Heed all warnings about driving in the DR. I Googled the heck out of it and still had no clue. The last time I was that stressed out in a car was when my water broke at our friends’ rehearsal dinner 90 miles from home. I labored on the ride to the hospital, and delivered ten minutes after rolling in the door. Unlike labor, this wasn’t so bad once you got used to it. I spoke with one woman who had hired a driver. There is also a bus system, which I can’t speak of because I know nothing about it. So there are other ways to get there. The only way I would recommend driving yourself, is if you or your travel partner have experience behind the wheel in the developing world, are excellent navigators, have quick reflexes and are essentially, fearless. I’m fortunate to have a husband who meets those criteria. Basically, it’s a semi-organized free for all, stoplights are more of an idea than a rule, entire families will zip by you on a single motorbike, and the roads are covered in speed bumps, humps, divots, craters, and canyons. The rental car company isn’t trying to up sell the larger, more rugged SUV, they are truly concerned for the safety of you and your family.
Whenever I travel, I’m constantly enjoying certain things for a certain person. Like, Oh my dad would get the biggest kick out of ____. And then enjoy ____ extra just for him. Or, my sister totally deserves a vacation like this. And then soak up extra sun just for her. My bff and I would totally giggle together over ____. And then pretend she’s there with me in that moment. Chances are, I had you there with me in my heart. Because everyone deserves their dream vacation. I feel very grateful for the memory of this trip with my family.
And now, a whole bunch of pictures to show what words cannot.
ps. if you aren’t following my instagram @exploremore.co head over there now for more pics and be sure to check out the highlighted story of our time there!