Blogs from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Central America Caribbean - page 6


Buenos chicos, llege al Caribe. And the colors here really let you know exactly where you are. I’ve found myself on just staring at a sky that carries a rich and heavy blue, almost fluorescent; and the color of the sea is tinged with the same radiance. However, should you step out of the shade at all, sentiments of aesthetic appreciation are quickly tempered by the burning light of the star that gives the island its color and beauty - not to mention the enormous amount of trash that decorates most of the streets. Yesterday, I went for a walk along a main highway whose shoulders are full of ramshackle businesses selling lottery tickets, phone cards, cooked meats, beer, batidos (fruit shakes) - but it’s also scattered with massive trucks, tires, all kinds of rusty remnants ... read more
Entrena 2
Entrena 3
Entrena 4

It’s early in the AM as we head down to the Hotel Meliá to meet Kate Wallace for a birding trip to the Jardín Botanico. Kate, a former volunteer, runs Tody Tours (, specializing in trips within the Dominican Republic. While she ordinarily charges $20 per person, she did this for free. All we had to do was chip in for the cost of transportation in a mini-van. Thanks a bunch, Kate!!! We had a three-hour hike in the park, observing quite a few new birds and some old friends (birds) that we commonly see in Florida. Among the birds seen were lots of Palmchats, Hispaniolan woodpeckers, Antillean Mango hummingbirds, Vervain hummingbirds, Snowy egrets, Common Moorhen, Purple Gallinules, Red-legged thrushes, Least grebes, Hispaniolan parakeet, Hispaniolan Lizard-Cuckoo, Broad-billed tody (much like a hummingbird, and endemic to the ... read more
Hispaniolan Woodpecker
Hispaniolan Parakeet
Chenille Plant

After a quick breakfast at the Villar Hermanos pastry shop, we loaded up in the hotel’s mini-van and our driver, Rigoberto, took us out to Los Tres Ojos Park a bit east of Santo Domingo and across the Río Ozama. For those who do not recognize the name of this river, it has served twice as an invasion point to the island of Hispaniola. The first time was when the Spaniards came up the river to settle the “New World” and found Santo Domingo where the present Old Town is located. The second time came when in 1965, under the reign of Lyndon Johnson, 44,000 US troops invaded the country, with the major path of the invasion coming up the river. This invasion, unnoticed and not remembered by the American people, came during the early stages ... read more
Ojo 1 and Cave Roof
Ojo 1 and Lake
Ojo 3 and Lake

We discovered a nice pastry shop just a block west of the Hotel Duque, and that is where the Duffs, Braxtons and Millers headed early the next morning. The café con leche was superb. Then we loaded ourselves into a mini-van at the hotel and headed to the northwestern part of Santo Domingo (Altos de Galá area) to the Jardín Botanica Nacional. This garden (7.7 sq miles) has a 4-kilometer (2.4 miles) asphalt-paved walking trail. It is well maintained and patrolled by helpful park rangers who are there to assist visitors and to prevent plant theft. Throughout the park are extremely tall, thin (you can put your hands together around the trunk) guanito (Coccothrinax argentea) palms. Some 300 species of orchids are present. A small river runs through the park, along which much bird life and ... read more
Gray Kingbird
Nutmeg Mannikin
Antillean Hummingbird

It's early in the morning in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (DR). Mary is already peeking out our balcony window to see what the birds are that she hears ... so many different calls from the many almond trees and pines near the hotel. What a night of bad sleeping on the mattress that sucks you to the center of the Earth, compounded by my cough (that's the last I'll mention of it, as it usually lasts a couple of weeks). Lowell Braxton, his wife Jean, Mary and I gave each other big "abrazos" as we met in the morning for a nice breakfast in the little hotel restaurant. Then we four walked the three blocks (gloriously struggling through the crowd of shoeshine kids -- we had on tennis shoes, sandals and rough-out boots -- but they ... read more
At Lunch

It's really laughable after the fact, but Mary and I almost didn't make it to the Dominican Republic Peace Corps 45th Anniversary Reunion. I misread the airline schedule and we showed up at the Tampa Airport just as the plane was in final loading stages. HOWEVER, lo' and behold ... there was a later flight and a later connection. But, we arrived five hours later than planned (it was 12 hours total), completely exhausted. Fortunately I was able to send an email to the Hotel Duque de Wellington (approx $62/night compared to the official reunion Hotel Meliá at $120 or so) and Rigoberto, the hotel driver, picked us up. All we could do was to call Lowell Braxton in his room and say, "See you downstairs for breakfast." We found that our AC sounded like an ... read more

What excitement and a bit of trepidation. After all, I who remain so young looking will probably not even recognize the old coots that show up for the 45th Anniversary Reunion of the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. However, it looks like Duff, Braxton, McMullen and I will be there. Perhaps LaGra will show up. Had hoped for more, but 4-5 out of the remaining 23 (20 located) is not too bad. The accompanying photo is of a portion of our Well Drillers Group (Dominican Republic IV) that served there from '62-'64. We should have a good time and will lift a Presidente beer for those who could not show up.... read more

Este fue un pasadia en una finca en Santo Domingo con los panas de la oficina y otros amigos... read more

On a recent trip to Santo Domingo, we were traveling on a budget and decided to give Hotel Danae in gazcue a shot Hotel Danae Website . We had stayed there previously but they have since added 6 or 7 new rooms. Gazcue is a great place to stay in Santo Domingo as it is within walking distance to the Colonial Zone, the Malecon and many hotels, bars and restaurants. Hotel Danae is thinking about adding free WIFO for its guests which would make it even more of a no brainer to stay there. They have 2 employees that speak english and that can also answer any questions via email in English. We speak spanish well enough but it is hard to find hotels in this price range that has any english speaking employees, so that ... read more
Budget priced room in Santo Domingo

Well, that's that then. Today is my last day in Santo Domingo. After so much planning and anticipation I can't believe this part of my trip is already over. How come 7 weeks at work doesn’t fly past so quickly?! It's been really hard work and I can’t say I’ve enjoyed every minute but it’s been a great experience and lots of fun. I’m surprised how attached I’ve become to the school and it was sad saying goodbye on Friday. Marisol, the school’s director, got all the kids into the playground and they gave us a big send-off with songs and speeches and presents. Some of the children made me cards, which I can’t understand because they’re all written in Spanish but I’m assured say nice things, and then I got mobbed to take photos of ... read more
Last day at school
The original 20th March gang!
Dancing in the streets

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