Hi there, I spent 2 months in the DR in 1993, mostly at Luperon, which is an okay place, lots of interesting livestock roaming the streets, goats, pigs, chickens. I went to the finast restaurant in Luperon, a lovely place with outdoor tables, linen tableclothes and crystal water goblets. I asked the waiter to show me where I could wash my hands before I ate. He said, "follow me!" and led me through the kitchen out the back door and to the rain barrel, where he held a white finger towel for me and dipped a bowl into the rain barrel, and offered the bowl full of rainwater to me. We sailed to the DR from Boston in our private yacht, and upon our arrival we needed to take on water, our holding tanks were empty. We ended up filling our drinking water tanks with rain water off of the local people's roofs, because, it was all there was, so we tossed in some chlorine. The local people helped us, when they found out we needed water, by carrying gallons full of their rain water to our dinghy. They were very hospitable and very kind. Don't hire anyone to do your laundry, they wash it in the water running in the gutter, and dry it on a barbed wire fence. I happened to have some fabric with me when I went to Luperon, so I hired a dressmaker to make a dress for me according to a design I imagined, she made it to fit perfectly without even measuring me, and made it exactly as I described, and only charged $8. It was excellent work. I prefered Rio San Juan, which has a friendly ambiance. We anchored off the Playa at Rio San Juan, and took our dinghy to shore. We had not even reached shore yet when a man came running out into the waves, carrying two pina colada's served in 1/2 coconut shells, and shoved them at us. "But!" we said, "We don't have any money with us!"....He answered, "Don't worry, I'll catch you in town later!". He insisted we take the pina coladas, and very fine pina coladas too. True to his word, he did appear later in town, as we seated ourselves for dinner at a restaurant, and exacted his price of dinner for the drinks. The playa at Rio San Juan was, in 1993, and maybe still is, clothing optional. Donkey's are running around on that beach. It was on this beach that I learned it is not a good idea to sit in the shade under a coconut tree, because, the coconuts fall on your head. There is a small island just a few feet off the beach, very small, like, the size of a house. If you go diving there you will find that the small island has a tunnel through it under water level, so, we had a good time swimming under the small island. Good surf. Clean water, nice and blue, 90 or so degrees. The horizon has lovely lush green hillsides. The Rio San Juan is navicable for small boats, so we rode our dinghy up Rio San Juan though a rain forest canopy get to the Gri Gri, which is like a sea wall giving acess to the city. The country is wealthy in livestock. You can get around the countryside, from one city to another, by bus, which is really like a 7 passenger car, crowded shoulder to shoulder with passengers and sometimes livestock. Many people in the countryside do not speak english, which increases the likelihood you will learn spanish! In the DR you pay more for things if you speak english than if you speak spanish. The officials require the occasional small bribe when checking into or out of the country. Puerto Plata was a great place for shopping for jewelry and amber. Its a big city with lots of hotels and restaurants, but none of the hotels I stayed at were of a very high standard. They had things like too few towels and no carpets and showers without shower heads, just, a pipe coming out of the wall dripping a little cold water. You will have a wonderful adventure. Enjoy!