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12. Nov, 2009

South America on a Budget

Although not set in stone, the idea is to travel and visit every country in South America. I’ve always loved Latin America, and going to Carnaval turned out to be a good excuse to visit other parts of South America other than just Brazil. Starting in Lima Peru, we have three weeks to make it to Rio de Janiero before Carnaval starts. We’ll traverse Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil, ending up in Rio by February 12, 2010. Carnaval is 7 days long, and we need a few days extra to play tourist and visit a couple sites. After that, time is no longer relevent.

Our rough plan is to head back to Paraguay and make that our base camp while making trips to Uruguay and Argentina. Eventually, we’ll leave Paraguay and head to Chile. From there, we will work our way back up to Bolivia, Ecuador, then Colombia. From Colombia we will head East through Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. Then, depending on time, we might continue on through the North Coast of Brazil towards Fortaleza.

12. Nov, 2009

Hotel Dona Elvira

When you’re visiting Santo Domingo, make sure to check out Hotel Dona Elvira, located within the Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo. Within walking distane of the Alcazar de Colon, Cathedral de Las Americas, Parque Duarte, Casa Reales, and Calle de las Damas, the hotel beckons you to explore the first city in the Americas. Dating back to the 16th century, the hotel has a large lobby and spacious dinning rooms crowned by 20 foot high ceilings, featuring original mahogany beams encased in massive colonial walls. Come visit and explore the delightful historical ambiance and beauty of the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo while being a guest at Hotel Dona Elvira.

Hotel Dona Elvira, Santo Domingo

Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1 809-221-7415
Website: Hotel Dona Elvira

10. Nov, 2009

Carnaval 2009

Carnaval 2009

Carnaval, Santo Domingo, Dominican RepublicIt all started in February of 2009. Down on the Malecon in Santo Domingo, Carnaval was about to take place and we had VIP tickets to event.

10. Nov, 2009

Travel Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic was discovered on December 5, 1492, by Christopher Columbus during his first voyage to the New World. At that time the island of Hispaniola (as Columbus named it) was called “Quisqueya” by the Taino Indians who occupied the land. With a population estimated around 600,000, the Tainos (meaning “the good”) were peaceful and hospitable to Columbus and his crew of Spaniards. Columbus himself grew a particular fondness for Hispaniola, describing it in his journal as “a beautiful island paradise with high forested mountains and large river valleys.”

Columbus’ admiration for Hispaniola coupled with his crew’s discovery of gold deposits in the island’s rivers led to the establishment of European settlements, the first of which was founded in 1493 in La Isabela. With the presence of new settlements, the Taino Indians were put into slavery and over the next 25 year, were eventually wiped out. Simultaneously, the settlers began bringing African slaves to the island to ensure adequate labor for their plantations.


10. Nov, 2009

Hotel Coco Plaza

Sitting on the edge of this beautiful town called Las Terrenas, you will find Hotel Coco Plaza.  Beaches, water sports, car rentals, and many daily excursions around the Samana Peninsula are all readily available and within walking distance from the hotel.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1 809-240-6516
Website: Hotel Coco Plaza

09. Nov, 2009

Gaia Club Party

DJ Stan Courtois at Club GaiaStarting my day off right with the breakfast of champions…rice, beans and chicken! Then it was off to Playa Bonita on a moto concho for a day at the beach. I met and made some friends the night before, and was going out to Bahia de las Ballenas where they were staying. They had a beautiful villa, and Playa Bonita really is a beautiful beach. We walked down the beach and around the corner and swam with a view of Playa Coson in the background. Great people, and a wonderful day at the beach.

That night Punto Popy got rained out, so I waited until late to got to Gaia once again. I bounced back and forth between Gaia and Mosquito, another bar right across from Gaia but directly on the beach. Nacho was the DJ at Mosquito, and was playing Marvin Gaye, Barry White, and other great Motown classics. A totally different vibe and feel from Gaia. Personally, I love Motown and the vibe at Mosquito is my type of place. It’s a great place to hang and talk with friends, while listening to great classic music at the same time. Gaia, is more house, electronic, and go crazy type of fun. Either way, it’s hard to loose. There is also another club down the street. I forgot the name. But they play local music. Merengue, Salsa, Bachata. I spent time there too. They all have their own appeal to a different crowd. So basically, Las Terrenas has something for everyone.

Between 2:00am and 3:00am, most the other clubs closed down, but Gaia stays open to at least 4:00am. Yet again, the place was really off the hook tonight. DJ Giacomo was getting the crowd started when DJ Stan brought the house down and went till a little after 4:00am. Yes, there was dancing on the tables, yes there was girls dancing on poles, and yes, the bar was busy all night long. I stayed after most the people left, and helped close the club down. It’s 6:30am and it’s time for bed. Finally, the weekend was over, but the memories and people I’ve met, I’ll keep forever.

08. Nov, 2009

Las Terrenas

Beach Party in Las TerrenasWith no sense of urgency, I decide to take a late bus to Las Terrenas.  There was a huge beach party planned for Punta Popy today that was to start at 2pm.  But a quick check using my Dominican time translation program, really means it may start around 6pm.  So no rush.   Digging deep and shelling out a whopping 260 pesos, I head off towards Las Terrenas on the 11am bus. It’s not an express bus, so I know we will make a couple stops before I get there.

A few hours later we are on the Samana Peninsula, and start making stops in different cities. First Sanchez then on the the city of Samana. The bus continues to head East, and I know the road to Las Terrenas is back in Sanchez. But hey, who am I? This guy drives this bus everyday. I’m sure here is another road that cuts across the Peninsula somewhere ahead. So I keep waiting for the bus to make a left and turn North somewhere. Hmmm… Before you know it, I’m in Las Galares! On the Eastern most tip of the Peninsula. WTF? Even though I checked with two people, including the driver about where this bus goes, we did not go to Las Terrenas. Oh well. Good thing I left early. I can get mad and frustrated, and enjoy my tour and adventure of the Samana Peninsula.

I get off the bus and catch another ride in a guagua heading back to the city of Samna. This driver was in NO rush at all. It was about a 40 minute drive, but with him, it took over 1 1/2 hours! I swear, the guy never got out of second gear. Welcome to the Dominican Republic. Once in Samana, I get dropped off at what is like an outdoor market. There is a guy there with a pickup truck that takes people to Las Terrenas via Limon. So I jump in the back. Before we get underway, there are 8 people in the back of a small pickup truck including all the sacks of potatoes, rice, and boxes of who knows what else people are carrying with them. About an hour later we make it to Limon. It was actually a great way to see the country and back roads of Samana. Nothing like riding in the back of a pickup. Unless you have a motorcycle that is.

Once in Limon, I had to transfer to yet another pickup truck to make the last leg of the journey from Limon to Las Terrenas. Since it’s a long weekend, I am sure there are lots of people (tourists) in Las Terrenas this weekend. So on one of our stops, we picked up a working girl. I bet she will be making a killing tonight in Las Terrenas.

Finally, about 7pm, I arrive in Punta Popy. You can hear the massive sound system on the beach from miles away, and see the lights and lasers from the same distance. I started to mingle with the crowd and meet a few people. Or course, rule number one. Make friends with the models. Marlboro was there and Marilyn and her friend were both models tonight. Rule number two, meet the DJ’s and anyone who looks like they are part of the production crew. DJ Nacho, DJ Giacomo from Italy, and DJ Stan Courtois where all there. Around 9pm a couple people came out juggling fire. The night was starting out pretty cool!

At 11pm, the party moved into the town of Las Terrenas into a club there called Gaia. It was definitely the happening spot to be this night. In addition to the above mentioned DJ’s there was also DJ504 spinning vinyl and DJ Nasty from Santiago that really got the crowd hopping!

With smoke, lights, lasers and 3 stripper poles, the club started getting out of control around 2am. There are three floors. The top floor was DJ 504 spinning vinyl and playing really chill lounge music. On the second floor was 80’s, Hip-Hop, and some Merengue. But by 2am, everyone had moved to the first floor where DJ Stan Courtois from NYC was playing House and Electronic music. With people dancing on the tables, and jumping up and down everywhere, the crowd was almost in a frenzy. We finally closed the club down around 4am, and it was time to get some sleep.

I went with DJ Giacomo to Hotel Coco Plaza, and crashed there for the night. Well, at least for a couple hours. It was a good first day, and what I am sure will turn out to be a long weekend.

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