Sabana de la Mar - Balls And All

Trip Start Mar 03, 2005
Trip End Mar 04, 2006

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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Ranch's large open truck, which doubles as a people mover for tour groups, took us back to the main road and into El Cedro. It was better than being on a Moto Concho, but the driver seemed to take pleasure in making us fly through the air over the bumps. Here we must wait for the next Gua Gua to come past heading to the town of Miches.

Another friendly Dominican experience occurs when a local woman walks out with two plastic chairs for us to sit on, rather than in the gutter. The Dominicans are very different to people in other parts of the world.

While we wait, local kids in bare feet run around playing, and teenage girls walk up and down the street in their finest hippest gear. They appear to be looking for a Beau, even though they are young. It is common and generally accepted as normal, for girls to be mothers by 15 here in the Dominican Republic, and have three kids by their early 20s.

Aboard a Gua Gua, we are dropped off in the town of Miches, and pointed towards another Gua Gua for the 25 or so kilometre ride to Sabana de la Mar. This particular minibus is a rust bucket, with the rear window made up solely of brown gaffer tape and no glass. There are already 14 people trying to get in, and the driver is determined to get us both in as well. It is not a popular route, so we are worried as to when the next Gua Gua will come past, so we cram in.

One 12 seater minibus - 16 people plus luggage crammed in.

The road was a potholed dirt mess for the first fifteen or so kilometres. While the local guy next to me tried to sell me pirated CDs and Porn DVDs, we were flung into the air at every bump. The minibus had no suspension. The whole thing was a creaky metal on metal screeching mess. Goatgirl loved it. This is her kind of travel experience. I have seen it once too often I guess, so I don't love it as much. It might be because I am tired of this kind of seat-of-your-pants transportation by now, or that my testicles were being shoved upwards towards my Adam's Apple at every bounce.

Tarmac appeared for the last half of the journey, but it too was riddled the holes. I say that I shall not miss these kinds of transports, but I know that as soon a I return home I will crave the thought of having one nuts pressed so highly skywards, heading onwards to a new destination. (I mean me heading to a new destination, not my nuts...)

Our abode of plan is Cando Hondo, some 9kms out of Sabana de la Mar. We arrive at the jetty, and although the Gua Gua driver tries to negotiate an enormous price to get us to our final stop, Goatgirl sticks her feet out the door Flintstones style to stop the minibus. We are dropped outside of a bank, and thus head in to get a top up of cash.

There is something unnerving about being in a small bank branch, where 3 security guards with pump action shotguns are required.

Some Moto Concho riders find us a 'taxi' - a guy named Rapheal who has a small truck like a Suzuki Mightyboy from the 80's. Rapheal drives us into the country and out to the National Park where the Cando Hondo is located.

It is a modern rustic style place to stay, with great wooden cabins and waterfall rock pools filled with water from a nearby river. The also have three Wild Ravens, which have befriended the staff and hang around reception. We take a dip in the pools while chatting to an American girl, Leigh.

Goatgirl and I took a walk up the nearby hills to take in the landscape. It is a beautiful area which looks over the mountains of the national park, swampland, and down to the Samana Peninsula.

In the evening we sit around eating Fish and drinking Cuba Libre's in the forest next to the waterfalls. This is my kind of rustic.
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