We’re writing you from our drive back from Jarabacoa and the Central Mountain Region! As I type, there’s a sing along happening, which is one of several today! Our crew is so lively and supportive of one another and people who had not spent much time together before this trip have fast become friends! And the charisma is contagious – guides have given our students many compliments to how inquisitive, friendly and outgoing they are!
The day began early with breakfast and departing our hotel by 7am so that we could spent some time in Downtown Santo Domingo on our way to the mountains. We did a short walking tour of the Colonial part of the city, it had beautiful terraced shops and restaurants and also the oldest cathedral in the Americas.
We continued on our journey to Rancho Bayguate. It is a popular ecotourism reserve that leads many outdoor adventures. We had a lunch at their outdoor restaurant and our tour director, Gabriel, informed us as we were finishing up lunch that one of the past Dominican Republic presidents from the 1990s had just walked in with his family! He took some photos with our kids and was happy to greet us.
Then it was time to get fitted for our gear before we went on our river rafting adventure! The ride over on our truck with the crew was a lot of fun and we went in boats down this amazing river full of rapids, waterfalls, and breathtaking green jungle around us. It was extremely surreal and completely awe-inspiring! We were all so pumped up after our adventures, and we were sad to leave. As we made our way down the mountain we stopped for some local, homemade arepas and coconut brittle. The arepas reminded us of a pumpkin bread and it was freshly made and the perfect snack for our journey home.
We’ll have dinner once we get home and will reflect on the day before we wind down and gear up for our adventure tomorrow!
All our best. Thanks for all the well wishes so far!
Helen van Riel, Michelle Marro and Maria Annunziato
(Will send more pictures in the morning – internet was very slow when we arrived back at our hotel!)