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Dominican Republic Adventure
8 days: Dominican Republic
What's Included
Walking tour of Santo Domingo's Colonial Zone, whitewater rafting,
canyoning adventure, halfday downhill mountain biking excursion.
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care
and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not
form part of the contract between the client and travel agency. The itinerary
featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the
brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that
stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it
can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary.
Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year.
Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience.
Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If
you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been
some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip
Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been
changes that affect your plans.
VALIDITY: Valid for all trips departing January 1, 2011 - December 31st
2011.
Trip style
Active
: Challenging physical adventure meets fully immersive exploration—
our Active trips are made for outdoor enthusiasts. From trekking and biking
to whitewater rafting and kayaking, work up a sweat as you venture off the
beaten path.
Service level
Standard
: Our Standard service level features more comfortable tourist class
hotels and guesthouses that reflect your destination’s character. Of course,
you’ll retain local colour with some travel by public transportation but
sometimes you’ll enjoy the convenience of private vehicles. Ideal for
travellers looking for an authentic experience and a little more comfort.
Physical grading
3
: May include moderate hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking and other activities
that require only an average/moderate level of fitness to enjoy.
Itinerary
Day 1 Santo Domingo
Arrive at any time. The hotel is located in the oldest part of the city known as
the ‘Zona Colonial’, home to many interesting historical sites and museums.
As your fellow travellers are arriving at various times throughout the day,
there are no planned activities other than a group dinner and info session.
Look in the hotel lobby for notices on when/where the group meeting will
occur.
Santo Domingo is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. The
city is located on the south side of the island on the Caribbean Sea, and at
the mouth of the Ozama River. Founded by Bartholomew Columbus (brother
of Christopher) in 1496, it is the oldest continuously inhabited European
settlement in the Americas, and was the first seat of Spanish colonial rule in
the New World. Today, Santo Domingo is the Dominican Republic's major
metropolis, and is the largest city in the Caribbean by population.
Day 2-3 Jarabacoa (2B,L,2D)
Guided walking tour of Santo Domingo Colonial Zone and half-day
whitewater rafting on the Yaque del Norte River. Option to ride by horesback
to the Jimenoa Waterfall or visit organic coffee plantation Finca Alta Gracia.
Translated to English as the Colonial Zone the area feels like a small town
nestled within this capital city. In 1990 UNESCO (United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization) placed the area on the World Heritage
List. The zone is the original part of a city of firsts and holds claim to the first
cathedral, monastery, university, customs house and hospital in the New
World. Explore the 11 blocks of historical streets within this walled city, an
excellent chance to see the monuments, homes, streets and churches of the
first European settlers. We visit museums, forts and historical buildings
dating back to the time of Christopher Columbus' arrival in 1492.
Afterwards, travel by public bus and private transport to Jarabacoa which
nestles into the mountainous central region known as the Cordillera Central,
from which the nation’s three chief river systems flow — the Yuna, the Yaque
del Norte, and the Yaque del Sur. It is also home to Pico Duarte which at
10,416 feet is the tallest peak east of the Mississippi on the North American
continent. We stay at a beautiful hotel right on the river which will get you in
the right frame of mind for your rafting adventure on the Yaque del Norte
River.
A beautiful adventure in breath-taking surroundings, carving through the
“Dominican Alps” you will experience excellent class III rapids that will
change your image of a Caribbean island forever. Experience jumping from
the "El Cerrazo" rock and swimming through the "Crocodile" rapids. Rapids
are gentle to start with, allowing time to learn skills and understand guide
commands, leading to more challenging sections of river later in the trip.
Rafting is followed by lunch and then transfer back to the hotel.
Those with some energy left after rafting join an optional horseback ride to
one of the areas beautiful waterfalls. These falls are about 120 feet high and
cascade down into a deep turquoise pool. The water is cold, but great for an
invigorating swim if you’re up for it.
Another option is to visit to an organic coffee plantation farm in the
mountains high above Jarabacoa, and visit the coffee cooperative roasting
facility. See the coffee process from seed to cup. Help handpick the beans
and taste organic, shade-grown coffee right at its source.
Estimated Travel Time: 3 hours
Approximate Distance: 150 km
Day 4-6 Cabarete (3B,L)
After lunch in Jarabacoa we travel by bus & van to the north coast town of
Cabarete. This town is a laid back one street beach town and became a
mecca for wind surfers in the 1980’s and is now one of the world’s top
destinations for wind and kite surfing. The trade winds pick up in the
afternoon, allowing for some great early morning surfing. Cabarete is also
famous for its night life and you will find a wealth of bars and restaurants to
choose from. Arrive at the beautiful ocean side hotel in the late afternoon,
just in time for a refreshing swim before sunset.
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the trip is this canyoning experience
down the ‘Magic Mushroom’ section of the Rio Blanco. Transfer into the
northern mountain range of the ‘Cordillera Septentrional’ passing through
stunning scenery en route to base camp where you gear up with wet suits,
life jackets, canyoning harnesses and helmets. This trip will stimulate all your
senses and includes rappells/abseils of up to 160 feet and exhilarating jumps
of up to 30 feet into deep pools of crystal clear water. Tired but still buzzed,
head down the mountain for an exceptional East Indian-style lunch at the
famous Blue Moon Retreat before transferring back to Cabarete.
From Cabarete, you'll have the option to combine a relaxing boat trip down
the Yasica river with lunch at one of our favorite restaurants on the island.
This is an extremely informative tour where nature lovers will have a chance
to learn about the Dominican coastal vegetation and daily fishing life. Lunch
at La Boca is an experience in its own right. Enjoy local produce straight from
the sea or the river cooked over wood burning ovens sitting on benches
carved from whole trees! Add to that, incredible views of the mountains, river
and ocean and you have yourself a vision of Caribbean paradise.
You can also opt to take in the sun and views of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean
on the North Coast with a horseback ride. This is not just a nose to tail plod
along the beach, these horses really love a good gallop - be prepared to get
wet!
Day 7 Santo Domingo (B)
Get out of the heat and into the heart of the country. Enjoy a big breakfast
before being taxied up to the start point of this exhilarating downhill bike ride
right through the heart of the Septentrional Mountain Range. Enjoy amazing
scenery and views, stopping to sample seasonal fresh fruit right off the land.
You don’t have to be an experienced mountain biker to enjoy the trip but two
optional off-road sections, including a stretch of single track, are available for
those seeking a challenge. A swim and optional jump into the refreshing
Jamao River awaits you at the end of the ride before heading back to
Cabarete.
Afterwards, taxi and public transport take us back to the south side of the
island for our final night in Santo Domingo.
Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours
Approximate Distance: 220 km
Day 8 Santo Domingo (B)
Depart at any time.
StartFinish
ex Santo Domingo
What's Included
Walking tour of Santo Domingo's Colonial Zone, whitewater rafting,
canyoning adventure, halfday downhill mountain biking excursion.
Dossier Disclaimer
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care
and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not
form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary
featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the
brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that
stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it
can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary.
Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year.
Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience.
Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If
you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been
some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip
Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been
changes that affect your plans.
Itinerary Disclaimer
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a
certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be
necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never
know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the
regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a
general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations
or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or
encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on
final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to
vary due to local circumstances.
Group Leader Description
All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders or an travel
agency representative. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out
of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide
information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for
things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce
you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you
can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited
on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also
use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the
enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 15, avg 10
Your Fellow Travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and
maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers
will probably come from all corners of the world and are likely to be of a
variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs
and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is
sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience.
Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are
requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the
rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very
best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work
well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Meals Included
7 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners.
Meals
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with us you experience the vast
array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are
not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give
you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It
also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our
groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes
and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though.
Your group leader will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your
trip. The above information applies to group trips. Please refer to the meals
included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Transport
Public bus, Private van, Taxi, Raft, Mountain bike, Walking
Single Travellers
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our
group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a
single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or
multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration
of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single
travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Accommodation
Hotels (7 nts).
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour,
you will receive your own single room for all night stops on tour.
Joining Hotel
Mercure Comercial Santo Domingo
El Conde esquina Hostos
Ciudad Colonial
10211 SANTO DOMINGO
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Tel. (+1)809/688-5500
Fax. (+1)809/688-5522
Joining Instructions
From the Las Americas International Airport outside of Santo Domingo, it is
very easy to travel to the joining hotel by taxi; official prices are posted inside
the airport. Don't forget to agree on a price with the taxi driver prior to leaving
for the hotel.
Emergency Contact
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to
first call our local contact in the Dominican Republic, then our local office in
San Jose, Costa Rica. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate
answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so we may
return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
Contact in the Dominican Republic:
Iguana Mama
Office: +809 571 0908 (office hours 9am - 5pm)
Outside office hours contact manager Michael Scates: +809 654 2325
Travel agency San José, Costa Rica,
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm local time (GMT –6).
Tel: Int. Dialing Code +506 2296 6994.
Costa Rica Emergency Cell Phone: +506 8322 9140 (after office hours).
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office in Costa Rica,
we have a toll-free line within North America (or our regular direct line), which
will connect you directly with our Toronto office. In the event that you cannot
get through, you can reach a member of our Operations department at the
mobile number below.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 800 465 5600.
Calls from UK: 0844 410 1030
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Outside North America, Australia and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack (whatever you find
easiest to carry). A good size daypack is also essential.
Checklist
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- USD cash
- Credit and/or debit card (see spending money)
- Travellers cheques (optional to bring a small amount as backup, though
they are sometimes difficult to cash and usually at a fee)
- Travel agency vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera and batteries or charger
- Reading/writing material
- Binoculars
- Cover for backpacks
- Pocketknife
- Fleece top
- Waterproof jacket
- Small towel and swim wear (x2)
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
- Sun hat
- 2 pair of shorts including biking shorts (optional but also useful for optional
horseback riding excursion).
- 1 pairs of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Sturdy walking shoes
- Old tennis shoes that can get wet
- Sunblock
- Sunglasses
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- Mosquito Repellent
- First-aid kit ( should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine,
Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder,
extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
Laundry
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be
times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest
you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Visas
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity).
Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa
requirements, or see your travel agent. IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO
HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION. Back To Index
Spending Money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will
vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to
purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending
habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please
also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your
trip.
Money Exchange
Banks and currency exchange offices are readily available. You can pay for
most things using either USD or RD$ (Dominican Republic pesos), but be
aware that if you pay in USD it will mostly likely be at a poorer exchange rate
than found at official exchange sites. Banks will require ID to change money.
Your tour leader can recommend the best places to change money, as
sometimes you can get better rates away from banks. You can also use your
ATM card to withdraw pesos only. While ATMs are widely available, there are
no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work; please check
in with your bank prior to leaving home.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes,
notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to
exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations
lower than 100USD (or equivalent). You can also exchange Sterling and
Euros.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the
following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Emergency Fund
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200
(or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances
outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned
route. This is a rare occurrence!
Departure Tax
Arrival tax: $10USD (payable in USD only)
Departure tax: $20USD (payable in USD only)
Tipping
Sales tax of 16% and 10% service tax are usually included at cheaper
restaurants but added to the bills of the more expensive restaurants and
bars. Often the staff don't get the 10% so it's not uncommon to leave a little
extra. Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your
tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have
assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of
considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your
travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to
tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers
and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the
quality and length of the service; ask your tour leader for specific
recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your Travel agency Tour Leader did an
outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal
preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be
used.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on
safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you
check your government's advice for their latest travel information before
departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt
while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers'
cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at
home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have
safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables.
A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a
group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel
any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you
will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy
or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options
available in a given location please note that any optional activities you
undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations
about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them.
Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free
time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day,
there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our
recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from
restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that
are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter
protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse
demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area
where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of
staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into
them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when
accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the
fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with
varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety.
It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf
for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
Trip Specific Safety
Sexuality is very open in the Dominican Republic and that can shock some
travellers, especially women. There are many Dominican men and women
who make a living escorting foreigners. Offers of this service are very
common in cities. Be aware of this practice and keep in mind that some
locals who approach you may do so to take advantage of your presence.
While in Santo Domingo, we advise traveling around the streets in small
groups, rather than individually (especially for female travellers). Make sure
that you are aware of your things at all times and don't go out carrying
expensive gear or jewellery. We advise this not expecting trouble, but rather
erring on the side of caution.
Medical Form
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very
important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and
mobility' is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be
able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step
on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers
with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short
medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to
ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably
complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our
travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help
individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to
the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out
this questionnaire.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not
only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at
risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of
the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is
one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local
people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of
prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right
to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if
they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips.
When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group
until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will
take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy
we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses
including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy
also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage
and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of
purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in
your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the
level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Responsible Travel
Being a responsible tour operator is at the heart of what our travel agency is
all about. From the start, our travel agency has been committed to offering
low-impact tours that benefit traveler and host alike. While our sustainable
tourism policies are constantly evolving, our commitment to socially
conscious, grassroots style travel has never changed. We work with local
communities, businesses and individuals to develop sustainable tourism
opportunities that help local economies while minimizing negative
environmental and cultural impacts.
We would like to give you a couple of tips to start you thinking about
traveling sustainably.
-Please bring rechargeable batteries, a battery charger (and plug adapter if
necessary). Batteries are incredibly toxic and many places that we travel do
not have proper disposal facilities. Rechargeables are best but if this is not
possible we recommend that you bring any used batteries back home with
you for proper disposal.
-Please ask before taking pictures. Just as you would not like to have a
stranger come up to you and take a picture of you while sitting on your front
porch either do the locals of the places that we visit. As you can imagine
pictures of their children are also not appreciated.
Feedback
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so
important to us that you'll receive a special discount code for free online
prints and we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is
completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip.
Keeping in Touch
If you need to be contacted while travelling we recommend that you set up
an email address that can be accessed on the road, rather than relying on
postal mail. Email cafes are becoming increasingly commonplace and cheap
throughout the regions we visit, and have quickly become the preferred way
for our CEOs and travellers to stay in touch. If someone wishes to contact
you in an emergency while you are on one of our trips we recommend that
they contact your local booking agent, or refer to our Emergency Contact.
We recommend that family and friends don't try to contact you through
phoning hotels en route, as our hotels are subject to change, and our hotel
receptions often don't have English speaking staff.
Highlights
Rafting in the highlands, canyoning down waterfalls, biking down a mountain,
experiencing Cabarete night life, exploring the fascinating colonial zone of
Santo Domingo.

Source: http://www.exploratist.ro/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Dominican-Republic-Adventure.pdf

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