Dominican Republic ~ Travelogue of Firsts

Dominican Republic ~ Travelogue of Firsts
Featured Writer~~Mistress Bliss~~

I’ve debated about how to post about our vacation…give a day by day account (boring); tell all the details in a big, long-winded post (snore); write a dissertation on the culture shock I suffered for 2 weeks (bleck!); do a post on cockroaches and the Damn Devil Bug that bit me the first day (now that could be interesting)….???? Instead I have decided to keep it positive and focus on the new things I saw/experienced through some photos. Enjoy!

Mile high sunrise:

First time ever at an all-inclusive resort:

First time ever to have a CocoLoco (found out later in the week that Zombies are much better):

First time Master Bliss got to snorkel:

First time I ever took a cable car up a mountain (see the far peak? that was the landing point):

First time to see a “Wall*Mart” with beach frontage. I still refused to go in:

First time to see three rainbows within 2 weeks:

First time eating at a restaurant, outside, on top of a mountain (good food too–bonus!):

First time hiking a waterfall on an island:

First exposure to any sort of history (outside the Amber Museum) on our trip. This was on our last day:

First time to tour anything related to Christopher Columbus (this was built by his son, Diego, and is full of artifacts dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries):

NOT the first, maybe the thousandth, stray, homeless dog I saw on this trip. It killed me every… single… time.

So although our trip wasn’t what I hoped it would be overall, it did have its good moments (and I can scratch the D.R. off my “to do” list). And anytime someone has the privilege of visiting a different country, it really should be about the firsts…what was experienced, good or bad, and how it can enrich the person in the end.

~~Mistress Bliss~~


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73 thoughts on “Dominican Republic ~ Travelogue of Firsts

    • Thank you. Now that I have had 3 months to fully recover and reflect–it was a nice trip. Should I ever return (no plans), I know now what to expect and how to better any future visit. ; ) ~~Bliss


  1. I have heard about the dogs and how heartbreaking it is…I love the resort photos – for me the perfect trip would be a mix of history, culture, authenticity, and a sprinkle of luxury thrown in here and there….


    • @Camp Smarts and kramerjen:
      We stayed at the Lifestyles Resort in Puerta Plata. If you check you will find they often offer super great deals. We spent $19 per day/per person. As I mentioned, this was our first all-inclusive experience. We were there for 7 days…I think 4 or 5 would’ve been enough. If you do go on one of their deals (which I have seen offered as low as $10 pp/pd), watch out for the sales pitch to join their “lifestyle” on day 2 of arrival (this was not mentioned to us at all in our plans). Live and learn. ~~Bliss


  2. OMG!…I stayed a@ Lifestyles in July…A close friend has timeshare there…The only way to go…It’s like platinum status. I’m going back in April..I’ll def. be posting my blog when I return…


  3. Hi all! Thank you for your nice comments. And yes, we stayed at the Lifestyles Resort too, Angela. It was our first all-inclusive stay anywhere so I have nothing to compare it to. But for “us”, I think 4 or 5 days would’ve been sufficient (we were there a whole week) only because we felt a little isolated there despite a couple of day excursions. The second week in the DR was spent in Jarabacoa…very pretty, mountainous area.

    Now I wish I had checked out the Wall*Mart. : ) ~~Bliss


  4. Whenever something rotten happens in the world, such as fighting or an earthquake, I always think of the poor dogs and cats. Already your photo of that dog haunts me. My rule of thumb is to try to do something to bring a moment of relief to the ones that cross my path, which is why I carry a bag of cat chow in my trunk. A drop in the ocean, tho. Sylvia Cary


  5. Lesley, thank you for posting my travel experience. I really appreciate it and have enjoyed the others you have shared as well. Cyber hug! ~~Bliss


  6. Great photographs! Thank you for sharing, Lesley.

    Life is about ‘firsts’… we should always keep them close. A story was told to me once… a story about a woman who made a blanket… a very special blanket. The blanket was made with many different colored yarns… all woven around one long continuous yarn. The one long piece of yarn was the woman and all the different colored yarns ‘woven’ around her were her family.

    I think ‘firsts’ are like that one long continuous piece of yarn, and the people, places and things we meet, go to, and do that ‘spring forth’ from those ‘firsts’… they all make up the fabric of our lives.

    Veronica Marie


  7. I’m Dominican. My parents and both half sisters were born there. I was not but still consider myself Dominican. I’m sorry your experience isn’t what you expected. May I encourage you to do some research next time. I assume a. you don’t know anyone from the DR, b. you didn’t have time to do research or c. you assume every island is perfect and no matter where you stay it will be blissful.

    Thank you for not going into the “Wall Mart”. DR is one of the most beautiful islands in the world but you missed out because the places you stated at where somewhat mediocre. Next time (though it sounds like there will not be one, your lost) stay at casa de campo en la romana. There are also many others that I don’t remember.

    For anyone planning a trip to DR or anywhere else, please do your homework, ask around and be prepare for the unexpected.


    • Louisa, thank you for your thoughts. We did do research before going (I am a maniac researcher before traveling somewhere because I love learning about countries/cultures) however, we went to the DR largely because of our 20-something daughter living there. She LOVES it and begged us to come, promising how much we would love it too. As a result, we relied heavily on her input…major mistake. She wasn’t nearly as savvy as we thought she would be (by how she sounded) about the country and there was a lot of frustration-and wasted time- while we were there. There very well may be a “next time” because she hopes to live there more permanently in the future. Here is what I will do differently should that happen:
      1. Rent our own car.
      2. Improve on Spanish more–beyond simple greetings and pleasantries.
      3. Stay less time at a resort. I would rather rent an apartment, shop for my food, experience the sights than sit by a pool and be fed 3 times a day for an entire week.
      4. Leave moody daughter at home. ; )



    • Never under-estimate the power of a great cup of hot chocolate! I have been indulging in this treat during the cold snowy (or sort of snowy) months. : )


  8. Marvelous presentation. Been some years since I was there on assignment (News)…but your shot of the “Wall Mart” brought it all back. I recall our producer hiring a guard with an AK47 to accompany us the two days we were crawling around the inner combs of Santo Domingo. Wonderful Shots by the way….Excellent Work.


    • This little store was on the beach front near our resort. I was joking about not going in because I have a “thing” about not shopping WalMart at home either.

      I have no idea what the Devil Bug was (never saw it)…it bit/stung my upper right thigh and I had a welt about the size of Rhode Island on my leg the entire trip (you can still see it a little–faint pink area). I am sure I will end up at Mayo Clinic in about 5 years with unexplained neurological disorders…I have told my husband to remember the DDB. ; )


    • By the time I saw this store, I had already supported many a local merchant/artist. I thought it was a hoot to see it on the beach and I applaud the wit. As I mentioned above, I don’t shop at Wal*Mart at home (as a rule and for many reasons) so I was joking about not going into this one either.


  9. Beautiful photos! I noticed you’d been to Santorini, Greece, and I’m not sure if you encountered the doggie phenomenon that I did, but in a lot of cities in Greece, we saw stray dogs that were essentially “community pets.” In Athens, our guide told us stray dogs were picked up by city workers, spayed/neutered, given rabies shots, etc, and then released back into the city. These dogs were well fed (and knew how to beg for food and scratches), and sometimes they would tag along with our group as “doggie tour guides.”


  10. I too enjoyed the DR! I stayed at a beautiful resort, The Reserve but I didn’t venture out much. I just needed to relax that trip but it’s on myb travel calendar to hit up again! Great post.


  11. Awesome images – I’ve ridden that cable car – what a great view ‘eh? – and been to the Amber Museum, the Dominican Republic is a great vacation. Did you happen to make the Marco Polo Lounge at Sosua Beach … they are both wonderful places.


    • The view was incredible. I enjoyed the Amber Museum too but it felt a little rushed going through it. I heard about Sosua Beach and Cabarete Beach…both of which I would’ve LOVED to have seen but it didn’t happen….thus the reason I will rent a car next time. ~~Bliss


  12. I’ve been to the DR and I understand all of your lovely and unlovely experiences! This approach is probably the perfect way to talk about an American vacationing in a Third World country. Great job on the article and ditto on the dogs. Oh, and I’ve worked with World Vision for years talking about child sponsorships, even meeting some of the children and their families in this particular country. Helping one child at a time is enough, and spending vacation dollars in their country works! My favorite picture is the Walmart. Priceless!


    • It was OK…for a first time. In the future, I think more than 4 or 5 days is too much for “us”. Felt a little trapped…couldn’t just walk out of the resort and walk to local restaurants/shops along the beach which I enjoyed doing when staying in Mexico. The service and people were great. ~~Bliss


  13. A lot of great ‘firsts!’ I can totally relate to the stray dog photo, it has really affected me in my limited travels as well.


  14. Great post. Having been to the Dominican several times in the past, I know what you mean by culture shock. It really opened my son’s eyes to some of the extremes of different society.


  15. This was a joy to read. I will be heading off to Egypt for the first time in under two weeks and so longing for some sunshine. You have some really great photographs in this article too. I will be posting about my experiences in Egypt, and reading this article has given me food for thought on how I should go about it.



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