After an all too short a visit to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic the day of departure had arrived. Neither my travel companion Juan Carlos Arvelo nor I wanted to leave but we must. o for the final time, at least on this visit, we went to the dining area of the Casa Colonial Resort and basked in the warm glow of Maria’s bright smile as we ordered yet again the Dominican breakfast with its mouthwatering Mangu.
When done we headed back to our rooms and finished packing and then reluctantly returned to the main lobby area and checked out. But we had plenty of time before our flight would depart the Puerto Plata Airport and there was one final place we simply had to visit before we left the Dominican Republic. Luckily for us what we very much wanted to visit before our departure was located very near the airport. So we placed our bags in the car and explained our desires to our driver who was more than happy to take us to our final destination before being delivered to the airport. That destination was the truly amazing Sosua Beach, Dominican Republic.
The modern history of Sosua Beach begins in the early 20thcentury when it was a banana plantation owned and operated by the United Fruit Company. The bay was used as a port to load cargo ships with bananas. Eventually the plantation closed but after a decade the land was granted to about 1000 Jews who were fleeing the horrors of Nazi Germany. At that point in time the Dominican Republic was the only place on earth to provide a safe harbor for the fleeing Jews.
From a banana plantation to a safe harbor for persecuted people fleeing Europe, by the 1980’s Sosua Beach had become popular among tourists visiting Puerto Plata. Today Sosua Beach has become one of the finest destinations for both tourists and locals in all of the Dominican Republic.
It is a vast expanse of golden sand beaches with an abundance of trees offering comforting shade for relaxing and eating. It is backed by beautiful mountains with streams and trees. Walking along Sosua Beach you will encounter literally hundreds of small shops offering everything from a wide variety of food and beverages to clothes, hats and various gizmos and gadgets. One place in particular stuck out with a powerful hypnotic fragrance of freshly barbecued ribs. Oh what a gourmet delight.
Sosua Beach is generally thought of as being a place for the local population, especially on the weekends you will indeed find many locals enjoying this beautiful beach. But it is actually also very much enjoyed by visitors from all over the world. This global mix was one of my greatest pleasures.
On or very near Sosua Beach you will find ATV’s. sport fishing, diving, snorkeling, horseback riding, golfing, surfing, kite surfing, laser sailing and many other treats, including unending food and a fantastic night life.
Alas our time on Sosua Beach and in the Dominican Republic had run out, at least for this trip. Sadley, off to the airport we did go. We had been blessed with many wonderful experiences and we had met scores of genuinely pleasant people, but there is so much more. Following is a brief list of some the best of the Dominican Republic that we did not experience, not on this visit anyhow, but you may want to include them in your itinerary when you plan your visit.
Northwestern Dominican Republic: This is where the Dominican Republic meets with its Hispaniola Island neighbor Haiti. Consequently, it offers a unique cultural blend as well as arid desert mountains and emerald green beaches. Monte Cristi is the most northwestern province in the Dominican Republic. It is a mostly virginal area with historic ties to Cuba.
Southwestern Dominica Republic: Similar to the north west the southwestern Dominican Republic is likewise arid, sunny and full of surprises that one might not typically expect on a tropical Caribbean island It is a gem with tall sand dunes and many other visual delights. There is so much to see and do that one should plan on no less than two days and even more is better.
Other sites to see include:
The Barahona Beaches with a vivid blue water unlike any other on earth.
The La Plaza Hike. Through several crystal clear blue pools surrounded by limestone rock. This is a totally off the beaten track adventure not for the faint of heart. But you can enlist the aid of locals who can safely guide you along the way..
About one hour away from the La Plaza Hike you will find another stunning attraction, the Cueva de la Virgen — an open cave.
Los Patos Beach is yet another great place to visit with some of the world’s best fried fish and an opportunity to kayak.
Yet another adventure can be found at the Larimar Mines that offer a once in a lifetime experience for the true adventurer.
And actually the vast number of experiences both plush and rugged are nearly endless, making the Dominican Republic one of our world’s favorite tourist destinations.
Photos by Ron Irwin
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.