Dominican Republic - December 2016

Leaving behind the cold and snow of Michigan to spend Christmas with our Dominican relatives was a great idea! Going from 20 degrees (F) to 80 was just what we needed to warm up.

We were looking forward to seeing our extended family after not having seen them for four years. Sandra had been down there a couple of times recently to visit, one of those trips being for work, but Christina and I had not been there for the longest period ever. We usually get down there more often.

This trip was going to include a few days in Las Terrenas, where our friends Elio and Amparo have an apartment where they spend many weekends close to the beach. Four years ago, it wasn't completed, so this would be the first time we would be able to stay there.

Sandra's brother Miky asked if I wanted to ride mountain bikes with him again, like we did on the last trip, and I definitely wanted to do that. It's a very different experience riding in the Dominican Republic, compared to Michigan.


Christmas at Abuela's (grandmother) and Abuelo's (grandfather)

Catching up with Sandra's parents (left) was nice after not having been there to visit them in a long time. There is a new generation of children in the family. People who were just little kids when I was first down there are now in their twenties and starting to have their own families.

The neighborhood is changing around them, there's now two apartment buildings across the street, neither of which were there ten years ago. Sandra talks about how there were very few houses in the area when they first moved there, but now it is completely packed with houses and a lot of new apartment buildings.

Las Terrenas

Our friends Amparo and Elio have a beautiful apartment here, and they invited us and Sandra's brother and sister-in-law (Miky and Roxana) to stay for a couple of nights. We had been there before it was finished, in 2010, when it was just rocks on a hillside, and in 2012, when it was a concrete skeleton, and so it was amazing to see the final product. Very nice indeed.

Mountain biking on the beach!

The tall middle picture below is from a ride we did in Santiago, and the rest are at the beach in Las Terrenas. Las Terrenas is full of rolling hills, and on the first day, Miky and I rode a few of them. Neither of us had ridden much lately, so it was pretty tough. At the top of one hill I had to stop. I felt pretty good going up it, but when I got to the top I felt like I was going to get sick! After a few minutes of anticipation, I surprisingly didn't get sick, but I decided we should head back to the apartment and call it a day. Elio rides these hills all the time, he's in really good shape. Luckily for us, he arrived after we had finished riding. Actually, it was lucky for HIM ... since he would have had to wait for us all the time!

Riding in downtown Las Terrenas

The next day, Miky and I avoided the hills and rode into Las Terrenas using a very rough shortcut that reminded me of the worst logging roads back in British Columbia. But, mountain bikes handle such things quite well ... as long as the mud and puddles aren't too deep.

The downtown streets are a wild ride, it's like a river of vehicles, motorcycles, and people! It's quite an experience, and I managed to get it on video by holding the camera in my left hand. Not as steady as a GoPro mount, but it worked! In the picture to the left, you can see Miky in yellow, riding ahead of me. Below that, the video itself.

The pirate ship in the middle picture below was a mystery. Miky thinks that the city may have put it out as entertainment for the tourists. I wonder if you can climb up into it? It was probably close enough to the shore to wade and then swim out to.