The Dominican Republic is like a little mini continent with nine different ecological zones, from pine forest mountain peaks, to mangrove shores, lush tropical jungles, and yes, even a desert!
Not far from Playa Salinas you’ll find a relatively succinct area of desert-like dunes, overlooking the ocean:
Dunas de Bani.
To visit you have to try to go as early in the morning as possible because, with no shade in sight, the sand get very hot, very fast.
We tried to go for sunrise but were told the park doesn’t open until 8am, so we held off.
However, upon arriving at 8am, the park was still closed, with the gate not-so-carefully chained shut.
We made our way in anyway and started exploring.
We should have just gone for sunrise.
We were almost immediately greeted by wildlife in the form of iguanas running around like mad.
Much cuter than the iguana though, we were also greeted by the goats that roam around these parts.
I fell in love with the way they wag their cute little tails when they bleat.
They have hooves, so they don’t have to worry so much about how hot the sand gets, but by 9 am, they were just as busy looking for shade as we were.
Just over the main dune, you’ll find the ocean.
We dipped in our feet for refreshment, but the current and waves were much too wild for us to venture in for a full refreshing dip.
In the end Gabriel just decided to embrace the sunshine.
It’s fun to look at the patterns left in the sand by the wind and by the animals.
The small birds, the iguana, the goats, even the spiders leave their own distinct trails, and in the morning, before anyone has stepped in it, and before the sand has molded the landscape into a new form, it’s fun to follow the tracks and make up the stories that could have gone along with them.
Of course as a complete child, I had to take it just a step further:
If you’re in the area, don’t forget to check out the neighboring salt mines, and to get yourselves some succulent mangos which the area of Bani is most well known for growing.