pequeño refugio, hostel, las galeras, writing on the wall View More

  At a Glance: Price:    $$$ Sleep:     Staff:     Feel:       Price range: $0-$10: $ $10-$25: $$ $25-$50: $$$ $50-$100: $$$$ $100-up: $$$$$ While traveling in the DR, we mostly stayed in cheap little “motel” run for local travelers, for locals. But from time to time we decided to hang out with the tourist and chill in some cool little hostels. Out of all of them, our favorite has to be El Pequeño Refugio. It’s where to stay in Las Galeras… …hands down. This little hostel is oh so cozy. Run by a couple, originally from Bulgaria, every detail was taken into consideration when decorating. Sure, this isn’t a 5 star, no it’s way better. It’s not cold and impersonal like a 5 star, it’s special. No two rooms are alike, and everything is decorated with special finds, specially selected for that room. Lea has a special touch, everything here makes you feel at home. The towels are thick, the sheets heavy, the pieces of scrap fabric covering the windows are sweet, and the rooms are cleaned everyday, with love. Here, have a look for yourself. The main area serves as a restaurant, bar, garden, and art gallery. At night, the bistro downstairs fills up with regulars and tourists, a perpetual meet and greet, bubbling with the excitement of new adventures. The food is absolutely delicious. We’d share the menu with you, but there is none. Each day is a new concoction, specially prepared according to the day’s mood. Indeed, Las Galeras is a fun little town. It’s a very tiny and quiet town, mostly full of divers and hikers. It’s out of the way, and the people who make it all the way to the end of the road of the Samaná peninsula seem to be a little more adventurous than others. Here you’ll see locals and tourists mingling, and people wandering the lazy streets in the evening. The air is warm and still. I imagine Cabarete was like this 30 years ago. Life is chill and lazy, and when something goes wrong, you make the best of it until it’s fixed. Besides beautiful diving, in the area you’ll also find some of the most pristine beaches in the Dominican, such as the beautiful… Continue Reading

curly tails, piglets, pig, pigpen, farm, farmville, pork, View More

In the Dominican Republic, a lot of the population lives away from towns, in what is commonly referred to as “el campo” or the country. Here most people live in typical houses made mostly of palm wood, or more commonly now, half concrete half wood. In these parts, traditionally, life has been off-grid, where people live mostly off the land. Of course, that’s been changing. Electricity is reaching further and further, bringing with it the television. Still, depending on how far form a town center you travel, you’ll find differing levels of autonomy, from completely isolated to completely dependent. Here people mostly grow “viveres” which refers to root vegetables such as yucca or ayutica, as  well as other tropical vegetables and fruits, such as passion fruit, papaya, pineapple, squash, eggplants, zucchini, chayotte, etc… Of course, meat also makes up a large portion of the nutrition, and so the care taking of farm animals takes up a large portion of the day. Save for Chicharrónes, Pork is usually reserved for special occasions like Christmas, or weddings, where it is usually spit-roasted. Of course, cows are also raised both for meat and for milk. Chicken is a more common meal, as chickens grow to maturity faster. The picture above is a rooster though. This guy probably won’t get eaten for a while, his job is to fertilize the eggs. He might, however, end up fighting another chicken in a ring on a lazy sunday though. A more likely meal is a full-grown hen. Chickens are, of course, also kept for their eggs, which, when free range and insect-fed, are delicious with an almost orange yolk.   Duck is also occasionally on the menu, as are guinea fowls, geese, and turkey. Here’s a fun and short video of our buddy Brandon having a conversation with a turkey. Not all animals are raised for eating, but they all do serve their purpose. Dogs are mostly kept for security. As a general rule, Dominicans are very scared of dogs, that is all dogs but their own. Dogs are considered pets and companions, but not quite in the same way a North American would cherish theirs as a family member. Cats are kept for rodent control. Occasionally, bees are kept for honey. Keeping bees however is more… Continue Reading