My second day of exploration across the Dominican Republic. The natural landscape of the Southern area of the island is particularly rich. If you want you can take a look on Google Maps in order to see the number of natural parks, oasis, and beaches located around this area.

We decide to change our initial schedule – instead of spending the night at Barahona we want to sleep at Perdernales, a place located a few kilometers away from Haiti.

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Discovering the Larimar stone

It is not unusual to find some local sellers on the way; as we take some pictures we stop for a quick chat with a Dominican family that sells Larimar  (literally Tear of the Sea), a volcanic local stone characterized by a blue color and by a feeling of calm and peace. Whether you believe or not in crystal therapy, I must say that the stone is very beautiful and that it is worth spending a few euro to buy some jewelry.

The Larimar is one of the rarest and newest stones available – it is basically unknown to the European market due to its scarce extractive capacity. You can buy this stone from local sellers, however you should always be careful about its price – the key word is this case is bargaining.

If you are a group of people you should support each other; nobody should make a purchase until the final price hasn’t been set. If you are a singular buyer, then, you need some more strategy. Do not think that Larimar is hard to find; you can easily find it also in Santo Domingo, so don’t be fooled by “cheap prices” offered by local sellers.

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The Southern beaches and the Laguna de Oviedo

We have the chance to see many beaches along the coast, like Saladilla and Los Patos; however, we decide to enjoy an hour of sun in San Rafael, a small beach characterized by natural water falls that seems to portrait the perfect postcard landscape. The cold water of the river melts with the warmth of the Caribbean sea. If you have enough time you can even grab a bite from one of the food stalls around the waterfalls.

I always suggest to avoid hielo (ice) even if you are drinking cocktails, otherwise you may run the risk of ruining your holiday. Drink only sealed water.

After seeing some more enchanting beaches and after driving for some further kilometers, we head towards the Jaragua National Park – we stop at the Laguna de Oviedo to enjoy its wild nature. I suggest you again to wear a hat, solar cream, and to carry lots of water, as this small journey to the laguna will take one hour to go and one hour to come back to the car. However, the view that is waiting for you is simply stunning as it is full of flamingos and other species of water birds. I highly suggest you to embrace the opportunity to walk around the swamp in order to create an actual connection with nature. You may be lucky enough to see sea turtles, some rhinoceros iguanas or – even better – Cyclura ricordis, a critically endangered species. If you love bird-watching you are in the right place.

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The Colmando and the Colmadons

After spending a long day visiting the area, we realize that we haven’t had any lunch. Is there a better opportunity to get in touch with the local culture than stopping at a colmado? Colmados are the base of local economy and represent a point of contact between goods and territory. Big supermarkets are not so popular on the island, and local people buy their groceries at colmado stores. Some bigger colmandos are called colmandon as they provide services like bar, betting, clubbing, and even food delivery.

We stop by a colmadon to grab some local fruit, to drink a fresh juice, and eat a queso or pollo empanada. You should keep your eyes open also in this case, as ice in your drink can be very tricky. I suggest you to take some lactobacillus before going to sleep…

We start our journey again and we head towards our hostel: Hostal Doña Chava in Pedernales; a place located just a few steps away from Haiti.

The 60 kilometers that separate our colmadon located in Oviedo from Pedernales are characterized by a pure and wild landscape, featuring a stunning sunset and red dunes, just like in the Australian outback.

As we reach our destination the sky gets dark, and we can barely recognize our hostel (Hostal Doña Chava). I decide to take a few hours for myself to concentrate on work as my colleagues go out for dinner.

Useful Adresses

Hostal Doña Chava
Calle 2da 5, Pedernales 84000, Dominica Republic
http://www.donachava.com/

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