The beaches of Las Galeras in the Dominican Republic were some of the most idyllic and pristine that I’ve ever seen.
And that’s exactly why we chose to go there.
In deciding where to travel for a short winter getaway, Kristen and I wanted a place that was easily accessible for both of us, relaxing, warm, with good nightlife and people our age.
We settled on DR because we did a lot of research and checked the most boxes of all our possible destinations (accessibility skewed the list a lot since the trip was only a week).
(side note: nightlife and people our age were the 2 boxes that were not checked. Where we stayed was really the edge of the island).
We flew into Santo Domingo and took a 2 hour bus to the Semana peninsula, which was touted as having the most pristine beaches in the Caribbean. Then we took a cab to Las Galeras, a small fishing village on the edge of the island.
We chose Las Galeras because we found a beachfront BnB, Todo Blanco, that was pretty inexpensive and had great reviews.
We spent the week in this charming, quiet, sleepy hotel.
The days were very slow here.
We slept with our doors open, to the sound of waves crashing, mid-night rainstorms, and all the insects singing.
We woke up super early every morning in our mosquito net cocoons and had our breakfast on the veranda.
We had no agenda.
During the day, we found a spot on the beach or took a stroll to a neighboring beach. Every day included naps, reading, yoga.
In the evening, we’d grab a drink at the tiki hut or we’d wander into town to see if maybe there was something we’d missed before.
It was a makeup-free, hair product-free, carefree week.
At the end of the week, we returned to Santo Domingo for 2 nights. It felt weird getting back to “civilization” (but it also felt nice to shower and primp and have something to do at night).
Santo Domingo reminded me a bit of Charleston: charming streets with colonial-style architecture.
The coolest thing about Santo Domingo was the Latin music that was always playing, no matter where you went. It seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere. And there were these little hangout stores on almost every corner where people just… hung out.
We found our own hangout. Kalenda, a Rastafarian vegetarian restaurant. The first day, we told the owner we wanted Dominican food, and he pointed us down the street to a locals place that served cheap beans and rice.
Every day we went back to Kalenda and just…hung out.
We had tons of coffee, vegan orange polenta cake (I’m still trying to duplicate the recipe) and plates full of colors!
DR was a much-needed relaxing trip.
We didn’t want to go to an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana because we didn’t want to be surrounded by other Americans.
We got to see the real Dominican, to experience the solitude and the hospitality of locals.
Outside of the all-inclusives, it’s a quiet island. But that’s also the reason it’s so beautiful.