After running the boat all night from Samana we arrived ahead of schedule at Marina Cap Cana, in Punta Cana. Punta Cana is the Cancun of the Dominican Republic. The shoreline is full of nice all inclusive beach resorts or condo resort areas. We hired a car at the marina to take us to the airport to pick up Grandma Kate. After the short drive thru the area and the little village outside the nice airport, David asked me “ Are we in a different country?” This area is so clean, modern and nice looking—nothing like the rest of the Dominican Republic we had seen. Not that the other areas were not nice—they were just local and real, this area had none of that. There was no local village and open market to shop in. Instead a real grocery store to shop in. Clean, well made streets and clean, modern looking shops. It had been Americanized.
Cap Cana is a nice resort development and the Marina is beautiful. Surrounded by nice condo’s, walking paths, a trail to the beach and a pool to use. The water was always so clam in the Marina since it wrapped thru the condo development. Most days there, the kids would get their school work done in the morning, then Grandma would take them to the pool or beach for the afternoon. They met some friends there and were able to meet up and play all afternoon. We enjoyed meeting a few families living in the area and visiting with them. One couple gave us some mahi mahi they had caught one day out fishing. He cleaned the fish and gave it to us ready to grill. It was delicious.
We had a great time with Grandma visiting us. The kids love having her help with school. We also took a day and went to Santo Domingo to tour the colonial zone. We had arranged to stay overnight, but there was a miscommunication with the private shuttle company we hired to drive us down and bring us back the next day. We really should learn Spanish—it would help us a lot. Luckily we were able to cancel our hotel arrangements and just make it a long day trip.
We spent a few hours walking around looking at history. This part of the city was built in the 1500s, the oldest city in all of the America’s, founded just after Christopher Columbus arrived. The remaining parts of the city wall were beautiful. The fort built to protect the city was fun to see. We saw the site of the first established hospital and the first Christian Church in all of the Americas. We enjoyed lunch nearby and the local food. They have these little plantain and cheese fritters that are so yummy.
We enjoyed our visit to Colonial Santo Domingo, except for our tour guide. When we started at the end of the colonial area we were approached by a tour guide. We had read that they are all over and will approach to guide you for merely a tip. We negotiated a price, but he was terrible. One of the things that put me off from the beginning was that when he approached us he said we needed a tour guide so that we didn’t wander outside the colonial area to an unsafe place. That he would keep us safe. I think it is terrible to make people think they are unsafe or going to be harmed. I am sure we missed great parts of the city that we would have seen had we followed our guide book by going with him. I was sad we didn’t get to stay longer, it would have been fun to spend the night and people watch from the parks and town squares, but we had to move on.
We didn’t want to leave Santo Domingo without seeing the LDS Temple. It was closed for maintenance so if we had stayed overnight we wouldn’t have been able to go for a session. We were glad we could stop with the kids and walk on the grounds. It is a beautiful temple.
On the drive back to Punta Cana, we made one last stop at Cueva Miravelle, the Cave of Wonders. It is a huge cave. They have a guided tour that takes you down deep to view the impressive formations in the cave. The cave was Grandma’s favorite part of the trip—it was beautiful AND it had clean, modern bathrooms. The rest of the trip was 3rd world bathrooms, and Grandma did not like them at all.