Every Explorer Chick Adventure, regardless of the destination, always takes on it’s own character and is its own unique experience. This year’s women-only, adventure trip to Cabarete, Dominican Republic proved no different.
The north coast received an unusual amount of rain during our week in paradise. To most this might be the end of a vacation, but for the Explorer Chicks it opened up opportunities to explore parts unknown.
Upon arrival, the Explorer Chicks quickly unpacked before heading to our first Yoga class that overlooks the ocean. With the sounds of the waves crashing in the background, we unraveled all the kinks and stiffness from a long day of travel. Afterwards, we enjoyed a Welcome Dinner of Shrimp Risotta and chatted about the week ahead.
Monday was our first full day of adventure! I had a little surprise for the Explorer Chicks for their surf lessons. I hired the very talented, professional photographer, Kim Hanskamp, to shoot the Explorer Chicks as they stood on their surf boards for the first time. And guess what? Every single Explorer Chick was able to stand on her board!
I stood in the ocean waist deep covered in goosebumps and amped as I watched the Explorer Chicks fight to paddle and balance upright. Gina impressed everyone getting up on her very first attempt!
On Tuesday the rain was relentless! We opted to move our free day up from Saturday and embrace our girly side! I booked appointments at the spa while the Explorer Chicks trained in the Tiki Hut with Zach. They each enjoyed one of his classic TRX classes. We pampered ourselves all afternoon with hour long massages and cocktails at the pool bar. The afternoon quickly turned into the night as we continued to party after the sun went down. The rain? It was no match for us! You bet we jumped into the pool during a rain storm with the bartenders laughing hysterically at the crazy gringo chicas!
After breakfast on Wednesday, it was time to learn how to fly. Marcus taught us little by little how to progress from a simple knee hang to a straddle to a catch and release. Honorary Explorer Chick, Sarah, showed us some of her tricks she has been working on. Wow!
The rest of the afternoon was spent perusing town, fitness classes, and yoga.
We rose before dawn on Thursday to head to the “Dominican Alps” for white water rafting. All the rain made for a wild White Water Rafting ride! And, bonus, we had blue skies and sunshine! We dressed in wet suits and helmets before boarding the open safari truck to our boat ramp. After 5 Dominican minutes, we arrived to our launch spot nestled in the pines and elevation of the Dominican mountains. You would have never known we were in the DR. The landscape much more resembled Colorado!
The river was flowing and the rapids were a blast. “Drop!” The scenery between rapids was absolutely gorgeous with large boulders, pines, and waterfalls. I almost fell out once as we teetered on a rock. “No me gusta!” Luckily, Gina grabbed my life jacket before I dropped in. Of course. we still lost Cassie, Gina, and Theresa in one of the rapids. Cassie got a bit shook up, but once she realized she was safe and sound in the raft, she was all smiles. #ButDidYouDie
Friday we did a classic north coast road trip. I arranged a driver for the day, as the Explorer Chicks spent the morning strolling the beach and capturing their Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition photos!
Our first stop of the day was to Dudu Blue Lagoon. This park is home to a giant sinkhole that drops about 40 feet into a pool of crystal clear turquoise water. The most exciting way to drop into the lagoon is via Zip line. We were helped into a life vests, told to hold onto the zipline, and then walked to the edge of the platform. From there it was a gentle glide to the middle of the pool before dropping the 40 feet into the water. Luckily, there was a group from Miami that was able to demonstrate the zipline before we gave it a whirl. Of course, there were also stairs leading into the lagoon for the Explorer Chicks who preferred a more relaxing swim in the pool.
We then hopped back in the van for a short drive to Playa Grande. Here, we picked our location along the beach for our seafood lunch. Theresa and Cassie enjoyed the ocean, while the rest of us explored the beach. Lunch was fresh and delicious! Oh, and the cocktails weren’t too bad either 🙂
We hiked over to Playa Preciosa, but the tide was too high not leaving much of a beach. I asked the driver if there any other beaches nearby that we could explore. He suggested Playa Caleton. Good choice! This beach was more secluded on a bay and beautifully bizarre. Along the right side of the bay, was an army of white sculpted heads. The driver informed us that they were sculptures of the native Tainos that once inhabited the area. There was also a “Tin Man” looking sculpture that was climbing one of the rocks at the entrance of the bay. This was definitely the most unique beach I have ever visited!
On our way to be our hotel, the driver also stopped at Lagoona Gri Gir, so we could see where the fishing boats and tour boats docked. The small bay was filled with brightly colored boats and livened with the sounds of meringue on speakers. Yes, a Dominican Friday night!
After dinner, we ventured into Cabarete to enjoy the sounds of the Jazz festival and for a taste of Dominican dancing. As usual, we ended up at Club LAX for a night of dancing with the locals. You gotta move your hips, not your shoulders!
On Saturday, we boarded the shuttle to the Rio Damajagua National Monument to trek the falls. Due to the rain, we were only able to trek 12 of the waterfalls. The rushing river made the trek challenging and exciting. We had 2 major jumps from 15 feet up, a few slides, and challenging climbs. The slots were absolutely beautiful and the river an enchanting blue. Agusto kept all of us entertained with his American singing! “Rolling on the river!”
Once back at the hotel, we showered and freshened up for our final dinner together. We dined at Casita de Papi. We heard the stories about the sauce and we had to taste for ourselves. Our table was on the second floor with a view of the ocean. The food did not disappoint! We shared crab cakes, caprese salad, shrimp and lobster doused in the yummy sauce. Then we dug into our own desserts! The dinner was amazing and a perfect ending to our final night together! Cheers!
On Sunday morning, we enjoyed on last Yoga class instructed by honorary Explorer Chick Sarah. She juiced our livers and prepped the Explorer Chicks for their day of travel. Namaste Sarah!
Overall, the trip was amazing! We tried many new adventures and enjoyed every second of it. As usual, we are all now Facebook friends and share a connection from our week of adventures in the tropics.
Til next time! Adventure on!