Friday 3 May, Dom Rep day 10: Walk the length of Las Ballenas beach and end up pampered in Alisei hotel.
Hmm, what to do today, in this little paradise? We decide to walk all along the beach, westwards, as far as we can go. Same routine with the dinghy: locked to a palm tree, outboard off and locked in a room at the nearby Afreeka hotel.
While walking the beach just after the fishermen’s huts, we find a row of very nice restaurants facing out onto the beach with a board walk joining them all. Some a bit basic but others are really nice. So we pick one for our morning coffee with a view. Oana gets chatting to the manager and discovers that Las Terrenas has been very economically successful the last 10-12 years. Initially it was very Swiss-German orientated but now it’s very French. She estimates that at least 6000 French now live here! Wow. We also learn that after Easter holidays it low season until the place apparently gets invaded in July and August by Italians! So that explains why it feels so lovely and quiet these days.
About half km further down the beach we visit Alisei apart-hotel. Not as smart as the new Aligio apart-hotel we visited yesterday, but it does have a nice pool with a sunken bar surrounded by beautiful garden. So we vouch to stop there on our way back.
From there, the boutique hotels and clusters of residences, all for holiday rent, give way to villas and several plots of land for sale. The beach here is really exquisite. The small road merges with the beach which is wide and backed by 2-3 rows of palms. And the water beyond is perfect turquoise.
We stop for a swim… or at least try to. No sooner have we put our backpack on a small palm tree than an Italian lady asks if we can take her photo. “Sure” we say. To which she replies, “but I want to be photographed in front of that palm, so you will have to remove you bag and shoes”. No please from this lady… and she even has the nerve to add: “anyway, that small branch will not hold the weight of your bag, so it needs to come off anyway”. We bite our tongues and politely do as we are told and Oana takes the photo. But it’s not good enough, she wants several different poses. Finally it’s done and we are released by her. Oooph, no wonder this woman seems to be alone, who would have her?! As we are in the water relaxing, we see her waving down the next group of people walking along the beach, demanding they take yet more photos of her. Maybe we should introduce her to the selfie-stick technology 🙂
The water is lovely. Refreshing after our walk and so clear and warm. What a great place this is, we tell each other. It has a bit of everything. Somewhere we would certainly recommend for a holiday.
A few more hundred meters along the beach we find beach front land for sale. It’s covered in mature palms and mature trees and it has the perfect location next to the prettiest piece of beach. We cannot resist to call the number. The agent tells us it’s currently under negotiation, but sends us the link with details. $2.1million! Ok, it was a nice try. With its 80m of pristine beach front, for sure it will get developed into a hotel or residence complex.
Finally we reach the end of the beach. A headland stops any further progress. So we turn around and end up back at Alisei Hotel. We slip in and establish ourselves in the pool and order cocktails from the sunken bar. Oops, it’s only 2pm. Too early for cocktails? They are so very good. The best we’ve had in ages. Around the pool are quite a few people, especially a friendly bunch of Canadians who own one of the residences. We also meet the owner and manager, Imke, a very nice Dutch lady. She has been here 25 years and between her and her husband they seem to have a handful of holiday properties. She is very open to tell us about their venture here. She also has family over from Netherlands and like all Dutch, they are an extremely friendly bunch. Why can’t all nationalities be like the Dutch, so open, straightforward, friendly, chic and above all funny.
The early afternoon drink turns into lunch, which then turns into more cocktails and more swimming. Oana, who is not normally a water baby, stays in the pool all afternoon! Until, that is, we are invited by Imke to use the steam room in the spa. Oana is delighted by this… sauna, steam, massage, she loves all that kind of pampering. And after the steam room we are offered a special deal on a dual massage. So before we know it we are next to each other both with our own masseuse. OMG, did we go to heaven this afternoon or what?! We finally leave at 8pm feeling thoroughly refreshed and relaxed… if not a little oily 🙂
We walk back along the beach hoping to find a lively bar but it’s still too early and most people are just dining. So we head back to Cloudy Bay to shower the oil off and finally get out of our swimwear. The plan was to head back ashore but once relaxed on the boat, going back ashore with all the palaver of removing the outboard again didn’t seem appealing. So we continue our relaxing for the remainder of the evening on board.
We had also planned to go find that military guy before 5pm to get our check-out document so we could depart tomorrow for Sosua, 70nm west. But that plan is now delayed a day – we love this place too much to leave it so soon!