Many tourists are afraid to leave resorts in foreign countries. However, there are always plenty of safe options you can take to discover what else is out there… especially in the Dominican Republic. For example, my Dad and I took a day trip to Isla Catalina. It was a few hundred dollars well spent (unlike the money I lost at the casino the night before). And what could be classier than spending the day on an exclusive island? Upon leaving our resort, the drive to the boat dock was about an hour and a half . Along the way we passed by many Dominican towns, schools, railroads, and sugar plantations.
At a tourist-friendly rest area along the way, I saw some little Dominican boys on the other side of a fence. They seemed happy and waved to the travelers but everyone was ignoring them. I walked up and started a conversation in Spanish. None of them could speak or understand much English besides “American dollars.” Although we were advised not to give money to any Dominicans or others who beg for it, my Daddy and I couldn’t help but give them some of that dinero they asked for. They thanked us gratefully and posed for some photos as a few travelers looked at us with disgust. As the famous verse goes, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (Corinthians 13:13). Not only was helping these poor children the classy thing to do, but the Christian thing to do as well.
Once we arrived at the boat dock in La Romana, we hopped on board the boat and set sail to La Isla Catalina. Along the way we passed through Casa de Campo marina, which is famous for its waterfront celebrity estates. In about 45-minutes we arrived at the island of paradise… Isla Catalina.
Isla Catalina has several private beaches, many of which are owned by cruise companies (like Costa Concordia) so their travelers can explore and play on this heavenly island. There is no habitation or development on the island other than some tiki huts. Many swimmers, divers, and snorkelers visit Isla Catalina for its turquoise waters that are filled with coral reefs and sea creatures.
Activities for the day included suntanning, snorkeling, banana boating, tubing, and swimming.
A Dominican barbeque was served for lunch, which included hot dogs, chicken kabobs, lobster, cajan pork, and all the typical backyard barbeque side dishes with a tropical island twist. I was definitely a bit nervous to eat the food for health purposes but I just had to trust it. It ended up being a unique (and tasty) cultural experience.
Daddy and I spent the last of our time on La Isla Catalina hanging out in our classy beach attire and praying that the storm clouds rolling in would hold off. Luckily they did.
As we headed back to the mainland, we enjoyed drinks and dancing on the boat. There was a fantastic view of the sugar mill that La Romana is known for. Each day sugar churns inside the factory and smoke pours out of its tall stacks. The sugary-scented breeze can be smelled for what seems like miles! Just around the corner, we passed by the largest Italian cruise ship, a Coasta Concordia. Please note it was not the same ship that was involved in the tragic accident off the coast of Italy in January.
Isla Catalina was an effortless exploration that I would love to experience again. Still, there was one last stop on our little adventure that turns out being one of my favorite places…Los Altos de Chavón.
Post. Coming. Soon.