This past week I have found myself reflecting a lot on life in the Dominican Republic and how it compares to life in my hometown. Aside from being the obvious antidote to the homesickness we all experience whilst traveling abroad, my favorite part about returning home has been realizing all the things I miss about Cabarete, the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean lifestyle.
- Fresh, healthy and exotic food. Life in the Dominican Republic means having access to incredible food sources. The island is lush and chances are high that you’ll find something new and delicious to try wherever you are. From fresh pesto made from beach almonds and our very own organic aquaponic basil, to sweet smoothies made from tasty tropical fruit like guanabana and abiu, the options are endlessly delicious.
- The variety of activities and things to do. Life in the Dominican Republic is compelling to many people due to the plethora of physical activities available– I must say, I’m definitely one of those people. I mean, really, how many places in the world can you spend your lunch break at a yoga inversion workshop in a beachside yoga loft, listening to the crashing waves and wind blowing through the palm trees? eXtreme Hotel offers everything: from floating down the Yassica river at eXtreme’s organic farm, to activities such as kite surfing, circus arts, snorkeling, paragliding and more adventure tourism.
- The island atmosphere. Though it’s true that somedays the power may go out, the water may stop running and your moto taxi may run out of gas, the overarching perspective seems to be that todo bien or “all is well.” Perhaps it is the wind coming from Kite Beach that helps to keep moods light and spirits high, or the strong sense of community you develop with people you hardly know, there is something about this island that can put the wind in your sail like no other.
- Dancing at La Bomba on Thursday nights. Because night life in the Dominican Republic means going to a petrol-station-turned-night-club in the middle of the week to embarrass yourself in front of a crowd of Dominicans with rhythm like you’ve never seen before and music that inspires your gringa hips to move like no one is watching.
- Riding a motorcycle to work. As it turns out, frequent use of public transportation is one of my favorite aspects of my life in the Dominican Republic. A morning moto concho (motorcycle taxi) makes for a great way to start the day and occasionally, a good story. Like the time I accepted a free ride in exchange for holding a sack with mysterious contents… that turned out to be a bag full of live chickens. Luckily for me, they were happy to play dead the first half of the ride and wait until I had settled into the peacefullness of the morning to throw fits and dig their dinosaur-like talons into my thigh. Oh the joys of morning motos.
- Weekend Gua Gua Adventures. Turns out that big white van your mother always told you to avoid is actually a cheap way to explore a beautiful island. Life in the Dominican Republic is always an adventure. Hop on a Gua Gua in Cabarete and be at the beach, in a jungle or atop a mountain in less than an hour.
- The weather. No seriously, it’s not a small talk kind of subject around here. It’s impossible not to mention how beautiful it is most days- add in the constant chatter about whether the wind is good enough to kite board and it’s a hot subject (no pun intended). It seems the “bad weather days” are really only there to remind us to appreciate the blessings of paradise.
- The constant inspiration to learn something new. Whether you are visiting for a short time or quit your job and moved to the Caribbean permanently, you are sure to find an opportunity for growth. Life in the Dominican Republic is laid back but full of potential to broaden your horizons. Whether you come in with no expectations except relaxation or with the intention to learn Spanish, go kite surfing or climb the highest peak in the Caribbean (Pico Duarte), chances are you’ll go above and beyond. In an atmosphere like this it’s simply irresistable not to. Everyone in the community is willing to share their talents and inspire you to cultivate yours as well.
Though nostalgia often gets a bad wrap, I believe one of the sweetest feelings when arriving to a new place is being able to fully appreciate all of the blessings from the last. It also makes coming back a whole lot more exciting. What do you miss about eXtreme Hotels, the Dominican Republic or Cabarete? We’d love to hear from you, leave us a comment on our Facebook page!
Post and photos by Lynsey Wyatt.