Dominican Republic: Day Four: Farewell To Santo Domingo And A Long Ride to Los Haitises National Park

Dominican Republic: Day Four: Farewell To Santo Domingo And A Long Ride to Los Haitises National Park

Dominican Republic Day 4 morning (4 of 50)
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I awoke early again on my last day in Santo Domingo. After a double expresso I was walking the deserted, cobblestone streets down to the Malecon. It was partly cloudy with temperatures in the low 70’s with a refreshing breeze blowing in from the ocean. 

The traffic was much lighter on Saturday morning and I was able to cross the busy Paseo Padre Billini without much difficulty. I arrived on the Malecon as the sun was rising in the eastern sky. 

A waning gibbous moon was still high overhead in the western sky. 

I decided to hike north on the Malecon on this, my last walk in Santo Domingo.

After a short distance I discovered there is a pedestrian  walkway over the busy street. I wish I knew this on Thursday when I almost lost my life running across the street in continuous morning traffic.  The walkway  also connects the city  to the port. I am sure that Santo Domingo, like many cities with ocean ports, will benefit from the increasing travel on cruise ships. 

I crossed  over to the other side since a wanted to walk along the outside of Fort Ozma and the massive wall built to protect the city in the 1500’s. Once again my  mind wandered, reflecting on  the people who came to this strange and unknown land and walked  outside the safety it’s  walls. 

So much history in this city. 

Walking past the old fort I came to a gate and stairway which I followed and discovered led to Calle el Conde and on to Columbus Park. I assume this was the main entrance to the city when Santo Domingo was the richest and  most powerful city in the New World. 

I continued walking along the wall and came to the Spanish Plaza. Here there was another gate and entrance to the city. 

I saw a van with  some high school students who look like they were beginning a tour  of Santo Domingo, the Capital of the Dominican Republic. I remember when I visited our Capital,  Washington D.C. in eight grade. Once again I realized how  much we all have in common, the folks living on this small planet at this time. 

Walking onto  the massive  cobblestone square,

I again looked for bird on tops of the palm trees that lined the plaza. Today I only saw kingbirds perched atop the palm trees.

There were no birds fluttering in the gardens near the plaza. I think I found the reason when I saw this cat stalking some bird or critter on the ground.

I left the plaza and walked the empty streets back to the ruins of the Franciscan Monastery. 

I wanted to see if the parrots were still there, and sure enough they were! There were flocks of them flying from tree top to tree top. I tried to capture them in flight but they were fast. I didn’t have the time to get what would have been a great photo.  

I walked back down to my hotel as the city of Santo Domingo slowly awakened. 

Before returning to my hotel I found this quaint little pastry and coffee shop, the Corner Cafe.    The employees spoke little English, and I no Spanish but that didn’t stop us from communicating in the universal language of smiles and gestures. I got a delicious pecan tart and coffee and returned to my hotel to have breakfast,  and then  pack.. Here is a link to some more photographs from my last walk on the cobblestone streets of Santo Domingo on this trip. I loved this city and hope to return.  Dominican Republic Day Four:  Santo Domingo morning walk. October 23 2021. 

After breakfast, I packed and inquired at the front  desk about the ride I had arranged. There  was a little misunderstanding, as to the price,  but we worked it out. At 11 a.m. I was off to visit Los Hasitises National Park. I knew it was a three hour ride. I did not check the distance.   I had no idea what was in store for me on this  three hour drive to my next destination,  the Altos de Cano Hondo. resort/lodge. 

My driver  spoke almost no English  but he was a pleasant gentleman and we were off. It was Saturday and traffic was light in the city.  We soon made our way out of Santo Domingo and we were cruising along Highway 3,  a modern highway, very similar to our interstate highways in the United States. 

I had beautiful views of the sparkling Caribbean Ocean and we drove past the airport and the suburbs of Santo Domingo. 

I enjoyed the drive along the Ocean but we soon headed north crossing this interesting bridge,

and we were now passing  large sugar cane fields and cattle ranches. Some  large cumulus clouds formed in the sky making for some nice scenery. We were still making good time with little traffic. 

I was now curious and my y Google map indicated the distance from Santo Domingo to my hotel in Los Haitises National Park  was  only 85 miles. However as I  stated,  it would take over three hours to get there.  After driving for an hour on these modern highways I didn’t understand how it could take so long. 

Well I soon found out, we  entered a fairly large city, 

Hato Mayor, and hit some heavy traffic congestion , 

Then we proceeded into the mountains where the  roads were filled with ruts, deep pot holes and were  unpaved in many areas. We slowed down considerably and I was starting to understand the reason  for the three hour drive. .

It was now a slow drive  but I enjoyed the mountain scenery and the small towns we passed through. 

We slowly made our way down the mountains, it took over an hour driving around 30 miles per hour, when we came to the small town of Sabana de la Mar. 

I would have loved to have been able to stop and explore this small town in this remote part of the Dominican Republic. 

After passing through this town the road got real rough. Although the map showed us to be only about 8 miles from my hotel it took over a /2 hour  to drive on the unpaved road. 

  But once again I enjoyed the ride taking in the scenery of this isolated area. It was like traveling  back in time. We passed many folks on horseback as we bounced on the the dirt covered rutted road. 

Finally, after a 3 1/2 hour drive, at around 2:30 , we arrived at the beautiful Altos de Cano Hondo resort hotel located atop a hill adjacent to the National Park.

It would be my home for the next five days.  I loved it. I am sure my driver was glad to drop me off . He had never taken this drive before. And I am sure it  was not good on his car, We exchanged numbers in case I need a ride back or on a future stay in the Dominican Republic. And now it  was time to explore my new home.   Here is a link to a gallery on my website with some more photographs from my drive to my hotel. Dominican Republic Day Four Drive to Altos de Cano October 23 2021. 

To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.”
― Hans Christian Andersen

This is my first post