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Home Adventure Travel Ideas Activities Cultural Casa de Campo family resort - Dominican Republic

Casa de Campo family resort - Dominican Republic

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Casa de Campo family resort - Dominican Republic
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Casa de Campo in Dominican Republic
(My Family in Paradise)

   ...from the journals of CW Bryant (age 15)


March 25...
 
    Hi! This time I’m headed to the family resort of Casa de Campo on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola in the Dominican Republic.  When we arrived, Mom and I experienced the warm and kind Dominican spirit and we immediately felt part of a family– the Casa de Campo family.
    Carlos met us at the airport in Santo Domingo. We first toured the Colonial District with its forts, many churches, monastery, palace, and plazas. These buildings date back to the 16th century when Christopher Columbus discovered Hispaniola and set up the first city in the Americas.
    Tucked among the back s
The Colonial District in Santo Domingo is full of great architecture, statues, and museumstreets are the amber and larimar museums. We learned how amber is mined and made into jewelry.
It’s fun to check out the insects, leaves, and sometimes frogs and lizards that had gotten caught in Just one of the many sights in Santo Domingo.the tree sap millions of years ago. Larimar is an ocean-blue semi-precious stone often made into jewelry. I learned that it’s found only in the Dominican Republic.  
    Carlos weaved the van around donkey drawn carts full of bananas and plantains that clipped-clopped along the narrow cobblestone streets. He passed barrows heaped with sugar cane for sale and pointed out street stands stacked high with brightly colored and oddly shaped fruit.
    We then drove past the modern Cultural Plaza with four enormous history and art museums and a theatre. The National Palace is home to the government. Along the seafront is the Lighthouse to Columbus, an enormous block-long, cross-shaped monument. The cross faces the heavens and lasers practically light up all of the Caribbean night sky. The Quisqueya Stadium hosts the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic–baseball! Carlos said he loves baseball.

     While on the coastal road leaving Santo Domingo, Carlos often drove off the highway onto the shoulder to miss pot holes–some the size of cars! Then he steered around the guaguas, local buses that stop at the sight of someone waving. Further down the road we saw uprooted mahogany trees scattered about the savannah, Carlos explained that they came down during Hurricane Georges in 1998. As we passed the town of San Pedro de MacoThe National Palace is home to the Government.ris, Carlos told us that Sammy Sosa and many other famous ball players grew up here. We continued on the coastal road to La Romana, as fields of tall sugarcane lined one side of the road and the Caribbean surf crashed onto the rocks on the other side.
    The Casa de Campo resort and its nearby sugar cane factory employs lots of La Romana’s residents. Mom and I settled into our two bedroom Caribbean style villa tucked in among flowering trees and overlooking the manicured greens of the golf course –there’s over 7,000 acres here!
     A golf cart comes with the villa–that’s how you get around the resort. Mom let me drive everywhere!      
    At Cafe El Patio I ordered a delicious tri-tip steak and mom chose the  grouper. The walls are covered with tools used years ago to plant and harvest sugar cane.  The cafe was filled with families –grandparents to toddlers and a mix of nationalities. The waiters liked to entertain the little kids and spoil them with the latest desert creations. Tony, our waiter, laughed when he tried to stump me with a few Spanish words.

March 26...
 
    Be sure to try the pancakes and the juice special at the Lago Grill buffet. It overlooks the famous “Teeth of the Dog” golf course, which I got to play. Ebie, my caddy was cool, he patiently watched as I used my wedge iron far too many times–I wonder why my golf balls always landed in the sand traps! Ebie waited to see how I would hit the ball out of a deep pot bunker. The rim of the bowl was above my head, and to our surprise, my blind What a shot! It's the famous Teeth of the Dog golf course.aim wasn’t too bad. It was neat to play next to the waters of the Caribbean. If the shore winds didn’t blow my golf balls off course and into the trees a
nd bushes, then the surf-filled rocky inlets between tee and hole swallowed up all my short drives. There must be quite a collection of balls in those inlets! By this time I was out of balls and from the shade of a coconut tree came Jose with a bag of at least 40 golf balls for purchase – just in time.  We tipped Ebie generously–he was helpful, but best of all he never snickered, not even once!
    Luis and Juan sure know how to have fun. After a few tips at paddling a kayak, Luis and I raced mom and Juan up the Chavon River. Heron watched us from the tops of trees and snook, popular for fishing, swam the river waters that were brown from the rains. We pulled into a clearing on the bank and Juan picked some fruit off a tree and offered us a taste. Hmmm... it was sweet but also sour. Luis then entertained us with back flips down the beach. We’ll see the guys at the beach tomorrow, they head up the beach activities.In the quaint village, Altos de Chavon, find a Grecian-style amphitheater and this chapel blessed by the Pope.
    For dinner we grabbed a shuttle bus to the resort’s French restaurant, Casa del Rio in a little village called Altos de Chavon. Mom chatted with Kim, head of publicity for the resort and I dived into yummy escargot and steak. Kim showed us around Altos de Chavon, which is a replica of a 16th-century Mediterranean village. The streets are cobblestone and buildings are handmade of stone, wood and iron. It sits on a cliff overlooking the Chavon River. In the center of town is a small chapel, which was blessed by the Pope years ago. We heard recorded music coming from the chapel along with a chorus of croaking frogs from a nearby fountainA view of Chavon River from Altos de Chavon.. Kim pointed out the view from a rock wall where huge flood lamps once used for filming the movie Apocalypse Now lit the deep and densely vegetated Chavon valley. Many popular entertainers have performed in the massive stone amphitheater. I tried the stage out –pretty awesome. Frank showed us around the Museum of Archaeology and I learned that the Taino Indians met Christopher Columbus. They introduced Europe to many crops like cassava and tobacco. Words like tobacco, canoe, barbecue, and hurricane originated from the Taino language.
    Back at the main lodge, we heard merengue coming from the La Cana Bar. This is the popular dance music of the
Dominican Republic. I like the music, but I’m not sure I’m ready to try the Merengue dance!

March 27...
 
    Mom and I were up early for a half day of deep sea fishing. I was ready to hook the big ones– sailfish, marlin, wahoo, dorado, and barracuda. After boarding the Mangu, Captain Andrés pushed both throttles forward and headed for the deep, open waters of the Caribbean. Skipper Daniel made ready four fishing poles, two with hooked small sailfish and the other two with bright shiny lures. Between using Spanish and English, we got to know each other. Sq
Minitas Beach, a favorite!ualls came and went as we trolled back and forth waiting for the big hit. Wow, it was a 4 foot barracuda! I posed for pictures with my prize catch, then it was whisked off to the dinner tables of several families in Santo Domingo.
    El Pescador Restaurant looks out onto Minitas beach. I stuffed myself on a great seafood salad, then got comfy in a lounge chair and soaked up the warm Caribbean sun while mom snorkeled the rock breakwater. She saw a sea horse! Further down the beach wind surfers, kayaks, paddle boats, and sailboats scooted across the blue waters. A few even went beyond the rock breakwater into the open sea. I could hear the kids’ club in the distance cheering each other on as Luis challenged them at a game. Or, maybe it was his back flips that they were cheering.
    That night the lobsters at the Tropicanna Restaurant were huge and delicious! Wow, what great food here at Casa de Campo.



 

Where are Tricia and Marla?


Tricia and Marla climbed these steps to this magnificent temple. Where are Tricia and Marla?
Click here to find out. 

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