Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Happy New Year everyone and welcome back ! This is my first official post of 2018 and I'm thrilled to be sharing more about my second stop of my adventure with Carnival Vista!
If you haven't read my first post on it, which was a quick intro to the cruise I went on and my first stop (Grand Turk), you could catch up HERE(add link) . So today, I'm doing a recap of our second stop which was to La Romana, Dominican Republic. I was really excited for this stop because, if you didn't know, my background/heritage is dominican. And I hadn't visited in well over nine years, so I had a bunch of different emotions as we made our way into La Romana. I have plenty of family in La Romana, so the second I found out that I was stopping there on the cruise, I let my aunt know that I would be there! She offered to pick up my boyfriend and I to spent time with us for a couple of hours! The only downside though, I think we were there for about 6-7 hours....clearly, not enough time!

Anyways, when we got off the ship and into DR, we were quickly greeted outside by a couple that was dressed in the traditional Dominican costume for celebration. There was loud music and picture taking, tons of shopping and things to do, needless to say we knew we would not be bored lol. So after that, we just waited in the front area where the buses were loading other tourists to the excursions they booked via Carnival. I texted my aunt that we made it out and would wait for her in the front area, that way she could see us! Not even 20 minutes later, my aunt came running to me to give me a huge hug out of nowhere. Clearly, she recognized me before I even saw her. LOL. It was sooo great to see her. I hadnt seen her in such a long time. And apart from that, she treated my boyfriend and I like royalty. So when she picked us up, she took us to her husband's Ranch, called Rancho Cumayasa! He was just going to start an excursion to go zip-lining the moment we got of course we hurried and joined everyone to give it a go! I've always wanted to zipline, so I was excited...and scared at the same time to try it out.

It was an amazing experience. The staff made you feel completely safe; they had a brief and educational meeting on what to do/not to do while zip-lining which I was totally impressed by. So after that they walked us to the first platform to get started! The zip-lining experience had a total of 7 platforms/canopies to zip line from. And as I was told the last one was the absolute best one because it was the highest one and you pass an amazing view of a near-by river. Sadly, my boyfriend and I were only able to do 3 platforms because we honestly didnt have enough time and we wanted to do other things with the time we had left. We are definitely coming back soon because the ranch has SO MANY activities that are offered. They have an outdoor pool, a farm, horse-back riding, ATV's, obstacle courses, and so much more. If you are ever in La Romana, you MUST visit this ranch. Super family-friendly and great activities for every member of the family. 

So after the zip-lining, my aunt took us to her house, which I was most excited to see because she just moved into a brand new house inside Casa De Campo. Casa De Campo is another way to vacation (like a royal) if you ever come visit. It's members only and its complete with huge golf-courses, sports bar, an incredible beach, restaurants, shopping and the beautiful cobbled stone village of "Altos De Chavon"(I'll get to that in a bit). My aunt's new house was stunning. It has an amazing backyard with a jacuzzi and a cute area where she had hammocks as well. I wish I took more photos, but I'll leave that for the next time that I visit :) When we arrived at her house, she had prepared food for us, so we had a chance to sit down and eat lunch and relax for a bit. Again, I wish we had more time to spend there at the house, but I realized when you're on a cruise, everything feels a bit rushed because you are always pressed on time. It definitely has its benefits though, because it lets you plan for another trip back so you get to experience it more! 

So after lunch, she brought us to Altos de Chavon, which is a replica of a 16th century mediterranean village. This village was designed by dominican architect Jose Antonio Caro and Roberto Coppa! This is definitely another must see destination. It is so beautiful, especially during the Christmas time with the area drenched in Christmas decor. In this village, there are historical museums, active artists studios where you could learn everything from pottery, weaving, and everything in between. There's also fabulous shopping at their exclusive boutique brands; they also have art galleries featuring local Dominican artist, and so much more! There's a little something for every one. But one popular attraction in Altos De Chavon is the Amphitheater! Countless musical acts have performed here and delivered over the top concerts, but the most memorable one was when Frank Sinatra held the very first concert there when the theater was first inaugurated in 1982. In Chavon, we were able to take great photos, visit the amphitheater and little mini markets to do some shopping before we had to go back to the ship dock.

Phew! that was a mouthful... LOL

So to quickyly recap some places you must definitely visit while you're in La Romana:

- Rancho Cumayasa:

- Casa De Campo : (make sure to visit Minitas beach, its amazing!)

- Altos De Chavon

Other notable places that are worth going to:

- Catalina Island

-Cave of Wonders

Also if you're into shopping locally, there's a superstore called JUMBO where you could purchase souvenir type of items and liquor to take home at a much lower price than purchasing them at a touristy location. JUMBO is like our Walmart/Kmart...but better. lol ;)

Here's a recap in photos below. (I'm still waiting for the photos that were taken when we were zip-lining..when I get them, I 'll include them below!)

Thank you so much for reading :) Let me know if I missed anything or if you've visited before. I'd love to know what you think.

Why is he always so extra thoughhhh? ;) LOL. 
(this was at the port, waiting for my aunt to pick us up!)

Me, My aunts Husband, My aunt, and my grandma. Lol!

This was at their Ranch...."Rancho Cumayasa" !

In front of my aunt's house in Casa De Campo ;)

Her backyard. Super "casual" (;

I could live here with no problem.

The amphitheater in "Altos De Chavon" !

Altos de Chavon

Views from Altos de Chavon

Any questions on anything leave them below !!

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