Visiting Beaches the Local Way
I am starting to pick up on something about the Dominican lifestyle…it seems that for the most part, people tend to go to the beach for the latter part of the day. At least my Dominican family does. I love the fun little nuances of enjoying the beaches in the Dominican. From renting chairs and umbrellas to having fresh fried fish served to you right where you’re sunning, the locals here certainly know how to enjoy the beach.
Recently we visited a small local beach called Juan Dolio. It’s just about an hour east of the capitol city of Santo Domingo and only about 20 km past another local beach I recently visited called Boca Chica (click here to read that post). I’m certainly glad that we opted for Juan Dolio instead of the closer Boca Chica, because even the traffic was busy since it was Saturday, so we knew that most beaches were going to be packed. By the time we all loaded up into two vehicles and started down the road, it was around three in the afternoon. While the locals may be used to their hot tropical weather, they seem to prefer to not be out in it all day. it’s so intensely hot in the very middle of the day, that it’s better and still worthwhile to go to a nearby beach for the last few hours of sunlight, rather than roast in the sweltering heat and exhaust oneself all day long. As much as I want to get a great tan, and this is affecting that somewhat, I can see the sense in it and have been enjoying visiting the Dominican beaches during the end of the day. Following the local culture in regards to timing, is tip number one for enjoying local beaches where you may be visiting.
Juan Dolio was not that busy at all and it was great to arrive around 4:30pm and have so much space on the beach. There were plenty of people, but they were scattered about and it was certainly not crowded. My next favorite thing about how the locals enjoy the beach? It’s that they rarely buy and own all the gear…chairs, tarps and umbrellas and many times even drinks and food, are simply rented. Although the latter part tends to vary. As soon as we walked out onto the beach, we didn’t even have to break our stride before there was a tent, chairs, and table for us to rent and plant ourselves at. It was almost as if it was waiting for us. At other beaches, I’ve had this same experience and even if you have to wait a bit, you can count on a local who is working the beach to cut you a great deal for renting the stuff and they work quick to gather it all together and find your perfect spot for you and your group.
This time we brought our own snacks and drinks in a cooler, while on other trips, we choose to enjoy fresh fried fish cooked and served to us right there on the beach. On this occasion, the young man who rented us our beach furniture, even went and got fresh made Johnny Cakes for us at a stand nearby. Talk about great service! Of course we tipped him well and this kind of experience on the beach does cost, but ranges around the low price of $15 – $20. So tip number two in enjoying a local beach…take advantage of the rental services offered so you can really rest and relax with your friends and family.
What are your favorite local beaches to visit? What have you learned from the locals about how best to enjoy the beach when you visit? I would love to learn your tips as well. Keep enjoying the beach!