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Luperón, Dominican Republic

Posted by on June 13, 2014

Woo hoo! We’ve finally made it to Luperon, Dominican Republic – the little town that we’ll call “home” for the next five months.

Enjoying Sand Cay....it will be a while before we see water this pretty again  :-(

Enjoying Sand Cay….it will be a while before we see water this pretty again 🙁

"Hold on let me take a selfie"

“Hold on let me take a selfie”

We had a pretty easy 12 hour trip from Sand Cay, (Turks and Caicos) and we arrived at the entrance to Luperón Harbor shortly before sunset. Yes…we’ve decided to stay here for hurricane season. Brian has done his research and this will be a good hurricane hole for us. There are lots of boats in this harbor, mostly sailboats but a couple of trawlers too. Most of the boats have active cruisers on them, but some of the other boats seem to have been here for a very long time and look all but abandoned. Being that this is a good hurricane hole sometimes people bring their boats here and leave them behind while they go about their lives in other places. The muck grows on the bottoms of the boats really quickly here because the harbor is a bit yucky so maybe the boats that I think have been here forever have only been here a week or too…lol! Who knows?

Pretty Sand Cay, our last stop in the Turks and Caicos

Pretty Sand Cay, our last stop in the Turks and Caicos

Can you see all of the birds flying above Brian's head...we wanted to explore the other side of Sand Cay but they were nesting and they would not allow us to pass.

Can you see all of the birds flying above Brian’s head…we wanted to explore the other side of Sand Cay but they were nesting and they would not allow us to pass.

The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, one of the Greater Antilles; the other third of the island is Haiti, culturally very different from the Dominican Republic. Luperón is popular with cruising sailors, having a well sheltered harbor and a lively “cruising” social life, but it is a small town and facilities are limited….very limited!

Approaching DR

Approaching DR

Blow hole along the shoreline as we approach Luperon

Blow hole along the shoreline as we approach Luperon

Entering Luperon...pretty wall and lots of real trees...not the islands anymore

Entering Luperon…pretty wall and lots of real trees…not the islands anymore

Luperón, is a small agricultural based community on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic.

Our first view of Luperon harbor

Our first view of Luperon harbor

This is the harbor in Lupeon. This picture is from the Yacht Club which is perched high above the harbor.

This is the harbor in Lupeon. This picture is from the Yacht Club which is perched high above the harbor.

Luperón, is also a significant historical site. These deep protected bays provide the best harbor on the island of Hispanola. In November of 1492 Martin Pizon anchored the stolen Pinta off the low cliff face on the east side of the entrance channel to trade with the Indians for gold. Columbus’ guys found him when their longboat rounded Cape Isabela from El Castillo looking for the Nina’s next anchorage. We’ll have to research exactly what happened after they found the Pinta, I’m guessing lots of cannon blasting and sword fighting, I’ve seen lots of pirate movies and they all end up pretty much the same….very cool to be at and see this historical site!

Brian relaxing in Luperon harbor after our long sail over

Brian relaxing in Luperon harbor after our long sail over

After finding a spot in the harbor to anchor, the first thing for us to do was to raise our yellow Q (quarantine) flag and to clear customs…or should we say customs, immigration, harbor entry, agriculture, and the Navy Commandante, and the Navy “inspector”. Each office meant new paperwork (all in Spanish) and more fees, and we were a little over a hundred US dollars poorer when we were through. Painless but a bit time consuming dealing with so many people. Still, it was a whole lot better than the Bahamas’ $300 cruising permit!

Some boats anchored near us in the harbor

Some boats anchored near us in the harbor

Brian sewing us some much needed mosquito screens for the hatches

Brian sewing us some much needed mosquito screens for the hatches

One of the first locals were met was Papo. He brought out the Navy inspector and another official to our boat and got the ball rolling to clear us in. Papo can rent you a mooring, bring you gas, diesel, or water (washing or drinking quality), get you a rental car or motorcycle, organize a waterfall tour, clean your boat bottom, or provide a dozen other services the visiting cruisers might need. As you can tell, Papo is the go to guy for anything that you need in the harbor…for a small fee of course, but certainly worth it!

More local houses

More local houses

On Wednesdays and Sundays we listen to the cruiser’s net to get the run-down on all of the available activities in Luperón: a Sunday morning cruiser swap-meet, twice-a-week Spanish lessons, Monday-Wednesday-Friday yoga, twice-a-week movie nights at Wendy’s, trivia night at JR’s, full moon parties… plus cruisers will announce when they have extra space in a rental car or van going on a major shopping run to nearby Puerto Plata or Santiago. Even with all of the get togethers, it doesn’t feel nearly as “adult day care” as Georgetown, Bahamas. Maybe it’s because we plan on staying here for five months, or maybe it’s because there are so many other long-term cruiser “residents”; either way, there’s a real community feel to this place, and we think we’re going to love our stay here. People (both locals and cruisers) are so incredibly friendly, and everyone tells us that Luperón, is very safe.

Local fishing boats

Local fishing boats

llocalboats

As soon as we stepped foot in town we were smacked in the senses by loud, Latin music; lively Spanish chatter; jagged mountains begging to be climbed; motorbikes whizzing past carrying women and babies; the smell of overripe mangoes; cheerful, aimless dogs; and delicious food and beer so cheap you could eat out three times a day and barely graze the bank.

Street view

Street view

We joined some of the cruisers for our first night out to eat dinner and play trivia. Brian and I both had a meal, I had three drinks and Brian had countless beers…and we had all of this for $12.00….for everything! We could get used to this! Supposedly you can eat further out of town for even less. We’ll have to do our research on that one 🙂

Statue on main street Luperon

Statue on main street Luperon

When we walked the streets we were amazed by variety of vegetables everywhere: plantains still on their stalks, massive eggplants, red, yellow and green peppers, carrots, chayote, passion fruit, pineapples, bananas, onions, garlic, cilantro, oregano, scallions, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli…and much, much more. Everything was grown within a few miles of town, all organic, no yucky pesticides, and we filled up a shopping bag for under $5. Red peppers? 20 pesos (about 50 cents). Mangoes? Three for 20 pesos. Fresh pineapple? 30 pesos. Right now we are getting about 43 pesos to an US dollar. After the produce being so expensive in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, it’s going to take us awhile to get used to the local prices. I think that we’ll manage. We’re not complaining….we can get used to this and being a vegetarian, I’m in heaven!

Holy cow! Cows being herded down main street Luperon

Holy cow! Cows being herded down main street Luperon

So as you can tell we’ve got lots of exploring to do here. The mountains are calling us, we’ve read that there are trails, waterfalls and caves to explore, cities to check out and lots to see and learn. We’re working on our Spanish because we are going to need it. Unless you are sitting at the cruisers bar you will not hear any English. We’ve got lots to learn to be able to shop and function in everyday life here….I know we can do it!!

lus

Somehow now, we just have to figure out how to say “no” to those humongous cheap beers… Cheers!

Jennifer and Brian

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