Consider the "remote possibilities" of this secluded tropical paradise.
words: Carelyn Tiburcio
photos courtesy of Casa El Paraíso, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is much more than beautiful beaches, grand resorts, and the upbeat sounds of salsa and merengue. Contrary to popular to belief, the DR is an incredibly peaceful destination... if and when you want it to be.
As a young girl, my parents would send me over to the island every summer to spend time with family. Most of my days were focused on visiting historical landmarks and connecting with my ancestral roots. Now as an adult - with the flexibility to work from anywhere and the freedom to plan my own itinerary (or do nothing much at all) - my trips to the Dominican Republic are by design.
I visit there more frequently now. Recently, my sister Ana and I decided to spend a month traveling to places we’ve never been before on the island... but with the following caveat: We only wanted to go where there are barely any tourists (which can be hard to come by in the popular vacation destination that is DR).
Not to sound antisocial or anything; my sis and I are both travel bugs who enjoy making new friends from all over the world. But given the pandemic, we understandably wanted to avoid large crowds. That ruled out the big resorts (which weren't on our radar anyway). Instead, we sought a more remote environment. Turning to The 'Gram, I discovered Casa El Paraíso, a rustic getaway located atop the cliffs alongside beautiful Samana Bay. Intrigued, I tapped, and was quickly directed to airbnb.com where I booked my and my sister's ticket to paradise.
Upon arrival, we saw that the images of this bed & breakfast we'd seen on Instagram didn't even do it justice. A friendly staffer greeted us at the gate and escorted us to our charismatic, bungalow-style digs (one of only seven rooms total) filled with traditional Dominican decor and furnishings crafted from locally-sourced woods. An open wall on one side gave way to stunning views of the landscape and bay. This was more than we'd bargained for... and I mean that in a good way. Elated, we allowed ourselves a few moments to be held in Mother Nature's sweet embrace.
Then, our guide continued giving us the lay of the land. We were led to the common area where comfy seating areas beckoned, wooded wind chimes clinked in the gentle breeze, and fluffy dogs lay about in full snooze mode.
And the pool! Safe to say, it offers the most "Instagrammable" pics to be found anywhere this side of Samana Bay. Although in that instant, social media was the last thing on our minds.
A traditional Dominican breakfast is served every morning to guests. Think Mangú Con Los Tres Golpes - the region's best-known dish made with mashed plantains, sausage (or salchichón), fried eggs & cheese, and an onion garnish - served with freshly squeezed juice. Meals prepared by your own personal chef are also on the menu. We opted in, and each day of our stay, Chef Mirko would personally ask us what we wanted for dinner, then set about gathering the ingredients.
fresh-caught seafood is just one of Casa El Paraíso's epicurean highlights
As it turned out, my sister and I never felt inclined to leave the premises to go exploring. Instead, we lingered away our days lounging by the pool chit-chatting.
And... mission accomplished! Not a tourist in sight besides our fellow guests.
If my personal experience hasn't already convinced you that Casa El Paraíso is precisely the disconnected from everyday life and reconnected with nature tropical vacay you're after, perhaps its over-200 positive reviews will. Aptly named, it truly is a Dominican "paradise house".
For more information or reservations, visit casaelparaiso.com