A cana – or palm leaf – roof is beautiful and somehow keeps the temperature inside pleasant even at very high temperatures. It is less pleasant if it leaks, though. Happend here after a day of super heavy rain. But the cana specialists – Nic calls them affectionately canagurus – were quick to fix it.
A heavy zigzag, uneven road, our 4×4 car swaying from left to right or vice versa was the way to Rancho Platon, our next hotel. Half way to the hotel Yasuko decided to walk with Lia to enjoy the lush tropical forest and the mountain, and, as usual, almost got lost. Two notes from Nicole on the road at cross roads helped us to safely arrive at the destination and rejoin the group.
Tree house rooms, hanging above 15+ meters from the ground, in the middle of a lush bamboo and tropical forest near a stream – a fantastic setting. The garden reminded us of our Bali Hyatt hotel where we both worked and met each other…
It’s a little paradise for small and big children: toboggan (particularly for toboggan-freak Nico), tubing in the river, small canyoning up to the hydro-electric source, horse riding (rather not-so-big horse for rather big Philippe – we all feel sorry for the poor horse!) and more activities if you like.
Given that we stayed there mid-week without any other guests, the all-inclusive buffet became all-inclusive “à la carte”, with, well, plenty of waiting time. It seems that the restaurant chef has never seen a pizza before and when we ordered three pizza for the six of us, he stuck all pizza together on top of each other, a kind of triple-decker pizza – the result of a creative cooking process : (( It was far from crispy pizza which we were expecting to eat!
The last highlight was that on the way back home we were shown a different, “better” road by the hotel staff – we ended up crossing the river! It made all boys – younger as well as older one – excited!
A big outing day from Casa Bonita: a boat ride to watch elegant pink flamingos in the green-colored lake surrounded by mangroves in the Jaragua National Park.
The kids, Nicole, Philippe and I also visited “The Beach”, Bahia de Aguilas, which was on Nicole’s longtime wish list of places-to-visit on DR – it is labelled “one of the most beautiful beaches in the world”. After a short boat ride from a beach restaurant, an indeed beautiful white sand beach with turquoise water! On the beach there was only two guests with a helicopter (!) besides us (without helicopter but with snorkel) and we had it to ourselves, enjoying a refreshing swim.
After going back, driver Philippe made a wrong turn and we were almost entering the border of Haiti! We lost half an hour due to this and we ended up driving a rather dark road with lots of potholes, but thanks to our navigator Luca with GPS we safely arrived back to the hotel.
The website of Casa Bonita says: “Once the weekend retreat of the Schiffino family, Casa Bonita has been budged by nature to open its doors to outside guest and become an Exclusive Luxury Eco Hotel Lodge. Located in Barahona, Dominican Republic in the still unspoiled and secluded southwest region of the Dominican Republic and adjacent to the only biosphere reserve in the country, Casa Bonita offers a unique ecological experience atypical to most Dominican Republic Hotels.”
The hotel does indeed feature a fantastic setting, with a great view of the shoreline and the mountain behind. A beauty. We enjoyed truly magical sunrises and sunsets – and the caipiriñas which beautifully go with the sunsets. It also has a pretty decent restaurant but with a rather helpless service.
Yasuko and Lia did a lot of yoga. Even Luca and Nico joined in at times. Nico, however, preferred the jacuzzi where he literally spent hours soaking :-). I played tennis for the first time in years with Yasuko and Lia.
I started to kitesurf with Lia and Luca.They are both doing really well. The Playa Portillo next to Las Terrenas is a great spot to learn. Today we have a video of Luca doing some nice surfin’. I hope tomorrow Lia will agree to put the camera on her kite. And may be Tonton Philippe will have some pics of his considerably less successful kitesurfing as well… zut alors…