The cozy feeling that comes over me while approaching the center of Jarabacoa, a little town in the “Dominican Alps” with many boutiques, cafeteria’s with nice outside patio’s, a gym, plenty of restaurants and even a stationary store, is an early indication that my stay here is going to be fine. It takes me way too long to find my hotel because of the one-way streets, traffic mayhem and the absence of a map. A tip in case this happens to you too: pay a scooter kid 50 pesos to guide you directly to your destination. Within minutes I park my car in front of the hotel Brisas del Yaque 1 (out of 2), tell the receptionist about the purpose of my visit to this wonderful little town, fill out a check-in form and move my luggage to second floor. My room is small but comfortable with loads of wood trimmings, a sturdy bed, a TV, Airco and a more than decent view. The bathroom is slightly worn and shows evidence of people smoking in the bathtub. Today I could care less. The shower is warm, I already like this town and I am going to have a whole lot of fun! Upon passing the front desk, I am being introduced to a guy who is supposed to be the hotels excursion expert who tells me he will take me to Rancho Baiguate tomorrow for my Wild Water Rafting experience. I am pleased that the hotel seems to be “on the ball” assisting me with the confirmation of my reservation. “That’s ok by me, as long as you have everything confirmed and you won’t charge me an extra 20 bucks”, I tell my sufficiently dependable looking friend. I walk out of the door in search of a nice place to drink a refreshing cocktail and to buy some pens and paper. I am glad that I will stay two nights in this hotel because I am kind of worn out from driving so much and the bad food I had to stomach the last 24 hours. One thing that is keeping me from being 100% at easy is the notion that I have to contact my office to tell them I am ok. The hotel provides a strong Wi-Fi signal but no one at the reception desk knows the code. Stupid that is, and the Internet café down the road happens to be closed. I haul down my laptop and start walking around asking for a place where they provide Internet. Within 10 minutes or so I am configuring my computer and hear the relieving “mail is sent” sound of my Mac book. I am amazed by the fact that there are so many places that offer free connection. A great example of how things should be in the information age.
I decide to call it a night and get a good night rest because tomorrow I will need to be ready to get wet and have a blast.
The alarm clock function of my mobile phone is not needed to wake me up. I run down the stairs and… the excursion expert of the fine hotel Brisas del Yaque 1 is waiting for me. We jump in the car and drive to Rancho Baiguate where a young lady informs me that there will be no rafting today because a large group of people cancelled a few days ago. I look at my “Hotel excursion Manager” who gets ready to duck and cover. Since I stay two days in this fine town, I am assured I can join the excursion tomorrow and still will be able to make it to Constanza, my next destination, I feel that I perhaps should cut my friend some slack and send him on his way with a few dollars in his pocket. After all, I am at Rancho Baiguate and I need some breakfast. After that I will go horse riding. Total costs: $14 US. This turns out to be an extreme value for money excursion. The awe inspiring natural beauty of this part of the Dominican Republic makes me really wonder if I am on the same planet as the one I am supposed to come from. I am being rewarded for keeping my cool with the fake excursion manager and drive back to my hotel with a big smile on my face. I greet the people at the reception not mentioning a word about what just happened with their “colleague”, walk up to my room and try to figure out how I ever will be able to explain what I just saw. It is great to witness how things that go wrong, work out for the better. A hotel that does not offer breakfast and wisely does not pretend to be a fancy facility definitely benefits from the experiences the town, its people and the region has to offer. Good for them! 4*
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