Arrival: I arrive at the absolutely gorgeous Las Terrenas after a long but lovely drive along the north coast of the Dominican Republic and crossing over the Samaná mountains. Every region of this tropical destination is different; Las Terrenas is no exception. After a bit of searching and with the help of some friendly locals I find Hotel La Tortuga almost disguised in a side street though just a five minute walk away from the beach and a fine collection of small restaurants (Pueblo Pescadores); all of them with terraces overlooking the exceptionally turquoise sea of Playa Las Terrenas.
Check in is easy and relaxed. Someone is helping me to move my suitcase to, #3 out of 10, red bungalows, which lays tucked away behind a large bush with yellow flowers.
Rooms: From my bungalow I also can see the small clean pool. The new air conditioner works fine and has cooled down my room even before I arrived. I also turn on the ceiling fan to discourage the mosquitoes that hate wind. The humid air and ample vegetations put me on bug bite alert. A bottle of good mosquito repellant is recommended. I personally selected a green bottle “Off” as my best friend for the next 3 days. The walls are creatively painted in the colors blue and turquoise. Off-white drapes hang in front of the large glass sliding door. My comfortable double bed is made with crisp white cotton sheets. At the foot-end I find a thin cotton blanket, also in an off-white color. Narrow concrete stairs lead to a second room, again with a ceiling fan but with two single beds. Perfect for a family with kids. The fun decorated bathroom is located on the lower floor and has a walk-in shower, toilet and a bathroom sink with enough space to put plenty of stuff on and under. A large closet in the hallway provides enough space for all my clothes. My little house does not have a safe or a television. I don’t think I will miss them.
After unpacking my suitcase, inspecting and taking pictures of my cozy little home it is time to sit out on the open, spacious and covered terrace. Tita, the happy, young and agile house cat that likes to hunt, pursues a passing and un-doubtfully panicking frog. It turns out that Tita also listens very well to her name, something you would perhaps more expect of a dog.
Restaurant and Bars: The open Palapa of La Tortuga functions like a meeting point, restaurant and bar. In the corner stands a cupboard with a large variety of books which come in handy if you want to read something while laying down on one of the sun beds near the pool or just want to check out what else there is to discover in the region. They people of La Tortuga serve an excellent and personalized breakfast including coffee or tea, fresh bread and an egg prepared “anyway you like it”. It is a good idea to let Javier, the from origin Spanish owner, know if you like to have diner at the hotel a couple of hours ahead of time. The paellas that passed by looked great.
In Las Terrenas you can find a wide array of restaurants, serving to the taste and budget of everyone.
Beach / Pools / Grounds:
Gravel pathways connect the red bungalows with partly thatched roofs, the lush tropical gardens and the cozy pool in the middle.
The service at La Tortuga is perfect, fast and above all personal. While taking a shower I ran out of warm water. When I tell Javier, he directly goes out to fix the problem and within ten minutes I have hot water at my disposal again. One of the guests turns out to be afraid of cats… This is also no problem as breakfast is being served in the bungalow of the Croatian lady and Tita is being confined to the office during the afternoon. All possible is being done to make the guests feel at home.
La Tortuga is a lovely quiet and relaxing hotel surrounded by a wonderful tropical atmosphere. This place is ideal for people who do not like having lots of people around but do appreciate service with a personal touch in a natural setting.