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Top 10 Things To Do In Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

10 Reasons I Love This Caribbean Beach Town

As we’ve been reporting lately… and as I can confirm from experience based on my own scouting adventures… in the Dominican Republic beachfront town of Las Terrenas, the sparkling Caribbean and the sands that fringe it are ever-present. As you’re coming and going around town throughout the day, you never have to look far to enjoy a view of the azure sea.

If you’ve seen one Caribbean beach town, you’ve seen them all, you may be thinking. I thought that, too, before I saw this town. Las Terrenas is quintessential Caribbean but more than that. This town was discovered by Europeans, primarily the French, about three decades ago, and today is populated by French, Italians, Brits, Danes, and Germans. The strong European presence has many implications to do with the way people greet each other in passing, the way they decorate their homes, the way they keep their gardens, the way they pass their free time (pétanque is popular), and, as well, in the local cuisine. You can dine on fried empanadas from a street cart if you’d like (I’d encourage you to try it)… or you can indulge in three- and four-course meals, French or Italian, complemented by good-selection wine lists.

What can you do in Las Terrenas between meals? Here are my top 10 ways to spend your time in this charming beach community.

 

#1: Walk to town for breakfast at the authentic Boulangerie Française, open seven days a week and a favorite meeting place for local expats and tourists…

Walk to town for breakfast at the authentic Boulangerie Française

#2: Watch a game of pétanque on the beach just before sunset at Place des Lices. Retired Frenchmen meet here each evening to play on the sand for a couple of hours before the light fades entirely. When the sun goes down, they transition from pétanque to white wine…

: Watch a game of pétanque on the beach just before sunset at Place des Lices

#3: Take a surf lesson at the Carolina Surf School on Playa Bonita. For US$60, you can have an hour-long lesson from an enthusiastic and expert surfing coach. The school is run by Carolina Gutiérrez, a surfer who scored her first sponsorship at age 16 and was the 2004 DR Sportsperson of the Year. Classes are offered year-round…

Take a surf lesson at the Carolina Surf School on Playa Bonita

#4: Have lunch at Atlantis, also at Playa Bonita, where the French chef was once the private chef for former French President Mitterand…

Have lunch at Atlantis

#5: See how Dominican Republic cigars are made by hand at Mundo Puro on Calle Principal…

See how Dominican Republic cigars are made by hand

#6: Watch the whales. This is the season (January through March). The three- to four-hour boat trip to Samaná Bay with marine mammal expert Kim Beddell includes hydrophone so you can hear the whale song. If you do not see whales your next trip is free. Cost is US$59 for adults; US$30 for children…

Watch the whales

#7: Buy a piece of local art. Brightly colored impressions and representations of Dominican life are available around town. You can buy a piece of low-end factory art on the street for as little as US$25. Prices are negotiable. Offer as little as 30% of the asking price to start. Higher value is the work by contemporary local artist Charlie Simon, whose works have hung in galleries in France and elsewhere in Europe. Charlie’s paintings sell for US$300 to US$4,000…

Buy a piece of local art

#8: Go for happy hour at the Lazy Dog, where you can sit right on the sand with the sea just feet away. Try the calamari and fried shrimp with your rum cocktail…

Go for happy hour at the Lazy Dog

#9: Take a long walk on the beach, read a book, swing in a hammock, or indulge in any other traditional pastime for this part of the world. This is quintessential Caribbean, with the best beaches in the DR and some of the best in the world…

Take a long walk on the beach

#10: Go kite surfing. The kite-surfing school LTK’iTE offers both introductory and advanced courses December through September (when the winds cooperate best). A two-hour beginner class is US$110…

Go kite surfing

Originally published on February 11, 2016.

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