Just back from this incredible place and still full of vibrant memories we couldn't wait to share.
We (a family of 5, three teenagers) stayed for ten days at the "Bohio de Playa", the bi-level open air cabana(a bohio is a beach cabana usually made of palm fronds) which was the superb equivalent of "camping on the beach" with the added comfort of 24 hr manned security, Eco-conscious, minimally yet beautifully designed large bathroom, a full size refrigerator and the friendly service of the small but attentive staff who felt more like family after a few days at the hotel.
The main housekeeper/chef Milla went out of her way every day to make sure we get our breakfast the following day just the way we wanted it, despite the language barrier. The guards and managing staff spoke fluent French and English and usually there was no problem for anything to be delivered to us even late at night, if need be.
But the best part was that they left us alone - no one came nosing around and the rooms were cleaned every time we requested. It felt more like our own vacation home rather than a commercial enterprise.
This is why Bohio/Casa Maravilla is a hidden gem; a well kept secret tucked away on a private beach at the end of a gated community, neighboring another great Eco-hotel where like-minded people enjoy walks and horse rides along uninhabited beach paths, surfing, yoga, morning beach meditation and the like. Each night at Bohio de Playa we fell asleep under the palm-tree thatched roof listening to the shifting tides and when we had a few night thunderstorms the experience was pretty sublime...
One of the days we witnessed the local catch of fresh fish being brought into the kitchen and were able to buy the largest red snapper and then had it prepared for dinner in the kitchen by the cook. It was great; even better, we were able to use the kitchen and prepare a seviche which we shared with some new friends we made around the communal table.
For local flair and a varied dinner experience visiting the towns of Cabarete and Sosua is a must. We rented a car while there and each town is about 5 min away from the Casa Maravilla/Perla Marina community. Driving gets a bit crazy at night with motorbikes without lights buzzing around in the darkness, so extra caution is a good thing. Just assume that something might be in the middle of the road and be prepared.
Cabarete is a young -gypsy-kind-of-town in the best of sense! There are cool people from all over the world who seem to prefer the off-the-beaten path type of vacationing, mainly surfers(,the town is a top spot for wind surfing in the Western hemisphere!). Hands down the best place to have dinner is Alie's Surf Shack- the trouble is, it is hard to find - ask someone local for the way and you will be amazed. Best churrasco style beef fresh from the grill in minutes, not tho mention the langustas...
The town of Sosua is great for daytime people watching from the many open-air street bars but be careful there as the locals are definitely "dollar sign tuned". There is also the nearby tropical mountain in the town of Puerto Plata which is accessible by a lift and there is a botanical garden on the peak. If you do go avoid the "personal guide services" offered at the gate. Just buy your lift ticket and explore the gardens on your own.
Overall our experience staying at the Bohio De Playa was fantastic. The cabanas are a hidden treasure and as the ones who appreciate hidden treasures will know, luxury often dulls beauty. Luckily the owners at Casa Maravilla are balancing the two in perfect harmony with the surrounding nature of the island. We certainly hope that this will remain in the future as well.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Why not relax on a Paradise private Beach in Cabarete surrounded by natural wonder. Hotel Maravilla Cabarete Eco Lodge & Beach is an award winning eco-chic 3-level bungalow all made with natural woods, open structure unifying with the oceanand nature. Cacique Eco Luxury Suites (right side of Bohio) is a three level building also made of natural materials, with all the necessary comfort and privacy. Mediteranean style Hotel Maravilla Cabarete Eco Lodge & Beach is a modern villa with 3 bedrooms, AC, kitchen, dining, terrace. Free WIFI throughout the property. They all sit on a 30000 sq ft tropical garden,next to Hotel Natura Cabana and a quiet, enchanting natural preserve, surrounded by a sandy beach, trees, tide pools. Surf or kitesurf right there, or sit back on our very private beach, 500 meters from "El Encuentro", the top surfing/kite spot in the Dominican Republic. Wake up to the sound of birds and the waves. ... more less
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