We stayed in Punta Rucia for a few days before our trip to the Silverbanks to swim with whales. At Villa Rosa we had our own little room in a building separate from the main house. Arnaud cooked us amazing and creative vegetarian meals (at our request!) every evening - and lunch if we wanted it. You can walk out of the gate straight onto the beach to go swimming. Most of the time we were the only people in the sea! Punta Rucia is a delightful Dominican Village with very few tourists. You can walk right round the beach to Ensenada where you can find more cafes and shacks on the beach, with a Dominican party atmosphere at the far end and empty stretches of white sand and palm trees at the Punta Rucia end. There is a great restaurant on the beach between Ensenada and Punta Rucia called (I think) El Horno del Mar. It does amazing pizzas and salads. Arnaud and Valerie met us at the airport, and we got a taxi back to Puerta Plata which cost about $60. You can't get to Punta Rucia by public transport but if you have your own car it's fine as the roads are much improved. Dominican people are very friendly and it is great fun to walk around the village and have a chat with them. We loved our visit to the Haitian market with Arnaud and our visit to the manatee sanctuary with Valerie. If you go to Paradise Island to snorkel go really early. Arnaud asked a couple of the young fisher boys to take us, but even at 8.30 other boats were arriving. We left at 10.30 and it was getting really crowded. The snorkelling is excellent there, so well worth a visit, but go at 7.30!! Later on tour boats arrive from the all-inclusives at Puerta Plata and as they supply free rum you can imagine how impossible it gets to snorkel. Villa Rosa is a gem of a place - Arnaud and Valerie are wonderful, friendly hosts and you will learn a lot about Dominican life. I would go again in an instant! Get there quick before it gets ruined by mass tourism. Later in our trip we saw places which would have been like this once but have been taken over by tourists - get to Villa Rosa and enjoy the real Dominican Republic. Great value for money - showers were cold but who cares? And their dog is adorable!!!!!
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