We stayed with Karin and Ron at La Hacienda (a lovely house on a hill a short walk from La Rancheta) for about a week and a half in late March, 2009. It was a family excursion - 6 people, ages ranging from 50-something to 11. We rented 3 rooms at 25 Euro per room per night, which was quite a good deal. We were immediately charmed by our hosts, who were warm & inviting, and at the same time respectful of our privacy. The atmosphere was not at all formal; Ron & Karin both allowed themselves to be cornered and questioned about life in their adopted country (even when en route to pressing obligations like feeding their horses), and they were relaxed enough with us to correct us, gently, when we were too cavalier with the water (which, being rainwater, is very precious, especially in the dry season). This is part of what is so appealing about staying at La Rancheta/La Hacienda - it is an opportunity to experience a different mode of living, with an entirely different set of constraints (and pleasures) than those you are probably accustomed to. Yes, there is no hot water, but it is always warm outside, so you don't miss it (the water is room temperature, though, not uncomfortable). There are a few mosquitoes - but there are also birds, horses, dogs, and a lovely ocean view. We really enjoyed eating breakfast on the veranda and then strolling down the hill to the beautiful Las Galeras beach for a swim and a cigar. When we wanted to get a little further afield, Karin and Ron gave us a lot of helpful advice. For example, because Karin told us what we should be willing to pay for a boat trip to Playa Fronton, we were able to knock 1500 pesos off the price the guide initially offered us. La Rancheta is very well located, by the way, for seeing some of the most stunning beaches on the North Coast (e.g., Playa Rincon, Playa Fronton, Playa Madama). Also, if the season is right, you can see whales off of some of these beaches - we did. Finally, the all-day horseback excursion that we took with Karin was grand. Karin is a very knowledgable and engaging guide, and the young Dominican fellows who work with her are great. If you don't do anything else, take one of these excursions. You'll see some lovely trails, a gorgeous beach, meet some interesting folks, see a working Dominican farm, explore a cave, and dine on fresh coconut. Very nice! If any of this sounds appealing to you, I think you will have a very nice time at La Hacienda. We certainly hope to return some day.
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- Also Known As:
- La Hacienda Hostel Ranch Samana, Dominican Republic