So, as you probably remember, I’m working with Groupon Getaways to help spread the word about their fab vacation deals! Lucky me, right?
I recently went to the Dominican Republic using Groupon and you can read all about that trip and get the recipe for a potato salad I ate while there right here. I promised I’d come back and tell you all about my ATV tour through Puerto Plata, though.
We loved our time on the beach and we loved the girl time we spent at dinner chatting and laughing each night. We had a blast laying by the pool and sipping Bahama Mamas. But my all time favorite part of the trip was the ATV tour.
We were picked up right from our hotel by Stefan, the owner of ATV Explorers. He showed up right on time at our hotel lobby. I loved that we didn’t haven’t to rent a vehicle or figure out transportation ourselves.
Stefan was such a nice guy and fun to chat with on the way to his shop. He pointed out some of the interesting buildings and told us a bit about life in Puerto Plata. It was nice to get outside of the resort and see a little more of the local life. Staying at a fancy resort is wonderful, of course, but to really experience the culture, you need to get off property for a bit.
Once we got to Stefan’s shop, we met our guide for the day who was so much fun. He was so helpful and just plain hilarious. We absolutely loved him. Stefan really has a gem of a guide there. Anyway, he gave us all lessons on working the ATVs and took us up and down the street one by one to practice driving until we felt comfortable with it. So fun and a lot easier than I expected! I was comfortable enough to drive on my own after about 20 minutes. One thing to note, is that you need some strength in your feet/legs to be able to shift. I had a bruise on my foot for a week! It was totally worth it though.
My mama rode on the back of my ATV (she’s either really brave or really crazy!) and I drove. We started off driving through the city and then headed up a mountain. I thought it would be a little stressful driving through town on an ATV. After all, you don’t see ATVs stopped next to you at a stop light where I’m from!
The guide was super careful to take us only where it was safe to go. One guide would lead the pack and make sure we were good to go and another guide would block traffic for us and fall behind in case anyone needed anything.
We drove for a couple of hours, stopping to admire the view here and there, and then hit up a beautiful local beach. There was a bit of shopping at the beach with men hanging around drinking beer while women sold local souvenirs.
Stefan was kind enough to pack us all water for the trip as well.
On the way back we hit a couple of muddy spots and I floored it while my mama screamed in terror. I think I got smacked a couple of times, but it was super worth it. 😉
We also stopped at a sugar cane field and got to try some fresh sugar cane. I could eat that stuff like candy. It’s not nearly as sweet tasting as you would expect and just has a really unique flavor. I wish I could buy sugar cane at the grocery store to suck on all day. Is that weird?
On our way back into town we stopped at a local farm. It was nothing like the farms we have here. Truly, it looked like an overgrown forest that just happened by mistake, but when you started wandering around in there you could find all kinds of trees…avocado trees, banana trees, mango trees, sugar snap pee treas (yes! Trees) and even a cotton tree. < — I thought cotton grew on a bush, but in the DR it grows on trees! The farmer was so sweet and let us snap photos and ooh and aww over all of his goodies.
The owner of the farm was 90 years old, but you would never guess it. He contributes his good health to the Mama Juana he makes…it’s supposedly the best you can buy. Mama Juana is a drink made of rum, honey, and wine that’s been soaking in a bottle of tree bark and herbs. It wasn’t my favorite drink, but it’s definitely unique and something fun to try. And if it helps keep you as young as that 90 year old man, I should maybe drink a bit more. 😉
We were back at the shop about 4 hours after we started and we were covered in dirt. You can see it all around my eyebrows, but trust me when I say that it was every.where. The weather had been pretty dry, so everything was really dusty. It was a good thing Stefan provided us with bandanas to cover our mouths or we would have been eating dirt all day. It was a good thing Stefan had warned us in advance so that we were able to pack accordingly – I took a pair of pants, shoes, and a shirt that I didn’t mind trashing and just bagged them to bring home and wash.
That about wraps up the ATV tour. If you guys get a chance to visit Puerto Plata, you absolutely MUST look up ATV Explorers and book a trip. It was reasonably priced and seriously just the hit of our trip. You can also find them on Facebook, where they post photos from their recent trips.
Be sure to check out all of the vacation options available on Groupon. My new goal in life is to take an ATV tour through every country imaginable! 😉