How to Prepare Dominican Republic Mangos–Don’t Mangle the Mangos!

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Introducing Dominican Republic Mangos

One of  the most exciting and satisfying benefits of traveling to the tropics is the tropical fruit. I love tropical fruit, and it seems I can’t get enough. But with mangos … the trick is not to mangle the mango!

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My first experience with a mango was memorable, but not in a good way. That mango behaved as a slimy, gooey alive being — allusive to all my efforts to eat it. My attempt at peeling the mango quickly transformed it into an oblong seed which seemed forever joined to a stringy, mushy, juicy, sticky mess, with nothing available for eating. As a last resort, I awkwardly tried to bite and suck the fruit from the seed, but that seed wasn’t letting go of its stringy, slippery mass “for nothing.” Imagine the mess and even after clean-up; the lingering mid-summer sticky fragrance attracted persistent, miniature biting ants. After that episode, I didn’t buy mangos for many years.

From Fruit Truck to Mango Junky

A few years later on a longer run to the D.R., I stopped at a fruit truck stand on the side of the road near the Coastal Gas Station at the edge of Sosua. This truck sells some of the freshest fruit in the area. With a perfectly sharp kitchen knife, the proprietor performs a little skit of slicing off bite-sized delicacies to entice buyers to taste and fall in love with the fruit. It tasted heavenly minus the mess. After watching that Dominican fruit salesman handle the mango like it was candy, I decided to give mangos another try. Once I became an adept mango handler, I was a Mango junky eating them daily during mango season, about nine months a year in the Dominican Republic! READ MORE

Nuts for Coconuts in the Dominican!

SURF'S NOT UP...What to Do in the Dominican Republic

Coconuts are found in nature near beaches in the Dominican Republic. PHOTO by Vanessa Tarranto

10 Steps: How to Harvest Coconut Water in a Dominican Republic Backyard

By Vanessa Taranto

Fresh Coconuts. They are all around us. Just look up into the trees, nestled high above in their own canopy you will find them. They come in all shapes, colors and sizes. It is a plentiful site on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. If you are lucky enough to have traveled or lived in a tropical area they become common place. I have come to know them as a symbol of Paradise. Growing up in the Canadian cold, I smile and feel happy when I see them. Some consider them dangerous (they can drop on your head), but for centuries they have been known as one of the most enriching foods known to man. Do you know that they were even used as emergency blood transfusions in WWII? What are they? Coconuts!.

The Palm trees are full of coconuts just waiting to being cracked and opened to release their amazing nutrients held in their liquid and in the meat of the coconut..

So what are you waiting for? Watch this introductory video of how to Harvest Coconut Water from Fresh Coconuts.


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Ten Steps for Harvesting that Magic Coconut Water

Follow these easy and safe steps below to harvest your own fresh coconut water. It is important to ask for help from a local who has knowledge of how to handle coconuts. SEE MORE

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Adventures in Dominican Guagua

RIDING THE GUAGUA: Transportation in the Dominican Republic

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Dominican Republic Transportation: Part 7

Riding the Guagua Dominican Republic. One of the first things you need to know when traveling to the Dominican Republic is how to get around. As an overview, the Dominican Republic offers seven modes of transportation (each mode will be covered by a separate article):

  1. Limited local airlines (TBA)
  2. Private Auto and Auto Rentals
  3. Bus: Metroline and Caribe Tours
  4. Motorcycle Rentals and Motorconcho
  5. Private Taxi Cabs and Limo Services
  6. Pubic Taxi Cabs called “carros” or ‘carritos”
  7. Public Taxi Vans called “guaguas” (in this article)

This article is written to cover the public taxi vans called “guaguas” — the least expensive way to get around the Dominican Republic. Unless you own or rent a car or motorbike, you may hop on a guagua to get around locally, and supplement your travel with big bus lines for longer trips. You may opt to use private taxis for airport runs and situations where you need to be taken directly to a location.

Guaguas run up and down the main highway about every 5 to 10 minutes in most Dominican Republic towns, and are organized by routes. Twenty pesos will take you within an area (usually a couple of towns). When you reach the next town or end of the route, you may have to disembark and catch another guagua that covers the next area. If going across a large area, then a bus might be a better solution. Usually we use guaguas to go to town for groceries or to a restaurant but not for long distances. I once rode several guaguas that covered about a 100 mile distance, because a bus was not running at the time I needed to go.

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10 Tips for Riding a Guagua-Dominican Republic

Guaguas are not for everyone. You either love them or hate them. Here are a few tips to make your guagua riding work best.

1.Tight Fit. The majority of guaguas are large white or silver Toyota vans and carry up to approximately 25 persons. Just when you think no one else could possibly fit, they will cram everyone to make room for one more. Be prepared to feel like a sardine, and if you don’t want to hang off the side of it, stand back; and wait for the next one.

2. Passing Lane. If you can see the road from your micro-seat inside the guagua,do not panic when you see what looks like a 2-lane road being driven as 4 lanes. This is normal in the DR.

3. Higher Power. If you believe in a higher power it is a good idea to pray before you get into a guagua and then let go and relax and enjoy the ride. Think if it as a fun carnival ride. READ MORE

D.R. Travel Tips for Your First Trip

Dominican Republic Travel Tips — Your First Trip

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My First Time — Dominican Republic Travel

As the plane neared the island for landing, an unexpected peace settled over me. My first trip to the Dominican Republic was an experiment — a writing sabbatical. The jet wheels gracefully kissed the runway; and queued the passenger audience to cheer the A+ landing. Involuntary tears fell down my face with a joyous release — my soul’s expression of gratitude for reaching “home” at last. Little did i know that six years later, I would have published a dozen soul-inspired books during D.R.sabbaticals.; and that I would now be writing this very piece!

Welcome to the Dominican Republic

The kindness of the people who welcomed me to the D.R. remains unsurpassed. My intent for this article is to extend that kindness to you. If planning to visit or live in the Dominican Republic we warmly welcome you. To prepare for your stay, I have outlined the travel basics — including power info you will need for your soft landing.  SEE MORE

Dominican Republic Money

Dominican Republic Money


How to Work & Play with Dominican Money

Most items, services, and real estate is much less expensive in the DR. However, getting your currency into Dominican Republic pesos can cost some money; and can add up to quite a bit, if you neglect to manage your money exchanging.

Exchanging Foreign Money for Dominican Money

Dominican Republic Money

Money changing almost always comes with a cost, and the challenge is to get the most for your money when exchanging currencies. In my experience the best way to change your currency is to go to a local bank. The bank will give you the best and most current exchange rate. As of July 2015, the exchange rate for USD is 44.5 pesos per dollar. I do not recommend changing your money in the airport as you will get just about the worst exchange rate possible.

You can also go to an ATM machine and the money will deliver in pesos. This is will also be the going bank rate, but the other thing to consider is that the ATM fee in the DR is from 120 pesos to 175 pesos. This is quite steep considering most ATM machines dispense a maximum of 5000 pesos, a little over $110 USD. This means you are spending about 3-4% in ATM fees. It is best to find an ATM machine that will allow at least 10,000 pesos withdrawal at a time, and reduce the cost of getting pesos to about  1-2%.

READ MORE