However, just a few minutes away from where the tourists stay is the other side of life here. Here are just two examples.
The first example is Juan Dolio on the south coast which has the most beautiful beaches.
However, less than a couple of minutes walk from the beach, where the tourists never venture, there are hundreds of Dominicans and Haitians living in appalling conditions.
|These children proudly show off their bedroom made of|
cardboard where 3 of them sleep
|The kitchen of another home nearby|
The second example is Barahona in the south west of the country. Just outside Barahona you can find a truly exquisite hotel called Casa Bonita, enjoyed by several tourists each year. What makes this hotel different, is not only the fact it is amazingly beautiful, but they also do a lot of work for the environment and help local businesses and people. All the produce for the restaurant is sourced locally including the fish caught by local fishermen from Barahuco. In addition Casa Bonita has partnered with the Dominican Surfing Federation to work alongside the local population in restoring the beachfront and train surfers in ecosystem management and conservation. The hotel also encourages the guests to work with local Dominicans to refurbish local shops and learn about larimar, the beautiful local stone. To learn more about Casa Bonita you can look here.
|The pool. Imagine the sunsets from here. Stunning.|
However, drive up into the mountains which rise behind Casa Bonita and there is a side of life that again the tourists don't see. The people there have no running water, no electricity, no medical facilities, no stoves, and just live off the land and their animals, venturing rarely into Barahona for essential supplies and to sell their produce.
|The kitchen, where people cook using charcoal or wood|
|The people may be poor but the area is beautiful|
Congratulations to Casa Bonita for doing what they can to work with the local people and the environment and also for introducing their guests to the local area and the people. It would be lovely if more hotels could do the same and also if the tourists could venture out of the resorts so that they can really understand more about the country and its people.