PLAYA ESCONDIDA: a secluded and almost inaccessible beach of Dominican Republic

Dear readers,

I am just back from having discovered Dominican Republic with its pros and cons: the first approach was very tough especially when it comes to dealing with the public safety and cleanliness. Before starting my tour I decided to rent a vehicle instead (I usually rent a motorbike), however this time nobody in the capital city Santo Domingo rented one due to the high volume of daily road accidents so I gave it up. One of the stops in my itinerary was Playa Escondida which means Hidden beach. This beach is situated approximately 3.4km away from the municipality of Las Terrenas.

There are theoretically three ways to get to Playa Escondida:

  1. By trekking through a wooded jungle trail with a muddy swamp in-between (the hardest and dangerous one)
  2. By trekking around the hilly landscape from a gate (if it’s open)
  3. By a boat from Las Terrenas beach on the other side (the safe way)

On top of that, my recommendation is to get as close as the Sailing Club which I highlighted in the snapshot of the map below. Here you can park your car or motorbike since by the area with limited access is not allowed to park.

Because I am a stubborn I went for the hardest choice and while I was starting to figure out how to get through, I met a Czech guy on the way (Martin) with a female friend, they were trying to figuring out and achieve the same goal as I was, after a short introduction we spontaneously took the challenge together, and here we run in to the first incognita:

After walking up to calle Loma Bonita we end up at VILLA CACIQUE OCEAN VIEW with a closed gate and we asked ourselves: what now?

We thought that the beach was only privately accessible from the villa and therefore we tried to talk to some rangers working at the Villa, they said that there was no access and the only way to get there is to override a boundary wall, hike down through the bushes and get through a muddy swamp. The Czech guy and I were eager to start off whereas the female fiend of his NOT. That said one of the rangers offered to us his help by cutting off some bushes on the way, I started hiking down until we get at the edge of the swamp and here the big fun came: the swamp was like a 10-metres gap between the wonderful beach and the jungle, however we couldn’t hike by any means straight through because we would have dived down at the first badass muddy watered spot.

I happened to put my left foot in such a invisible muddy spot and it was very scary since I had to try hard to release it, fortunately the ranger was nearby and rescued me immediately with his hand.

Here below there is a picture of the high bushes very close to the swamps

Meanwhile the Czech guy came down to the edge of the swamp with my backpack 🙂 We gave him the full awareness of the big danger to overcome in-between, to make it short we managed to find out a convoluted zig-zag path to minimize the big risk of diving down with the legs, it took us nearly one hour but it was truly rewarding! The rangers were with us and let us enjoy the most of it by cutting two coconuts from the palm tree so that we could have more liquids in our roaring stomachs 😀

Here below a stunning scenery of Playa Escondida and myself captured drinking the coconut:

While being on the beach I took the advantage of having some squat exercise to support the leg muscles, this is an exercise which I recommend it to everybody adult like me to do it on daily basis.

To sum it up, when you lie the beach you may be feeling in a small paradise which is the ideal to be there for a romantic and exotic day with a girlfriend 🙂 I strongly recommend of getting there by boat, or if you really have to hike, never go alone, always keep in mind that you can not be the best expert of the local nature :O Hike through the swamps is an hellish experience, let’s be wise with our life, so just have ranger with you who knows how it is the situation. Last but not least, I did it during the beginning of the dry season, during the wet season it would be a sort of mission IMPOSSIBLE to get across. For your reference the dry season in Dominican Republic is usually from November through March.

Having said that, enjoy the trip with precautions!

Giuseppe

Langkawi: a riveting kayaking experience to watching the red eagles at Klim Geopark.

It was a Saturday morning during my stay  on Langkawi when I went to one of my favorite place for a Malay-style break fast with a Roti Telur and a black tea, I sat on table in which on the opposite side there was a Swedish guy Adam, I really didn’t think twice to sit down close to him since it could have been potential chance for socializing instead being on my own, even not sure  whether he wanted to do so he was the one approaching me first. As we were disclosing some facts with each other, the guy came up with the spontaneous question: “Do you have any plans for today?”

My answer: “Well, I have in mind to visit some waterfalls but it’s just a small plan”

His counter-answer(offer): “would you like to join me for kayaking?”

My answer: “Well, why not, I can postpone my trip to the waterfalls, long time is been spent since last time I kayaked, just I’d need to pack my stuff”

Still, the guy wasn’t pretty sure whether I could have participated, so he phoned the tour organizer (Mangrove tour at Klim Geopark) who confirmed to Adam that there was one more place for me, so I didn’t hesitate to switch my plans and get ready for such a challenge which I didn’t consider it at all and I was provided with the needed basic equipment, moreover it was one more great chance for a new Go-Pro recording session.

The guy who organized the tour picked us up by car and brought us to the starting point for our riveting trip. Once on the place we met with three girls from Singapore which were with us on the kayaking trip, they said they never experienced before, however that wasn’t a problem if I consider I kayaked only one time about four years ago!

We were six of us altogether by including the ranger guy who leaded us for the right path to the eagles bay. As first, we got to kayak through a watered swamp which looked apparently insidious but in fact it was nothing scary then especially when comparing with my last kayaking trip which was made on a river with lot’s of downfalls and spread-ed rocks 🙂 At one point the ranger just warned us about the fact that a part of the swamp is dangerous for swimming because of the 70% of chances to end up swimming with the piranhas :O . However, we didn’t see any and we kept enjoying our paddling job as best as we could!

Here below there’s the video of the first and most impressive part of the Kayaking session:

We had a break half-way to the Eagles bay to let other kayak to pass on their way back, then we continued till our final stop. The surrounding landscape with the cliffs was simply breathtaking and moreover it was impressive to observe the way how the red eagles fluttered around from the top till the bottom, they were seeking for food and not far from us there was a boat which was feeding them so they got attracted, ‘unfortunately’ I did not carry on the waterproof box my professional camera since I was afraid of the water splashes which could have damaged the display so I just tried to take some pics by using my smartphone in addition to the GoPro.

Here below there’s the video at the Eagles bay, it must be watched carefully 😉

After such a great Eagles show, we started kayaking back to the starting point, at one point the ranger adviced us a spot in the swamp for enjoying some swim and dive jump from a horizontal trunk tree as shown on the GoPro shoots below.

We had enough fun with that, just a pity that the seabed was not clear, but it’s okay we couldn’t have everything perfect!

Once we were back to the starting point, we were provided with a lunch package including some refreshments as well, unfortunately here I don’t have any picture to show you because my (old) smartphone get ripped off by a monkey on waterfall trip next day, I will save your energy from understanding what exactly happened but instead I’ll talk about that on my next article 😉

Still the trip itself was not completely over, just kayaking session was over! As we were done with the lunch, we were brought by boat to visit some caves nearby. At the arrival we were greeted by a cute monkey going around and probably seeking for food as usual here! The landscape surrounding the caves is mostly swampy with plenty of bushes, however the caves themselves were not so impressive overall, if you consider that in my home-country Italy there are much bigger caves than this one, anyway it still deserves to be shown with few amazing pictures:

In conclusion, although I prefer more individual tours, the guided tour at kayaking at Klim Geopark turned out a unique experience which must be enjoyed since Langkawi itself is more about exploration in the wild nature than swimming and diving, besides that, the Mangrove tour guy himself knows how to arrange the tour by showing a great sense-of-humor which is very important to convey to people who want to enjoy kayaking on a wild great surrounding nature. Even the price of 220MYR (almost 50€) may seem high, it is worth every single ringgit, if we consider we were provided with a nice refreshing small lunch after kayaking and then they brought us to visit the caves, such a trip nicely suits for a Saturday trip on Langkawi. Definitely recommended!

For more informations about their activities you can check on their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/croctravelslangkawi/

Last thing but not the least, a special thank to Adam who tagged me along this amazing trip otherwise I’d never have thought of kayaking on Langkawi :O

Every comment and concern is welcomed!

Giuseppe