Friday, January 20, 2017

Beach-Hopping Las Galeras...our FAVORITE day of the trip!

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After breakfast at the hotel we walked over to the beach to talk to the boat owners about getting a ride to two of the beaches we wanted to see for sure, Playa Fronton and Playa Madame. It is popular to get a driver to also include Playa Rincon (the most famous) and do all 3 in one day by boat, but our hotel owner told us it is pretty amazing to drive to Rincon and we wanted to spend more time there so we decided to do it on a separate day.
After some discussion about what we wanted to do, we decided to do a private boat, settled on a price and we were off. The kids LOVED the boat ride itself!!! The boats are fairly small and going over the waves was like an amusement park ride...with way better scenery ;-). I was holding the bag the camera was in tightly with one hand and promising myself that if we flipped over I would not lose it haha!(we used this water-proof bag for the camera and it made me feel safe enough to bring it on these wet rides)
The ride was amazingly gorgeous! I just could not get over it! I love the dramatic look of the big black cliffs meeting the beautiful turquoise water below. I had no idea the DR had such scenery!
Our first stop was at Playa Fronton which we had heard had the best snorkeling of the beaches around here. The first glimpse of the beach as our boat turned the corner around the cliffs was seriously jaw dropping! The emerald water, the white sand, the palm trees, the huge black cliffs behind it all...wow! Addie finally got some good snorkeling in! We all went out for a bit and then she and Mike stayed out even longer of course :-). The water was pretty shallow for a lot of it which stresses me out a bit because I don't want to be very close to the things I'm seeing! Plus, there were a lot of black and red sea urchins and I was stressed I would bump into one on accident...I have come a long way with enjoying snorkeling but still have a long way to go! Addie on the other hand was made to snorkel. She loves it! She takes off and is in heaven spotting all the sea life. Mike loves going with her and seeing it through her eyes. This morning she spotted a sting ray, barracuda, lots of jellyfish and sea urchins, weird sea caterpillars and of course colorful fish. When we first arrived at the beach we were the only ones there besides one other couple but as time went on more little boats were arriving. We walked to the end of the beach spotting old coral, hermit crabs, and lots of teeny little snails. We also found some weird shell type animal that looked prehistoric and had a slug type creature in it when you flipped it over called a chiton (the kids ended up picking up little souvenirs like it as turtle shells later that night). After exploring we decided to head over to the next beach and beat everyone else there.
We had seen the teeny little beach of Playa Madame on our way to Fronton and I was excited to get there and have the place to ourselves! I kept telling myself I wouldn't take any more video of the boat ride but then I was continuously amazed at the views and would video more!
Playa Madama (I've seen it spelled both ways?) is an isolated little strip of sand with black rocks to one side and palm trees to the other. The water color is gorgeous and it is completely calm there with no waves really at all. There was also a cool cave back on the mountainside that we went into a little. We didn't have any lights to help us see or we could have gone in further with our boat driver. We sat on our little private beach to eat a snack and then Mike and I sat on our palm tree log in the shade and watched the kids play in the water. It was probably one of the most perfect moments of my life.
After a little while we headed back to Playa Galaras where we ended up staying a few more hours just letting the kids play. The palm trees shaded the beach and the water so we didn't have to worry about being burned and they played happily together the whole time. It was miraculous. The girls gave each other spa treatments with the soft sand, Preston jumped over the small waves, they dug holes together and Mike and I sat and talked about all the other cool places we would like to go instead of home ;-). After a rough couple days with the kids driving each other and us a little crazy, this was just what we needed!
We ended our perfect day by letting the kids choose the restaurant for dinner. The first one we came to when we walked from the hotel was El Gato Negro where they chomped down huge burgers that were deemed the best in all of the Dominican Republic :-).
When I think back on this trip and all the things we did, I know I will remember this day as my favorite for many reasons!
Ella and I walked down to the beach first thing in the morning to take it in again
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Addie's video will make you dizzy ;-) but skip to around the 1 minute mark to see when she excitedly calls for Mike because she spots the barracuda!

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Preston's amazing find! (and we got it home without it breaking!)
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