We have now been in Luperon for close to a week and thought we would post our thoughts. I think its important for us to put our opinion out on the Internet as there is a lot of negative out there about Luperon. You see, Luperon used to be a big stop for cruisers and in its heyday there was 300 boats in the harbor at one time. Mostly due to corruption and theft, those days are long gone. Greedy officials began charging bogus fees and local thieves were stealing everything on the boats that wasn’t bolted down. Cruisers didn’t tolerate this very long before they completely stopped coming here. Once the cruisers stopped coming, the city went into a tailspin and businesses began to close quickly. First it was some restaurants, then the beautiful yacht club and finally the big resort and marina was cancelled (3/4 completed). Luperon remained a spot that cruisers skipped for over 10 years.
Only recently has the Dominican government began to curb the corruption and legitimize the check-in process. Unfortunately once the damage is done, it can take many years before the cruisers begin to return. Its an absolute shame as Luperon has a lot to offer and many sights to see. Although the country is very poor and under developed, the people are happy and friendly. Initially, my first instinct was to find ways to help and change the country. However I have slowly realized that is not what the Dominican people want. They have carved a unique and simple lifestyle that seems strange to us “first worlders”, yet they are completely contented with. Frankly, I’m glad to have brought my kids here and exposed them to this way of living. It has shown them that people can be absolutely poor by our standards, yet still be happy!
Alright so enough political stuff. What have we been doing while were are here. Other than just relaxing, we spent one day renting a car and going to the 27 waterfalls. I’m not sure how to describe this experience. Its definitely not something that could exist in the litigious first world nations. How does throwing yourself off 2-4M rocky shelves into pools of water completely surrounded by rock strike you? Then moving on to the next fall and sitting down in the rapids while the river pushes you through a natural water slide in the rock. At the end of the day, we were exhausted and bruised, yet sad it was over (except Daph and Jonah, they were glad it was over). One thing I will say, is its not a good idea to fib about your kids age so they can go. Its definitely too intense of an experience for a 5 year old.
After the waterfalls, we headed over to La Isabela which is the location of a few historic moments in North American history. It was the location where the first Christian settlement of the new world was started in 1493 by Christopher Columbus. Not only did they build a settlement, but it was also the location of the first Christian church of the new world. Since we were all tired and hot, we didn’t actually stop and walk around the church, but just drank the sights in from the vehicle. After the church we headed over to La Isabela beach where were found a nice palapa and had a cold cerveza on the beach. We sat under the palapa and looked out on the bay where Christopher Columbus anchored the ships that carried the people and supplies to build the new settlement. The kids played in the beautiful water just feet away. As usually happens when we take our kids out here, a local Dominican came over and began playing with the kids. The fact that he spoke zero English didn’t seem to impact the fun that the kids had. After spending a few hours with the kids, he came over to introduce himself. It turns out he wasn’t just an older kid, but a he was 25 and in the Dominican Coast Guard. He wanted nothing, but to show our kids the water and watch them enjoy it. Of course I bought him a beer and we did our best to communicate in Spanglish! As I have found with most Dominicans, he was a genuine honest fellow who was as interested in us as we were in him. He wasn’t looking for money or a handout, he genuinely wanted to see our kids happy.
After a couple of beers (beers are big here at 660ml) we headed back to Luperon to return the car. We dropped the car off and headed over to Wendy’s Bar for one last beer before heading back to the boat for a good nights rest.
A damn cool day if you ask me.