When I’m on vacation I want to be lazy. I want to lay around the pool, have people wait on me hand and foot, and the only thing I want to work on is my tan. That, my friends is an ideal vacation. But unfortunately my husband doesn’t feel the same way, he wants to get out and schedule tours and “see more”. I can’t stand super touristy venues or big groups, so the Minutes Cooper tour was a good compromise.
We were looking and wanted an opportunity to take in some authentic Dominican culture, but also something relaxing that allowed us to see some of the countryside. We chose the Mini Cooper tour because it just seemed to have the right ingredients of Dominican culture and scenery. Plus those little cars are so funny,I’m a huge Austin Powers, AND they were convertible. Sold.
A shuttle driver picked us up from out hotel and took us to the mini-cooper lot. When we saw all of the shiny new mini-coopers all lined up, I was like, damn I wonder how much it would set us back if we wrecked such a nice new little car. I definitely made my husband drive, cause really ain’t nobody got time for that. So after some quick safety tips and some directions, we were off. Despite the small car’s little appearance, the ride was so smooth and easy, the car was growing on me.
We headed out for the open DOminican road, and I thought there might be some traffic, but we had the road all to ourselves. Cruising around was actually one of my favorite parts of the tour, feeling the breeze on our faces as we drove by beautiful green scenery was incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I felt like we were in some kind of scene in a music video or movie, complete with beautiful car, scenery, and of course beautiful people.
We stopped was a local fishing village, called Boca de Yuma, where visited a local school. The kids were happy to see us, and it was a great opportunity to see Dominican daily life as usual. We walked around the village a bit, and learned that the town used to be a Spanish colonial fort, overlooking the Yuma Bay. We were able to make out some of the remaining cannons that were used to defend the fort, and used our imagination to picture what the fort must have looked like.
For my husband, the most exciting part of the tour was visiting the La Flor cigar factory. La Flor Dominicana is a boutique hand-made cigar factory, and it was truly amazing. We learned that it is the largest hand-made cigar factory in the world, employing more than 5,000 people, and producing some of the Dominican Republic’s bet cigars.
We walked through the preparation area, where we learned how the workers condition and classify the tobacco leaves. Then we moved on to the manufacturing floor where we saw the cigar making process: bunching, rolling, cigar aging and packaging. Learning about the cigar process was kinda cool, something I really didn’t expect to do on vacation, but it gave me a whole new appreciation for cigars and the hard work that goes into crafting them.
We also went to La Romana to the exclusive Casa de Campo resort. I had heard of Casa de Campo before, especially with the recent passing of Oscar de la Renta, who once had a home there. There was also that Drake music video shot there, and let’s be honest, we all saw that Keeping Up With the Kardashians episode. Needless to say, I was excited to get a peek inside.
The scene did not disappoint, it was beautiful. We headed to the most popular attraction, Altos de Chavon, which is a replica of a medieval 16th century European village. There were shops, and I bought some jewelry from the local artisans. The most impressive sight was the oman style outdoor amphitheater, it would be so cool to see a concert there. We had a traditional Dominican lunch with a beautiful ocean view.
My relationship with Punta Cana was really love at first sight, but the mini cooper tour really reaffirmed my love for the Dominican Republic. This is a beautiful island, with a vibrant culture, kind people, and I am glad that I ventured out on the Mini Cooper tour to take it all in.