In all honesty, I was skeptical about the Buggie excursion in Punta Cana. There is just something about whizzing by quiet country homes with a noisy little ‘cage on wheels’ that puts me off.
Things didn’t start well either. Myself and another 10 tourists, or so, were dropped off at a small ranch in the countryside of northern Punta Cana. The ranch was quaint and we were asked to sit down and wait as our Buggies were on their way. “Just 5 minutes”, said one of the guides. Time in the Dominican Republic is different because 5 minutes turned into 25 minutes and I was getting a bit restless. Call me impatient but, remember, I was skeptical about this excursion in the first place.
I could then hear our Buggies roaring in the distance towards the ranch. In each Buggy was a mud-caked tourist; their smiles and high spirits, immediately, got me curious. I slipped into my already muddy buggy; this excursion is not for the dainty, put on my helmet, turned the key and revved my engine. I was definitely warming up to the Buggy idea.
Once out of the ranch, we were unleashed like a pack of mud loving pigs, thrashing one giant puddle after another – our tires bathing everything in their path with a clean coat of Dominican mud. My first reaction was to avoid the mud, but my attempts were futile, it was impossible to escape and I gave in whole-heartedly to the filth.
Somewhere in Punta Cana’s backcountry, our troops stopped at a local home where we were given a short presentation on coffee, cocoa and tobacco production with the opportunity to purchase the aforementioned products along with organic spices, honey, Mamajuana (a Dominican aphrodisiac elixir), coconut oil, green tea leaves and jewelry. My initial fear of disrupting the quiet Dominican country side was quelled when I realized that excursions such as these offer a nice source of income to the locals – a source of income that would normally not be available to them.
Back into the rocky off-road, among panoramic views of endless farmland and distant mountains, our excursion led us to a picturesque cave replete with a deep natural swimming hole. At first glance, the dark waters seemed a bit intimidating – this, of course, until the first brave soul dove head first into the unknown cavern. One by one, we were all neck deep in the refreshing underground water source.
The longest stretch of our drive was also the largest contrast. From the hidden countryside cave, we retraced our muddy path, and then some, to the shores of Macao Beach, one of the last ‘resort free’ coastal stretches of Punta Cana. During our odyssey to the shore, several Buggies stalled while racing through some surprisingly deep pools of mud; my Buggie was one of them. Nonetheless, we never waited more than a minute before a guide offered us his Buggie as a replacement.
“It’s all part of the fun”, said one of the mechanic/guides as he revived my seemingly deceased Buggie. “Now, accelerate!” He added with an outstretched arm.
To book your Buggie Excursion in Punta Cana, visit Punta Cana Tours where you can reserve and pay online.
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TJ MurrayBavaro, Dominican Republic
TJ Murray is a writer/photographer and an expert on travel in the Dominican Republic. He has wandered the country's furthest reaches and smallest corners and has a passion for highlighting his favorite destinations through travel articles and photography. When TJ isn't traveling in the Dominican Republic, he is trekking in South America or surfing where he lives in Bavaro, Dominican Republic.