Luperón, Dominican Republic is likely not a place you have heard of unless you sail. This is a messy, crazy, friendly town and there are lots of reasons we are loving Luperón .
Luperón Harbor, where we have been moored since Friday, is known as the best hurricane hole in the Caribbean. Even if the wind is howling at sea, it is relatively calm in the anchorage. We are sleeping very well with barely any movement at night.
The harbor is quite big. Currently about 100 boats are in the anchorage but there is probably space for 5x that amount. It’s huge! Right now, it’s pretty quiet, we can hear the birds chirping and the roosters crowing from shore. We are a mere 5 minute dinghy ride to the town dock.
The one negative to this harbor is the water is not for swimming. We were spoiled in Bahamas with crystal clear visibility and we grew accustomed to jumping off the boat whenever we felt like it. The water is dark sludge and likely includes the town waste. People actually call it “Poop-eron!”
From the moment we walked into town on Friday morning, we have been charmed by the friendliness of the locals. All we need to do is smile and say “Hola” or “Buenas Dias” and we get responses in kind, with big genuine smiles.
We meet cruisers and former cruisers everywhere we go here: Wendy’s Bar for Karaoke night, the marina, even on the street. Some have had boats in the harbor for 9 years, and some have moved off their boats onto land in town. Everyone of them is outgoing, fun and entertaining, which seems to be the norm for this community we have joined, happily.
One of the ex-pats is a sailing celebrity, who I first read about in Embarrassment of Mangoes. I read this book in preparation for this trip since it’s about a Canadian couple who leave Toronto for a sailing adventure in the Caribbean. Sound familiar? We met Bruce Van Sant, who knows the cruising routes in this part of the world better than anyone. People have copies of his book on their boats and get him to autograph it for them. He lives outside of Luperón and was having lunch at the marina on Sunday when we were introduced. Brian recognized him right away. I had to be told who he is of course, being newer to the sailing world.
Another ex-pat, Bruce, a smiling South African who loaned us a mooring ball for our stay, also took us on a wonderful motorcycle tour of the mountains. This was a one-of-a-kind adventure for us! We never would have found half the places Bruce brought us, and I doubt I would find most of them now. The terrain was diverse, through farms and hills and even a high altitude lake called Agua Verde. We did this tour on Saturday, which was perfect, because everybody was out with their families having a good time, which was as good to see as the mountain views.
One of my favorite things about this town are the locals who hustle to help the cruisers and make a living doing it. As we arrived in the harbor, Papo and his sons greeted us in their boat, handing us a flyer listing all the possible jobs he could do for us. He brings water, fuel, any and all supplies straight to your boat. In less than a second after you call him on VHF, he responds, asking how you are and how he can help. He got our laundry done and one of our propane tanks filled, and was at out boat in a minute after we spoke. The guy is fast, always smiling and does the job. I wish he was in every port!
There is also a guy named “Handy Andy” who responds on the VHF and I heard about “Tobacco Tony” just today. It’s pretty easy to guess what their specialties are. I now want to think of nicknames for everyone that match their jobs! It’s a fun reason we are loving Luperon.
CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP
Luperón is the cheapest place we have been! It’s so cheap, we paid $10 to rent a motorcycle for the day. Cars are $20/day, and most of the time you’re borrowing someone’s own machine or their relative’s. No credit card, no forms, they trust you here.
Food is cheap too. Delicious, full plated lunches for $4! Big beers for $1! Fresh tasty pineapple from the produce truck for 25 cents! You can’t beat the prices.
We are definitely going to stock up before we leave here. The rum costs about $4 and we always need produce.
The people are lovely and the food is good and cheap, but environmentally it’s a mess. Garbage is strewn everywhere. It lines all the streets and is in riverbeds which lead to the harbor and the sea. I know back home people throw trash out their car windows too, but it gets cleaned up. People get fined if they get caught, and there are work crews that pick up trash, sponsored by commercial entities. That doesn’t exist here, so the litter keeps getting tossed, the piles grow, and the water gets further polluted. It saddens me because we all share this planet and soon there won’t be much left for other people and the creatures whose homes we humans are destroying.
Lots to do
Luperón offers a lot by way of entertainment and activities, including motoring through the mountains like we did.
We’ve also visited beautiful beaches, tuned in to the cruisers net run by Bruce and Veronique 2x a week, practiced free yoga with Veronique on the hill near the marina, and so much more. Wendy’s Bar has karaoke on Fridays, a movie night and well priced cervezas. You can even do bottle service at Wendy’s and it is not like back home: here it’s $10 for a bottle of rum, some limes and a mixer of soda. You can bring the bottle home with you if you don’t finish it. Understand why people never leave Luperón?
This stopover in Luperón is a silver lining to the calamity of our broken down engine in Turks and Caicos. We had planned to go to Puerto Rico and now we are enchanted by Dominican Republic and excited to continue down the coast to visit more of this interesting country. Now you know why we are loving Luperon, Dominican Republic.