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Los Haitises National Park, Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic

Another win for Vacation Rental by Owner! VRBO is great because you have an immediate network of people that give insiders advice on how to have the best vacation possible. Arriving at a secluded beach with an infinity pool, we were met by a friendly group that have been coming to this spot for years. Best of all, Coco, who runs the place (don’t know his title or job description) can make things happen!

The Dominican Republic has a multitude of caves that the indigenous Taino people used.  Many have pictograms and petroglyphs, as well as beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations.  Of course, Coco has a friend who owns a boat.

Getting to the boat was almost as fun as the boat ride.  Coco took us on his scooter!  We felt like we were in a parade because every village we passed Coco would wave at all his friends.

Angelo, our captain, took us to Los Haitises National Park.  There’s an amazing variety of birds we were able to see, as well as several varieties of starfish.  We landed twice to see caves that were easily accessible and filled with pictograms! My favorite part of these caves are the enormous sinkholes that reveal lush landscape silhouetted against the dark, rocky cave.

But the fun wasn’t over yet—we went whale watching.  Well, whale chasing is more like it!  We’d scan the horizon for a blow hole, and when we spotted one we’d yell and Angelo would tear through the waves to get us there.  Then we’d wait for the whale to resurface until we lost it–or he lost us!  It was alternately an adrenalin boost and a trial of patience.

Caye Levantado

Our last sighting was a spectacular performance.  A whale was flipping it’s tail, or “lobtailing.”  Scientists aren’t sure if whales are attracting other whales or if it’s aggressive behavior or just for fun.  It looks like fun to me!  I call it the tail dance. ?

We finished our day on Caye Levantado, a beautiful island with a pristine beach and great food. And we still had the scooter ride home to look forward to!

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