Hi everyone!!! I hope you all are ready for a ton of pictures and cruise recaps this week. I am so excited to share our
9 day 7 day Southern Caribbean Cruise experience on the Norwegian (NCL) Dawn with you all. For all those wondering, yes, we were on the ship that broke down in the middle of the ocean – no worries, I will be sure to fill you all in on the details of that experience too.
Since we have soooo many pictures, I think the best way to share our experience with you all is by stop (Samana, Tortola, St. John’s-Antigua, Barbados, St. Kitts, plus our detour San Juan Puerto Rico with cruise stuff, Miami). Fun, right?! Ok, here we go………
The first stop on our NCL Southern Caribbean Cruise was Samana in the Dominican Republic. This is one of the oldest islands in the Caribbean and is probably one of the more under developed islands that we visited. (I can’t use The Husband’s description – let’s just say it rhymes with pit hole :D, but, to give you an idea, people live off only $300 a year on this island.)
The temperatures for the entire cruise were between 85-90 degrees F with about 80% humidity. The mornings would start off cloudy but the clouds burned away quickly.
When we arrived on shore, taxis, buses and I think the whole town was just waiting for us. They said that tourism is approximately 80% of the islands income ~ crazy tourists!
We hopped on the air conditioned bus for a mini tour of the island before we were taken to our excursion of the day.
We heard that the Salto El Limon waterfalls are AMAZING and totally worth the horseback ride plus hike you take to get there. When we arrived at the horse farm, our host showed us how they make CACAO ~ Chocolate!!! I definitely had to pay attention to this.
He first broke open a Cacao Fruit….pretty gnarly, huh?!
He offered it up for everyone to take a piece to try, but, I was too scared so I asked to just take a picture. :) Everyone said it was sweet, sour and chewy but you couldn’t chew it.
Next, they explained the process of how they extract the seeds, dry them and form them into these little 100% CACAO balls of chocolate. They use a cheese grater to grate it and combine it with 100% sugar grown on the island as well.
It was AWESOME!!! Just like a sweet dark chocolate ~ So GOOD!
After the chocolate demonstration, we got “suited” up in our gear for our ride/hike. These boots were made for walkin’….
How cute does The Husband look with his imaginary horse? 😉
Just when we thought we couldn’t get anymore fashionable, they gave us these cool hats to wear.
So, we both had visions of The Black Stallion type horses or something when we picked this over going in the 4×4 jeep. Not so much…..but my horse was super sweet and cute with it’s homemade saddle.
They first put me on the tall horse and The Husband on a pony ~ Ohhhh, I WISH my picture came out for that – it was hilarious! Even still, he was pretty tall for his horse.
After being matched up with our horses we were off ~ yeeehaw! Each horse came with a personal horse trainer that made sure our horses kept a fast pace. OMG, we totally held on for dear life as our horses trotted and galloped up the mountain, over the rocks, bringing us close to the cliffs edge, bob wire and sometimes slipping. I did manage to snap a few pictures of fruit trees we saw along the way when our horses took a short break to walk.
Half way up the mountain, we came across a mini waterfall ~ the water was so clear and blue ~ it was amazing!
Then, they had us get off our horses and cross the river…now, I get why we had to wear our stylish boots!
At the top of the mountain we got off our horses and got the first view of Salto De Limon Waterfalls. BEAUTIFUL was my first thought, then, my second thought was WOW – that is really far down there and we are hiking that!!
Going down the mountain was the EASY part ~ total workout on the way back up. (It made me totally feel justified hitting up the sundae bar that night :D) Overall, we loved the waterfalls but I felt so bad for the horses the entire time having to navigate up the mountain and through the rocks while being whipped by their trainers to go faster. :( We both were like should we get off and walk to give the horses a break LOL…When we returned to shore, we did a little shopping then, hopped back on ship to sail away with the sunset.
Coming up tomorrow ~ Tortola (where they filmed Pirates of the Caribbean)!!! I will try to get it posted before we head off to the BlogHER 2010 Holiday Party!!! I am so excited for the party – yeah!
Have any of you ever been to Samana or the Dominican Republic? What did you think of it? To us, the pictures online are definitely different than what you see on the island, however, it is still beautiful and unique.