I love eating. For me trying new dishes, new flavour combinations and local cuisine have always been part of travelling. After turning to be vegetarian, my options became less and turning to vegan even less. If you just want to travel around and just enjoy yourself, knowing you can stop anywhere to eat something is easier, than now. I have to plan my travels around food to make sure I don’t end up eating rice, fries and a boring salad.
The good news is that the world is changing and there are more vegan restaurants or at least vegan options on the menus. When I was planning my trip to the Dominican Republic, little did I know that it will turn out to be my best vegan holiday? Yet.
After landing to the overcrowded Punta Cana, we headed up to the Samana peninsula, which is an easy trip by local buses. They go on time, have good connections and also have AC, which considering the temperature there, is a bonus. Even without real Spanish knowledge, we could always ask for directions from the very helpful locals.
In Las Terrenas, I have seen many Airbnb options in the center and near the beach but found one which got my attention: Casa la Sylou. As I was not planning to rent a car, I was worried if I can reach there as on the map it looked outside of the town. It was one of my best decisions to book there finally, as when you arrive with the bus from Santo Domingo, you can hop on a motor taxi for 50 pesos or 1 USD and they take you there in a few minute, or you can rent a car, ATV or a scooter in the center as we did finally. A scooter is 15 USD a day.
When you enter the door, you find yourself in a garden with palm trees, all kind of fruit trees and 2 wooden houses. One is bigger, this is where the French couple Louis and Sylvie lives, and there is a smaller one, what you can rent. They were living in Cannes before, but after the holiday to the Dominican Republic they sold everything at home and bought a piece of jungle in Las Terrenas and started to build up their dream. They cleaned up the jungle a bit and built the 2 wooden houses with such details, you can see that all their heart is in them. The house we stayed in had a huge bed in middle and from the bed, you can see and listen to the jungle. After the busyness of the center, it is just such a good feeling coming home, as it is how we felt, arriving home.
There were 2 bottles in the fridge, one is homemade combucha and the other is vegan kefir. I have never been a big fun of dairy-based kefir, but I was curious, so I gave it a try. We finished the whole bottle in the evening. It is silky, soft and had a pineapple flavor. We got one bottle every day.
The next morning we went to have breakfast with Sylvie and Louis. They are not vegans, but into yoga, don’t eat too much meat and know what vegan means, so they can prepare. We entered their front door finding out they don’t have a back wall. The whole house is like one big terrace toward the jungle. They have 2 cats and a small dog. There was a wooden, DIY Christmas tree in the corner and a big table full of goodness, mainly from their garden. Different type of fruits, local chocolate coffee with ginger in it, homemade jams, such as mango, coconut flour bread, etc. Everything is in abundance. We had a good chat and they are helpful with tips about the area.
There is a waterfall near, the El Limon, which is mainly reached by tourists on horseback and locals will try to pursue you to do the same, as they say, it is not possible to do on foot. It is, an easy 45 minutes walk, you have to cross a river twice though and not on a bridge. The little pond at the waterfall is so refreshing and not freezing cold as I was expecting.
We had dinner with them as well twice, tapas kind of evening. There was a lovely vegetable soup also, and finished the dinner with flambeed bananas. They make chocolate from the cocoa in their garden, they do the fermentation as well. I had tons of pretty photos, but my phone was lost, so these photos I got from them, as they were taking a few as well, while we were there.
The next morning we had kefir tasting breakfast, we tried papaya seed, banana, some kind of spices, pineapple, just to name a few. I would love to have them bottled at home, I may actually try to make them. Sylvie was so nice that she even made 2 type of raw vegan cheeses for me from coconut, which was delicious. After breakfast, we could taste their truffles also.
We also got a tour of their bio garden, they have everything they need there, all is bio, everything else is local. I highly recommend staying at their place if you happen to be in this area.
Thank you for your attention!