Travelling around the Dominican Republic, searching for the best places where you can eat vegan dishes. I was not expecting to find my best raw experience ever in a remote corner of the Samana area.  Comparing the crowdies of the Punta Cana area, this region is like paradise. Almost deserted, beautiful beaches in Las Galeras area, lush green fields, white sands and turquoise waters and a little gem, a Victorian style hotel: Villa Serena.


“As it’s name says, Villa Serena‘s peaceful setting is the perfect environment for a yoga and wellness vacation. It’s hard for me to imagine a better start of a day than a yoga session surrounded by lush tropical gardens and lulling sounds of the waves followed by a healthy breakfast made of local organic foods and fresh juices. What we find the best for ourselves, we apply to hotel and offer the same to our Guest.” Marina Vesanovic-Dvornik, General manager


I had the privilege, not just try their food, but also had a lovely conversation with the 2 raw chefs, who are there for a couple of months to do plant-based cuisine and holistic retreats. We are sitting in the shadow of a palm tree, drinking cold, fresh coconut water, munching on coconut bacon and nuts.  Darko Juric and his fiancée Ana Glavas are from Croatia, where they have a raw franchise brand, the art of raw, their mission is to spread the word of veganism, healthy lifestyle and they are inspired by the new challenges that come with making workshops for top chefs around the world.


These 5 elements are the core of their work:

  • it has to look good (real gourmet dishes),
  • it must taste good (they want to give their clients the WOW feeling),
  • they want people to be fed, so they give big portions,
  • healthy,
  • it has to be cheap, so it is affordable.

They say if you can keep all these together then you made a big step towards success. They also attend festivals in the summer in Croatia, and also you can go to a big yacht there for a week of island hopping while you are treated with their mouthwatering raw dishes.


They sell packaged kale-, broccoli-, cabbage-, cauliflower-, onions, and tempeh chips, and soon coconut bacon is coming, all around the world.

The reason we could meet in the Dominican Republic is that they do retreats there. There 3 types of them: one is for plant-based cuisine, and other is detox and the third is for weight loss.  All of them are combined with all-inclusive raw food (soups, salads, desserts, cold – pressed fresh juices, gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner), workshops, yoga and tai chi. They help you start your journey with raw food which doesn’t just taste good, but also promote health and cleansing. As Darko has 20 years of practice in integrative healing, Chinese medicine and nutrition, you can be reassured that your body, mind and soul will be taken care of.


If you only want to try their dishes, it is possible to eat in the restaurant of the hotel if you are not the guest of the Villa Serena. I have tried different restaurants during my visit, but here the price is surprisingly reasonable, and the dishes are amazing.




Thank you for your attention!

Edit Horvath

You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook or read my blog.

  1. Ruthie 6 years ago

    Thanks for your response, Edith!
    I have found the bus, and I reserved a spot already.
    Did you exchange currency before or after you got to the DR?
    Also, did you find any vegan spots or places that had great vegan food anywhere?
    Thanks so much!

    • Author
      Edit Horvath 6 years ago

      They take USD everywhere, but I always had some local money as well. It was even possible in supermarket to pay half in USD half in local currency. Don’t change at the airport, we had better rates elsewhere.
      These are the places I have visited:
      Also, there is a Vegan Travel group in FB and I have seen many posts about DR with restaurant recomenndations.
      Santo Domingo has lots of them. I tried TIME and loved it.
      Every restaurant serves bean rice with salad which is good if you don’t find anything else.
      Or you can get fresh fruits, and their avocado is awsome, huge and ripe, so you can get a toast anytime 🙂
      Oh, and make sure you check if they put eytra sugar in the smoothie, they do it at many places, even in my virgin mojito on the beach, if you dont like that sweet 🙂

  2. Ruthie 6 years ago

    Hello Edith!
    I’m headed to this same spot next week. 🙂
    I was already looking forward to it, and now after reading your post, I am even more excited!!!

    I was wondering, how did you get there? I was told to get a bus from Santo Domingo, where I will be staying before going to Samara. I’m just not sure how to book a ticket.

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Author
      Edit Horvath 6 years ago

      Hello Ruthie,

      I am a bit envy of you going 🙂 Samana is such a beautifull place. I will post my blog post about the whole journey in 1-2 days on my blog.
      We went from Punta Cana with a bus, the taxis are very expensive.
      From Punta Cana you can go to Santo Domingo and from Santo Domingo you can go to Las Terrenas (that is what we did) and maybe you can go directly to Samana city also from SD. But from there you will need either a taxi or you can rent something.
      We rented a scooter for 15 usd a day.
      For the bus you don’t need to book a ticket, you just should arrive 20 minutes earlier as sometimes the bus only take the exact number of people of the number of their seats. This is the case with express buses. But they are comfy with AC 🙂
      Have fun, enjoy your stay there and just let me know if you have any question! 🙂

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