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Recent experience in the Dominican Republic

By Val Ellis last modified Feb 27, 2011 01:04 PM

Published: 2011-02-27 13:04:39
Countries: Dominican Republic

My brother and I have spent the better parts of the last three winters in Dominican Republic, living on our ketch in Luperon and ashore in Luperon and Cabarete and have seen quite a few changes; not all of them good. Most of the people are wonderful and honest, though as in any place there are exceptions.

The paperwork for boats sailing from port to port is burdensome and official corruption extensive and expensive. We have often been stopped on the road at police and G4 military roadblocks and asked for money to continue. At Punta Rucia we were charged US$70 for a ‘permisso’ after a one night anchoring and at Monti Christi US$60. On our way to Samana from Monti Christi we stopped overnight in Luperon and were held in port for five days of excellent sailing weather because some official in Santo Domingo decided to close the ports because of "dangerous weather conditions". We considered complaining to the US embassy but were warned that if we did our boat was likely to be torn apart in a "drug inspection".

We did find the officialdom in Luperon very fair and reasonable compared to other ports. We found Samana to be the most easy going and laid back port.

The Dominican Republic should be a cruisers' paradise but burdensome bureaucracy and local official corruption currently stand very much in the way. This is very short sighted because more cruisers would bring in much needed currency to this beautiful but very poor country.

Sam Slaymaker