When I was a kid I loved watching The Swiss family Robinson in the tv. I could really imagine myself as part of the family. I spent time thinking what I would do differently, how I would build my own house and I was pretty confident that I could do the same even alone after a plane crash. Then I grew up and I started my adult life and forgot about my jungle dreams.
Than a (very) few years later I visited the Dominican Republic and had the opportunity to spend a few days in a hotel, . I found out that the American owner had the same dreams as a child, but when he grew up, he made into reality, and here we are, in a hidden Valley which is spotted with small wooden houses, which doesn’t even have walls.
Walking toward the hotel you go along a small river, which later goes into the sea at the nearest breathtaking beach. There is a lush, green garden; you can see the plantation in full bloom, many of them climbing up to the rooms which are among the tree crowns. I was told that after the hurricane there was a huge flood, which left the valley as a muddy dessert, but just 2 months later the nature took back what belongs to her, and if you go and visit now you will find in its best.
The hotel already offered a few vegan options when I arrived, but I spent a few hours every day in the kitchen cooking together with their cook: Leo, to make sure if you visit, they are more prepared for the special needs of the plantbased diet.
It was really fun to spend those days there, as it is like being in a community. Everybody greets everyone, the people who work there are always around and know every guest. The rooms have a huge bed in the middle with a net around, but I didn’t have any problems with the insects, maybe they don’t like the cabbage juice in my veins. The room has 3 walls without actual walls, there are only curtains if you need more privacy, but staying among the trees is just so much better. You feel like sleeping in the middle of the jungle with all those noises. There is a bathroom to every room.
The community area is similar too, with no walls. It is a place for breakfast, dinner and any activity you choose. They have great rum with chinola (freshly squeezed passionfruit). I still dream of drinking my morning coffee overlooking the jungle, everything is peaceful and relaxed.
The beach is 2-3 kms away and they take you there whenever you need, or you can rent a bike or an ATV. We had our scooter from Las Terrenas so it was easy. This beach was far my favorite on the island. It is not the typical Caribbean one you imagine with white sand and calm turquoise water, but it is just so rough, fresh and has green sides by the valley.
There is one restaurant outside the ho Emma’s, or there is one on the beach: Mami’s and they both serve great bean rice with salad, and after you can grab a pineapple. If you drink a virgin mojito, don’t forget to tell them if you don’t want extra sugar in it, as they put too much for my taste. The local beer is Presidente.
But back to the hotel, here are a few photos of me cooking there and the dishes we made. I really enjoyed being the part of the team even if it was for only for a few days. They are like a small family there.
Samana is the most undiscovered gem of the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Tree House Village is for people who are down to earth and loves nature. The hotel is eco friendly, 95% of the hotel is constructed with organic, local materials to minimize their footprint. They buy their food locally and employ as many local people as many possible.
There is a 12 stage zip line above the hotel, which actually belongs to the hotel, as it was built first. If you have the opportunity, don’t miss it! There is also a small waterfall just right next to the hotel at the end of the zipline, so don’t forget to take your swimming costume with you. The kids in the village say, if you ask them what they want to do when they grow up, is working on the zipline, as it’s a cool job, they can get to meet people from other countries, learn English..
The future of the tree house village: they don’t want to make it bigger, to keep the local feeling, preserving what they already have. More hotels are constructed in the valley, and they want that other developments also to apply the same eco style, helping the locals, preserving nature as much as possible.
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