I have read about people who had booked a ride ahead of time to go to bayhibe beach
josh(cruise director) warns against going out on your own in la ramona if you don't speak spanish
the port area doesn't seem real safe
there is a gate that goes around the whole thing with guards at the gate
carnival does have an excursion that goes to catalina island
it's 37 for kids and 45 for adults
most of the excursion in la ramona are quite expensive
that is the cheapest one
look around the internet and if you feel like you can find a safe way to get to bayibe beack or catalina island that would probably be the best
we stayed on the ship in this port and this is a great time to enjoy the ship without
all the crowds
there isn't anything going on but if you like to soak up some sun, swim and eat all day this is the time to do it
i have a list of all the excursions and the capers if you have any questions feel free to ask
mj: I have also been researching this port as it is the only one we have not been to before. We are sailing on June 6th. While this is not first hand knowledge on my part, I will repeat what I have learned.
One: This is a port you can do without a ship excursion if you use just a little common sense. If you like the beach, the one mentioned has been talked about favorably on all posts I have read. There is a taxi stand as you get off the ship. You just agreed to the destination, length of time and rate before you leave. (the green shirt drivers have been recommended) You do NOT pay them until they return you to the ship. Personally, this is the "weirdest" part for me...but know that this is just the way it is done.
Another option (which is what we plan to do)....is take the shuttle ($4 per person) to the marina to do some exploring and then grab a cab to Altos De Chavon for another hour of exploring.
We are doing the beach at St Thomas....so we aren't interested in beach time here.
I have been warned that it takes a LONG time to eat at Altos De Chavon, because they are so slow....so we will not be doing that.
Also, do not swim or wade in any fresh water on the island due to a nasty little micro bug they have in their water.
I have heard complaints about the mosquitos on several of the cruise tours ...so if you do anything connected with the River....be sure to wear long sleeves and lots of bug spray.
I have also heard that Jumbo's is not to be missed if you want some good cheap coffee and 151 rum.
The biggest problem is that this is not an "established" port and they are just gearing up for folks like us. It will take time. But if you do not get off the beaten paths, you should be ok.
This post was on another section of this board...hope it helps.
Date: 05-07-04 11:05
For anyone who may be visiting this port, we were just there April 28, 2004, and I had received a lot of confusing info before I went, so I wanted to give some clear info. First, the ship docks right at the city of La Romana. You may take a cab into town or walk in - you are actually right there and can walk to the shopping area. It is a bustling, busy city. There is a very well organized cab stand at the dock. The dispatchers stand outside and speak English well. We asked for a cab driver who spoke English and got one. We actually told them things we wanted to do, and for about how long. The driver suggested more and we went with his ideas - for a large, air conditioned van for 6 of us for 7 1/2 hours, he charged $130 - $21.67 per person! We did tip him well. He first took us to the Cueva de las Maravillas. I hadn't heard much about them, but they are national caves, and they are huge and full of pre-Columbian Indian paintings. Admission was $4 and there is a great English-speaking guide who takes you through and tells you all about the caves and the drawings, history of the Indians, etc. It was probably the highlight of our trip to the D. R. Then we shopped in La Romana - the driver took us to the usual shops, but I had heard about Jumbo's - you really need to go there! It is like a Wal-Mart supercenter, Clean, and full of everything - we bought local coffee for about $1.25 a pound, vanilla for $1, bottles of Brugal (local) rum for $1.25, there is larimar and amber jewelry, art work, clothing (in case you forgot anything - including snorkeling gear), we even used the bathrooms and they were spotless! We also went to Altos de Chavon - it was fine, shops are too expensive, but pretty. We ate at a restaurant there outdoors - caution - it took about 2 hours! We tried the sancocho, local stew, and it was awful! But others had the red snapper and lobster, and pasta, and loved them. Then to two beaches - Dominicus was a topless beach and it was ok but we also went to Bayahibe beach. Some reviews say it is the prettiest in the Caribbean, it was just average and snorkeling is NOT good there (reviews said it was). Part of the beach is private but the other part is fine. There are stands there selling everything and you can really talk them way down in price - jewelry, wood carvings, paintings, tee shirts, beach towels, etc. I'd be happy to answer any other ques. about the D. R. - others on our ship took excursions to Catalina Island (loved it) and Santo Domingo (it is a huge city, but very historic. The only problem they mentioned is that you are in a bus all the time with very few times to get out and walk around).
Other than possibly horseback riding, Carnival does not offer good excursions for 9 yr. olds.
We arrived at 5:00 pm on April 22 and left April 23, 6:00 pm. At night we went to Altos de Chavon (the Artist's Village). Beautiful place to visit, great local restaurant and the "Kandela" Show (by ticket only $37 p.p) is great. We took a cab there for $20 a total of 6 people.
We met 6 others on the pier in the morning and spoke with the cab dispatcher about what we may want to do.
We had a driving tour of La Romana downtown, a drive into the country to explore the caves and a stop at a local artisan shop/bar/food place.
After this we went to Bayahibe Beach. This is a private/public beach. Security will approach you if you try to use the chairs or sit under the cabanas which belong to the Bayahibe Resort. Crystal clear water, clean white sand beach, great cold beer and fast foods available. Very safe and NOT crowed. We toured for about 3 hrs. and stayed 2 hrs at the beach. While at the beach the driver slept in his van in the parking lot. About a 20 minute ride back to the ship. On the way back he took us into Casa de Campo for a look around.
Total time was about 5 1/2 hrs. at a cost of $100 total ($25 / couple).
I am Italian and do understand some Spanish words but not enough to have a conversation. The others also had no clue. We Had NO problems not being able to speak the language.
Only advise is to travel with a registered and approved cab driver from the pier. You're safe with them.
We took the Riverboat/Altos De Chavon excursion. It would be ok for a 9 year old.
The Riverboat ride was up and back to/from the dam...the bus ride was nice and the visit to Altos De Chavon was interesting. My guys would have liked this one ok at 9, though they might have liked something a bit more exciting better. It's a do-able option,
especially if you want to stick with a carnival excursion. (By the way....we didn't notice any bugs during the Riverboat ride. That's not to say there might not be some when you go though.) One interesting thing was seeing the place Mr. Clinton is building there.
Thanks everyone for the input. I know I have heard that this is even a good place to just stay on the ship as you have it just about to yourself but I hate to not at least to something. Sounds like the Jumbo store is something we could see and maybe the caves. I would like to see the beach too. This all shouldn't take too long so we should probably have pleanty of time to go back to the ship and enjoy the pool.