Mud, Beaches, and Good Deeds on Playa Bonita, Dominican Republic

Mrs. ItchyFeet on Playa Bonita

My apartment in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic is on a hill above Playa las Ballenas, which is one of the most gorgeous beaches in the area. But it’s not number one. That title goes to Playa Bonita, which is right next door… on the other side of a large bluff. So close, yet routes would have me hike for an hour and a half in the opposite direction to go through town and around the back way to the beach. There has to be a faster way!

No dying!

I spoke with my neighbors and they insisted that there was a trail through the woods that led to access to the neighboring beach. It sounded pretty complicated, but they said they will go with me so that I wouldn’t get lost in the woods. Yes, please! Then they got into a motorcycle accident. Remember those speed-bumps I warned you about in México? Yeah, well, they have them here as well. Dominicanos call them “policía acostado”. Danger!

Into the woods in Las Terrenas
Time for an Adventure into the woods!

My neighbors were both riding on one motorcycle when they came upon a very large speed-bump that the driver hadn’t seen. He tried to slow down, but the bike slid out from under him on the sandy road. The saddlebags completely protected his wife, but he didn’t fare so well. A few broken ribs and a nasty gash on his knee means he’s not taking me hiking anytime soon.

Luckily, he is doing much better and has already gotten back on his bike. Although now he is thinking of trading it in for a four-wheel ATV (one parking lot sign refers to them as “for will”, which makes me smile – I wondered why “will” got a discount on parking until I said it out loud). I would like one of those fancy covered golf-carts, but I hear they are crazy expensive. Plus, gas is up to $6 per gallon, so smaller vehicles are more popular.

Time for an Adventure!

So I got all kinds of info from the neighbors on how to find and follow the trail through the woods. Invited my companion and off we went. We found the start no problem, but there were a lot of different options half-way up this hill. So many spiders! I have a very hard time taking out spider webs because that little creature just spent a lot of time and energy creating this bug catcher (get the bugs!). But they built them across the trail and I’m just too short to walk over them. Sorry, spiders!

Mrs. ItchyFeet hiking in the woods
Took this picture to remember where the turn is!

The trail leads down to a private beach, but we don’t want to go that way. We keep heading over the hill and start heading down the other side. The trail is pretty well established and easy to follow now. But then we get to the bottom, and there’s a fork which looks like a stream crossing. Left or right? My neighbors for sure told me which way to go, but I clearly don’t remember. I’m going right!

I picked correctly and made it to Playa Escondida, “Hidden Beach”, only seeing a single person on the trail. Playa Escondida is this gorgeous, secluded beach completely surrounded by vegetation. Not a soul in sight! Golden sandy beach with crystal clear blue waters. Light delicate waves. Just beautiful!

Playa Escondida
Playa Escondida! Time to take off my shoes.

Mud or rocks?

My neighbors had told me that there would be a bit of rock scrambling and now I had a choice of that or going through the mud. The rock trail looked sketch, so I went with mud. My fancy tennis-shoes did not appreciate this abuse, but what are you going to do? Finally made it to Playa Bonita! However, it was fully high-tide. There was no way to walk along that section of beach without getting wet. Off with the tennies!

High tide cuts off that area from the rest of Playa Bonita. You can swim/wade to it through a cut in the rocks or gently climb through a different section of rock. I did not come prepared to swim for some unknown reason, so over the rocks barefoot it was. Easy peasie! Once on the other side, you have full access to everything Playa Bonita offers: hotels, restaurants, ice-cream shops, beach loungers, surf rentals, the works. There is even this gorgeous malecón that runs along the beach. It’s gorgeous.

As we are walking along this lovely walkway, we spot a beached catamaran. Looks like someone is living in it! But it’s on the beach. Someone installed some pretty permanent looking footings for it on the low side. Weird. I guess that’s one way to save money. The walkway just keeps going… until you get to a point where it looks like it got taken out in a storm. Then you have to rock scramble again.

Beached catamaran
Someone lives on this boat!

Good deed for the day

Turns out that if you leave a beach to be sand and waves and allow movement, the beach will rebuild itself after a storm. If you build a rock wall or building too close to the beach, the sand has nowhere to settle and goes elsewhere. Then eventually the ocean just takes out the structure. Costa Rica has laws against building right up to the ocean for this very reason.

After a bit of struggling over the washed out walkway, we end up back on the malecón. This thing just keeps going! Maybe all the way to Playa Cosón? We get to the point that (I think) separates Playa Bonita from Playa Sublime. Time to head back. I’m looking forward to, hopefully, buying some ice-cream from the helado stand. My stomach does not appreciate dairy, so I’m hoping they have a coconut-milk version.

Beach washed away due to rock wall
Once you build a rock wall, the beach can’t rebuild and just washes away.

It is really great fun walking along and watching kids learning to surf in the gentle waves. Then I spot a large fancy Android smart-phone abandoned in the middle of the walkway. Someone is going to be looking for that! But which way did they go!?! The phone is unlocked, so I take a peek in the photos to see who this thing belongs to. Maybe I can recognize them on the beach.

Please speak English!

This phone is clearly a child’s, and it does not look like they have had it for long. There are hardly any photos, but at least the kid tried out some selfies with his brother. I look for “Dad” or “Mom” in contacts, but can’t find them. Time to search the beach. I head back the way I came, scanning for any sign of these two children.

No luck. What am I going to do with this phone? I’m not going to leave it, as how would the kid find it? I’m thinking of texting one of his contacts when the phone rings. Please speak English! Please speak English! I answer. I think it’s the kid’s dad. And I get lucky in that he speaks English. I let him know where to meet me to get the phone back, but I spot the kids as I’m hanging up!

Playa Sublime?
You could live in that hammock!

I yell at the kids. They look my direction; I say “teléfono”, but they turn and head the other way. Why are they walking away from me!?! I pull up their pictures again from the phone and they are both wearing the same shirts as in the pictures. Definitely the right kids. I send my companion to chase after them all barefoot (I stayed in case the dad showed up). It’s like the opposite of what they usually depict on TV… this large guy chasing down some kids to give them a phone. Probably scared the crap out of them!

Time for ice-cream… or maybe a drink?

Not really. They were crazy-happy to get the phone back. It looked like the kid had been crying. Dad came along at the same time, he had also been walking in the wrong direction, so all was well in the world again. Glad we could help. I was so relieved to get it back to them because I don’t live on this beach. It would be real difficult to locate and transport the phone back to Playa Bonita.

Good deed done for the day, we head for ice-cream. It’s closed. Forget this! I’m going home! No really, it’s time for a drink, so we head back the way we came. It’s no fun putting socks and shoes onto wet, sandy feet, but I’m not doing this barefoot. As I’m putting my shoes on, a lady walks past me sans-shoes. What!?! I follow her up the rocky path, where we chat about how we are both now lost.

Playa Bonita
Playa Bonita truly is gorgeous!

She keeps going, but I head back down to the muddy path. I know where to go from there. We meet up on the other side at the same time. Good to know I have options! Looks like she is only going to Playa Escondida, which has gotten more peeps since I last passed through. It is a truly gorgeous beach.

After taking in the view one last time, I head into the woods. Over the trail, up the hill, around the bend, and down again. Made it! Only a couple of mis-turns. It was absolutely worth it. I have family visiting in a couple of weeks and I will definitely take them on this adventure. I am still floored by the natural environment that surrounds this area. Such beauty and the temperature is perfect. Here’s to a Happy New Year!

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  1. Wishing you both a Happy & Healthy New Year:
    Enjoy your time time in Dominican Republic

    1. Mrs. ItchyFeet

      Thank you, miss you both. Hopefully we’ll meet up again in the future.

  2. Hey Itchy’s
    We want you to know that if you decide to do 30 days in Peniche or less and go travel and drink wine, have fun, be crazy
    that you can leave all of your excess bags with us, you can stop by and grab stuff in between adventures if you want or
    need to. And then after 90 days or 30 days on the road you can come get your stuff and go off to your next home, or
    spend more time here.
    We truly want you to have all of the fun and see all of the stuff, trains, planes and busses.
    Sending hugs,

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