Our first day riding the motorcycle we linked up with another couple from the marina that had been living in Samana for the last year. They wanted to ride over to Las Galeras and try a new restaurant, visit a friend, and hike to Playa Madame. We have no agenda and were happy to tag along. Las Galeras is a small fishing village with some wonderful beaches to visit: Playa Fronton, Playa Madama, Playa Rincon, and Playita. In this area it is so easy to cruise around, there are hardly any cars on the road and the lifestyle is very country. You can see the fisherman carrying their catch on the motos (se vende). Riding through all the small villages they sell gasoline or clothes on the side of the road to make a few extra dollars.
Despite the fact that it is calm to ride around on the motocycle in this area, it was still our first day and climbing the steep rocky hills was difficult. At one point the bike starts sliding backwards. I jump off and Matt tries to keep from falling. In the process he burns his leg on the muffler (rookie mistake), they call that burn the official Dominican tattoo. We make it up the hill one on the bike and one by foot, but the restaurant was closed. However, the view from the top of the mountain was incredible and made the journey worth it. Instead, we head back down to another area of Las Galeras close to Playa Madama.
We arrive at this beautiful property that is very well designed and sustainable. All the pieces are from recycled materials, it is rustic, simple, and opens up to this gorgeous view overlooking the ocean. The woman is French and is running a small bed and breakfast with 3 units. She is very kind and makes sure we put fresh aloe from her garden on Matts leg and that we take some home with us as well. She offers us homemade hibiscus water to drink (I have been told that I need to learn how to make this). We chat for a while practicing Spanish, until we decide to start our hike to Playa Madama. The trails to get to this beach are not well marked and many people get lost on them. The trails can take you to either Playa Fronton or Playa Madama. Playa Fronton is said to have some of the best snorkeling.
The hike passed mostly through farmland and we luckily did not get lost. At one point we came across a clearing that was being burned. I believe this is a type of slash and burn agriculture process. They clear cut the land and then burn the remaining vegetation. The ash provides rich nutrients to the land for a plentiful harvest. However, I do not believe it is legal practice. Slash and burn agriculture practices are not sustainable and can be the main cause of forest fires, deforestation, and soil degradation.
The reward after sweating through the hike was coming to this small beach with high bluffs framing it in and coconut palm tress for shade and snacks.
The last stop was to Playita for our well deserved lunch. We order pescado, pollo, papa fritas, tostones, ensalada, and arroz con frijoles. Some beer and cold water the bill comes out to about $3.00 a person. Another beautiful day travelling inland around this country.