Del Boca Chica

I spent 4 days in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic, a short 30 minute, $45 taxi ride from Santo Domingo. Boca Chica is actually closer to the international airport than Santo Domingo is. Santo Domingo is about 20-30 minutes from the airport, whereas Boca Chica is 5-10 minutes.

Boca Chica is a unique place, compared to anywhere else I have been, I’ll give it that much. It is basically a fairly impoverished little town along the beach. There is really only one main thoroughfare, Duarte Street, one block off the beach, which they close down every evening and all the restaurants and bars move their seating out into the street, which is kinda nice.

It was very, very quiet. Although, to be fair, it is currently the low season in the DR… plus I was in BC from Monday-Thursday… it’s nightlife is more known for being active on the weekends.

Being in BC was quite a bit like being in a ghetto. It was very ghetto-esque. Aside from the small and sparse small little restaurants (well, a guy with a bbq or a girl who made chicken and rice on a portable propane stove, for the most part), and aside from schoolchildren running amok during the day, the majority of people in BC just seemed to be hanging out. Whether just standing on the street corner, or sitting on their old motorcycles or scooters, or on random, old patio furniture astrewn about the town, people were just chillin’. Many had ghetto blasters or were pumping latin music from their vehicles.

I stuck out like Dick Cheney at a Greenpeace conference. Most of the residents were quite darker skinned, as opposed to the rainbow of shades and colors in Santo Domingo. And aside from that, the only other local denizens all seemed to be 60 year old+, white, fat, single men from Italy, and various other Europeans from Germany and Switzerland. Most of the men appear to have found a nice niche where they can hang out with beautiful young dark-skinned Dominicanas while drinking a few large $1-$2 Presidente beers on a local patio.

BC is actually known as an Italian vacation spot. That is something a bit odd about the Dominican… it seems to have various people from around the world who consider it a tourist destination, but each country seems to have its area. BC is Italian, Puerto Plata is mostly Canadians etc etc…

Besides the local BBQ and cafeteria like restaurants, virtually every restaurant in BC is Italian. The Italian food was actually pretty good too.

There appears to be two kinds of visitors to BC, the all-inclusives and the non-all-inclusives. There are a few all-inclusive hotels in BC… the most famous is Hamaca… and it appears that the people who stay in those spots rarely leave the hotel grounds… and if they are a family, I wouldn’t really blame them (more on that below).

The other kind of visitor appears to be the budget, older-single male traveler. For them, there are numerous fairly cheap hotels and they seem to spend their days drinking beer and their nights carousing with the plethora of girls-of-the-evening, in BC.

It appears to be a single-adult-male focused resort once you are outside the all-inclusive hotels. The moment you leave your hotel, you are spotted by one of the, literally, hundreds of guys on motorcycles who will immediately start to whistle, hiss, yell “amigo.. what you need? Girls? Chicas? Drugs? You want to party mang?�. They are, imo, far too aggressive and I’ll wager that the great majority of visitors won’t return based solely on their aggressiveness.

At night, down on Duarte, once you get past all the guys on bikes, and walk into the walking street, you are immediately (or I was anyway) cat-called, whistled-at, grabbed and kissed by the dozens of girls who all seem to be just hanging about. To be fair, many of the guys on motorbikes seem like nice guys – but they just have a lot of competition… same for the girls… many seem very nice and a lot of them are really beautiful – but they have a lot of competition also.

But, being a lover of anonymity, this place definitely wasn’t my style. I tried to give it a shot for a few nights, but mostly just hung out at the Casino Hamaca each night where, again, I made a killing. This may be quite a generalization, but from what I have seen in SD and BC, Dominicans are absolutely atrocious poker players. Again, they had the ante style (no blind) game there and, as always, no one would raise pre-flop (except, again, me), letting you get in to see the flop with any random hand, often ending up with you getting some great flop, like A,8,2 with your 8-2 hand… after which, if you went all in, ANYONE with an A… even A-5, would call! It was simply ridiculous. I even purposely lost a number of hands just because a) I didn’t want to make anyone too mad (although that never seemed to be an issue) and b) I kinda just felt sorry for them!

I don’t know how many times everyone at my table re-bought in for ($100-$200), while I just kept taking all their chips, over and over and over. Considering the low stakes (I always just bought in for $100 or so), I would easily quadruple-10x my money, EVERY night?!?! I wish those same guys would play high-stakes with me! I’d love to make 10x my money on a $1,000-$5,000 buy in every night!!

As for hotel recommendations, I stayed at the Il Candil hotel in BC. It cost $50/night and I got a full suite with one bedroom and kitchen (where I made macaroni and cheese, for old times sake, for the first time in 20 years!) and has a nice, safe setting with nice staff. I would recommend that hotel for anyone who doesn’t want to stay at all-inclusives (like me). If you want all-inclusive, stay at Hamaca, but don’t expect it to be really luxurious… the place seemed pretty run down.

In general, I really wouldn’t recommend BC to anyone. I hear the other resorts (Puerto Cana and Puerto Plata in particular) are very nice… if I were to go to a resort town again in the Dominican, I’d definitely go there. But it was interesting to live in a local town in the Dominican for a few days.

As for now, I am on a plane headed to Miami and then onward to Denver for a few days on some business. After Denver I really am not sure… probably Vegas and LA to see some people, then after that I have no idea. I could head back down to Mexico for a while, then on to the Caribbean… or I may feel tempted to go back to Bangkok again for a few months… I have to go back to the Dominican to pick up some documents in January so I either have to hang around in the area for a few months or leave now and come back later.

Wherever I go, to the land of perfection in Thailand, or to beautiful Mexico and the Caribbean, I am sure it’ll be not-too-bad!