Welcome to the Dominican Republic! After landing in Santo Domingo, make the rural Dominican Republic your home for a week as you experience daily life in two of the country's most impoverished areas. You will work hard, but also enjoy time taking in the beautiful landscape of the both the mountains and the coast, all while immersing yourself in the laid-back and friendly culture of the island.
In San Pedro de Macoris, you will work and live in the bateyes de este. Bateyes are communities of mostly Haitian workers that have come to the Dominican Republic to work in the sugar cane fields. While they were traditionally comprised of migrant male workers, many have now brought families over and established permanent settlements. Unfortunately, these communities are cut off from many of the public health and education resources of the country. In the bateyes you will see some of the lowest standards of living in the country, often lacking running water, electricity, or proper infrastructure. With Rustic Pathways, you will work to improve living standards through local infrastructure and agriculture projects.
After your hard work in the bateyes, spend a day relaxing on one of the Dominican Republic's beautiful beaches. Join the locals in a game of beach volleyball, swim in the crystal clear water, or wander through the colorful beachfront shops. End the day with Caribbean sunset as you enjoy a typical Dominican meal with your peers and guides.
Next you will head up to Jarabacoa, home of the “Dominican Alps,” to experience a different kind of rural life. Here you will take part in service projects with locals that will increase the standard of living in their communities. Projects may include building a community center, irrigating agricultural fields, or constructing an aqueduct to bring running water to communities for the first time. Learn about the lack of educational opportunities available for many children in these communities and work with your fellow peers to create fun and instructive activities for the local kids.
Arrive back into Santo Domingo, a city of many firsts. Tour through the oldest colonial city in the Americas and check out the sites of the first university, cathedral, and hospital in the Americas. Learn about the rich history of the Dominican Republic as you meander through 500-year-old cobblestone streets. Visit the lighthouse dedicated to Columbus on the 500th anniversary of his first voyage, where his remains can now be found.
Arrive at Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) in Santo Domingo where your Rustic Pathways staff will be awaiting for you outside the arrivals hall after customs. Take a short bus ride to the volunteer facility, with dorm style rooms, communal bathrooms, a kitchen, dining room, and multiple social spaces. Get settled in, enjoy dinner, and have an orientation to your program. Learn about the service projects you will work on, the organizations we partner with, the communities you will visit, and the nuances of Dominican culture.
After breakfast, learn more about the area as you take a tour of one of the batey communities. Once familiar with the area, you will commence your service project. Your projects could involve construction, English classes, agricultural work, educational workshops, and facilitation of activities for the local children. After service each day, enjoy a game of pick-up baseball with the local kids and head back to the base house for dinner. In the evenings we will lead discussions about the current issues affecting the bateyes. We will invite speakers from local non-profits and organizations to give insight into what is being done to address these issues.
Wrap up your service projects in the Bateyes this morning, then spend the rest of the day enjoying the Dominican coast, relaxing on the beach and playing in the ocean. You will also visit a collection of caves with paintings that date back to the days of the Tainos and learn about the earliest inhabitants of the island. Return to your base house for a shower and group dinner in the evening.
Enjoy a group breakfast at your base house, and then pack up for a trip into the interior of the Dominican Republic. After saying goodbye to your new friends, you will get on a bus headed to Jarabacoa; a mountain town nestled in the Cordillera Central (a three and a half hour ride). After lunch and a bit of time to settle down you will receive an introduction to the ranch and to the service projects you will be working on. You will begin your service projects in the afternoon, and then head back to the ranch for dinner. At the ranch you will have access to a pool, basketball court, ping-pong table, and a billiards table.
After breakfast at the ranch, return to your service projects. Wrap-up your work in the mid-afternoon, then choose between an afternoon at the pool or an optional activity such as rafting, horseback riding, or a high ropes course. ($50, $20 and $16 respectively). Have dinner with the group and get a good night’s sleep for your last day of service.
Today you will finish your service projects in the communities around Jarabacoa. Spend your morning working and then have a special good-bye activity with the community in the afternoon. Enjoy your last night back at the ranch and then spend some time as a group discussing your activities from the past few days, how these affected the communities you worked in, how they affected you, and how you can take the service home with you.
After breakfast, board the bus and head out of the mountains and down to Santo Domingo’s colonial zone. This is a UNESCO world heritage site that is home to the first cathedral, hospital, and university in the New World. This will also be a good time for souvenir shopping. After an afternoon walking around the colonial zone, you will head over to a typical Dominican restaurant for a special last dinner and dance show before your flight back to the United States.
Rustic Pathways reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external tours incorporated in our trips, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of an old activity for a new activity. The itinerary shown here provides a good outline of the anticipated daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.
PLEASE NOTE – Rustic Pathways will not be responsible for ANY lost or stolen items. During travel it is common for items to be lost or stolen so please bring only items you are prepared to part with.
PLEASE DO NOT OVER PACK!
-A small backpack is the best carry-on bag
-A medium sized duffel bag or large backpack work best. Wheeled bags are OK as long as they are medium sized and can easily be carried like a duffle over rough terrain.
Clothing Items - Please bring at least a few outfits that can get dirty or destroyed for service work or adventure activities.
(Please pack all items that could leak in a PLASTIC or ZIPLOCK bag)
*Note: See the following link for ideas on small, personal first aid kits:
Students from the United States and Canada will be automatically issued a 30 day tourist visa upon entry into the Dominican Republic, for the cost of $10. STUDENTS MUST HAVE $10 UPON ENTRY TO PAY FOR THE TOURIST CARD.
During this trip, students will visit the areas of Santo Domingo, Monteplata, Duarte, and Puerto Plata.
Rustic Pathways does not make recommendations regarding immunizations.† We strongly suggest that you consult with a travel doctor or your family physician for medical recommendations based on the area where the student will be traveling (as listed above). You can also check the Center for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov for more information.
On Tuesday afternoon students will return to Santo Domingo. They will have a special night out in Santo Domingo and then head to the airport for a morning flight home on Wednesday. On Tuesday evening students transferring to other programs in Latin America can catch a flight to Costa Rica, Panama, or Peru. Students connecting to other programs in the Dominican Republic will stay at a hotel Tuesday evening and join their new trip on Wednesday morning.
This program will be based in a rural town in the area of Jarabacoa about 2 hrs from Santo Domingo.
Students should be prepared for hot, humid weather in the 80s and 90s during the day with occasional rain showers. Since the base is located in the mountains in the evenings the temperature will go down into the 60s.
This program does not include formal Spanish language instruction; however students will have multiple opportunities to practice Spanish with their guides and with the local community.
Students will work on small scale construction projects that will help improve community and school infrastructure. Students will also facilitate educational and cultural projects with local youth and be involved in environmental projects.
This program is appropriate for most physical activity levels. Students should be prepared for medium physical activity including short hikes and some manual labor during the service projects.
The majority of costs associated with the program are included on this trip. Students should have extra allowance money if they wish to buy souvenirs. Students should also bring extra money if they wish to purchase additional snacks or soda from the local grocery store. Students may also have the opportunity to participate in optional activities such as white water rafting for an additional cost.
Please note that the emphasis of this program is service. Thus, the availability of these activities may change in order to meet service priorities
$50, High Ropes Course $16, Horseback Riding $16
Occasionally Rustic Pathways staff identify new opportunities throughout the summer that we feel will enhance the students overall experience and we will offer students the opportunity to participate at an additional cost. Optional or included activities may also be canceled at the staff’s discretion.
Students will be eating traditional Dominican food prepared by local cooks and restaurants.† Breakfast may include plantains or toast with eggs, fruits and cereal. Lunch and dinner will be typical dishes which consists of rice, beans, salad and a meat/seafood dish or veggie dishes.
Tap water in the Dominican Republic is not recommended, we will provide bottled water for our students throughout the course of the program.
During their time in the Dominican Republic students will stay in a few different places. In Santo Domingo we will stay at a hotel near the airport. In Jarabacoa we will be staying in a base house rented out by Rustic Pathways right in the community. Students will also stay at a small hotel in a cozy beach town on the country's northern coast for one night during the program.
The bathrooms are located at the facilities and will either be right in the room shared with another student, or be communal bathrooms shared with other Rustic Pathways students of the same gender. They will all have running water and American style toilets. Showers are rustic and no hot water may be available.
There are typically more girls than boys however the exact numbers vary from week to week.
Rustic Pathways generally strives to maintain a ratio of approximately 1 guide for every 5 students. On the program, there will be three guides. Our guides go through a rigorous selection process including interviews with our Country Director and a full background check.
All of our programs have guides that are certified with First Aid and CPR training. Many of our guides are also qualified Wilderness First Responders, EMTs, Wilderness EMTs, or Life Guards.
Students should pack enough clothes and personal items to last through the program. Laundry may be available at some of the hotels, at an extra cost.
Students will have limited to no access to internet during the program. They will be able to purchase international phone cards in the Dominican Republic, which can be used to call home. We will make it possible for students to make at least one call home during the week.
Contact Us: For more information about Bateyes and Mountain Air, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ages: 13 to 18 years old
Length: 8 days from the USA
Hours: Up to 35 hours awarded
Eligibility: You must be a Key Club member to attend this program
Students are responsible for arranging their own airfare. After being accepted to the program, Rustic Pathways will contact you with arrival and departure flight windows so that you may book your flight.
|Departs Sat||Returns Sat||Availability|
|22 Mar||29 Mar||Delayed|
Dates shown are inclusive of travel time from the United States.Apply Now
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