- Where to Go
- The Best of the Dominican Republic
- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
Aparta-Hotel Cayo Arena (Playa Juan de Bolaños, tel. 809/579-3145, US$40–50) is a great value. Two-bedroom apartments (one queen bed and two single beds) have attractive balconies, fully equipped kitchens, living rooms, cable TV, and bathrooms with hot water. Amenities include a small pool and bar. They also offer half- and full-day fishing excursions; prices start at US$70 and depend on length and if you go in the bay or out to deep sea.
For those who want a great place to stay within walking distance of the national park, Hostal San Fernando (Carretera El Morro Km 2, tel. 809/579-2249, US$45 d) is a wonderful choice. Situated near El Morro, these spacious and simple but nicely decorated bungalows are comfortable and clean, each with its own patio, air-conditioning, fan, phone, hot water, and TV. The decor is nautical with natural tones, which is quite calming. At the center of the resort is a nice garden and pool to unwind in on a day when you are not busy taking advantage of their many excursion options or diving packages. Hostal San Fernando has a restaurant and bar on-site with gorgeous views of the spanning countryside. It’s one of the best choices of the area.
The 33-room Hotel Montechico (Playa Juan de Bolaño, tel. 809/579-2565, US$20 with fan) was built 70 years ago as Club Ramfis by Trujillo himself for his beloved son Ramfis. Although it must have been quite the beach club back in the day, it is sad to see that this hotel, with so very much potential, is desperately in need of some TLC. However, it is conveniently located on the beach and has clean and pleasant rooms with balconies.
Those that have ocean views have the most spectacular ones you can get in Monte Cristi, hands down. In fact, it is said that this is one of the best sunset views in the world. The rooms to request are: room 33 (has two beds), room 27 (one bed) and suite 9 (has a Jacuzzi). Other rooms with ocean views: 31, 32, 26, 25, 10, and 8. If you want air-conditioning, request it; the price is higher although not by much (about US$10 more). The breeze off the water should be sufficient, though.
The restaurant is a little misleading. Tables are set as if they are ready to receive guests, but no food exists; however, food can be brought to your room if you request it. Sadly, in typical Dominican style, customer service is in deficit. But man oh man, that view!
Los Jardines (tel. 809/579-2091, www.elbistro.com) is next door to the Aparta-Hotel Cayo Arena. Choose between two basic bungalows, each with two rooms and bathrooms. Keep in mind they don’t have kitchen facilities, so they are better for just a night or two. Los Jardines arranges for excursions to various places in the national park at additional cost.
If you want a hotel that is going to be clean and quiet perhaps you want one that is not a misnomer. There is nothing chic about Chic Hotel (Benito Monción 44, tel. 809/579-2316, US$25 d fan, US$30 d a/c). The price is great, though, for a rather comfortable bed in a very small room cluttered with furniture (why two TVs?). If you are looking for very inexpensive, this hotel has a few things going for it: a middle-of-town location, a restaurant (not that it is anything to brag about), a bar, and an Internet café (giving you a very strong wireless Internet signal even in your room). Whatever you do, get a room with a window. Otherwise, you might be put on the ground floor with no window and the air will be stagnant, which makes for a very long night.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition