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Butterfly Travels: Some Dominican Republic Top 10s

Normally, I write a whole blog out about my butterfly adventures, but I think I’ll save that for the next BT3 book coming in 2025 😉 After all, I did explore my experience with the monkeys in My Rafiki Moment, so I did my travel blogger duty there.

Here, I thought I’d just have some fun listing some “Top 10” highlights from the journey. Ready to join me through some wise lessons and wiseass moments? Here we go!


10 Things I Learned About the Dominican Republic as a First-Timer

  1. We had to brush teeth our teeth with bottled water because the tap water should never go into your mouth or be ingested. (Also—no singing in the shower just in ca

  2. You hold your hand over your heart to greet, thank, and say goodbye with love and gratitude.

  3. MamaJuana is both medicinal alcohol and an aphrodisiac. Of course, that’s only what I was told.

  4. The ocean is warm, serene, and inviting. I kept waiting to freeze my tootsies when I first step in but oh my, is it such a perfect temperature at all times.

  5.  White sand never gets hot to walk on but helps you give a hell of a reflective sunburn.

  6. We were definitely not there for the resort food… 😕 Trying to Americanize American food doesn’t work well. I would have preferred authentic cuisine. However--it IS possible to serve and enjoy small and rational plates of food (unlike the triple-super-size of our ginormous plates).

  7. You actually need to wear seatbelts on buses here or you’re gonna tip over…Holy Hell, New Yorkers, you’ve found your match.

  8. Raw chocolate beans are white, slimy, and taste like mangoes—but only if you don’t bite into them. You’ve been warned.

  9.  Coconut oil is natural mosquito repellent and helps to reduce sunburn inflammation.

  10. When you ask for whipped cream on your pina colada, be prepared to instead receive it with a scoop of ice cream—and enjoy the hell out of that miscommunication.



10 Things That I Tried Outside of My Comfort Zone

When sending pics to my family, my mother asked me who I was. Haha. This is what I tried and why this would surprise those closest to me:

  1. Ocean submersion. I do not go into the ocean typically. But I could see the bottom and that made all the difference (that, and the fact that darker water looks dirty to me).

  2. In entering the ocean, I had another “first-time” experience. I went “beyond the reef”. Moana’s grandma would be so proud.

  3. I tasted a slimy cocoa bean. I almost didn’t because it just looks so dang nasty, but the girl next to me said, “when will you ever get another chance to try something like this?” and that was like calling Marty McFly chicken, so… see item #8 above.

  4. I drank coffee. I don’t like coffee—LOVE the smell, love the boost of energy when hidden under sugars and syrups at Starbucks—but freshly ground in the DR? I gave it a try and um, thought it tasted pretty good. Hmm.

  5. New food. I tried to eat a red snapper fish that was fried (still a no). However, in my defense, “fried” is not the same as “deep fried with lots of breading” and Molly agreed it was not great anyway. I haven’t given up on you yet, fishies! Tried crispy pork belly (also a no). This is not ham, not bacon, not pork chops, not… just no.

  6. Hydrotherapy. I’ve done this before at Glen Ivy Springs, jumping in a cold pool then hot tub, but this was a whole other glorious level. Alternating cold showers, saunas, stem rooms, hot tubs, cold tubs, and a waterfall pool right before a luxurious native massage? Hell to the YES.

  7. I let monkeys jump on me. Do I really need to say anything else? This was the biggest surprise of them all: that I didn’t mind them as much as I expected and thought they were super adorable. (AND I wasn’t allergic).

  8. Making a random friend among the monkeys. I do these brave things like go on solo adventures, and then get social anxiety in group settings. But befriending other solos/people on trips has always led to meeting the most rewarding people (yeah, I’m looking at you, Suzanne. Bahama Mama!) Hugs to my emotional support monkey friend, Cailin xo

  9. I went silent disco dancing with strangers… sober. I felt like dancing and got the courage to ask some girls if I could dance with their group. It helped that I think we were all listening to the same song.

  10. The waterpark. Again, for some unknown reason, not a waterpark fan, but when in Hyatt Zilara, give it a go. I went down a slide (not expecting to go underwater—really, Jenny?) and then relax on the not so lazy river, which I had to push myself through—to find out in the end that I should “come back and try it later when we turn it on.”


And here’s one unexpected bonus. Because this was all-inclusive for me as a plus-one, I decided to treat myself with an upgrade to first class on one of the flights. While I totally loved the free beverages, non-stop service and super roomy chair, I was expecting those mini-rooms like on Jet Blue Mint. BUT it was a wonderful experience and not sure how I’ll ever face economy again…

Well friends, that wraps up this episode of Butterfly Travels and some of the key lessons I learned. If you ever get a chance to go—DO IT. It’s a beautiful, hospitable, restful place. Bring that sunscreen, though.

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