Fantastic! That sums it up, but I'll give details.
Before going on our tour of the north coast with Motocaribe, I'd looked for reviews on here and hadn't found any, so I guess I'm the first. This is a tour, on motorcycles, of the moutainous area (centered in Jarabacoa) and also the Samana Peninsula. The Motocaribe website (www.motocaribe.com) has tons of details and other trip reports with tons of pictures about what you do each day. Excellent reviews! My main question before going on this trip was if it was too good to be true. :) The website write-ups and pictures looked phenomenal, and the price for a motorcycle tour was less than all the others we were looking at. The answer to my question is, it WAS too good, :) but it was ALSO TRUE!
Overall, when someone asks me how our vacation went, I say, "Perfect. In any way it could have been perfect, it was." My husband says, "It was the best vacation we've ever taken." I'll skip saying and reviewing what we did on each day, as it's already on the website, but here's the 4 categories I just loved about this vacation.
1) The scenery. Wow!!! We got to see so much of the Dominican Republic!! We really got to see mountains and gorgeous lookouts the entire time we were riding the bikes. Other places we've been, I see one great lookout and think, "that was beautiful!," but this was moment after moment after moment of beautiful mountains. Amazing! The beaches were fantastic! Rincon beach - nothing like it anywhere! We rode through jungle-looking area and that was fascinating, and we saw great caves and rock formations. If you like nature, this is a trip to take!
2) The activities. This is a motorcycle tour, so we were riding, and that was awesome! through such great scenery. But it didn't stop there. We got to swim in and behind a secluded waterfall, swam in a crystal-clear lagoon, snorkeled at the beach, went horseback riding, and hiked to a different waterfall. There was so much fun! It was more than just a motorcycle tour where you ride all day, and that's great, but we kept stopping at amazing different sites to do different things, and it was wonderful! My husband and I love all-inclusives, but we do tend to get a bit bored unless we plan a bunch of excursions. This Motocaribe tour is like having paid for a new, different excursion each day. They chose fantastic things to do, it's exciting, never a dull moment, and so fun!
Aside - so many people before we left were questioning if I really thought we'd be safe riding through the DR. One friend suggested I learn the Spanish word for "ransom" before going. :) I can say I felt very safe. They mentioned that any place we might potentially not feel safe, they had avoided on the tour. Also, it is a motorcycle tour, but one of the people in our group just rode in the van the entire time. You can go do all these fun things from the van, even if you don't ride.
3. The culture. I have always been so interested in cultures of other places and countries. I do think it's fun to see a tiny bit of another culture from an all-inclusive, but I think it's hard to really get an understanding of a country or culture when you're always in a tourist town. This Motocaribe tour kept us completely out of the normal tourist destinations. We saw and did a ton that the average tourist never would. In the process, I feel like I have a much better understanding of the country. As we rode past some houses, I could sometimes see in between the slats of wood that comprised the house. Very enlightening. We saw people going about their daily lives along the side of the road, riding a moto with a chicken coop full of tons of chickens attached to the back, etc. So interesting to see real life. We had Dominican food at our meals every day. Delicious (especially all that fresh fruit! Yum!) and very interesting to me. I am going to try to make red beans and white rice like they did. And we were encouraged to speak Spanish, which was great fun, although I'd only ever taken French and German, it was just so interesting to try to "get into" the culture.
4. Robert and Alida. :) Robert and Alida are the husband and wife team that comprise Motocaribe. They are wonderful people and so fun to be around! They chose perfect places to see, rides to take, places for meals and to stay. Robert is originally from the U.S. and Alida is Dominican. Alida translated everything for us that needed to be translated, and was a wealth of information about the country and the people. They were both so thoughtful and eager for us to see the country and have a great vacation. I can't give them enough compliments. They even got me a birthday cake when they found out it was my birthday while on the tour. They go above and beyond and I thoroughly enjoyed them.
I suppose this is long enough, but to sum it up - Motocaribe provides an awesome tour! We loved it!! I need to build up babysitting credits with my parents, and then we'd want to do their tour of the southwest, too! If anyone has any questions, feel free to let me know.