Christmas in Santiago

You know you’re headed someplace good when it’s before noon and the music is blasting while you board the plane.

And you also know it’s time to drink!

And so I boarded my Merry Christmas-to-me flight to Santiago, Dominican Republic, where a driver from Coco Tours waited to receive me.

Shout-out to Coco Tours: not only are they the most reliable and highest TripAdvisor-ranked tour and airport transfer company in the DR, they were more than flexible with my travel arrangements and super communicative. If you’re traveling to the DR and need transport from an out-of-the-way airport (like me) or want to hire a private bus driver for the day, Coco Tours is the best. Tell them Loose Gringa sent ya!

I got into the taxi van and we proceeded down Santiago’s mountains to Cabarete, a small beach town in the Puerto Plata province.

Santiago’s Christmas celebrations were beyond crazy — everyone was in the street, gallons of Brugal rum dangling from seemingly everyone’s wrists, music and parties happening all over.

Then blackness.

The mountains enveloped us — hairpin curves and drop-offs I hadn’t experienced since driving the Road to Hana in Maui. With no lights, strays everywhere, drunken motorcyclists, and pedestrians darting from the brush, I was glad we were in a Catholic country, in the hands of a God-fearing man at the wheel, on Christmas day.