I went today from Las Terrenas, where I live since last weeks to Sosua - where lives my friend from Switzerland. He is leaving Dominican Republic very soon, so its good time to say goodbye and drink last drinks together.
So I'm in Puerto Plata province again. First impressions ? Not so good...Gua Gua driver (I came here by bus - too lazy to travel that far on my 110 cc bike) tried to cheat me for 100 pesos. Tried, but not succeed. Children begging on streets...they learned that from foreign guys easily giving them some money before. Lots of bars and restaurants made by guys from other countries and addressed to their nationals - like american burger bars, german sausage bars, french bars, italian pizzerias - and so on. Even some Dominicans speak here English - and mostly these are the guys who want to sell you something and offer their various services.
Sosua is a center of sex tourism on the Nothern Coast. Well, at least it was, but as for now (2015) Sosua's mayor decided to "clean up' a little the city and they closed a lot of bars (guess what - mostly foreign owned), reduced general noise levels 😉 and reduced amount of prostitutes working here. So Sosua these days looks like castrated vs. the old Sosua from previous years. But there are still bars and still there are hookers. Like the massage places and so on.
So what usually do the guys do in Sosua ? They enter some bar, order some beer for around 100 pesos and enjoy the company of the ladies. Ladies usually like to drink, too, so the bar business rolls on.
There are also many Haitians girls here working as prostitutes. And there are many foreign guys here who look like they would ran away from their countries and now are sought by Interpol. At least it seems like that. Guys with tatoos, body builders, biker- crowd (Hells Angels ? ) and all other white trash that you may imagine. Not only white, by the way. Sosua is also infested by black guys from New York who come here mostly for the weekends to enjoy some cheap girls and beer.
So that's why Sosua is still a little scummy in my opinion, despite all efforts by local government to clean it up.
And while in Las Terrenas you may see a lot of couples from Europe, a lot of expats from South of Europe and many "normal" tourists - in Sosua, many guys who come here - come only to f... the girls. And while it is nothing wrong in that actually, it's good that you will know that combinaton of cheap life, beer and girls attracts a lot of Earth's scum to such place - like to Pattaya in Thailand. And this is what Sosua still is. So if you plan your honeymoon here or romantic holidays with your GF, BF or family - maybe you should reconsider places...
But I must admit. Since i visited this place many times (ha ha. just for research purposes, you know) from 2013 to 2015 there are some big changes seen already. And to resume it best way - I will repeat myself once again - this place looks like castrated these days. Less hookers, less bars, less noise..And probably also less profits to the business owners.
So I am sitting with D., with my Swiss friend in one of Sosua bars. It's his last evening here, he goes back to his rich home country. So we order some beers in our quiet bar and start to talk. We met some working girl who sees money opportunity in us. I start to talk with her. She doesnt look so attractive, so we just talk (anyway, I am not doing hookers anymore these days). She says to me that she is from Santiago, and came here to earn some money - to support her and her kid. In Santiago she lives just like most of Dominicans live - with her family (mother, sisters) in one house. In Sosua she has to pay for some place to sleep - around 400 pesos/ night. Add to that bus ticket - two ways, some food and so on - to get invested money back she needs to have at least one "customer" of her services during her stay here. The problem is though - there are MANY girls here and just few guys who are willing to pay them for their services...So the girl doesnt look so happy at all.
Sosua beach in - Sosua 😉
And that's general thing about Dominican Republic and its tourism situation - most the people who come here just stay "barricaded" in their all inclusive resorts and dont bother at all to leave it. They work hard in their home countries for their hassle free holidays, and they (usually) get it. The other few, who come here individually , concentrate just in few areas - like Sosua, Cabarete, Las Terrenas and Boca chica - leaving rest of the country completely undiscovered and unseen.
So it appeared to me that night in 2013 that in Sosua there were actually more hookers than their clients, more taxi drivers than their customers and more restaurants - than clients. I am writing these words once again in 2015 - it seems that tourism situation is much better now in DR, but its still far from ideal.
Fortunately for the country - tourism is not the only way of making money here. There are many individual businesses here, a lot of money is made from agriculture and some of them...yes, also from drugs. So while the country relies a lot on tourism - it doesnt rely on it by 100 %.
So generally speaking DR is not a country where flies are walking on the human corpses which lay on the streets, bitten by the stray dogs....;-) No, Dominican Republic, depsite its poverty levels is actually quite fine. People here know how to live in community and share everything what they have with their families - and that helps them a lot.
And how about Sosua ? I left it. The same like I did in 2013 , I also left it few days ago - in 2015. I dont like such turist ghettos, and the beaches are nothing special here. But the weather is nice,I must admit - like in whole DR.