This week, Eye on Travel broadcasts from the Now Larimar in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We’ll have continuing reporting on the Boeing 737 Max as well as the Iran crisis. Peter is joined by Richard Bangs, considered the father of modern adventure travel, with an update on how escalating tensions in the Middle East will affect travel. Airfare Watchdog Founder George Hobica, gives his 2020 global airline and travel predictions. And we’ll be discussing travel and personal safety with American expat Ashlee Dubinsky and her decision to move to the Dominican Republic. Then, Ellen Mannaert, Editor and Co-Founder of Best of Punta Cana, on why (and how) you should go beyond the beaches and resorts in Punta Cana, with some of her secret locations and experiences. There’s all of this and more when Eye on Travel broadcasts from the Now Larimar in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Click here to listen to the show streaming live from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 11, 2020.
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George Hobica, Travel Expert, Journalist and Founder of Airfare Watchdog, gives his predictions on air travel in 2020. This summer, he anticipates airfares from the U.S. to Europe will remain similar to 2019 prices. You will probably see prices in the range of $1,100 for peak travel for a roundtrip U.S. to Europe ticket, but that is not nearly as high as prices used to be. The issues surrounding the 737 Max have changed a lot of airlines’ plans. The 737 Max coming back into regular operation is not about the FAA, but it’s about foregin regulators not letting it fly in their space until they certify it.
Ellen Mannaert, Editor and Co-Founder of Best of Punta Cana, unveils some of the best places that locals go in Punta Cana. A few years ago, she sold her business and moved to Punta Cana. Her family wanted a different life for a year, and now six years later, she has no plans of moving. Although she loves the people who go to and work at the resorts, there is much more to the island than hotels. One of her favorite things to do is to take an ATV ride through the mountains. She wants people to go see the island beyond the beaches. If you are looking for beaches though, head to Macau beach on Sundays. There, you’ll find a mixture of tourists and locals.
Sylvia Mendez, Co-Founder of Rescatame Animal Rescue in Punta Cana, explains why her and other expats came together to form the organization that helps combat the stray animal situations on the island. There are no shelters on this part of the island. Although there’s no physical shelter, the organization offers basic medical care and feeds animals on the island. Since 2013, the organization has spayed and neutered over 4,000 dogs and cats. If you want to get involved, there are weekly round-ups on Saturdays and Sundays, where you can join organization members as they feed animals and hold spaying events. The organization is also very familiar with the airline and transportation process of cats and dogs back to the states and Canada. If you fall in love with an animal while on an outing, the organizer will help you bring it home.
Richard Bangs, Author, Filmmaker, TV Personality and “father of modern adventure travel,” speaks about how recent political events will affect trips to Iran. His previously scheduled trips to Iraq and Kurdistan may also now not happen as tensions rise in the Middle East. Then, Bangs speaks about his other upcoming adventures to Ethiopia. Africa has been a favorite destination of his for a long time. There are 54 different countries in Africa, and all of them are unique and with their own experiences to be had. He is concerned with the number of elephants that have disappeared in the last few decades. Poaching has become a bigger issue as more people travel to the continent, and drought also contributes to decline in their numbers.
Wanda Compres, Author of Greater than a Tourist – Dominican Republic: 50 Travel Tips from a Local, talks about her favorite off the beaten path places in the Dominican Republic. One of her favorite things about Punta Cana is how accessible it is to get around. You don’t need a car. You can get on public transportation, a bike or an ATV. You can even ride a horse between the beaches. She wants people to get out into the forests, explore the mangroves, and experience authentic Dominican Republic cuisine.
Ashlee Dubinsky, American Expat, Jewelry Maker and Founder of Expat Turned Islander Shop, describes her childhood trips to the island and how her family fell in love with the island. As an adult, she decided to move to the Dominican Republic and make a home here. Now, years later, many of her friends ask when she’s moving back, but she currently has no plans of returning to the United States permanently. One of the ways she’s engrossed herself in the community is with her own pop-up jewelry shop. She repurposes what is basically trash and makes it new again. She takes sea glass, broken glass that’s been tumbled and smoothed by the sea, and turns it into jewelry. She also shares what it’s like to be a single woman living in the Dominican Republic. She feels safe here and encourages people to come and visit the island.
Oscar Cerda, Pilot, Founder of Punta Cana Flight Tours, Host of Hola Punta Cana Radio Show and Punta Cana Foodie Festival, speaks about the best places to eat in Punta Cana. There’s a great place for bagels in Punta Cana Village and although it may not be a New York bagel, it’s still pretty good. Also, in Punta Cana Village, there’s Pranama, an Indian restaurant ran by Indian expats. Then, he explains what Mamajuana is and the variations on the island. Be careful what kind you have though, you might find some surprises soaking inside.