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Most North Coast travelers arrange their activities and tours through the company that sold their travel package. Most such companies do a decent job, but there are also a few independent tour operators in the region.
In Sosúa, multilingual Alf's Tours has been a mainstay for years. Iguana Mama, in Cabarete, specializes in adventure sports, having a reputation for being the most safety-oriented, reliable, and fun tour company.
Tours, Trips, Treks & Travel, founded by a veteran Iguana Mama trip leader who adheres to the tenet of experiential learning, specializes in educational, adventure, and other programs for groups; the company does cultural tours that employ local experts.
Brianda Tours, in Abreu, services the area from Playa Grande all the way to Cabrera, and will take smaller groups than Iguana Mama. The trilingual staff takes clients to Gri Gri Lagoon for diving and snorkeling, on horseback riding excursions, on fishing trips, and on sightseeing tours that might include stops at local villages where you can meet the locals. Prices are moderate, and can be customized for groups.
Outback Safari in Puerto Plata operates the wildly decorated open trucks that take groups into the Dominican countryside, stopping at fruit plantations, schools, and local homes to see how people live. This will get you out of the AI compound or your luxury villa and give you more of a feel for what the countryside is like. These touristy trips may not be to the liking of everyone: they're booze buses with loud music, though many kids seem to like them. Outback goes as far as the Playa Grande area, and villa guests staying in Abreu or Cabrera can meet up with them there. Given substantial advance notice, they may provide pickup even in Cabrera. Tours leave at either 8 or 9 am and return at 4 or 4:30 pm; expect to pay $79.
Private tours are another option. You should expect to pay $125 a day for a guide, and figure $100 for the transportation, which can be a reasonable cost for a group of four or more. Personalized tours can include beautiful waterfalls, freshwater lagoons, secret jungle paths, or almost any other adventure you can name. Your hotel or rental villa management company will be able to hook you up with good drivers and English-speaking guides.
Alf's Tours. In Sosúa, multilingual Alf's Tours has been a mainstay for years. Calle Pedro Clisante 12, across from North Coast Dive Center, El Batey, Sosúa. 809/571-9904. www.alftour.com.
Iguana Mama (Calle Principal, Cabarete. 809/571-0908. www.iguanamama.com.)
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