Monkey Island, fresh ground coffee beans, and fresh cocoa powder- just a summary of our day three on this beautiful, exotic island.
I started my day with a cup of coffee, with milk of course, and a tasty breakfast of banana bread and fresh-cut pineapple. Afterwards, my husband and I laid out by the pool where I read A Game of Thrones, the first book in the epic saga. We swam with our nieces and nephews for a bit, before grabbing some lunch, which had authentic red bean sauce over rice, and some more pineapple.
We then took off for Monkey Island, a wonderful excursion experience that allows you to be surrounded by spider monkeys. The staff let us feed them and take photos of them, unlike other excursions that charge per photo. The staff were also very knowledgeable and truly cared about the well-being of the animals, as they required everyone to wash off their arms if they had recently put on lotion, sunscreen, or bug repellant before entering the area. They also required everyone to wash their shoes, and they reminded everyone to remain calm, and directed us to remain still when the monkeys were around our feet.
Afterwards, we were then brought to a cocoa processing plant. The staff showed us the process of how they harvest the cocoa beans. First they pick the beans, then roast them over a fire in a big pot, and then grind them into a powder. The staff added cinnamon, and pure and natural brown sugar, making a delicious mix that can be made into a hot chocolate, or eaten just the way it is. The cocoa is very rich, and almost has a dark taste to it, but it’s absolutely amazing. The entire group was also able to try fresh-ground coffee with or without sugar, hot chocolate, and Mamajuana, an alcoholic beverage made with pure vanilla.
My husband and I purchase some ground coffee and pure cocoa powder to take home, and we are so excited to use them! I hope I can make some homemade hot chocolate, or even bake some brownies with the cocoa powder, and compare it to powders in the US.
On the way back from the excursion, we were able to see the outskirts of Bavaro. Unfortunately we saw a lot of shacks, whether from poverty or from recent storms. What we loved was that there was so much room for cows, steer, and horses to roam and grow. We also saw beautiful landscapes and huge hills, where apparently some of Jurassic Park was filmed.
Tomorrow, we are so excited to have the day to relax and enjoy some more sunshine. The only reason I’m excited to head back to the states is so I can upload the photos from my Nikon D200.