Sunday, April 3, 2011

Marina Zar Par at Boca Chica

Marina Zar Par from the Captains' Lounge

The beach and seaside picnic areas at Boca Chica

The local kids' sailing club in action
Farther east along the southern coast of the Dominican Republic is the tourist town of Boca Chica.  Though we rarely stay at marinas, in this area there aren’t many places to just anchor out, so we pulled into the Marina Zar Par.  What a terrific place.  The manager, Raul, was incredibly friendly and helpful, coming out in a boat to lead us around the shallow sand bar and to our mooring.  There are clean showers, a laundry, a marine store nearby, walking distance to town for banks and shopping, local fabricators if you need something for a boat project, and a little inexpensive, on-site restaurant/bar – what more could a cruiser ask for, and for only $18 per night?  To top it off, Frank Virgintino, who wrote the cruising guide to the DR south coast (as well as others, available free online at that we’re using, was in residence.  Frank is one of the owners of the marina, a very nice guy, and a font of information.  Not only did we get invaluable tips from him for cruising the DR, but he also hosted a lunch for cruisers, and bought several of us beers one day while we were relaxing and talking at the restaurant.  It was interesting to note that, at the cruisers’ luncheon, that we were the only Americans, in company with cruisers from Canada, Argentina, France, Belgium, and Spain, among others.  Quite different from someplace like the Bahamas, where the majority of the cruisers are Americans, followed heavily by Canadians, with a smattering of folk from other places around the world.  That said, Boca Chica being a vacation spot for Dominicans, it was just like on-the-water vacation spots in the U.S., especially on the weekend.  Jet skis zoomed around, powerboats pulled skiers, and loads of motor yachts anchored off of the small island nearby.  For those of you in Tampa Bay, think Egmont Key on a summer weekend – out of control.
Power-boat city: the weekend hangout anchorage

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