This July a client asked that we travel to the Dominican Republic to experience their luxury villas first-hand and share our personal experiences across our social media channels. Our goal was to capture images, photos, social media content and 360 degree videos for their digital ads to drive leads for real estate sales. We returned with roughly 1000 raw photos during the course of six days. Overall, it was an incredible trip. Not only did we experience the culture, we participated in several excursions including jumping into waterfalls, horseback riding in the mountains, interacting with monkeys, dancing on the beach and more.
We had the amazing opportunity to hike through a Dominican rainforest and jump off the most impressive waterfalls at a famous tourist spot called 27 Waterfalls. During the wet season, waterfalls overwhelm the island and can be accessed by hiking through the lush forests of the Dominican. These waterfalls can be as tall as 25 feet. The water is sourced from the surrounding mountains, which makes it crisp and refreshing to swim in. Of course, participants are lead by guides through the forest and required to wear helmets throughout the hike. It was an exhilarating experience and one I will never forget.
Dominican horses are incredibly friendly and commonly used for transportation around the island. These horses are also slightly smaller than horses in the United States, which makes them easier for first-time horseback riders like myself. We also had an amazing guide Tommy, who spent several hours with us crossing rivers and more. Once the ride was over, we ate a traditional Dominican lunch at his ranch.
The Dominican Republic is also known for its iconic population of monkeys. These outgoing creatures are best viewed from sanctuaries on the island. The Monkey Jungle, created to preserve the Spider Monkey species on the island, is a place where visitors can enter the sanctuaries to get an up close experience, especially during feeding time. This was one of my favorite experiences in the DR. I’m an animal lover so perhaps this was why it was my most treasured experience. However, I will admit, I was very skeptical at first of the monkeys using me as a tree while they ate their tasty banana and grape snacks! The monkeys are not to be touched or held during this interaction since they are still wild creatures.
In contrast to all of the exciting adventures and experiences available in the Puerto Plata region, the beaches are incredibly serene and private. Food can be delivered from local restaurants and brought to the guests while relaxing on the beach. The best part about the Dominican Republic is that the beautiful, sunny weather can almost always be guaranteed, which makes beach days easy to plan. We had VIP treatment while enjoying umbrella shade and massages on the beach from two local Dominican women who provide relaxing spa-type treatments. If that wasn’t heaven on Earth, we also had amazing cocktails made from fresh and locally-sourced produce along with an exquisite yet simple oceanside lunch thanks to Freddy’s.
The Dominican trip is the first of many to come. Our citizen journalism approach offered a unique and custom experience for the client. The new content has drastically increased the volume of leads generated, and we were able to incorporate new tactics by experiencing the villas and culture first-hand. The social media takeover on the villas channels and sharing content across our personal accounts, offered additional value and credibility for the brand. It was a great gift to be able to collaborate with the client and create new programs of value through this very special project.