By Teena Clipston.
There is a certain allure to Luperon that has captivated many a cruiser, and when it comes to Hurricane Holes, the Bay of Luperon is without a doubt one of the safest places to be. While Luperon may not be for everyone all of the time, let’s get down to the reason you want to head there during Hurricane season.
Luperon is on the north coast of the Dominican Republic in the province of Puerto Plata. The topography of Hispaniola comprises a high mountain range that tends to knock the wind out of any hurricane coming from the south. A perfect example of this can be seen with the latest incoming hurricane, Hurricane Matthew. Matthew, a category 4 storm, hit Haiti on October 5 with winds up to 230 kilometers per hour and torrential rains leaving parts of Haiti in devastation. According to Mourad Wahba, a UN official in Haiti, this hurricane makes for the largest humanitarian crisis since the devastating earthquake of 2010.
And not so far away from this devastation sits the hurricane hole, Luperon Bay.
Cruiser Andy Bamba currently at anchor on SV Bamba Maru in the Luperon Bay, watched the storm go by.
“Matthew passed only about 150 miles west of us. We hardly got a drop of rain and no trace of storm wind,” he said. “If we did not know what is on the way there, we would probably not even have noticed. Apart from a dense cloud cover and menacing rumble in the distance, nothing happened—at least not in the hurricane hole at Luperon.”
The storm has also wreaked havoc on Cuba and now blows into the Bahamas and will possibly make its way to the eastern coast of the US.
Luperon Bay is sheltered and contains an extensive amount of mangroves, and a muddy bottom. At approximately 160,000 square meters with a natural depth of 3 to 5 meters, it is a perfect place to watch storms go by. It can and does hold 100s of boats from travellers around the world.
The town of Luperon
You can resupply here. The town of Luperon has almost everything you will need including markets, a hospital, restaurants, and more (if you can’t find what you need here you will find it in the nearby city of Puerto Plata). As well, you can find marinas like Marina Blanco, hull out services at Marina Tropical, Freddy’s new and used sailboat parts, and Sastreria El Flaco repair and sail maker—all in the town of Luperon.
However, like I said earlier, the town may not be for everyone all of the time. Luperon is a rural town, somewhat dusty and dirty. You cannot swim in the bay, there are many stray dogs roaming about filled with tics, and the town has a bit of bad reputation for corruption, although town members are rectify this. There is also, unfortunately, a forgotten all-inclusive resort that lines the nearby beautiful beach of Playa Grande. The failing resort was a big strike against the Luperon economy and efforts are in place to reopen the establishment. Those things aside, Luperon is also one of the safest places to be on the island. The people here are some of the friendliest, and are willing to help out whenever they can. There is also no begging in this town, unlike ‘tourist’ towns—you will not be approached to purchase souvenir trinkets or followed in the streets for money. At least not in my experience. And nearby you can find some great beaches and beautiful scenery. If the culture of a Third World country is what you are looking for, then Luperon is for you. If you are looking for your morning Starbucks you might set your sights on another destination, or toughen up—after all, it is one of the best hurricane holes this side of the Caribbean.
For more information on cruising to Luperon, I would recommend reading Passages South, The Thornless Path to Windward by Bruce Van Sant. Visit http://www.thornlesspath.com/ to meet the author and order your copy. Also stay tuned for CruiserTV’s upcoming episode with the Bruce Van Sant interview, and upcoming interviews with other cruisers in the bay at www.cruisertv.com.
More photos to come on our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/cruisertv/
by Teena Clipston