When Aaron and I travel, we are on a constant search for lodging, food, activities, and transportation that are in line with our views on moderation and eco-friendly practices as much as possible. This is not always easy as we are also generally on a tight budget. On our recent trip to the Dominican Republic, we lucked out when we stumbled upon a jewel of a place in Las Galeras.

La Hacienda is an eco-friendly hostel located near Las Galeras beach in the Dominican Republic. With stunning views and a peaceful atmosphere, Aaron and I almost couldn’t believe our luck at finding this tucked-away accommodation.

Located near the popular tourist town of Samana, La Hacienda is small but offers several choices for accommodations. Prices range from $12 US for a tent to $60 US for two adjoining rooms meant for families (or larger groups). Dorm beds, a single room, and a double room are also available. All of the rooms are simple but clean and each has a fan for warmer weather.

A stay at La Hacienda is an eco-friendly stay. It is not for those looking for the all-inclusive resort experience. Karin, the owner, gathers rain water from the roof, grows food in the garden (which guests can enjoy), has installed cold-water-only showers, and provides fans for cooling off- no air conditioners. Karin takes eco-friendly seriously. It may not suit everyone’s tastes but for those who are concerned about the footstep they leave behind when they travel, La Hacienda is the place to be. Travelers who like nature and choose to trek to La Hacienda will not be disappointed. The views are stunning, Karin is full of information and anecdotes, and the peace of the surrounding area is palpable.

For those seeking activities off the beaten path and a bit of adventure, Karin runs several excursions ranging from day trips to local Taino sites to overnight excursions on deserted beaches. She is a truly unique and creative guide who also raises the 10 horses she uses to transport guests on their excursions.

For guests traveling as a family, La Hacienda has plenty to offer. There is a set of adjoining rooms that includes a private bathroom, a kitchen that is fully available for guests to use, nearby beaches with shallow wading areas, a range of friendly animals (horses, dogs, cats), and a garden.

Karin is the Belgian founder of La Hacienda and knows the area well. She has lots of information on the threatened ecology and sordid politics of the area but those who want the interesting details will have to venture out and engage Karin themselves…. we can’t give all her secrets away for free!

We will tell you this…. if you can get to Las Galeras, you should. The area may not stay as it currently is for very long. The peacefulness and natural beauty of the area may soon give way to the tourist culture that have claimed so many of the world’s gorgeous beaches and natural destinations. Resorts are moving in and corruption and greed may ruin the natural perfection that is Las Galeras.

If you appreciate simplicity and eco-friendly travel, do yourself a favor and get yourself to La Hacienda in Las Galeras for an authentic Dominican experience in a beautiful, natural setting.