Cost of Trip?
Our fee is $800. That does not include airfare. It does cover your meals, transportation for the week (including to and from the airport), entrance fees to free day activities we have planned for you, and the cost of the required COVID testing to fly home. Some groups do bring money to eat lunch in Luperón on one of their off days but that is up to each group. Also, most groups bring some money for gift shopping. We suggest between $25-$50.
Flights will be booked by your group leader, with help from the mission. Flights either come into Santiago (STI) or Puerto Plata (POP). If it is not possible to all come in on the same flight, know that the first group to arrive will most likely need to wait for their entire crew to arrive before we can bring you all to our property.
Where will we stay? What do we need to bring to sleep in?
You and your crew will be staying on our mission’s property. It is a beautiful 16 acre piece of property surrounded by a very picturesque landscape of a river, mountains, and pastures. We have 2 shelters which are open on 3 sides, with a shower and an outhouse.
We recommend each participant bring a hammock to sleep in with an attached mosquito net. We have also had some crews bring tents. It is up to you and your crew. Campmor.com has some nice, affordable hammocks with mosquito nets. There are many other places as well.
If you and your crew are coming in the fall or spring, the temperature does drop at night. Many people find having a blanket with them in their hammock helps. If you and your crew are coming in the summer, many people are comfortable with a normal bed sheet in their hammock.
What to wear?
Overall, we ask that participants wear clothing that is respectable and appropriate. Very revealing clothes can and will draw unwanted attention. Please also be smart as far as breathable material. It gets very hot in the Dominican sunshine. We do have VMM baseball caps for sale. Please email Charlie Garrison at Chaglog@aol.com to order.
For construction crews:
You will get hot, sweaty, and quite dirty on your work days! Please bring clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Also, on the construction site, while boots are safest, any sturdy closed toe shoe or sneaker is acceptable.
For medical crews:
You should bring at least one set of scrubs for the morning visiting the hospital. For clinics and house visits, you can wear what you feel comfortable in. Some groups are in scrubs for the week, while others are not. It is up to you and your crew. When walking around villages you will want sturdy shoes.
What do we do on our off days?
Your first off day will be a motorcycle ride to Christopher Columbus’ first settlement. There is a small museum and some interesting ruins to walk around. You will then have some time to walk around the port city of Luperón. This is where some groups buy their own lunch. You will spend your afternoon enjoying a beautiful beach.
On your second day off, we bring you and your crew to the Damajagua River. There you will meet up with a couple of tour guides that lead you through a forest trail leading to the foot of the river. You and your crew will then climb up 7 tiers of the waterfall and either jump or slide down each one. Please bring closed toed shoes that you can wear in the water for this. That afternoon you and your crew will hold a carnival in a local village playing with children of all ages.
What do we need to do to be ready for the carnival?
As the kids come into the area where we are putting on the carnival, we will give them a coloring page and a couple of crayons. This is their ticket in. They color, write their name and age on it, and hand it back in. Please bring with you 1-2 coloring books and several crayons for this.
The kids will then go around the stations your group has set up. The activities for each station are up to your crew. Some favorites have been face painting, relay races, balloon animals, nail painting, ring toss, beading necklaces or bracelets, any arts and craft projects, jump ropes, parachute games, and bubbles. Be creative! The kids love that they get your time, attention, and of course lots of love. In one of your preparation meetings, spend some time coming up with creative things to do with the kids.
At the end of the carnival, we read off each of the names on the coloring pages. Each child comes up and gets a prize or goodie bag. Small goodie bags should be made ahead of time. Some things that we suggest are tooth brushes, pens, pencils, bouncy balls, candy, small toys, tennis balls, matchbox cars, bracelets, or silly straws. Again, please be creative!
For smaller groups (under 12 people) plan on bringing roughly 40-50 goodie bags. For larger groups (12+ people), plan on bringing 75-100 goodie bags.
What kinds of bugs will I see?
There are mosquitos. With bug spray during the day, and mosquito nets on your hammocks, they are not an issue.
Due to being in a rural area, crews do sometimes find ants, cockroaches, tarantulas, and other large spiders, usually at night. Like all bugs and animals, if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone. They are looking to eat other bugs, not you. If you bring snacks, you will want to hang them so ants don’t help themselves to it first.
Can I bring snacks?
Your 3 meals a day will be prepared by local women. Lunches on your work days will be peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with fruit and juice, other than that, our cooks will mainly be preparing you Dominican dishes.
With that being said, many groups do bring down snacks like peanuts or trail mix, protein bars, granola bars, and crackers. Many groups also bring Gatorade mix. You are welcome to bring whatever you would like. Remember to put the snacks in a plastic ziplock so they are easy to hang up on a clothes line in your shelter.
Is it safe?
Whether you are home or in another country, if you leave a brand new iPhone or camera out and unattended, it will probably grow legs and walk away. We do not recommend groups bring anything they would not mind if it disappeared or got destroyed. However, we do realize that everyone wants to take photos and videos to remember their trip, and therefore to just be careful where you leave your personal items of value.
While we do recommend any participant take a buddy with them if they would like to walk around, it is an extremely safe area. We as a mission have been working in the Luperón area for the past 15 years. Villagers know who we are and what we are doing there. They are very open and welcoming to all who are a part of our mission. We have even had staff living in and among these communities.
While being as safe as we can, accidents do happen. There are local hospitals about 20-30 minutes from where we are, and private medical clinics in Puerto Plata and Santiago about 1-1 ½ hours from where we are.
What else should we bring?
We do have a suggested packing list for both construction crews and medical crews. See buttons for packing lists on Take The Trip Front Page. Groups also usually bring gifts for the families they are building for, and sometimes other Dominican staff they work with through the week. Groups may leave their dirty clothes, shoes, sheets, towels, half used toiletries, etc. We bring them to churches in the communities we work in. They then distribute to those most in need.