At the end of 2016, Óscar and the writer, José Carlos, decided to pay tribute to our hard year of work in the Caribbean. The year had been long in our respective jobs. He in a travel agency. I am the marketing director of a company whose name I keep.
The image of resting on the beaches of Punta Cana, honestly, we liked it. We really liked it.
Rest, relaxation, a couple of books that we had halfway through, a volleyball game or the mere fact of doing nothing, was the final touch to a few long working months.
No more bosses for two weeks.
No more meetings.
No more cold in a Spain that lived in those days at a few degrees below zero.
The flight left on Tuesday, December 16 at 5:30 p.m. from Barajas airport, but we had our bags checked in from 2:00 p.m.
We were traveling on Air Europa, possibly the best company that offers flights to the Caribbean. The flight was complete. Getting a seat on that plane was more difficult than buying a ticket to the latest Justin Bieber concert.
After more than 8 hours of flight, a couple of turbulence and the occasional nap, Óscar and I finally landed in the Dominican Republic. The palm trees of that airport hit me from the window of my seat. The humidity, when leaving the door of the plane.
We took a couple of photos on the sign that said "Punta Cana". We had to capture the moment and let our family and friends know that we had finally arrived in paradise.
It was time to collect the suitcase. The humidity and heat (despite being at night) was only combated by fans installed on the roof of that airport. Obviously, they were insufficient for all the heat-thirsty tourists that we crowded there.
Once we had our suitcases in our possession, we got on a bus (or guagua) that would direct us to our hotel.
The trip was entertaining. A Dominican girl took the microphone of that bus to tell us what our vacations in Punta Cana would be like. Schedules, customs, food, drink, ... Oscar and I, all right.
We finally arrived at the hotel, where a man with very good manners was waiting for us who offered to accompany us along with our suitcases to the reception of the resort. Of course we accept.
Check-in became more bearable when a girl brought us a cocktail of _______ (put what you want here because I don't remember what it was from). He was rich.
Views to the beach.
Beds of "marriage of many years".
Bathroom with two sinks.
That night we were short. We went out to dinner at the hotel 24h a pizza and quickly to sleep.
You had to take advantage of the morning on the beach.
Soon the first rays of sunlight began to show through our window. We calculated that for clarity, it would be around 9:00 in the morning.
But it was 7:00 a.m. In Punta Cana he gets up early until the sun.
We take the opportunity to finish placing the clothes and suitcases in the closet. Well folded. No wrinkles.
We went out for breakfast around 8:00 a.m. and the buffet was full. The Russians kept the cook who made the tortillas busy. The Swedes filled the plates with chocolate cakes. Germans were queuing at a coffee machine that literally fumed ...
We, who are Spanish, ordered a coffee accompanied by a tomato bar from the waiter who kindly sat us at a table on the terrace. He brought us coffee. We had to prepare the bar ourselves.
With a full stomach, we investigated the hotel. The reception, the bar, the beach, the restaurants, the shops, the lobby.
We were surprised to see the Christmas decorations in that heat. Santa's reindeer, the tree with its lights and balls, ...
And we in a swimsuit.
With the hotel map in our head, we decided that it was a good idea to do a couple of excursions in Punta Cana. It is not every day that we travel to the Caribbean and we wanted to know the culture of a country as exotic as the Dominican Republic.
Following the indications of a lady at the reception, we crossed a door where a man in a suit was waiting for us. His nameplate said "Jackson Clerge." We did not know it, but that was the first of many meetings that we would have later.
After 15 minutes of meeting, Jackson sold us the tour to Santo Domingo and the excursion to Isla Saona. Among his catalog, there were other interesting activities, but they had told us very well about these two and we did not doubt it.
Óscar and I, with our homework done in terms of excursions, left that room wanting to go to the beach.
We prepare the towel, the flip flops, the sunglasses and the sun cream and we go in search of the sea.
Installed on a deck chair with an umbrella and with a soft drink that a waiter brought us from the beach bar, we discussed the possibility of doing a business in Punta Cana: rental of tourist apartments, a restaurant, a shop, ... any idea was always good and when the Dominican Republic was the country where we would carry out our work.
The conversation along with our ideas stayed there.
Three days later, we did our first excursion, Santo Domingo.
A cloudy day dawned, with a lot of wind and the typical humidity of this area of the Caribbean.
We get up an hour in advance to be able to have breakfast in peace.
At 08:00 a.m. we were in the hotel lobby, which was the pick-up location for the tour. An hour separated us from the capital.
The bus trip was enlivened by a CD of Juan Luis Guerra's greatest hits.
We arrived in Santo Domingo around 9:15 and as soon as we set foot in the city, the first drops of those clouds began to fall, which were thankful for hiding the sun.
The first visit we made was the Three Eyes National Park, a cave that is a must if you are in Santo Domingo. I loved.
Next, we went to see the cathedral, located in a colonial city and declared a world heritage site by UNESCO, and the historic monument to Christopher Columbus.
Our next stop was the amber museum, but those drops that seemed to remain in a passing cloud became a deluge that was accompanied by a tremendous wind. The tables and chairs on the terraces of a bar were overturned in just a few seconds.
When it rains in the Caribbean, it really rains.
We took refuge in that bar. It was full of tourists who, like us, were looking for a place to spend that downpour.
After a coffee, a muffin and a shot of Mamajuana, the storm gave way and allowed us to continue our tour.
The rest of the tour went as planned. We visited the rum museum, the Ozama fortress, the monument to Fray Antonio de Montesinos, and a brief visit to the Santo Domingo boardwalk.
At around 4:30 p.m. and with a bag of souvenirs bought in a store designed for tourists from large families, like mine, we were back on the bus that was heading back to our resort.
In the lobby we met Jackson, who had already been informed of that storm that surprised us in the capital.
He looked at us.
We not so much.
Two days after that excursion, we had a visit to Isla Saona by catamaran.
That activity does not deserve more than a couple of lines from this story.
Everything went according to plan.
Typical dances on the catamaran (bachata), a little beer, as much rum and a lobster that was very tasty, were enough to give our best to the guides who accompanied us.
The next day, Jackson met us in the lobby. It was our last day of vacation in Punta Cana and he wanted to receive feedback on his excursions.
We tell you everything that happened: the tour of Santo Domingo passed through water, the proximity of the guides and entertainers, how rich the lobster was on Isla Saona ...
He was glad and sat down with us.
After more than half an hour of conversation, Óscar told him that he worked for a travel agency and I, that I was dedicated to digital marketing for a renowned company.
The puzzle was perfect. No parts were missing.
Jackson told us that he was looking to create a tour operator company in the Caribbean, but he lacked what we could offer him: a website, a marketing strategy and someone who knew how to treat customers.
He left us his card along with a "call me".
That trip, unknowingly, was the trigger for what we now know as JackCana Tours.