On our first full day in our new home-away-from-home my mom and I took a long walk on the beach and found ourselves in giggles. The beach at Bavaro is very different then the beaches we had just visited in the southwest. Boasting one of the longest stretches of white sand in the Caribbean, Bavaro has become home to a large number of all-inclusive resorts. And with the resorts come the people – people of all shapes, sizes, and sensibilities.
I found myself with similar giggly impressions during my first visit to this beach in the spring of 2010. But 2 ½ nearly beach-free years distanced this particular memory which allowed me to view the crowded beach that recent sunny morning as if for the first time. In the past few years the Dominican Republic has gained quite a bit in popularity due to its tropical climate, gorgeous oceans, and concentration of affordable all-inclusive resorts. It was even named one of Lonely Planet’s top travel destinations of 2013. But although American tourists are certainly on the rise here, it is the Europeans that are really flocking to these beaches.
Let me be clear: I love Europeans. My limited experience with these diverse cultures has left me envious on numerous occasions of their history and accessibility to a number of totally different worlds. Our country and theirs are directly connected, and I’ve always found Europeans easy to relate to and get along with. But there is one big point of conflict between us – our differing views on appropriate swimwear.
Basically what I’m trying to say is: there are a lot of speedos on this beach. And a lot of small swimming attire in general.
Now, I’ve never considered myself a prude. I’ve been rocking some pretty sweet bikinis myself lately. I’ve always believed full-heartedly in the mantra that if you got it, you should flaunt it. What left us in giggles that morning on the beach wasn’t necessarily the size of the swimsuits; it was the size of the people.
My mom and I joked that Stacey and Clinton from the TLC show ‘What Not to Wear’ should come to Bavaro and do a beach edition. There seemed to be a lot of people who just didn’t know what worked for them wandering about. The best part of this scene was not just who was wearing what, but what these people were doing in these ridiculously small outfits. There was the predictable – swimming and strolling and sleeping. But then there were the large, speedo-clad gentlemen duo taking pictures of each other wrapped around palm trees, or the beach-side dance contests. If I only had a video camera, I thought to myself, I would make a fortune winning America’s Funniest Home Videos.
But after a few days of walking the beach my prudish perspective started to change. I realized that there was something else these people had in common besides their small swimming suits. They were all having the time of their lives. No matter what they were doing or what they were wearing, everyone on this beach, for whatever reason, had a huge grin plastered to their face – myself included. And who am I to judge how a person achieves joy and happiness? So I decided I needed to stop being such a Grinch.
So, after 2 glorious weeks camped on this lovely stretch of sandy shore, here is my official advice for what to wear while on the beach at Bavaro:
Whatever the hell you want.