The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with its neighbor Haiti and was colonized by Columbus in 1492. As an outsider it was a fascinating, beautiful, and geologically diverse place to visit; from the urban centers of Santo Domingo and San Cristobal to the small towns of Las Terrenas, Las Salinas and beyond. Traveling by car across this Island Nation was exhilarating, scary, and eye-opening from a privileged tourist perspective. While traveling to more touristy locations like Punta Cana and visiting off-the-beaten-path places, there is a stark difference in lifestyle for the visitors and the locals. This is abundantly clear in the gated communities and Resorts that separate the tourist from the often impoverished workers and residents living in nearby Barrios. At the heart of it all is a truly beautiful, unique, and at times absurd place.