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Reviewed 12 March 2012

Jurassic Park has the potential to be a really great retreat - and as the other positive reviews say, it is a charmingly down-to-earth and unique way to experience the Dominican. However, although my boyfriend and I had booked 3 weeks here, we chose to leave after 4 days. This was not because there was anything 'wrong' with the place, but because it didn't quite meet our needs.
We are outdoorsy Canadians - we love camping and hiking, we spend lots of time in the woods back home, and we are not squeamish about bugs. That being said, this was a working holiday for us, and we were (sadly) reliant on having internet and bright, quiet rooms to work in for a few hours each day. Not ideal circumstances to be travelling under, but particularly not ideal circumstances to stay at Jurassic Park.
I'd like to share my honest impressions, both positive and negative, of these lodgings, in the hopes that potential guests will choose it for what makes it unique, without any false expecations.

Pros:
-Absolutely stunning jungle setting in the hills - lush and green - beautiful walking all over the huge property
-A real 'authentic' feel - lots of friendly local workers, and surrounded by Dominican-owned homes and farms.Totally away from the touristy areas.
-A hostel kind of vibe, very communal - group dinners are held outside and efforts are made to create a 'family and friends' atmosphere
-Owners are warm, friendly, and very happy to help (plan excursions, give directions, etc) - and they have two very charming children

Things you should be aware of (which will be Cons for some people and not for others):
-It takes over an hour to walk into town or to the beach and bicycles are not really an option. So you either have to rent a vehicle or take motoconchos.
-Unfortunately, when we were there, there was a lot of noise. Sometimes until halfway through the night. Workers were frequently outside our bungalow, and there was loud music from an adjacent property, babies crying, dogs barking, motorcycles coming and going. (Not quite the kind of peace and quiet you'd expect in such a remote setting. But maybe it's not like that all the time?)
-We had 2 units, and the water pressure in both of them was almost non-existent. I can cope with a cold shower, but the scant cold trickle posed a challenge.
-There were no fans in the bungalows, and the air in that jungle setting can be very humid. Sheets and towels always felt slightly damp (and they were not changed) and so did our clothes.
-Outgoing people may love the community atmosphere, and not mind having workers right outside one's door/window - but the lack of privacy might be challenging for an introvert.
-The ceilings were unfortunately an issue - as mentioned in the t410g's review
-The rooms were extremely dim - there was only one weak wall light for the whole room, and we actually used headlamps at night to read and cook by.
-The kitchen supplies were extremely minimal - fine for a few days, but difficult to make do with, longer-term.

I am not trying to pick apart Jurassic Park, and we could have accepted all the above-mentioned items if we didn't have work-related needs. But it would be fantastic if Dominic and Helena could address these issues or adjust the website to reflect the accommodations more accurately.

Date of stay: January 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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6  Thank AliciaMargaret
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 February 2012

My hubby and I went to Las Terrenas in February 2012. This was the first time visiting the island and we had amazing time. Helen, Dominic and children were so amazing...We arrived at 3pm Saturday after a midnight flight from Calgary. Tired but not wanting to miss anything we took up an offer from the owners of Jurrasic Park Motel to go out on the town that night. We had a great time at a few places that night! I enjoyed my hubby dancing as I was just too tired that evening to do so. Helen can sure dance too! Jurrasic Park Motel was what we were looking for. Quite, out of the busy town of Las Terrenas and close to the jungle. Cabins are equiped with what you need for cooking. If your missing anything, you just have to ask and they will try and help you locate what you need. Privacy is what we wanted and so if we needed our room cleaned we would just ask and it was done. Remember you are in the jungle so yes there are bugs. Screens on the windows and doors did the trick as we really did not have any issues. It was great getting to know Helen and Dominic and we can't wait until we have time to visit again this year. Lots of work has been done to this location as I have seen by previewing older pictures and such. We noticed that the cabins are being painted and cabenets sanded down for new stain. Should look great when they are done. Floors are ceremac and cool on the feet in this warm paradise... Had a dip in the pool a couple of times and wow it felt great. Natural spring water - no chemicals which makes it even more enjoyable. Night time my hubby and I would sit by the pool and listen to the crickets and watch the fire flys. Such amazing moments we will never forget... Jurrasic Park Motel is rustic, however if you want to be apart of nature and get a real taste of Las Terrenas this is the place to be. If you enjoy the sounds of nature, colors of the rainbow all around you, a true place of peace you will love it here. In all my years of travel and especially on the islands there is stuff you don't have that we are all use to having. Lots of water pressure, temp. of the shower water is not like at home, however after a hot day in the sun a cooler shower feels better. I have always choosen the places far away from the busy resort traps as I want to be with the locals and not with other travellers. It is always so interesting in getting to know the people in there own surroundings. Fabulous Folk live in Las Terrenas. My hubby and I plan on going back this year to Las Terrenas and have already asked Helen and Dominic to save us a cabin. Again if you like rustic, back to nature, beauty like you have never seen before, RENT this place!!!!!!

Date of stay: February 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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1  Thank litonann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 January 2012

I love staying at bnbs and camping so staying at a hotel set in the mountains sounded ideal. I reviewed all of the ratings for this inn at airbnb and their website. I looked at all of the pictures and decided that I would stay at Jurassic Park Hotel. I was lulled in by the natural setting and the promise of peace. Do not be fooled like I was. This hotel is awful. All of the rooms are water damaged. The inn keeper told us that they have a problem with water leaking in through the ceiling so they keep repainting the ceiling before guest arrive. The room we had was not repainted and there was black mold and/or discoloration all over the ceilings and walls. There was exposed wires everywhere. The bed was damp and smelled like mildew. Since we got in so late we tried covering the bed and linen with new beach towels that we had just purchased. The smell still came through and they soon felt damp. We ended up sleeping trying to sleep fully clothed in long sleeves, pants, and hooded sweat shirts. See the attached pictures. We were going to change rooms but ending up having to leave the hotel after a fire. In order to have hot water you must light your own hot water heater and turn it off as soon as your done using it or else it will catch on fire. Our hot water heater had been damaged in a previous fire. When I went out to light it the first time I noticed that the air outside of the pilot would light up before I had put the flame into the pilot. I suspected a slow leak and thus was very careful to only turn the gas on as low as possible and not to put my hand near the pilot. In the morning I went to light the hot water heater, the leak must have gotten worse, and a huge ball of flames came out and enveloped my hand and arm. Thankfully I was wearing a long sleeve sweat shirt and only my hand was burn. I had to go to the hospital to get treatment for my burns. I received medication and a shot. My burns turned black and charred and the skin eventually fell off leaving behind a nasty discolored skin underneath. We had to change our vacation plans because my hand was bandaged and recurred further medical care. The inn told us they would give us a refund. Upon returning home they refuse to give us a refund and sent us nasty emails stating that they felt that we just wanted to stay some where else and that we are liars and shouldn't get any of our money back. So we are not only out of the money we spent on the inn but also the money we spent for medical care. The inn keeper will direct you away from airbnb.com's website for payment. This way you can not post a review or upload photos of your stay at their inn. The most important reason why you should book through airbnb.com is that airbnb.com will refund you if you run into problems at the inn. For those foolish enough to still be willing to try a stay there, I recommend that you book for only one night and do it through airbnb.com, because I know you will pack your bags and be out of there the next day if not that night. I'm not fussy, but I expect my room to at least be safe. We tried to stay and make the best of it. We were willing to switch rooms, or see about getting a different bed, etc but after the fire we didn't feel safe and we felt foolish for not leaving the day we arrived.

Room tip: Do not stay here, if you are foolish enough to still try pay for only one night at a time and have travelers insurance and health insurance you will need both.
Date of stay: December 2011
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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13  Thank t410g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JurassicParkHotel, Owner at Jurassic Park Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 21 February 2012

It's disheartening to read such a review of our hotel. Our personal priority is to ensure that our guests have an enjoyable, memorable experience during their stay at Jurassic Park. Hence we are happy to impart as much personal knowledge and information, as requested by our guests, prior to and during their stay.

We are genuinely sorry that this guest was disappointed and angry about her stay with us, and we would like to address her concerns.

The guest was burned when attempting to light a pilot light of a water heater. We apologized to the guest at the time, we should not have permitted her to do that, and we immediately took her to seek medical attention. Understandably, the guest was very upset about her accident and we believe that might have affected her recollection of the events because we never lied or misled her in any way about the accommodation and it's amenities, the refund, or anything else.

To avoid any possible problems in the future, we have since installed a completely new solar water heater system that doesn't require pilot lights (see photo).

The guest mentioned mould and water damage on the ceiling and walls of the room. This has been a consistent problem since we moved in. We have resolved the problem by undergoing a month-long renovation of the bungalow roofs (using a professional sealant on the exterior roof), and cleaning, repainting the interiors of the rooms. All of which is now complete (see photos). Also mentioned was a damp bed. Upon thorough investigation, we could not find any evidence of this.

Regarding booking and payment, the guest contacted us initially by phone, via our website, and subsequently booked her stay via our standard payment procedure through PayPal.
The guest was dissatisfied with our initial correspondence with regards to resolving her issues and subsequent request for a full refund so she submitted a dispute, to PayPal, claiming that our hotel was not as advertised. As requested, we submitted all the facts to PayPal, who investigated the matter thoroughly, and they concluded in our favor.

As we clearly advertise, our hotel is in a rural area of the Dominican Republic in a very rustic setting. Even after our renovations, we are still not a 5-star hotel, and we shall never advertise as such.
What you can expect from Jurassic Park is a comfortable bungalow in a spectacular natural setting, hosts who treat you as visiting friends rather than customers, and intimate access to one of the most exciting and dynamic parts of the Dominican Republic.

If you have any questions about our accommodations or travel to Las Terrenas, we're only a phone call or email away.
Helena & Dominic
Jurassic Park Hotel

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 February 2011

Wow! My wife and I were dying to have a different experience -- we're sick of the fancy all-inclusives that have flooded all of DR. And "different" is definitely what we got at Jurassic. I'll admit I was really nervous going into it, but Dominic and wife Helena (the owners) was extremely patient answering all my questions, as trivial as they may have been. In the end, we had a truly memorable experience, and I can't wait to visit again!

The hosts. D&H are absolutely wonderful people with interesting life stories. Their courage to leave a comfortable life behind and settle in such a remote location is inspiring. Our conversations were thought-provoking and challenged us to question what is "normal" in society. Perhaps it's a stretch to say this, but I feel like I am a wiser person after spending three days with these guys. It wasn't all talking and philosophizing though. They were both extremely helpful and pointing us to places and arranging excursions. They're fun people too! We went out with Helena and her friends Thursday night (which is her night out) and had a great time dancing and watching in awe as her other expat friends did their thing on the dance floor. We weren't there Friday night, which is Dom's night out with the guys. But according to him, every Friday night is legendary.

The area. Walking to the property from the main road, we were fuming. We could not believe what we had gotten ourselves into. Getting to the hotel from the main road involves walking up and down a steep unpaved hill, passing onlookers sitting on their front steps, jumping over a small stream of water, and finally up another hill. Though Dominic had warned me about this, I didn't make much of it. Half way in, we almost turned around to find a regular hotel near the beach, but THANKFULLY, we gave it a shot and kept walking. It turns out those onlookers are extremely kind and friendly. Over the next few days we got to know some of them -- one showed us his farm animals and another walked us to a hidden secret up the road. Truly humble and happy people live here.

The hotel is not close to the town, but we dealt with this fine. You will have to get comfortable with taking moto conchos everywhere (to the beach and to the town), but they have a few moto conchos basically on call and at your service. If you've never been on a moto concho, it's a great way to get used to them! They also have 4-wheelers available if you prefer to drive yourself around town.

The hotel. All the basic necessities are provided -- clean linens, towels, drinking water, running water in the bathroom, small kitchenette. It gets pitch black at night, which we were definitely nervous about the first two nights, but the last night we went to town and regretted not having gone out the first two nights.

Closing thoughts. There are some some things that you should be aware of. I hope these things don't dissuade you from visiting, but instead make you more intrigued and curious about the place.
- Don't bring rolling luggage. Rolling on unpaved roads just doesn't work. We ended up carrying ours all the way to the property
- Avoid arriving late the first day. I'm sure D and H would happily pick you up at the main road if you call. But it gets pitch dark and you just don't want to be out there trying to find an already-hard-to-find place.
- Don't bring a car. There's just nowhere to put it when you get there.
- Wifi is not widespread ... you'll have to go to the main house. This was not a problem at all. In fact, I liked it because it gave me an excuse to socialize with D&H. Plus, you won't want to get on the internet!
- Try arranging some activities before you get there. D&H were helpful in arranging excursions when we arrived, but some did not pan out since they were so last-minute. Have at least one thing set up for the first two days.
- Just let go. If you're used to standard old vacations, just let go and take your chance with these guys. I'm so glad I did!!

Date of stay: January 2011
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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4  Thank jtaveras
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 December 2010

This "Hotel" is amazing. The drive to the location is beautiful, as is the location of the hotel itself. There are only 4 cabanos at the hotel, which provides a very peaceful atmosphere. The rooms are very spacious and generally comfortable. The family who owns the hotel is extremely friendly. They give free foot tours to two of the nearby waterfalls. They also have horse and 4-wheeler tours to the nearby town or through the jungle for a small fee. My sister and I took a foot tour to the waterfalls, and after wards Dominic, the owner/tour guide, took us back to their home for hot chocolate made from freshly ground and fermented cocoa, he even took us to see the trees where the cocoa plants grow. The experience over all was great, but this is definitely is not for the high maintenance traveler. The rooms are very nice and clean, but you are very close to nature. Each room does come equipped with toilet, shower, sinks, and stove, but they don't have air conditioning. It is not really a problem since the location of the hotel is higher on the mountain. All the windows have screens, so you are able to get a nice breeze while keeping the bugs out. All the water, even the pool, comes from the natural springs, and the electricity is from a generator, so the resort could certainly be considered "Green". Your entertainment comes from outdoor activities mostly, since there are not any televisions. They do have WiFi, and there is even some chance of cell phone service. The hotel is settled on about 4 acres of jungle, so there is plenty of exploring to keep you busy for days. The beach is only a ten minute drive from the hotel. The nightlife in the nearby town is wonderful. There is something for everyone; nice restaurants and bars. I will definitely be back to this place the next time I visit the Dominican Republic, and I would suggest this to anyone who loves being close to nature, or would like to just give it a try!

Date of stay: December 2010
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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2  Thank lehrhollymae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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