Though the country was still on holiday break, the old school bus departing from Miches was in full glory with youngsters outnumbering adults 2-to-1. Pinned against a window towards back of the bus, innocent curiosities of the children transformed stares into smiles that even adults willingly reciprocated. Hearing about the tourist invasion is one thing; actually seeing one up close quite the other.
Highway 104 is a long stretch of two-lane road serving the coast as it extends east along Samaná Bay before ambling its way southeast towards Punta Cana, one of the DR's first areas targeted for tourism that also eventually engulfed Bavaró.
Tourists, always asking what more there is to see and do beyond resort walls of the Coconut Coast, would be in for an eye-opening experience by taking a spin through these parts, whether by rental car, taxi, or public transportation. This unspoiled region is the last frontier of pristine coastal area that has yet to be pilfered for development.
For day's journey, this segment revealed the best glimpses into scenic, rural life where lush lowlands flourish with tropical crops and herds of cattle lazily graze in palm-shaded pastures. Numerous streams, meandering towards the nearby sea, and entertaining the campesinos, whether as swimming hole, Laundromat, or car wash. Some obviously walked great distances from the infrequent dirt roads splitting off from the highway, lined with humble abodes.
Our jovial driver was generous with the trilling air horn, whether as passing greeting or the endless calling card that prolonged the ride beyond calculation. As last bus for the day, stops were made in even the most remote areas for taking on or deboarding passengers.
Of course, a care-free Dominican needing an early exit would never consider sitting towards the front, and no one seemed to mind half the bus unloading and reloading just to let one person off! This, coupled with the worst conditions of the day, thanks to the previous hurricane season washing away roads and bridges, was turning into ongoing detours slowly fading off towards sunset.
By time the bus chugged into Lagunas de Nisibón, the only real town between Miches and Higuey, available space and my bladder had far exceeded capacity. Pulling into the transportation center, passengers began to exit and made a beeline for the concession counter after the long ride.
By the time I realized they were also coming back, and this place served as a rest stop, it was too late to push my way through the crowded bus for finding a bathroom without risk of getting left behind. I thought we'd never reach Higuey, a 2.5-hour expedition that unfortunately was far from over.
-- The fare between Miches and Higuey was RD80. Buses depart hourly.
-- If staying in one of the Coconut Coast resorts, and wanting to have this adventure using public transportation, you'll first need to come to Higuey for making a Miches connection. Instructions and locations are listed in this Getting Around section.