Let's set the scene: a beautifully sunny day in the Dominican Republic. We're on the east coast in the Punta Cana area, on Bavaro beach to be exact. When Zickie and I walk out of the hotel lobby at the Bavaro Barcelo Resort, and behold this massive structure, I gasp. "That must be the biggest tiki hut in the world!"
(Biggest tiki in the world? Photo: Zickie Allgrove.)
We flip-flop our way over as fast as our gradually-tanning legs will carry us. This is purely in the name of Island Runaways research, you understand. It has nothing to do with the fact that said tiki hut serves piña coladas (or more specifically, FREE piña coladas since this resort is all-inclusive.)
(Getting warmer... Photo: Zickie Allgrove.)
This enormous open-air hut is thrumming with music and no shortage of hotel guests. We've heard that once enscounced in their comfortable pod-like chairs, cocktail in hand, it might prove difficult to leave.
(The sign! Photo: Zickie Allgrove.)
Then, despite our rush, I notice the sign: Bar Bohio. The proverbial lightbulb goes off in my head. It isn't the world's biggest tiki hut, it is the world's (possibly) biggest BOHIO. Snatches of an article I've read float back to me on the salty sea breezes.
A bohio was a type of Caribbean structure once built by the Amerindians. (In the Dominican Republic that would be the Tainos). They were constructed from wood, often palm trees, with thatched roofs woven from palm fronds. Some of them, although not all, were round in shape. Back in 1492 when Columbus reached the New World, he and his men would have seen caciques (or chieftains) ruling from bohios.
Mystery solved! Bar Bohio is a nod to the country's Indian roots. With this little history lesson happily absorbed, Zickie and I decide to further our investigation...at the bar. Within minutes, the bartender is serving us iced cold piña coladas.
(The finished product. Photo: Laura Albritton.)
Island research can be hard work. We relax into dangerously comfortable recliners and take a much-needed pause from our labors. Cheers to bohios! Cheers to the Dominican Republic and its beautiful beaches.
Here's looking at you, fellow island runaways!