Raw vegan retreats in Samana, Dominican Republic Vegan Travel Blog


Travelling around the Dominican Republic, searching for the best places where you can eat vegan dishes. I was not expecting to find my best raw experience ever in a remote corner of the Samana area.  Comparing the crowdies of the Punta Cana area, this region is like paradise. Almost deserted, beautiful beaches in Las Galeras area, lush green fields, white sands and turquoise waters and a little gem, a Victorian style hotel: Villa Serena.
“As it’s name says, Villa Serena‘s peaceful setting is the perfect environment for a yoga and wellness vacation. It’s hard for me to imagine a better start of a day than a yoga session surrounded by lush tropical gardens and lulling sounds of the waves followed by a healthy breakfast made of local organic foods and fresh juices. What we find the best for ourselves, we apply to hotel and offer the same to our Guest.” Marina Vesanovic-Dvornik, General manager
I had the privilege, not just try their food, but also had a lovely conversation with the 2 raw chefs, who are there for a couple of months to do plant-based cuisine and holistic retreats. We are sitting in the shadow of a palm tree, drinking cold, fresh coconut water, munching on coconut bacon and nuts.  Darko Juric and his fiancée Ana Glavas are from Croatia, where they have a raw franchise brand, the art of raw, their mission is to spread the word of veganism, healthy lifestyle and they are inspired by the new challenges that come with making workshops for top chefs around the world.
These 5 elements are the core of their work:
it has to look good (real gourmet dishes),
it must taste good (they want to give their clients the WOW feeling),
they want people to be fed, so they give big portions,
it has to be cheap, so it is affordable.
They say if you can keep all these together then you made a big step towards success. They also attend festivals in the summer in Croatia, and also you can go to a big yacht there for a week of island hopping while you are treated with their mouthwatering raw dishes.
They sell packaged kale-, broccoli-, cabbage-, cauliflower-, onions, and tempeh chips, and soon coconut bacon is coming, all around the world.
The reason we could meet in the Dominican Republic is that they do retreats there. There 3 types of them: one is for plant-based cuisine, and other is detox and the third is for weight loss.  All of them are combined with all-inclusive raw food (soups, salads, desserts, cold – pressed fresh juices, gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner), workshops, yoga and tai chi. They help you start your journey with raw food which doesn’t just taste good, but also promote health and cleansing. As Darko has 20 years of practice in integrative healing, Chinese medicine and nutrition, you can be reassured that your body, mind and soul will be taken care of.
If you only want to try their dishes, it is possible to eat in the restaurant of the hotel if you are not the guest of the Villa Serena. I have tried different restaurants during my visit, but here the price is surprisingly reasonable, and the dishes are amazing.
Thank you for your attention!
Edit Horvath
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