We were fortunate to visit the Dominican Republic in December, 2015 for pleasure and of COURSE to find genuine Dominican larimar, the Caribbean stone.
We started in Santo Domingo, where Christmas decor was out in force. We visited several larimar suppliers and the Larimar Museum. After the capital city we took a bus up to Puerto Plata, where we enjoyed a few days at an all-inclusive resort, rode a cable car to get some great pics and visited Puerto Plata on a tour, meeting more Dominican larimar artisans!
Most people who visit the Dominican visit Punta Cana on the far eastern end. You are missing out on some beautiful places! There are beautiful beaches, historical sites and of course the world's only larimar mine! We got some interesting looks riding the motor coach bus up to Puerto Plata - apparently tourists typically take a cab for the 3.5 hour ride, but I guess we are more adventurous than most. We use buses in Mexico too. Here is a picture of the beach at Puerto Plata at the resort.
And of course we had to visit the larimar mine! We took another bus over to Barahona and then an eco-tour to the mine. We were able to walk about 300 yards into the mine tunnel, where the winch the miners straight down a 150' shaft and then another to where the mining is happening.
The ventilation is a 12' PVC pipe. Make no mistake - this is mining the "old-fashioned" way. It's very dangerous. All larimar in the world is mined here in the DR but it is made into jewelry in many different countries. Our larimar pieces come from the DR but also from Mexico, Thailand and India.
When we left the mine tunnel on our way back to our vehicle, Roland started picking up larimar fragments off the ground that just "fell off the cart". The pockets in his shorts were so full the workers gave him a plastic bag! Check out all the pieces cleaned up back at the room!