I’ll be honest, we cheated on this trip. We booked an all inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic and tried to see as few real sites as possible. This was all about being a fat American on a beach, not about learning about others culture and lifestyle. Still, we met new friends, had serious political/economic discussions with an economist from Spain, dove on some beautiful reefs, learned a little about the country (from a Haitian tour guide, oddly enough), and learned that people in the DR, although poor, are generally happy, friendly, and polite.
At the end of our trip, we even had an unexpected adventure, as we missed our flight. We had a little panic attack, then an airline agent connected us to a taxi driver who took us to a hotel nearby and promised to pick us up early the next morning to get us to the airport. From a top level all inclusive to a small hotel in a rough neighborhood! What is travel if not adventure.