Ever dreamed of owning your own private piece of paradise in the tropics? As fall quickly succumbs to the grip of winter for many of us, we are already thinking of warmer days. For me and my family, we have enjoyed the best of both worlds. I am currently in route back to the DR as temperatures in Colorado plummet. We travel South whenever we’ve had enough of the cold and long for the warmth of our Dominican brothers and sisters. Having traveled extensively throughout most of Central and South America, Krista and I can appreciate the uniquely generous hospitality of our Dominican community. Nowhere on the planet exists a people so genuinely caring and ready to open their homes and hearts as Dominicans. My wife and I moved to the DR in 1995 with the naive belief that we would be there for only a couple of years. I would be dishonest if I said that our first several years in the capital city of Santo Domingo were easy. The DR was a different county back then, and even the Capital had very few of the amenities available today. The DR’s robust economy and rapid development through the last couple of decades has led to many wonderful advances, but as is true anywhere, development is a double-edged sword.
In 2001, our family moved to a small, relatively sleepy, town up in the mountains. Jarabacoa is known locally by Dominicans as “La ciudad de la Primavera Eterna” (Town of the Eternal Spring). For those of us that call J-Town home, we take it a step further by saying that God is everywhere, but he sleeps in Jarabacoa (as if God sleeps!) As nature lovers and adventurers, Jarabacoa has always been special for our family. Jarabacoa serves as the entry town to several of the largest National Parks in the country and is home to the largest mountains and rivers on the island. You can enjoy just about any activity here. Mountain biking, paragliding, whitewater rafting and kayaking, canyoneering, birding, camping, hiking, mountain climbing, horseback riding, and on and on…. Add these adventures to a robust hotel and restaurant sector and you have the perfect combination of nature and culture. What we love most about Jarabacoa is that most of our tourism is local. Our weekend visitors are Dominicans from around the island who own second homes in and around Jarabacoa. What is impressive is that many of these families have been visiting Jarabacoa for generations, creating a rich culture of tradition.
We purchased the farm in 2003 with our close friend, Jeff Loftsgaarden. It was our goal from the beginning that this piece of land be a blessing to the local community and this goal has been made reality from the beginning to present day. Revenue from the production of coffee funds scholarships for students attending the Doulos Discovery School, a bi-lingual K-12 college prep school that my wife and I founded the same year we purchased the farm. Shortly after acquiring the farm, we started hosting student groups from Doulos during weeklong Experiential Education Expeditions. Camping at Spirit Mountain quickly became a highlight for both young and old and by 2010, Camp Spirit Discovery had become known across the island. We started hosting an annual 3-week summer camp called Camp Discovery. The camp was completely in English and gave families a local option for their kids to experience high adventure in nature and learn English, without having to leave the island. Spirit Mountain has become a favorite place for people from across the island and from all corners of the globe.
In 2019, we built our first Tiny Home up in the trees. We call our little treehouse the Papagayo Perch. We sold our big house in Jarabacoa and moved into the Papagayo Perch, where we started to enjoy a new chapter in life. We currently split time between our home in Evergreen, Colorado and our Tiny Home in the DR at Spirit Mountain. Earlier this year we finally got high speed internet at the Tree House, which has its pros and cons. Now we can stay longer and spend some time each day working… if we need to. Having dedicated my entire life to designing and building intentional spaces that foster community, it has been a natural shift as I’ve begun to focus my attention on creating the Estancia Natura community at Spirit Mountain. The idea of an intentional community of like-minded friends doing life together on our farm was part of my initial vision, and if I’ve learned one important lesson in life, timing is key and patience is essential. After a global pandemic completely changed the way many of us do life and having experienced these changes in our own lives, we decided now was the time. During the last several years, Spirit Mountain has experienced a huge surge in visits to the farm; people looking for respite from the relentless pace of life and taking advantage of a shift in work expectations. I think many of us experienced a little dose of freedom we didn’t have before. We’ve had so many friends, family members, coffee roasting partners, and complete strangers ask about future opportunities to be a part of our Spirit Mountain community.
So, here it is, a formal invitation to explore the possibilities…come dream with us!
Whether your vision is to own a home, nestled on 2 acres, at the top of Spirit Mountain and live full time on a farm, or simply to have a second home that provides you and your family with passive income when not in-country. Maybe you are more interested in the business side of things and would like to be an active participant in our eco-tourism Boutique Hotel collective. Some of you have asked a very good question…. what happens to this special place as the farm is developed? The good news is that 75% of the property will continue to be managed as a coffee farm and ecological reserve, protecting the incredibly diverse ecosystem and unique flora and fauna. Spirit Mountain is like no other mountain habitat on the island, boasting an incredibly diverse, multi storied tropical canopy and a varied population of rare and endemic birds. During the last 20 years, we have worked tirelessly at nurturing this unique environment and we are committed to protecting the integrity of what Spirit Mountain has become. So come, dream…and explore with us together what life on a coffee farm could be like!