I shared the news on social media last week, but it bears explaining further on the blog. I've just signed a publishing contract to work on a brand new, updated 2019 edition of my "Moon Dominican Republic" guidebook for Moon Travel Guides (Hachette Books).

It means I get to travel all over the DR again, woohoo!

1. In the beginning: Moon Dominican Republic 2016

Between 2015 and early 2016, I researched my very first edition and wrote 365 pages from scratch. I'd been to the DR many times beforehand, but decided to remain an entire year while on assignment.

I visited every major region, and oh so many towns, pueblos, sights, hotels, restaurants, and communities around the Dominican Republic. By guagua, by occasional motoconcho (where there's no traffic!), on foot up mountains, and by boat to go diving... endless exploration that lasted a full year, and resulted in this book! I've returned many more times over since, and settled in Santo Domingo.

You can still view my Instagram photos from that year-round DR travel, along with current ones, using the hashtag #MoonDominicanRepublic. Here's a video I created to recap the experience.

I did a gazillion fun things, stayed in un-believable resorts and small hotels (in part coordinated for me with help from Go Dominican Republic, but based on my own list of requests); I discovered community tours, inspiring women's groups, hiking adventures, homestays, and more, and planned my entire itinerary.

Here are just a few examples below of some of my favorite moments (more on Instagram #MoonDominicanRepublic). The first edition was published in November 2016. Two years have passed. You can read the current reviews of my guidebook on Amazon.


The rocky, mountainous road to get here was an incredible challenge (to say the least) but an unforgettable one for the farm vistas over the valleys of Constanza and crossing local villages. This is Aguas Blancas waterfall. So cold it isn't recommended that you swim in here (danger of hypothermia) unless you're a local who is used to these cold temperatures and have lived here your whole life, and even then! Remember that this is about 4,000 feet above sea level, hence the temperatures. But it's still gorgeous to look at and the ride is well worth it! #Constanza #waterfalls #MoonDR #MoonDominicanRepublic #RepublicaDominicana #DominicanRepublic #travel #Caribbean #centralDR #Cibao #sunandstilettos #AguasBlancas #traveldeeper #traveldudes

A post shared by Lebawit Lily Girma (@sunandstilettos) on

I continued my exploration and expertise of the DR well after the book was published.

The ultimate win came when the DR Ministry of Tourism, through their US public relations firm BvK, contracted me to strategize on the content for their upcoming redesigned GoDominicanRepublic.com website (launching sometime in 2018) and to completely rewrite and produce new text for the whole website. From travel tips to destination/region descriptions, to the numerous sights and attractions per destination, plus background information on the country, including geography, flora, fauna, Dominican dishes, and much more. A six-month plus copywriting and editing project, though different from my guidebook content work.

It is truly an honor for me to have edited and written all the content for the #1 website of the #1 destination in the Caribbean (the DR receives the highest number of tourists in the Caribbean every year, approximately six million). My expertise of the country from my Moon DR work and numerous long-term stays surely came in handy. So when the new website rolls out—I'll be posting here on the blog when it does—you know who you'll be reading (so stoked).

2. Moon Dominican Republic 2019: Coming October 2019

So now that it's official, I'll begin slowly making my way to different regions on the DR starting around late April to update my last edition of Moon DR, research, and see what's new and exciting. Capture stories, new hotels or attractions and exciting cultural or immersive experiences.

To make it easier to understand just what Moon Dominican Republic guidebook is — what type of traveler it's for, what I cover, and what makes it unique from my competitors (looking at you, Lonely Planet!), I made this video clip today.

What is Moon Dominican Republic?

En mi mejor acento dominicano para mi gente de RD:

So there you have it. Remember to join me on my #MoonDominicanRepublic journey around the Dominican Republic, starting right now.

Let's get this show on the ROAD!

Lebawit Lily Girma

A former corporate attorney, Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning travel writer, photographer, and author of several Caribbean guidebooks for US-publisher Moon Travel Guides, including Moon Belize and Moon Dominican Republic. Originally from Ethiopia, Lily calls herself a “culture-holic”–fluent in four languages, she has lived in eight countries besides the U.S., including Belize, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. Her articles and photography focusing on culture, adventure, and sustainable travel in the Caribbean region have been published in AFAR Magazine, CNN, BBC, Delta Sky, The Guardian, and others. She is the recipient of the 2016 Marcia Vickery Wallace Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism from the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

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