Bordered by the foothills of the Cordillera Septentrional to the south and the Cabarete Lagoon to the North, the park guards 77 square kilometers (48 square miles) of pasture land, lagoon, jungle, tropical plants, Caribbean birds, caves, and abruptly jutting hills. Many of the freshwater springs encountered in the park have subterraneous origins deep in the belly of the earth.
Unlike much of the Lesser Antilles islands, the majority of the Dominican Republic does not have volcanic origins. The subtle collision of tectonic plates below the Earth’s crust around 50 million years ago pushed the ocean floor up in jagged points. Years of erosion have rounded the points giving the foothills seen from Cabarete the appearance of a green upside-down egg crate. Once in the park, it is obvious that these hills are actually old coral reefs.
An area of astounding beauty and many hidden secrets, the Area Protegida Cabarete and Goleta should not be missed. Accessible from either end of Cabarete, a visit can last from just a few hours to the entire day. It is VERY easy to become disoriented in the park due to the dizzying maze of unmarked footpaths and the extremely lush vegetation. We highly recommend that your first visit be with a reputable guide company. The funky named and internationally renown, “Iguana Mama”, leads 1 hiking and 3 mountain bike trips in and around the protected area. At the Callejon entrance, there is also the Cabarete Caves Company, which offer 1.5 hour tour suited for all ages. It leads through
impressive areas and hillls accomanied by very interesting explanations.
HOW TO GET THERE: While there are several dirt paths and small rocky mule trails leading into the Area Protegida Cabarete y Goleta, there are two main entrances. Located on the eastern side of Cabarete at the end of the “Callejon de la Loma” road, about a 15-minute walk from the center of town, visitors may gain access to the park at the “Cabarete Caves” office. For a more remote experience, a 5-km (3-mile) ride in guagua or carro publico heading west out of town will bring you to the roadside community of Islabon. Just before the
Islabon bridge, a small road proudly bears the sign “Area Protegida Cabarete y Goleta” at its entrance on the right-hand side. A 5-minute walk brings you to the park entrance. Visitors should expect to pay RD$50 per person to a National Park official for admittance at both entrances.
Cost of the tour: $20 Adult, $10 Child (smaller children can go free). Open every day.
THE JEWISH MUSEUM OF SOSUA (MUSEO JUDEO)
In 1938, when no other nation would welcome Jewish refugees, Rafael Trujillo, the Dominican Republic strongman, offered to take in 100,000. Between 1940 and 1945, 5,000 Dominican visas were issued, but only 645 Jews actually made their way to the Dominican Republic. The refugees settled in the tiny seacoast town of Sosua, then just jungle land, that Trujillo had established with funding provided by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
Upon arrival, every new Jewish settler was given 80 acres of land, 10 cows, a mule and a horse. Although most of the settlers were German or Austrian Jews and had professional or craftsmen’s backgrounds, they quickly picked up the agricultural life offered by Sosua and established a successful Jewish cooperative—Productos Sosua—that today produces most of the county’s meat and dairy produce.
Trujillo’s generosity probably stemmed mainly from his eagerness to have the Western nations overlook his brutal massacre of 25,000 Haitians in 1937, and his desire to “whiten” his race. He believed that the young European men would marry Dominican women and produce light-skinned offspring. He was correct in this in that most settlers were single young men who did marry Dominican women. The children usually considered themselves Jewish and many stayed in Sosua.
Today, only about 30 of the original Jewish families remain in Sosua. By the 1940?s, most of the nearly 700 inhabitants had moved to either New York or Miami. Although no longer in the Dominican Republic, the Sosua Jews have maintained a tight-knit community. Until 1980, the town was still entirely Jewish; however, with the opening of the international Puerto Plata airport four miles west of Sosua, the village has turned into a major beach resort.
Today the town has 3,000 full-time residents, with about 70 Jews. Those who did remain in Sosua and held onto their land, have made a fortune. Erik Hauser, an original settler from Vienna, now owns an entire block of the lucrative downtown area, where hotels and restaurants were built on his original 80 acres. He is Sosua’s wealthiest resident.
Sosua has one functioning synagogue that holds services every other Shabbat and on the High Holidays. Passover Seders are held in community members homes and an annual Purim carnival is a major community event. The small Jewish community also has a museum dedicated to preserving the history and story of the town’s original Jewish settlers.
Some expats say that the name of the town Sosua comes from the legend: “The first Jewish man to arrive here was named Joshua, but none of the locals could pronounce it correctly. They would say they were going over to Josua.” – Sosua.
The Sosua Synagogue has a museum with photos and memorabilia of the first Jewish settlers. You can also attend services there.
The Jewish Museum ( Museo Judio ) located next to the Casa Marina Hotel
To be continued…
SOSUA OCEAN VILLAGE CASA CLUB
Family recreation club Sosua Ocean Village Casa Club is the true jewel of this high-end residential community. Here all family members can enjoy themselves without leaving the territory of the complex! Adults will make a day of it in the fitness center or in the spa. Children will have a blast at the water park and kids’ playground. A wonderful restaurant and a big pool with a 25-meter long swimming section are at full disposal of all family members. Planning to celebrate a birthday or a wedding? At Casa Club they can create a special menu to better suit your wishes and offer several event spaces. You will have the time of your life here at Sosua Ocean Village Casa Club!
Restaurant Al Porto and Sports Bar
Al Porto restaurant offers varied and delicious dishes of Italian and international cuisine. Two kiosks on the sides of the infinity pool create an ideal environment for a romantic dinner for two or a small family celebration!
Sports bar is a perfect place to host your friendly get-togethers and cheer for your favorites over a glass of beer, watching the progress of sports events broadcasted on six screens.
Fitness centre Gold’s Gym
A fitness center up to the world standards with state-of-the-art exercise machines. The best fitness center in the Dominican Republic where you can enjoy gorgeous ocean views during your workout! Boxing, spinning, different kinds of aerobics and many more!
Treat yourself to a little indulgence! Sauna, massage, manicure, pedicure, hairstyling…. all you need to relax and unwind, refresh yourself after a day of outdoor activities or get a completely new look!
Water park and kids’ playground
Your children will be fascinated with water slides, floating pads and other attractions in two pools right next to each other. You can rest assured that your kids will not only be observed by you but Casa Club’s lifeguards will keep a watchful eye over them as well. There is a playground with swings, ‘dry slides’ and carousels in just a hop, skip and jump from the water park in case kiddies get tired of frolicking in the water.
Day pass (gives access to Water Park, Pools and Playground):
Adult – US$10; Child – RD100
Sosua Ocean Village Casa Club offers a wide range of services for pleasant and comfortable recreation of the whole family that is unique on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic!
Sosua Ocean Village
Carretera Sosua-Cabarete, km. 2, Sosua
Tel: +1 (809) 571-21-66
Web: Sosua Ocean Village Casa Club
FUN CITY ACTION PARK – GO-KARTS
Welcome to Fun City Action Park in Puerto Plata. The largest and finest recreational go-karts center in the Caribbean. With 3 great tracks (Cyclone, Grand Prix, Sprint 500) and over two dozen of go-karts in three varieties Fun City is the favourite place for fun for the entire North Coast of the Dominican republic and beyoned.
CYCLONE TRACK – challenging European style road course with 8 turns and speed reaching 50 km/h.
SPRINT 500 – oval shaped, high banked, extremely competetive track, replica of real Sprint Cars racing
GRAND PRIX – features single and double-seated karts that can accommodate an adult and a child. Track has 10 turns for more fun.
Parks tracks are open rain or shine … a little water can’t stop the action. Park also has bumper cars, children playground and pitcher challenger.
RD70 – RD100 for one round, or
UNLIMITED RACING PACKAGE
(Ride all tracks and bumper cars as many times as you like without limit):
Adults (12+ years old) US$25
Children (4-11 under 48?/122cm) US$20
Infants (less than 4 years old) FREE
– Taxi transfer with 2 people or more comig to ride
– Snack and soft drink
– Your photo in “Fun City”
Monday – Friday: 10am – 6pm
Saturday – Sunday: 10am – 9pm
Fun City Action Park
Carretera Puerto Plata – Sosua, km 8 1/2
Puerto Plata (before Playa Dorada if coming from Sosua)
To be continued…
Dudu Blue Lagoon – the #1 Natural Place of the North Coast of Dominican Republic
Without a doubt one of the local attractions not to be missed and an opportunity to swim in crystal clear and cold fresh water as against going to the beach to swim in the warm sea. Located about 10 minutes by car from Cabrera, on the road to Nagua, and shortly after you pass the turning for Playa Diamante you will see a large sign on your right advertising the entrance to DuDu and the Blue Lagoon. If you miss it and reach the turn off to La Entrada, turn round and go back. There are in fact three lakes or lagoons here although it seems only two are for swimming and cave diving.
DuDu is a cenote, or sinkhole and there is some doubt over its actual depth. Some say 107 feet whilst others suggest the bottom has yet to be determined. There is also a question mark over the name DuDu. One suggestion is that a Taino Indian of that name lived in a cave close to the lake which can also be explored while you are visiting the lakes.
There are no changing facilities here, although there is now a restaurant and snack bar on the site, so it is best to arrive in your swimming gear. It is about 10 meters down to the water which has very easy access with cement stairs going down to the water’s edge and is a very popular tourist attraction and local hangout so you will find people are jumping in from all over the place and swimming. One favorite is to grab onto the rope swing from the wide stone ledge and you can swing out and drop into the clear cool waters.
It is also recognized as the only place where you can do cave diving from one natural lake to another natural lake, so it is very popular with divers who practice this sport. Here the visibility is an astonishing 50 meters (160+ ft). The two lakes are connected by two massive underwater tunnels about 200 meters long and a third cave takes you into a spectacular underground dome naturally decorated by limestone stalagmites and stalactites still gradually building up over the years. The Caverns offer a number of different eco systems, natural beauty just waiting to be discovered. If you are swimming don’t be surprised to find a team of divers surfacing around you while you swim.
Lagoon dudu cabrera lake diving spots
For diving once geared up it is easier to swim on the surface to the far left side and the beginning of a very large tunnel which goes in about 100 meters and has a large air dome at 50 meters. To the right against the wall you will notice an area of broken down slabs and a warning sign, tie in to the cavern line and go through the restriction; you will then get to the cave’s mainline which is right in the halocline.
The first part of the cave features a very large and tall main tunnel that has many dark tannic stained decorations; one column is over 10 meters high; the maximum depth here is 20 meters. At the end of this tunnel there is a steep slope that goes up to about 6 meters and the line here makes a sharp left turn and there is an air pocket with breathable air to the right.
Continuing on the mainline the cave gets lower and you will pass through with a series of weird dark stalactites before the tunnel opens up again. The rest of the dive has no decorations and is generally shallower with an average depth of only 6-7 meters.
After swimming for about 45 minutes you eventually get to the end of the line which goes up to another entrance called Cueva de Lilly.
Coming back out you can swim around the cenote to the left and dive the cavern zone which consists of two more tunnels that lead to the third entrance, Pozo de los Caballos, before turning back toward the stairs. The cavern zone is quite grandiose and well worth it with huge shellfish encrusted stalactites and very unusual water colors.
Entrance to DuDu and the Blue Lagoon is not expensive.
Admission fee is RD100,- for everyone.
Saltadero is the name for a waterfall and pool located on the outskirts of Cabrera. You can find this local attraction by following the unmade road to the right at the crossroads when entering Cabrera on the main road from Rio San Juan. Simply follow the road for about half a mile to its end.The waterfall is quite high, although the pool is fairly small, and is very popular with the local children and frequently visited by the local tour guides who bring visitors to see this local attraction.
Youngsters enjoy climbing up the waterfall to various levels and jumping into the pool below which is not very deep so in some respects is quite dangerous. Some will seek a few pesos or a couple of dollars from visitors to watch them leap into the pool from the top of the waterfall which is quite a feat. Access to the pool requires descending a steep and slippery pathway so sensible foot ware is recommended.
Sosua is now famous for being a top destination for the single male. The many nightclubs crammed into this small area is ideal for bar-hoppers and party goers.
Sosua is unique in the Dominican Republic and in the Northern Hemisphere for the number and variety of girls there each night. The area is policed by Dominican Politur (Tourism Police). Their main job is to maintain a safe environment for visitors, and to keep the area drug-free. However, this can often go out of propotion and Police will pick on any girl (Dominican or Haitian) who is strolling along the street alone, not accompanied by a man.
Bars and discos along the main drag play everything from local Bachata and Merengue to 60’s and 70’s retro to Techno and Trance.
The Dominican Republic is a haven for men who want encounters with young, beautiful ladies. You will be able to meet pros, semi-pros, and regular local girls. Here it’s perfectly acceptable for an older man to date a younger woman.
Puerto Plata Nightlife
Puerto Plata has the most dance clubs, discotecas, and night clubs on the North Coast. They vary from high-end (and relatively expense) nightclubs like La Bohem and Cristals, to inexpensive discos where the drinks are cheap and the music is loud. They include straight p4p, to those where the ladies also act as waitresses, to “regular” dance clubs where the focus is on dancing and having a good time. Two or three times a week there will be live music by nationally-known artists. These events are heavily promoted and always well attended.
Cabarete is more a touristy town for surfers and family’s. Here you will find a couple of night clubs, like Ojo – a fairly new modern night club plays modern music and regurlarly throws parties. Cabarete has a long beach stretch full of bars and restaurants, that have a special atmoshpere at night time. Here we would reccomend to visit Kahuna’s Bar, Lux and Jose O’Shay’s. In the end of Cabarete there is Ocean Sand Casino with disco and different shows.
Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete Gambling
The North Coast has the greatest number and variety of casinos and betting establishments.
Sosua offers Sosua Bay Casino and Playa Chiquita Casino
Cabarete – Ocean Sand Casino
Puerto Plata – Ocean World Casino, Casino El Dorado, Paradise Beach Club & Casino, Puerto Plata Beach Resort & Casino, The American Casino at Jack Tar Village.