Constanza: Nature at its Best, Ecotourism, Agricultural Tourism and the “Enchanted Valley”
The region’s impressive natural beauty, its diversity of ecosystems and micro-climates makes the mountain-region town of Constanza an ideal place for eco-tourism and agro-tourism activities.
Constanza is the other side of the country’s sun and sand tourism option.
Situated above the Caribbean’s highest mountain range, Constanza is one of the country’s most important agricultural center, featuring numerous attractions, fine Dominican restaurants and hotel facilities depending on the needs and likes of the visitor.
Visitors are encouraged to visit the fascinating and mysterious “Valle Encantado,” or in English the “Enchanted Valley.”
Text: Anya Duran
Photos: Maximo Zorrilla
To visit Constanza is to explore the magic of nature, and enjoy the unparalleled beauty of an immense valley that honors the fertility of the land and provides a spectacle of color worthy of admiration.
Another plus is that the region enjoys the lowest temperatures on the island.
Constanza enjoys pleasant temperatures all year round and during the winter months the region is a magnet for those who enjoy a cooler Caribbean.
Temperatures in and around the mountain region can range from 18 degrees Celsius in the lower-lying areas to -5 degrees in the valley or in “Alto Bandera,” the highest peak.
The town is also an important destination for those interested in agricultural. The region is dotted with strawberry farms, flower nurseries and many other agricultural products.
A visit to some of these agricultural projects is an unforgettable experience for city dwellers that have never been exposed to this kind of rural environment.
Constanza is situated in the very heart of the highest mountain range of the Caribbean, located 1,283 meters above sea level. The town has a population of 100,000.
How to Get There
Constanza is situated almost two hours north of Santo Domingo, and a similar distance from the north coast.
Travelers must take the country’s most important, and most modern, highway, the Duarte Highway.
Once the traveler leaves the main highway, he/she will start the climb up to the mountain town through a recently built mountain highway. The climb up is breathtaking, and getting there is 40 minutes on the mountain road. A small local airport is also available for those who want to fly in to the region.
“Valle Nuevo” (New Valley)
Constanza’s most important valley, “Valle Nuevo,” is situated 2,200 meters above sea level in the very heart of the country’s Central Mountain Range. Now a National Park, the valley is home to some of the country’s most important rivers.
It is the only area in the entire Caribbean region with true mountain vegetation. This valley, along with the J. Armando Bermúdez , José del Carmen Ramírez National Parks and other protected areas are part of an area known as the “Mother of all Waters,” because of the important water reservoirs in the region.
Winter temperatures can drop to -5 degrees Celsius.
The “Alto Bandera” peak is the third highest peak in the country and the Caribbean.
Situated in the “Valle Nuevo” National Park, the pyramids are important stone structures that mark the geographic center of the Dominican Republic, and the region is also an important camp site for visitors.
“Aguas Blancas” Waterfall
This particular waterfall is the highest in the entire Caribbean region. The frigid waters of the waterfall and its spectacular beauty, is an important tourism attraction. The region is surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.
Reaching the “Aguas Blancas” waterfall is possible by following the “Valle Nuevo –Las Piramides” highway.
On the way to the waterfall, visitors will pass through a 700-meter ecological path that is home to 40 species of birds, 13 of which are endemic, as well as a variety of lush tropical vegetation.
The trail includes four different viewpoints from where visitors can enjoy the majestic beauty of the waterfall.
“Las Piedras Letradas” (The Written Stones)
This is the largest Taino monument in the entire Caribbean. Situated some 16 kilometers from the town of Constanza, the area is home to huge stones painted with Taino drawings.
The stones are situated in the very center of the island of Hispaniola. Experts believe that the region was used for special ceremonies.
“Ebano Verde” (Green Ebony) Scientific Reserve
This protected region is a haven for ecotourism enthusiasts.
The region is rich in flora and fauna found only in this region.
Temperatures in the scientific reserve are always cool, and many believe it is a piece of paradise hidden away in the mountain region.
Adventure in Constanza
The entire province is ideal for the active eco-tourist. Mountain biking, hiking through mountain trails, paragliding, enduro biking, jeep safari, horseback riding and canopi, as well as other river-based activities, are found everywhere.
Constanza is also known as the “Capital of the Mountain Bike” because of the many cycling activities that take place there.
In October of each year the town hosts the Champions Classic Biking Tournament, and in February it hosts the international Independence Route Biking Tournament.
There are several tourism companies that offer fund and very safe tours to many of Constanza’s main attractions.
“Valle Encantado” (Enchanted Valley)
As the name suggests, this is a beautiful, fascinating and mysterious destination. Many believe the valley can actually lead visitors to another dimension.
Countless legends on the supernatural powers found in the place attract hundreds of visitors interested in learning more about the mysteries of the place surrounding the valley.
One of the mysteries that characterize the Enchanted Valley are the unexplained sounds heard at certain times of the year, especially during the winter months.
Johnny Tactuc , manager of the Constanza Tourism Office says that witnesses have stated that they distinctly heard the sound of a passing train and a waterfall.
Also, the sound of horns honking and noises found only in urban areas, not in this beautiful isolated valley situated 2,600 meters above sea level.
Tactuc also explains that compasses do not work in the region, nor other kinds of electronic devices. This is a strange phenomenon for many since the valley is situated near “Alto Bandera,” the country’s main telecommunications center.
The region not only attracts the curious visitor, but scientists from all over the world.
Where to Eat:
Restaurant Aguas Blancas: Excellent Dominican cuisine served in a relaxed atmosphere.
Vienchy Cuisine: The specialty of this restaurant is Spanish cuisine, especially the “paella.”
La Cocina de Doña Luisa: Typical Dominican cuisine at its very best.
Antojitos Pizzeria: Most recommended: Vegetable Pizza.
Cerro Alto Restaurant: Also offers Dominican cuisine. One of its most popular dishes is the “Rosemary Lamb.”
Dulcería Doña Benza: One of Constanza’s most iconic eateries, the restaurant offers excellent snacks and many homemade sweets, made by Mrs. Benza.
Cerro Alto: Comfort is this hotel’s most important characteristic. Also available: excellent food, recreational activities such as biking, horseback riding and canopy; camping area; children’s playroom, billiards, soccer and 18 BBQ’s in the picnic area.
The 68-room and 34-villa hotel can accommodate from two to seven guests per room or villa. All rooms offer spectacular views of the valley.
Rancho Constanza: One or two-room villas can accommodate up to five guests, living room, fully equipped kitchen and an adjacent 14-room hotel. It has a traditional restaurant and excellent view of the valley.
Constanza Hotel: 26 rooms, distributed in ten villas and suites. Restaurant opens for breakfast, and there is a campfire and BBQ areas, board games, basketball and volleyball courts, and a lounge for meetings and events.
Villa Pajon: The perfect place for anyone wanting to leave behind the noise and bustle of the city. This innovative eco-lodge, situated in the heart of the valley, features seven cabins. It is an ideal venue for retreats, rest and relaxation. Since temperatures drop significantly during the evenings, guests will enjoy a campfire or a cozy spot near a fireplace. The area is known for thick fog and unique mountain vegetation.
Hotels in the city of Constanza: Hotel Bohio, New Valley Hotel, Vista del Valle, My Cottage Hotel, and Hotel Colinas del Valle.
Bar Kapioca: Varied music, two VIP areas, DJ.
Sunset Bar: Varied music for a younger crowd.
Moe Bar: Varied music, Karaoke every Thursday evening.
Category: DR Living |