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Travel to the Cigar Country – Dominican republic

To most North Americans, the Dominican Republic remains a mysterious place, rarely visited on business and seldom tread upon by tourists. However, two factors will likely erase this anomaly over the course of the 1990s. First, cigar tourism may well become a niche market in this part of the world. And as cautious as most Americans are about traveling to uncharted territory, the Dominican Republic (now officially remonikered “Dominicana” by the island nation’s Tourism Promotion Council) is a rare bargain in travel.

Flush with a half-decade-long economic boom (which has included the construction of some stunning world-class resorts), Dominicana now boasts a stable economy mated to a populace already noted for its openness. And prices are far lower than the Caribbean tourist-trap average. At present, tens of thousands of Europeans visit annually, taking advantage of favorable exchange rates, tremendously varied terrain (from the highest peak in the West Indies–10,414-ft. Mt. Pico Duarte–to the longest, most serene beach in the Caribbean at Playa Punta Cana), excellent accommodations and omnipresent casinos. As of 1993, tourists contributed $1.23 billion to the Dominican economy.

Cigar-related tourism may soon add even more cash to the coffers. To help our readers-cum-cigar explorers find their way happily in the original cigar-friendly nation, Cigar Aficionado offers the following guide to lodging, dining and various Dominican idiosyncrasies. Hotels are listed in order of accommodation quality (with particular attention to service details, privacy and location). When applicable, casinos are evaluated on a similar scale, although, we have noted certain distinctions (such as unique gaming rules or a more professional gambling atmosphere), which may elevate a casino above a bland decor or second-tier location.

Most Dominican hotels have meal plans, which means that certain meals at designated hotel restaurants are included (rack rates mentioned do not include meal-plan prices). The best restaurants are usually excluded from these plans, but we comment on some hotel establishments that are exceptionally good.

We have only recommended a few independently owned restaurants in this guide, mainly because, while the food is quite good in Dominicana, it is generally very similar from place to place. Establishments which manage to rise above the competition are mentioned below.


The northern side of Dominicana has one of the most convenient, well-conceived tourist complexes in the Caribbean. Puerto Plata exists for tourism. And though the town has been around for centuries, most of its population either works in the tourism industry or in the Brugal rum-bottling factory, located in the heart of the 200,000-person city.

Most of the hotels are situated on the beach, just outside of town at Playa Dorada, a 10-minute taxi ride from the recently renovated Puerto Plata (La Union) airport.

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Category: DR Living |

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Last updated October 22, 2016 at 2:00 PM
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