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La Romana: The Country’s City of Sugar

The province of La Romana, on the country’s eastern region, offers visitors a long list of attractions, excellent cuisine, and a wide menu of exciting tours.

Short History of La Romana:

During the final years of the 19th century the Port of La Romana was officially inaugurated. Its strategic and geographical importance, and the impressive jump in the town’s commercial activities, led the government to concentrate and eventually begin to build what is now the city of La Romana.

In 1911, the South Puerto Rico Sugar Company opened the “Corporacion Central Romana,” the company responsible for the growth of the once small village.
The sugar company was also responsible for the town’s first tourism projects. In 1974, Casa de Campo – one of the Caribbean top luxury resorts – opened its doors for the first time.

In 1980 the complex inaugurated its “Altos de Chavon” cultural center and, in the year 2000, the city opened its first international airport.

Years later, the cruise ship industry discovered La Romana. The first cruise ships arrived in 1992 with the arrival of the “Costa Clasica” cruise ship at Catalina Island, situated a few miles off the coast of La Romana.

In 2002 the city’s official Tourism Pier opened, annually ushering in thousands of tourists from all over the world to the city.

La Romana, because of its world-class sugar industry, its lifestyle and its tourism projects, is a “sweet” town to visit.

Cultural Tours

Altos de Chavon Regional Archaeological Museum. The tour offers visitors a historic, cultural and literary tour of the region.

Folklore Academy of Dominican Music and Dance. The academy offers visitors classes on some of the most important dances of the Dominican Republic.

“La Casa del Artesano y Artesana de La Romana” (La Romana’s Artisan’s Workshop). This special center brings together local artisans, where 90% of all members are independent artisans who offer visitors their innovative products.

Santa Rosa de Lima Temple. Construction on this beautiful temple concluded on June 24, 1906. Its history is closely linked to the people of La Romana. The church holds annual religious, cultural and sports-related events during August 22-30.

Santa Rosa de Lima Cultural Village. The cultural center is situated next to the port of La Romana.

Corporación Central Romana. Special tours take the visitor through this world-class agricultural and tourism-related company, which began operations in the town of La Romana in 1912. Today, it is the country’s most important sugar-producing company.

Duarte Central Park. The town’s main square, also known as Central Park, features a statue of Juan Pablo Duarte, the Dominican Republic’s founding father. The park also features the “Path of the Immortals,” exhibiting the statues of Dominican baseball greats.

Garcia Cigar Factory Tour. The tour provides the visitor a complete walk-through of the cigar industry, beginning with the plantation and ending with a view of how some of the best cigars in the world are made.

Cigar Country Tours. Visitors will visit various cigar factories, some situated as close as five minutes from Casa de Campo.

Adventure Tours

Wild Ranch Zipline Canopy. This special tour begins with a 20-minute ride on an all-terrain vehicle to Wild Ranch, a special eco-friendly center that offers zip-line rides across the lush vegetation.

Ship Cruise to Saona Island. The boat tour will take visitors to the nearby island, situated off the coast of La Romana. The island is part of the National Park of the Eastern Region and is one of the country’s most important sanctuary for migrating birds.

Ron Barceló Factory Tour. The tour provides all the necessary information on how this famous Dominican rum is made.

Cueva de las Maravillas (Cave of Wonders). The cave is situated 25 meters underground and is 800 meters long. Visitors can walk through 240 meters of the beautiful cave.

Buggy Rides. The Crazy Wheels company offers wonderful tours through local sugarcane fields and along the Chavon River, where the classic movie Apocalypse Now was filmed.

Catalina Island. Also known as Serena, this beautiful white-sand island is also situated off the coast of La Romana, and is part of the National Park of the Eastern Region.

Source: Access DR

Sep 19, 2017

19-09-17
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Nispero: A small deliciously sweet fruit!

The níspero, or how most of you might know it by the Dominican “loquat,” is a small seasonal fruit that is brown-skinned with a reddish pulp and long black seeds. This fruit is soft and very sweet with a distinctive flavor, while its flesh has a unique texture and can be peeled and eaten right of the tree. This tropical fruit contains 14 percent sugar which makes it great for making jams and preserves. When we eat fruit or any type of food for that matter, we don’t think about the numerous properties it has or the multiple benefits that can contribute to our body and health; we just eat it because we enjoy the flavor.

The níspero is a fruit of Japanese origin and depending on where it grows you will be able to see variations on how it looks. For example, here in the Dominican Republic, it’s brown with a textured skin, while in Japan, its has a yellow to orange colored-skin that is fuzzy but smooth. One of the advantages of consuming this fruit during the summer season is that it has a high water content in addition to various essential vitamins.  It has antioxidant properties, as well as soluble fiber (pectins), tannins, astringent substances and numerous aromatic substances such as organic acids (citric, tartaric and malic) in its pulp. Although rich in sugar, it is low in calories (with about fifty per one-hundred grams). It also has potassium and – in smaller quantity – magnesium, calcium and iron, as well as small amounts of vitamins B and C.

It is said that the first tree of loquat was brought by Columbus and can be found in the Santo Cerro, La Vega. It is a historical tree, but it is not only cultivated there, it can be found in different regions of the country— even here in Altos de Chavón. Its botanical denomination is Manilkara zapota or achra zaporta and belongs to the family of Sapotaceas, in which are the Mamey or Zapote. There are common names: Chicozapote, Níspero, Chico, Sapodilla, and Sapoti. It reaches about 20 meters in length with very low, rough branches. The leaves are sharp at the apex, thick, with the top dark green and shiny, and its flowers are white.

Níspero juice is used to make syrup or the pulp is added when baking for flavor. From the fruit, you can make made jams, preserves, tarts, soft drinks, wines and milk shakes! If you have a sweet tooth like we do, you might want to try making a níspero jam or preserve; see below for ideas from The Old Farmers Almanac . We hear that instead of adding lemon to the preserve, some people add rum… Enjoy!

  • Wash and remove the stems or cores, if any. Peel the fruit, if necessary. Remember: for jams, cut up or mash the fruit. For preserves, use whole fruits or cut them into large chunks.
  • Make jam or preserves in small batches. This way, the fruit will cook quickly and the color and flavor will be better preserved.
  • For every cup of fruit, add ¾ cup of sugar. (Note: four cups of fruit makes a very manageable batch, so you would need 3 cups of sugar)
  • If you are using ripe or particularly sweet fruit, add 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice. The acid from the lemon juice will help the jam or preserve thicken.
  • Scorching is more likely to happen to jams and preserves, so in order to avoid that dilemma, stir your mixture often for 15-40 minutes, depending on the fruit. Scorching can ruin an otherwise delicious jam or preserve but is very easy to prevent.
  • To test your jam or preserve to see if it’s done, take a spoonful out of your kettle, and if it holds its shape after about a minute, your jam or preserve is ready to jar.

Source: Casa de Campo Living

Sep 12, 2017

12-09-17
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Places that Offer Excellent Dominican Dishes and Treats

If you are on vacation, discovering and exploring the Dominican Republic, you may easily add the following cities to the list of cities and towns where you can enjoy the best Dominican cuisine.  Cities such as San Cristobal, San Pedro, Samana, Bonao, La Romana, Santo Domingo, Bani, Moca and La Vega are known to have excellent restaurants.

Eggplant in Village of Cambita, in the Country’s Southwest Region

Situated on top of a beautiful mountain in San Cristobal Province, visitors will find the Aubergine Restaurant.

The restaurant’s menu has a wide variety of eggplant dishes, including eggplant sushi with salmon.

Address:  Kilometer 6.5, La Colonia, Cambita-Garabito, San Cristobal

For more information:  www.aubergine.com.do

Green Banana Pies in San Pedro de Macoris

This particular Dominican dish consists of a square green banana pie wrapped in banana tree leaves. It is one of the country’s most traditional dishes, especially for special holidays such as Christmas.

For one of the finest “pasteles” in the country, there’s no place like “Amable Pasteles En Hojas,” a restaurant that specializes in this particular dish. It also offers the dish made of yellow bananas and other Caribbean vegetables.  The pies are stuffed with chopped beef or chicken.

Address: Calle General Cabral, next to the Parque Duarte, San Pedro de Macoris

For more information: www.amablepastelesenhojas.com

Coconut Bread in North Coast Town of Samana

“D’ Vieja Pan Inglés” is a long-established pastry shop that specializes in traditional dishes from this north coast region.

The pastry shop is known for its English Bread, Coconut Pie and Corn Bread, among others.

Address: Carretera Samana-Las Galeras, # 51.

Telephone: 829-664-1200

Lebanese-Syrian Cuisine

If you are traveling to the country’s central region, then a must stop must be at “Kiko’s Restaurante,” famous for its Middle Eastern kippes, brought to the country by Lebanese and Syrian immigrants.

The restaurant features crab, conch shell, goat, shrimp, octopus, and rabbit-stuffed kippes.

Address: Duarte Highway

Telephone:  809- 525-4960

In the country’s Eastern region, in the town of La Romana and in the Coral Highway, travelers will enjoy the delicious menu prepared by “Shish Kabab,” one of the finest restaurants in the region.

Also on the top list of favorites: seafood soup, fresh seafood, and typical Dominican dishes.

Telephone: 809-556-2737

Bonao: in the Country’s Central Region

For lovers of authentic Dominican dishes the “Típico Bonao” Restaurant, situated in the town of Bonao, offers the best Dominican breakfast treats – such as mashed green bananas, fried cheese and eggs – as well as many other typical dishes.

There are two “Tipico Bonao” restaurants in the town.

Address:  Duarte Highway, Kilometers 83 and 85

Telephone: 809-296-6000

Also in Bonao, travelers on Duarte Highway will find “Miguelina’s,” a typical cafetería offering the best Dominican deserts and other typical dishes.

Address:  Kilometer 91, in the town of La Ceiba.

Mashed Green Bananas in Central Town of Moca

One of the town of Moca’s most popular restaurants is “Mi Terraza,” a typical restaurant that offers the famous “Mofongo,” which consists of mashed green bananas or yucca.

The Mofongo may be accompanied by a whole series of side dishes.

The restaurant is also known for fried treats such as chicken cracklings and fried Dominican sausages.

Address: Moca-La Vega Highway, Kilometer 1.5

Telephone: 809-822-1347

Also in Moca, a town situated 15 minutes south of Santiago – the country’s second largest city – visitors may visit “Mofongos y Carnes Juan Pablo.”

Address:   Calle 26 de julio #56

Telephone: 809-578-2024

Dominican Corn Pudding in Southwest Town of Bani

Whether cold or hot, the “Majarete” – or Dominican corn pudding – prepared in the “Plaza del Maiz,” or Corn Plaza, is the symbol of this beautiful region.

At the Plaza “corn lovers” will find the most delicious and innovative treats made with corn. Another important treat at the Plaza is the Sweet Potato Fritters.

Address:  Quijaquieta, Peravia-Salinas Highway

Dominican Empanadas in Santo Domingo

Known locally as “catibias,” these empanadas are made of yucca.

In Santo Domingo, the best “catibias” are found at the “Meson de Bari,” in the Colonial Zone, one of the finest restaurants in the city’s Colonial Zone.

Address: Calle Hostos #302, Colonial Zone

Telephone: 809-687-4091

The “catibias” at the Adrian Tropical Restaurant make for wonderful entrees, as well as other popular Dominican dishes.  There are four Adrian Tropical restaurants in Santo Domingo.

Addresses:

Avenida George Washington

Telephone: 809-221-1764

Avenida Nuñez de Caceres

Telephone: 809-565-9236

Avenida Abraham Lincoln

Telephone: 809-566-8373

Avenida Independencia

Telephone: 809-508-0025

Dominican Cuisine in La Vega

“El Zaguan” Restaurant, in the central town of La Vega, is also a perfect stop for excellent Dominican dishes.

Address:  Avenida Pedro A. Rivera

Telephone: 809-573-5508

Source: Access DR

Sep 5, 2017

05-09-17
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Yucateke Park Features Pre-Columbian Cultural Artifacts

The “Yucateke Macao” theme park, featuring important symbols of the Taino culture – the original inhabitants of the island – is one of the most recent attractions added to the Punta Cana tourism region.

Thousands of national and international tourists visit the park to become familiarized with the culture and traditions of the Tainos.

The term “Yucateke” was the word used by the Tainos to point out the most important village in the region, and the place where the most important celebrations took place.

The goal of the park is to recreate the culture of the Tainos who lived in what is now the Punta Cana region.

Visitors will also have the opportunity of experiencing life in a small Dominican farm, enjoy a typical Dominican meal and enjoy a refreshing dip in some of the nearby fresh-water pools found in nearby caves.

The Yucateke is situated in the region of Macao, just minutes from Punta Cana and Bavaro, home to some of the region’s most important agricultural farms.

In the ceremonial plaza guests will be able to enjoy a traditional Taino ceremony, with dances and songs.

Source: Access DR

Aug 18, 2017

18-08-17
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Dominican Cocoa is the Best in the World

The “Hispaniola” chocolate bar, made with organic cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic, recently won the coveted “Golden Bean Award” presented in London.

The contest brings together the best cocoa producers in the world.

The hand-made “Hispaniola” chocolate bar is produced by the Almonte’s Tiny Hummingbird Chocolate Company, and using only Dominican organic cocoa.

The Dominican chocolate topped the products presented by other world-class chocolate manufacturers, such as Akesson from England, Amedei from Italy and Michel Cluizel from Francia.

The winning chocolate bar is produced by the Almonte’s Tiny Hummingbird Chocolate, which uses only Dominican organic cocoa. The company is based in Ottawa, Canada.

More than 580 chocolates from all over the world participated in the event, evaluated by more than 40 world-class experts.

The award is sponsored by the Chocolate Academy in London, where the Hispaniola chocolate bar – which won its first award in 2016 – beat some 14 other participants.

Source: Access DR

Aug 11, 2017

11-08-17
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10 things you might not know about Cassava (Yuca)

By Heather Lincoln

Have you ever thought about how cool cassava is? Widely grown throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, this popular root vegetable is a staple in the Dominican diet. The Dominican Republic’s tropical climate makes an excellent environment for its growth and because of cassava’s versatility and tolerance, it has been revered since the Taino, Carib, and Arawak population.

Here are 10 things you might not know about cassava:

  1. Cassava can take up to 18 months to harvest and needs 8+ months of warm weather to grow. It does best in full sunlight.
  2. Cassava is able to tolerate drought and grow in poor soil, and naturally resists pests and plant disease.
  3. It can be stored for two years in the ground without rotting!
  4. Cassava is known by many names including yuca, manioc, mandioca, yucca root, casabe, and tapioca.
  5. People with dietary constraints will appreciate that cassava is gluten-free, grain-free and nut-free.
  6. The ways to make cassava are numerous— boil, bake, steam, grill, fry or mash it, as well as add it to stews!
  7. There are two varieties of cassava – sweet and bitter. Bitter cassava is processed into breads, pastries and cakes.
  8. Cassava is high in calories and carbohydrates.
  9. The American Cancer Society warns that people with a latex rubber allergy might be more susceptible to an allergy to cassava.
  10. Cassava should never be eaten raw — it contain traces of cyanide that can be deadly! The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is helping to breed cassavas with less cyanide.

When properly prepared, cassava poses no problems to your health. It needs to be soaked, dried, and cooked. Because of its long life-cycle and easy agriculture, cassava can act as a source to help prevent hunger in impoverished communities. Delicious in many forms, it’s often eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s no wonder why we find so many ways to enjoy it!

Source: Casa de Campo Living

June 29, 2017

30-06-17
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What’s New in Punta Cana’s Gastronomic Sector?

Punta Cana’s gastronomic sector continues to grow and enriched with new and diverse restaurants.

New offers include steakhouses, seafood restaurants, as well as a variety of Mexican, Asian fusion, avant-garde, Spanish, Peruvian, Japanese and Mediterranean cuisine. The following are some of the region’s finest restaurants:

Lorenzillos

In Downtown Punta Cana, overlooking an artificial lake, the restaurant features special tanks with live lobsters. Its excellent menu features excellent seafood and traditional Dominican dishes. The restaurant also offers guests some 4,000 bottles of wines, with more than 200 labels from all over the world, two independent terraces, three bars and a main dining area. Opens at 1:00 p.m. daily.

Antonio Steak House

The restaurant is known for its excellent imported meats. Conveniently located at the “Plaza Brisas,” AvenidaEspaña, in Bavaro.

Yao Restaurant Asiatico

Excellent fusion of Asian-Dominican dishes, situated on Avenida Barcelo.

Fusion, Sense & Flavors

Situated in Sanctuary Town, the restaurant has successfully brought together popular dishes from various cultures. Its modern ambiance goes perfectly with its very modern menu.

Rincón de Paco

This is one of the newest restaurants in Sanctuary Town. It is a traditional Spanish tavern, with a menu featuring excellent Spanish dishes and tapas. Its grilled meats platter has become a favorite.

Blue Grill + Bar

The restaurant successfully brings together Japanese and Peruvian cuisine. Its spectacular view of the sea is the perfect complement to the restaurant’s fine menu, inspired by the Robatayaki y Nikkei culinary traditions. It also features a fine cigar salon, for total relaxation. The restaurant is situated at the Eden Roc Hotel in Cap Cana.

The Grill

The menu specializes in Mediterranean dishes. It offers guests a spectacular view of the La Cana golf course and the majestic Caribbean Sea. Its delicious and fresh salads are all made with vegetables grown in the Puntacana Foundation’s organic gardens.

La Cava Kitchen & Bar

The restaurant’s menu brings together excellent dishes and fine drinks.It also features one of the most popular bars in the region. GaleriasPuntacana, Puntacana Village.

The Best

Rincon de Paco
The Grill
Lorenzillos

Source: Access DR

June 13, 2017

13-06-17
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Adventures in Samana

The Province of Samana, on the country’s northeast region, offers visitors much more than its beautiful white-sand beaches. Its spectacular natural resources and the friendly attitude of its citizens, has turned the region into a fascinating tourism destination.
Its mountains and rivers offer excellent possibilities to visitors looking for adventure tourism. Other possibilities are horseback riding, hiking and ziplining, just to mention a few. By far, the Province of Samana offers tourists a wide range of fun activities, such as:

Samana 4×4:

This is a unique experience for the more adventurous visitor. The offer consists of traveling to some of the province’s most beautiful destinations on board safari-like vehicles that will take the guests through beautiful mountains, valleys and local villages. This is an excellent option for those who also want to meet and interact with the local communities, and enjoy snacks consisting of native fruits, fresh coconut milk or a warm cup of freshly brewed coffee and/or hot cocoa.

“Los Haitises” National Park:

Situated in Samana Bay, this rainforest is situated along the southern part of the Bay of Samana. The area is one of the country’s top nature reserves, where visitors can visit caves where the Tainos – the original inhabitants of the island – painted symbolic drawings that have lasted through the ages. The reserve is also known for the incredible number of birds that live or migrate through the area.

Las Galeras:

This old fishing village is situated next to the Bay of Rincon. Well organized tours include hiking and camping.

Limon Waterfall:

The 40-meter waterfall can be reached with the help of special guides, either on foot or on horseback.

Scuba Diving:

The area is also known for excellent scuba diving possibilities due to the beautiful coral reefs found along the north coast of the Bay.

Source: Access DR

May 20, 2017

20-05-17
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Bayahibe’s Butterfly Park

Situated a very short distance from the eastern region city of La Romana – 1.5 hours east of Santo Domingo and 30 minutes west of Punta Cana – the Butterfly Park is found along the banks of the Chavon River. This beautiful area was used for location scenes in the movies “Apocalypse Now” and “Rambo II.” Surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, the Butterfly Park is the largest in the Caribbean.

A few steps from the region’s main highway tour members will board a wooden barge will transport the tour members to the town known as “Gato.” The crossing is done with the sounds of typical merengue music, the national rhythm of the Dominican Republic. Once across, guests are transported to Caribbean VIP Tours, a very special place because it is home to the largest butterfly park in the country’s eastern region.

During the last two years tourists from Germany, Holland and Italy have participated in special tours that have taken them to areas where they can become familiar with the beautiful landscape of the Dominican Republic. The guided tours start off with a walk through a path lined with wild flowers and lush vegetation. Native birds are also a popular sight in these tours. At the butterfly park, tour guides will give guests a full explanation of the cycle of life of a butterfly.

This is truly a magical and unforgettable place to experience, surrounded by hundreds of colorful butterflies that flutter all around.

In the park, it is common to see the impressive black and yellow Tiger Butterfly settle quietly on the shoulder of one of the visitors. During the tour, guides will provide all the information necessary on the importance of these noble insects in the local environment. For more information, please visit: www.tanamabayahibe.com.

Source: Access DR

May 17, 2017

17-05-17
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Villa Pajon is an eco-lodge mountain resort situated in the very heart of the Dominican Republic

Villa Pajon is an eco-lodge mountain resort situated in the very heart of the Dominican Republic’s central mountain range, the tallest in the Caribbean region.

The seven-cabin resort is located some 2,000 meters above sea level. Surrounded by an extensive pine forest, the temperature in the region during the winter months can drop to 32 F. (0 C.). All cabins are equipped with fireplaces.

Villa Pajon is a rustic mountain setting that will delight nature lovers, as well as mountain hikers and bird watchers. Touring the local mountains during the day will provide guests with plenty of stories to tell around the fire place during the cool evenings.

What is Villa Pajon?

The cabins are surrounded by approximately 130,000 acres of dense forest that will provide guests with excellent possibilities for bird watching, mountain cycling, hiking and horseback riding.

The local forest is home to many native birds. Trained guides will help identify the native species, as well as the birds that are passing through the region during their annual migration process. During the summer, the fields are blooming with daisies and hydrangeas, as well as many other native and wild flowers.

Villa Pajon is the Perfect Destination for National and International Visitors

Villa Pajon was conceived for all visitors, but especially for the nature lover. There is an organic garden for those who want to spend some quiet time outdoors; plenty of open spaces for children to play and explore; and mountain trails for hikers and cyclists.

It is the perfect destination to become familiar with the natural wonders of the Dominican Republic, especially its forests and mountain regions. Evenings are also quiet: sitting around the fireplace, drinking wine, listening to music and the sound of silence.

Villa Pajon is located some 15 kilometers outside the mountain town of Constanza, situated some 1200 meters above sea level. Getting to the project is easy.

Once you reach Constanza’s main square, just ask anyone for directions.
For information, please visit: www.villapajon.do/esp/

Source: Access DR

May 2, 2017

02-05-17
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Last updated September 24, 2017 at 9:02 PM
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