Too many travelers to the Dominican Republic skip over the country’s capital and head straight for the beaches. But Santo Domingo is full of historically rich offerings that you not only won’t find at an all-inclusive resort, but won’t find anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere.
Santo Domingo’s centrally located historic district, the Zona Colonial, is the oldest continually inhabited settlement in the New World, a status worthy of a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.
Set apart from the city’s major commercial and business hubs, it takes no more than a half day to walk the cobblestone streets of this nearly 2-square-mile neighborhood, filled with Gothic, Spanish and Moorish architecture.
Nearly all of Zona Colonial’s sites can be preceded with the descriptor “oldest colonial ____.” These include the Alcazar de Colon (Christopher Columbus’s house) the Convento de Dominicanos, the Catedral Primada de América (the New World’s oldest operating church) and the oldest colonial military structure, Fortaleza Ozama.
Signs of new life in this old city are seen in some of the more contemporary restaurants and clubs, as well as modern stores like Alpargateria, a shop that sells handmade espadrilles in front and in back has a cozy bar-cafe with board games and good drinks.
Fine dining is available, but in the DR, the simpler, the better. Visit any corner store or pharmacy and order a cerveza “vestida de novia” (dressed like a bride) — in other words, a bottle of beer so cold it’s coated in white frost. The country’s preferred liquor is rum, and most Dominicans like to drink Brugal, a typical smooth brand, on the rocks or on ice. You can also order a fruit smoothie (“battita”), which, in the DR, comes with optional evaporated milk for a sweeter experience.
Never skip the traditional Dominican breakfast: two fried eggs, fried cheese, mangu (mashed green plantains with pickled onions on top), fried salami and a piping hot cup of strong, local coffee.
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The Puerto Plata boardwalk spans three kilometers and it’s suitable for any activity that involves recreation, sports, cultural enjoyment, relaxation … or just have a good time and share unforgettable moments.
Since its inauguration in 1971, it is the focus of recreation for natives and visitors. Shaped as a snake It has a backbone of 1174 cement benches, its head is an attractive tourist park and landscape, and in the tail, we find a sculptural copy of the Michelangelo’s David, guarded by the trident of a Neptune that hails with zeal from a sea-going cay.
This privileged place is the most important tourist icon of the North Coast and has a little of everything: From the square to sit or lie down, to the stage for the most rumbos parties; From bike paths or hiking trails to ramps to 20 exits to the sea, where you can let yourself be caressed by the fine white sand, bathe or fish on the warm beach that offers the Atlantic Ocean.
On the Malecon, in addition, it highlights the building of the Respectable Restoration Lodge No. 11, inaugurated in 1902 and the renewed Barracks of the Fire Department, built in 1930.
The boardwalk has been restored twice (2006 and 2016), each time new attractions have been added. In the first restoration ten booths for small restaurants and bars and public baths; And in the second, La Puntilla Park and an amphitheater for artistic and cultural activities was created, which can house 4,000 people.
This tourist and landscape park has modernized the head of the Malecon. From the square that makes entrance and honor to the late Juan Lockward, to the fort (remembrance of colonial Spain) that since 1577 is committed to protect the bay.
The circular amphitheater seems to be guarded by the luminous eye of a historical lighthouse installed in 1879. An equestrian statue of the hero Gregorio Luperón, a bust of the Cuban independence activist Antonio Maceo, is also highlighted.
The Puerto Plata boardwalk is a beautiful place with cultural attractions, excellent to spend a good time, relax or just to walk … is a popular area that is the pride of the Puerto Plateños.
Source: Access DR
Nov 21, 2016
The FATHOM cruise line is now offering its passengers the possibility of spending three days in Puerto Plata, the north coast’s most important city, where they can participate in various community-oriented activities.
After spending two days on board the cruise ship, tourists can work in a women’s cocoa co-op; help children and community members improve their English so that they can have better future possibilities of obtaining a good job; make clay water filters for the use of families with no safe drinking water or install cement floors in underprivileged homes.
FATHOM is a member of the Carnival Corporation – the world’s largest cruise ship company. In 2015 Carnival inaugurated its Amber Cove Port in the Bay of Maimon, situated some 20 minutes from downtown Puerto Plata.
The “Impact Voyages” were launched in April of this year in Puerto Plata.
The first cruise ship to participate in the innovative program was the Adonia cruise ship, with a capacity for 700 passengers.
Every two weeks the FATHOM visits the north coast of the Dominican Republic, where hundreds of passengers participate in local community projects.
Through this program, explained Ambra Attus, head of the program in the Dominican Republic, international visitors can work with local groups on important community projects. The activities are organized by companies with experience in the development of sustainable tourism.
During the April-October 2016 period, FATHOM has organized 13 groups that have worked in various local projects, such as:
REFORESTATION: With the support of the Ministry of the Environment, 1231 cruise ship passengers have participated in 45 reforestation activities, planted 16,329 seeds and 6,515 plants. The projects are carried out in protected areas or in private farms.
CHOCAL CO-OP: This co-op is operated by women who produce chocolate. In total, some 2,060 tourists have worked with the co-op in 54 visits. The groups cleaned 3,722 pounds of cocoa and planted 13,332 cocoa seeds in the co-op’s greenhouses.
RECYCLED PAPER: FATHOM and its passengers have facilitated the entry of 11 women into a local co-op, and sponsored a shop where three local artisans now have a place where they can produce their arts and crafts. In 70 visits, 2001 passengers have also helped process 9,872 sheets of paper.
MORE CEMENT FLOORS: Some 37 groups have participated in the construction of cement floors in 40 low-income houses and a local school. Some 803 passengers participated in this project.
WATER FILTERS: Some 645 tourists have participated in the “Wine to Water” workshop, where they have helped in the production of 730 clay water filters. The filters have benefited 3,650 Dominicans who do not have Access to clean drinking water. Thanks to the filters, many water-borne illnesses have been eliminated in the homes where they have been installed.
LEARNING ENGLISH: The English language is an important requisite when applying for jobs in tourism-oriented areas. Some 2,843 passengers visited 141 schools and communities, working with 728 students and community representatives interested in strengthening their English skills.
Source: Access DR
Nov 14, 2016
The Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Companies of the North Coast (ASHONORTE) recently presented the most recent edition of the tourism guide “Discover Puerto Plata,” which highlights the region’s top tourism, historical and gastronomic attractions.
The guide gives a detail account of the region’s top attractions.
The guide offers six full chapters on Information to Visitors, Sea and Land Adventures, Map of the Region, Gastronomy, Nightlife, Shopping and Important Telephone Numbers to Have.
The 40-page guide English-Spanish guide, sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, features full-color photographs of some of the region’s most important monuments and destinations.
The online guide is available at www.accessdr.com, GoDominicanRepublic.com and DiscoverPuertoPlata.com.
Source: Access DR
Nov 7, 2016
For a third consecutive year the Leon Cultural Center – situated in Santiago, the country’s second largest city – was recently included on the list of the Caribbean’s 10 top museums, as prepared by Travellers’ Choice Award 2016, issued by the travel website TripAdvisor. Santo Domingo’s Cathedral, the First of the Americas, in the city’s Colonial Zone, appears on the 2016 list of the Caribbean’s 10 most important tourism destinations.
The Leon Center is currently the country’s most important private institution with exhibition halls that feature permanent and seasonal exhibitions.
It is particularly known for its multi-cultural activities.
On the other hand, the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, the First of the Americas, is dedicated to the Virgin Mary of the Incarnation.
It was the seat of the first diocese of the city of Santo Domingo.
The winners of these important annual awards are chosen by the votes of travelers that use TripAdvisor, the world’s leading online travel community. The website annually receives millions of comments from tourists from all over the world.
Source: Access Dr
Nov 7, 2016
The Ocean Village Deluxe Hotel recently announced that it will open this coming month of December as part of the Sosua Ocean Village Residential Complex, situated on the beautiful beach of this oceanfront community.
Built on approximately 20 acres of oceanfront property, the complex will consist of 10 oceanfront luxury villas, and an additional 13 villas on the second line of the beach.
The complex will also feature a six-condo building.
All units come equipped with panoramic windows, elegant furniture, television, laundry room and a full kitchen area equipped with everything a guest will need to feel right at home.
The complex will feature two full restaurants: “Porto,” an Italian restaurant that overlooks an infinity pool, and an international cuisine restaurant (which also includes popular Dominican and Asian dishes).
Also, two bars, one in the club house overlooking the ocean and another situated right next to “Porto” Restaurant.
The complex’s gymnasium also overlooks the ocean, and offers Zumba, spinning and yoga classes, to mention but a few.
The spa, fashionably designed with rich wood and stone, offers a wide variety of rejuvenating treatments, massages and facial therapies.
Children will enjoy the complex’s water park, as well as a fun playground.
Rates begin at US$230 per night. For more information, please call: +1 (829) 961 2972. For reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This resort community, facing the Atlantic Ocean, is situated 15 minutes from Puerto Plata’s international airport and 30 minutes from Puerto Plata and 10 minutes from Cabarete, the windsurf capital of the Caribbean.
The beachfront community features excellent restaurants, bars, shops, banks, supermarkets and many other services. It is just minutes away from Puerto Plata and Cabarete. In the case of Cabarete, it is just a ride away from some of the region’s top water sports schools.
Source: Access DR
Oct 28, 2016
Puerto Plata’s iconic cable car system is situated in the “Isabel de Torres” mountain, the highest peak in the region – more than a thousand meters above sea level. From the mountain, visitors will enjoy a truly breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape, including the majestic Atlantic Ocean and the city of Puerto Plata, the largest in the country’s north coast.
The new cable car system consists of two cabins, two stations and supporting tower cables.
During the 10-minute climb, national and international visitors will take in the impressive panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.
The temperature on the mountain is generally cool, dropping down to 17 C. (62 F.).
Sometimes the fog will roll in and cover the “Isabel de Torres” mountain with a slight miss.
As a symbol of the colonization of the Americas, a flower garden – with the names of the Spanish Catholic Kings, Ferdinand and Isabella, who spearheaded the colonization process – have been etched on the side of the mountain.
The dome situated near the Christ the Redeemer statue, on top of the hill, was built by dictator Rafael Trujillo to be used to install anti-aircraft military equipment to “protect” the city from possible foreign invasions.
Christ the Redeemer
This 16-meter tall statue, dedicated to Christ the Redeemer, was subsequently twinned with the Christ of Corcovado Statue, the most important symbol of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Puerto Plata’s cable car is the only one of its kind in the Caribbean. It officially opened on July 19, 1975 and was designed by Dominican architect Cristian Martinez who was inspired by the installation, in 1970, of the Christ the Redeemer statue. Construction on the road that leads visitors to the top of the mountain began in June 1971.
The Italian company Ceretti and Tanfani was contracted to supply all the necessary equipment and installation of the cable cars.
In 1973, engineer Benjamin Paewonsky was responsible for creating the botanical garden found at the top of the mountain.
The cable car operates Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Telephone: (809) 970-0501
Source: Access DR
Oct 28, 2016
Situated in the Juan Dolio community – an active tourism village situated some 20 minutes east of Santo Domingo’s international airport and 40 minutes west of La Romana’s airport – the hotel recently opened its doors as part of the Club Hemingway tourism complex.
The new facility offers 27 one-bedroom junior suites and five two-bedroom suites. Each unit is fully equipped with living room, terrace, kitchen, television, telephone, washer/dryer and independent internet service.
The new complex has been designed as a classic Caribbean estate, featuring a beautiful residence surrounded by lush gardens.
The entire complex is built to provide guests with utmost relaxation and privacy.
The hotel’s restaurant is managed by Chef Zigor Sojo, from the Spanish Basque country.
It also features a private swimming pool, terraces, a solarium, a snack bar and access to all services and facilities offered by the Club Hemingway, such as an excellent beach area, swimming pools, restaurants, wine cellar, conference rooms, a kids club, gymnasium, tennis, paddle and soccer courts, a chapel and an equestrian center, among others.
The Casa Hemingway is richly decorated with fine works of art, such as a colorful mural painted by Dominican artist and sculptor Amaya Salazar, the “Palapa” painting by the Spanish painter Pere de Ribot, and watercolors by artist Emma Grau.
Casa Hemingway was conceived as a condo-hotel, which allows the possible investor to purchase one of the units with all hotel services.
The Juan Dolio area was once a quiet fishing village. Today, it is a resort community that is connected to the rest of the country through a modern highway system.
Just steps away from the complex are the Metro Country Club and the Guavaberry residential complex. Also, the Lantica film studios, one of the largest in the region. The community has a diverse range of restaurants, shops, banks and other services.
Source: Access DR
Oct 28, 2016
Bicycles have become a creative form of carrying out popular tourism in Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone. In the past few months bicycling through the city’s colonial streets has become an interesting way to become familiar with the Zone’s rich history. Both tourists and nationals alike can now rent bicycles for a couple of hours and tour the Zone with family and friends.
When bicycling through the colonial streets, tourists will be able to stop and enjoy a refreshing drink or delicious meal in one of the Zone’s many restaurants and pubs, as well as visit some of the museums found in the area.
Bicycle tourism is also a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday with family and friends. It is by far the best way to get young kids to exercise, and get them away from their cellular telephones and tablets.
Dominican urban cyclist Jose Miguel Paliza explained that bicycles do not pollute and require little maintenance, and are ideal for running errands and doing light shopping.
In addition, bicycling also has great physical benefits since it is one of the most complete physical activities, helping to relieve back pain, lose weight, regulate blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels, as explained by Dr. Ingo Froböse.
There are several bike rental shops in the area. One is the Sunny Bikes rental shop, where you visitors can choose the bicycle of their choice including bicycles with child seats.
Address: Duarte Street # 154, Colonial Zone
Hours: Tue-Fri: 10: 00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Sat-Sun: 9:00 a.m. – 7: 00 p.m.
Telephone: (809) 689-6249
Address: Arzobispo Merino Street #217
Hours: Tue-Fri: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sat-Sun: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Telephone: (809) 885-6003
Text: Rosa Cedeño; Photo: Maximo Zorrilla
Source: Access DR
Oct 20, 2016
Punta Cana was once again named the most popular destination in the Caribbean, according to Expedia. During the first semester of this year, Punta Cana came out ahead of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Paradise Island (Bahamas) and Ocho Rios (Jamaica) in the semi-annual ranking of the Expedia Group.
In addition, the region has become one of the world’s top golf destinations according to TripAdvisor.
Expedia is a leading online travel agency, with more than 120,000 hotels worldwide and 500 airlines registered in its website.
TripAdvisor is also a top online travel website which annually issues the important Certificates of Excellence and the Travellers’ Choice awards.
Source: Access DR
Oct 20, 2016