News on Dominican Republic Life, Tourism and Real Estate

a blog on Dominican Republic news, attractions, villa rentals and real estate in the North coast towns of Sosua, Cabarete and Puerto Plata

The Dominican Republic Blog

The first 100 blog posts were published between June and August 2011 but due to a technical issue we had to republish them with a new url - links in external sites had to be replaced.

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    4 Recommended Books for Real Estate Agents

    Selling is an art, specially when it involves people from all walks of life, as in real estate. Even though the markets are not as active as a few years ago before the housing crisis exploded, there`s still a lot of competition that will win away many clients from realtors that don`t adapt to these changing times. Learning from the lessons of successful people will always be the best way to achieve our own success at a faster pace, so here we list some of the best books written by succesful business people in the field.

    The Dominican Republic`s real estate market is very competitive,and specially in the tourist destinations ( Punta Cana, Sosua, Cabarete, Puerto Plata ) there`s a large segment of realtors that come from other countries. This creates a more interesting atmosphere in the industry, and sometimes a more fierce competition.

    1. The first book we recommend is How To Become a Power Agent in Real Estate, by Darryl Davis. In just twelve months you can double your income and make your career in real estate more productive, more satisfying and more rewarding in every way. With the lessons you learn in How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate you will increase your listings, watch your sales figures soar, and double your income--and you won't be working harder, just smarter.

    Packed with powerful sales techniques and administrative tips that will help you become a top producer, How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate gives you both the business and personal skills you need to double your income in one short year. In this comprehensive guide, you'll learn how to list and sell more houses by helping buyers and sellers to achieve their goals. You'll find scores of battle-tested, agent-proven secrets

    that will send your commissions soaring, including:

        16 powerful ways to find prospects
        4 key reasons why listings are so important
        22 winning dialogues for handling objections
        10 effective ways to work with buyers
        8 essential concepts of self-promotion
        18 servicing tips and techniques for your referral base
        And much more.

     

     

    2. Our second option is Real Estate Prospecting, by Loren K. Keim. As a Realtor needing listings and sales, you can Hope for Them, Wait for Them, or Go Get Them. This innovative book lays out a game plan to identify people who want or need to move, to find a way to meet with them, and then to consistently follow up. As the author states, "Prospecting is a process, not an event". Filled with scripts, dialogues, sample letters, sample postcards and complete prospecting attack plans, this book is certain to help any real estate career blossom.


    3. Mastering the Art of Real Estate, by Tom Hopkins.

    Thirteen years ago, Tom Hopkins, the top real estate sales trainer in the country, published How to Master the Art of Listing and Selling Real Estate—the industry’s bible—which has consistently sold well despite information that has become somewhat outdated. But now Hopkins gives a cutting-edge revamp to his still- popular classic. Along with its new title, readers can expect a complete elimination of dated material and inclusion of the most current information on the role of the Internet and computer software needed by every real estate professional.

    Full of anecdotes, sales scripts, and proven tactics, Mastering the Art of Selling Real Estate will show readers how to:

    • Find the best listing prospects
    • Win over "For Sale by Owner" sellers
    • Earn the seller’s trust
    • Work an unrealistic price down to market
    • Arrange the final agreement

    4. Our 4th choice is The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, by Gary Keller.This national bestseller begs the most important question anyone in real estate sales could ever ask: "How do I take my sales income to the highest level possible?" Believe it or not, it is a simple question with a simple answer. MREA lays the “how-to” groundwork for you to think like a Millionaire Real Estate Agent. The book will show you, step-by-step, how to earn and net a million in annual incomes—active and passive.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


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    The market for houses in Puerto Plata

    The last 4 years have seen opposing trends in Puerto Plata, regarding the housing market. On the one hand, many new homes were built, some with newer and better standards than what we`ve seen before in the Atlantic town, and on the other hand, sales declined and created a monstruous competition among the older properties and the newer, fresher ones. This led to many advantages in the negotiating table for buyers, who now have a large inventory to choose from, and in some cases, some subvalued homes readily available as turn key purchases.

    One of the biggest issues with present purchases is the 2009 law on land survey, that requires a full GPS-backed survey locally called Deslinde, that comes with a more modern title system that uses holographic images. Most of the land in the Dominican Republic is not deslinde ready yet, which is why lawyers are still drafting contracts with prerequisites, that normally keep a portion of the total payment to be payable when the final title with deslinde is issued. One of the most prestigious law firms in the area ( Guzman Ariza ) provides a complete insight into the matter.

    The real estate jurisdiction of the Dominican Republic has a very useful website: http://ji.gov.do  with an online consultation system to verify pending cases and get data on proceedings.

    Several of the best rated gated communities in the North Coast are growing fast, and thus it is impossible to provide deslinde ready land to buyers at such a pace. Trust is a big factor in real estate, whatever the paper process is. One of the lawyers that has been the most successful at earning the trust of the region is Lic. Guido Perdomo, who has worked with virtually everyone involved in the trade and is on top of the list. A lot of other lawyers are also very trusted in the North coast, such as Yanilda de la Cruz and Jeanette Garcia ( the list is longer ).

    As in many areas, there`s a white and black list of business people and locations not recommended because of their bad record. We ran across a case where a white list community was given a doubt vote and we felt the need to stand up for them. if over 100 happy homeowners are not enough proof of a person or project`s integrity, something`s wrong with the evaluation. If today sales were all based on the deslinde, more than half of the real estate market would go to a halt inmediately.

    Due to the new competition, some owners are more willing to offer financing at angel rates, normally for up to three years. Local banks charge from 7-13%, which most clients from Europe and the States find too high. When financing in US Dollars, the rate is the lowest one, and local RD pesos charge a higher yearly rate. An interesting aspect is the fact that some homes are being offered at a certain price, but will actually be sold much lower if the buyer asks before making any offers.

    One of the houses that will be sold below its listed price of $360k is this one ( click the picture to view it ):

    This is happening all across the North in the island, and in most cases owners want to keep the listed value but will inevitably go down if a potential buyer comes along. There`s a house listed below $500k that would sell for $325k if a good buyer comes across, contact the agent about that unique offer. One of the advantages of buying with Golden Treasures Real Estate is that its agents will work it as best as possible to make it a good deal both for the seller and the buyer. Many a time has a sale gone deadlocked due to a small difference in the amount, and the agents just move on and lose the client instead of adjusting their own percentages and closing the sale.

    An affordable new house in Puerto Plata that can also be purchased with discount is this one:

    According to the Global Property Guide " While it felt the effects of the global economic crisis, the Dominican Republic is coming back with a growing GDP and a recovering property market. It continues to be the Caribbean region’s largest economy and biggest tourist destination."


    The Dominican Republic has over 9 million people spread over a mountainous 48,072 sq km, with an average GDP per capita of US$5,464. A stable economy, currency and government together with a quiet and relaxed lifestyle makes the island quite attractive to many investors and foreigners.

    Anyone can buy property in the DR, regardless of being a resident or not. Buying property is fairly easy because the lawyer does all the work of verfying papers and drafting purchase agreements. The buyer pays the transfer tax (3%), property registry tax (2%), document stamp tax (1.3%) and legal fees (1%). Normally, the seller pays a commission to the agent.

    A relatively low cost of living also is another factor that positively affects real estate in the island, specially in the North towns of Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete ( the East coast is very expensive, specially Punta Cana and Casa De Campo ).

    This chart shows a distribution of cost of living expenses in Dominican Republic:

    A full list of living costs and prices of expenses in the DR is found at Numbeo.

          809-377-2038 / 829-477-2038

     

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    Scratchpad Notes For Private Rental Guests Visiting The Dominican Republic

    Luxury is a global commodity these days, and nowhere does that apply more than in the exclusive world of villa rentals. Traveling to a foreign country involves more than just finding the right accommodation, since you`ll need to deal with currency exchange, transportation, entry visas ( if required ), food, drinks, tours, and other interesting aspects of local culture. Visiting The Dominican Republic is no exception, and in the eyes of rental agents like Golden Treasures, there`s a list taken from the scratchpad that will serve a good purpose to most travelers renting villas within the geographic area of the North coast that spans Sosua, Cabarete and Puerto Plata ( includes Cofresi and Cabrera ).

    IATA has a useful page on Dominican Republic Customs, Currency & Airport Tax regulations details, showing the entry, import and export regulations, along with other useful information:

    Major Airports: When flying to Puerto Plata, the closest airport is Gregorio Luperon ( POP ) which is just 15 minutes away from Puerto Plata, 10 minutes away from Cabarete, and 7 minutes away from Sosua. followed by Santiago ( STI ) which is 1 hour away. There`s a page with full details and all the airport contact numbers at the Sosua villas travel guide. Contacting POP is just a phone call away: The web for the POP airport is http://puerto-plata-airport.com ; Telephone Numbers: 809-291-0000 ext. 221 and 809-586-0175 The airport`s VIP lounge is 809-586-0107 ext. 247 and 302.

    Pets: Cats and dogs: A Health Certificate is required issued within 15 days prior to arrival by a competent veterinarian in country of origin, stating that animals are in good health and coming from an area free from serious diseases during the last 3 months. They must be vaccinated against rabies and parvovirus within a period of more than one month and less than one year prior to arrival. No birds are allowed into the country as pets via the airport.

    Departure Tax of USD 20.- is normally included in the ticket. However, if not included, this must be paid on departure. The tax also increases depending on the length of stay.

    Airport Transfer: getting from the airport to town is fairly easy and cost-effective, since there are many drivers available at every major airport at all times. As of October 2012 the cost for a transfer from POP to Sosua costs $25-30.00 (1-6 ppl ). Add $10.00 for Cabarete or Puerto Plata, though some drivers offer deals like $5 or $10 discount depending on the traveler. Beware if someone asks for an unusually higher rate, and report to base at the airport ( located next to the passenger exit ).

    Normally the rental agency works with a certain number of taxi drivers that are experienced in bringing guests to private villas so they need to be given no directions as they are prepared with information given to them by the agency. Those drivers are designated to pick you up ahead of time, and are very trusted by the rental agency and hence chosen to do the transfer.

    Among the vans used for transporting tourists, there`s the Toyota HiAce, Hyundai Starex and Toyota Sienna.

    Golden Treasures Luxury Rentals selects the driver based on number of passengers and availability, also based on their customer service skills and bilingual prowess. Some offer coolers with free beer and water to passengers, even Wifi inside the van. In the course of transfer and even during the rental process, some groups hire the services of the drivers for the lenght of their stay as a private driver to go anywhere they want in the North Coast ( costs $100-150.00 per day to get such services ).

    The Sosua-Cabarete Taxi Association has 150 drivers, from which we often call the ones with the highest rating in terms of customer service, based on direct feedback from clients. Among the ones we use, here`s a quick list and photos, we are well known among most taxi drivers of the association and can only say these guys do a superb job, every day.

     Rafael Garcia    Tel. 809-986-2387  | Victor Sanchez Tel. 809-228-8689    |  Taxi Wilman  Tel. 809-912-5037

    Domingo Ortiz   Tel. 829-270-6768  | Jose Martinez   Tel. 829-901-8211    |  Taxi Rosario   Tel. 809-399-0427

    Jesus Garcia      Tel. 809-885-5521  | Taxi Peniche     Tel. 829-939-6355    |   Alfredo Taxi  Tel. 809-819-9095

    Taxi Castaño     Tel. 809-357-8708  | Papo Polanco    Tel. 829-820-0435    |   Lilo Reyes     Tel. 809-977-4995

     

    1- Rafael Garcia and his Dodge Grand Caravan      2- Victor Sanchez and his Toyota Sienna

     

    3- Domingo Ortiz and his Hyundai Starex             4- Jose Martinez and his blue Hyundai Starex

     

    5- Javier and his white Toyota Sienna              6- Don Papo Polanco and his black Starex

     

    Rafael Garcia is bilingual, his contact # is 809-986-2387 Taxi Service in Sosua and Cabarete, also other areas.

    Some of the villas that are often rented with driver and van can be seen in the photo below:

    Car Rental:   The other side of transportation in the island is having a car rental, which can prove convenient to some travelers. Local airports have a wide selection of car rental agencies, and POP includes international providers. Savings Car Rental is recommended, based in the Puerto Plata airport, and Ok Motors which is based between Sosua and Cabarete. Prices range from US$20.00 per day to even $80.00 based on model, type and luxury of the vehicle. Local and more informal agencies in town also provide good deals but beware of costs if the car is dented or crashed in any way.

    Chef Service: Travel and food go hand in hand and luxury villa rentals are always associated with private chefs and gourmet foods. Local restaurants provide excellent menus from International cuisine, and topping the charts in Sosua are the Morua Mai ( delicious Primavera pasta and Paellas ), Bologna ( wood oven pizzas and fabulous churrasco ) and The Waterfront ( best fish dishes in a beach front setting ). Casa 21 is a very chic restaurant set in a deluxe B&B run by a Belgian couple, a sort of Bon Vivant atmosphere where cuisine is taken to a higher level.

    Other cafés and bar restaurants recommended in Sosua are Britannia Pub, Oh La Vache, Cubanos Café, Bella Italia, Baileys, Sirloin `n Steak, Merengue Bar, Rumba`s, Piergiorgio`s, Hosteria 24 and Schnitzel`s Paradise. Having a private chef in Sosua or Cabarete means having full service from 8:00am to 8:00pm, and once you meet the chef she will have a schedule where a list of foods will be agreed to go grocery shopping, and a full menu is published online. The cost of a private chef ranges from $75-100.00 but can go lower for luxury villa renters based on lenght of rental period.

    The Morua Mai restaurant is a landmark in Sosua, also the recently remodeled La Roca.

    Grocery Shopping: El playero supermarket is the natural choice for most shoppers, as there`s a big one in the main highway and a smaller second one near the beach entrance. It features a big selection of local and international products, from France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Greece and the United States. Fine steaks, turkey, fish and other gourmet food and ingredients can be purchased there. Another choice is Sosua Supermarket, located in the main Sosua-Cabarete highway. For late night grocery shopping of more simple ingredients, the Los Tipicos supermarket is the option as it closes around midnight.

    Telecommunications: The Dominican Republic has a modern network of providers that include Claro/Codetel ( ex Verizon ), Orange, Tricom and Viva, all major players offering state of the art telecom services in the island. The cost for calling back home is fairly cheap, especially to the USA ( about US$20 cents per minute ). Buying a GSM simcard costs around $5 dollars, and if it includes a low cost phone about $12.00; Luxury Rental clients from Golden Treasures in Sosua and Cabarete can request complimentary mobile phones, that come preloaded with minutes and useful numbers to local resources ( taxi drivers, restaurants, tours, etc ). In the event of a maintenance issue in a rental, clients can directly call the concierge using the mobiles.

    Complimentary phones for villa rental guests save time and effort, keeping guests connected with providers.

    Currency Exchange: The first important piece of advice regarding money, is to never exchange at airports overseas or local, because the rates offered are very low. Foreign currencies such as the US Dollar and Euro are widely accepted, but it is better to use pesos when paying certain vendors ( restaurants, bars, cafes ). As of October 12, 20112, the exchange rates were as such:

    1 US Dollar = RD$42.35 pesos

    1 British Pound = RD$62.00 pesos

    1 Canadian Dollar = RD$39.15

    1 Euro = RD$58.00

    Taken from http://bsc.com.do  the official website for Banco Santa Cruz. Visit the bank website for up to date rates.

    The best places to exchange money in Sosua are Banco Santa Cruz, Vimenca, Playero Supermarket and Casa De Cambio Ortega. There`s guys on the street for afterhour exchange, most are known in the community but it`s always safer to ask before dealing with any of them ( some offer really bad rates ). Among the ones that stay open late and are very trusted are Domingo Ortiz at Pedro Clisante Street, and Winston ( across Domingo`s ). Dominican money is best carried in $100`s and $500`s bills, because the larger $2,000 bills are harder to circulate in some cases. Here`s a photo of local peso currency:

    Tours: The North Coast of the Dominican Republic offers some of the best tours in the island, that can be booked through tour operators and other providers. A full list can be found at http://www.sosua-villas.com/tours-in-sosua and among the best ones there`s horseback riding, golfing, fishing, surfing, dirt bikes, buggies, damajagua waterfalls, paradise island snorkeling, diving, trekking, El Choco national park, paddle surfing in the Cabarete lagoon, kite surfing, zip lining, Monkey jungle, Ocean World and whale watching in Samana. Mel Tours and Iguana Mama are preferred providers of tours in Sosua and Cabarete.

     

     

    Golfing: Playa Dorada in Puerto Plata is the natural choice, since it is located just 20 minutes away from Sosua and Cabarete. 18 holes of challenging, 72 par golf among ocean and mountain view landscaping. Rates start at $50.00 for 9 holes and $75.00 for 18 holes in winter, and $35 / $60 in summer time. Visit the Playa Dorada Golf Course online for full details.

    Language: Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic, and many of its inhabitants also speak English, French or German. Learning some words can be fun, and shows a deeper respect to local people in any country. Dominican Spanish is not 100% pure, as it has evolved over decades -if not hundred of years- since the first Spanish settlement discovered the island on October 12, 1492 on the voyage led by Christopher Columbus. There`s an online list of Dominican Slang with very curious words at http://dominicanspanish.com/dominican-expressions.htm

    Security: Tourists are generally safe in most Dominican destinations ( East or North ) but normal precautions should always be followed as in any other country. Local Tourist Police ( Politur ) are always close by in Sosua and Cabarete, and most crime is associated with pickpocket chicas in certain bars and clubs ( seeking out single men ). A safety deposit box is usually provided in all luxury villa rentals, recommended to keep money, jewelry and passports safe. 24hr security is provided in every villa rental as part of the rental cost, including maid service.

    Music: Merengue is the national rythm, although it`s been influenced and partially replaced by other newer rythms such as Salsa, Bachata, Regaetton and North American music. Since most guests bring their own music in their phones or ipods, we keep a stock of cables and adapters in every villa we rent. If the stereo does not include ipod/phone input jacks, we bring a replacement for the duration of the rental at no additional cost.

    Electrical Power: the power grid in the DR supplies 110v and 220V, and in any case we keep a supply of power adapters so guests can use European made appliances, including voltage converters.

    Villa Certification: In order for a villa or condo to make it to the listings at Golden Treasures Luxury Rentals, a visual audit and testing of facilities is carried out, such as swimming pool, air conditioners, kitchen appliances, audio/video equipment, and even electric gate motors. It is understandable that after years of use by renters, any equipment can break down at any time ( water pumps, light bulbs, swimming pool equipment ) so it is in the agency`s best interest to get things fixed as soon as possible in the event that it happens during a rental period. In order to qualify as a luxury rental, there`s a list of minimum standard requirements to be met by the property:


    1- Accesible Location  2- Security in the premises 3- Good condition 4- Daily maid service 5- Wireless Internet  6- Cable TV

    7- Power Back Up System  8- Swimming Pool or Jacuzzi 9- Fully equipped kitchen 10- Air Conditioning in bedrooms.


    Some of the rental listings are already bearing the new certification sign that shows the WiFi, mobile phone, security icon and certified status:

    REAL ESTATE: Golden Treasures also offers one of the largest catalogs of luxury villas, condos and vacation homes in the North Coast, within the five major towns of Sosua, Cabarete, Puerto Plata, Cofresi and Cabrera. With the added benefit of generating rental income, the units are managed by management agencies we closely work with, guaranteeing a trusted circle of cooperation for the benefit of all. Visit http://www.goldenkeymanagement.com for more information on listings for sale.

                          1-809-377-2038   1-829-477-2038

     

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    The Villa Rental Experience in Sosua, Dominican Republic

    Traveling to the Dominican Republic has been in the bucket list of many people, and once learning of places like Sosua ( in the Northern area of Puerto Plata ) it becomes a trend that lasts for years. Once known for its many resorts, Sosua went through many transformations over the years, due to changes in tourism. Nowadays, more and more people choose to stay in private villa rentals or condos that offer a self-catering alternative complemented by many international and local cuisine restaurants.

    The process of getting a villa for rent in Sosua is fairly simple and can be resumed in a few steps:

    1- finding out how many bedrooms you need
    2- determining the budget for the rental period
    3- selecting the desired property from the rentals list
    4- contacting the agent to verify availability
    5- contract and deposit payment

    Step 1 relates to the number of people that will be accommodated in a villa rental, normally there`s a limit of 2 people per bedroom. In some cases a sofa bed or double beds are provided to extend that limit. If the limit is overexceeded, the house resources ( water, bathrooms, furniture, back up power, supplies, etc ) will be overburdened and might result in failures or broken furniture.

    Step 2 is the stage when the group determines how much they can afford per day, say there`s a 4 bedroom villa shared by 4 couples. If the price is $400.00 per night, each couple pays $100.00 dollars per night out of a $1600,  4 -night rental.

    Selecting the villa is fairly easy, though it is always best to ask the agent for suggestions. He/She knows the cons and pros of all the villas and will add a lot of helpful advice.  The rentals page has a large selection with all the needed details, see the list here.

    Contacting the agent can sometimes be the first step, though it`s far better to get all the information of steps 1 and 2 before making initial contact. Remember that the agent is a busy person and can`t stay on the phone for more than 10-20 minutes max per call.

    Once a decision has been reached and the proper information provided,  the rental contract and invoice is sent to the provided email, which must be followed by the deposit payment either via credit card, bank payment or other methods. The advantages of renting a private villa for a holiday vacation are numerous, such as having the swimming pool with no strangers, a full kitchen, linens, towels, and control over who goes in and out of the villa.

    Types of villas:

    There`s various types of villas, and many clients call to request beachfront villas in Sosua because they don`t know that there`s no rentals facing the bay. However, there`s oceanfront ones with magnificent locations and beachfront ones 5 minutes away from the center of town.

    Our classification is based on property size, location, amenities and price:

    1- Small Villas
    2- Affordable Villas
    3- Luxury Villas
    4- Ultra Luxury Rentals

    Small villas start as low as US$155.00 per day, include 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, swimming pool, garden and the basics such as air conditioning, cable TV, Internet, power back up, BBQ, security, kitchen, gas, maid service and gardening/ pool cleaning. This is an example ( below ) of a nice small villa rental in Sosua ( includes a Jacuzzi by the pool ):


     

    Affordable ones are larger than the small ones, usually 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, with better looking furniture and layout. Prices start around US$220.00 and include all the basic amenities as small ones, and can be found with ocean view and beach front locations. The one below includes an outdoor Jacuzzi and BBQ area:

    In a higher end of vacation rentals, luxury villas can cost between US$350.00 and 1,400 per night, offering 4-6 bedrooms and wider range of styles, amenities and locations. Some are oceanfront and might have super suites with flat screen TVs, stereos, ipod docking, small fridge, safe deposit box and lounge area with sofa bed. The example below is a villa ultima with 4 suites:



    Since every rental is built for an independent owner, most will have customized features and architectural styles. Luxury features such as outdoor or indoor Jacuzzi are found in all 4 types of villas. Some oceanfront homes like spc0429 are luxury rentals that can be available at a discount if discussed with the agent ( specially in low season ): imagine getting a place like this for $800.00 per night, with 5 suites and 7 beds.

     

    Ultra Luxury rentals refer to the type of villas that cost from $1,500.00 to $3,500.00 per night, usually large ones with more than six bedrooms and up to 10. That kind of villas are found in Cabarete and Cabrera ( North Coast ) and Punta Cana and La Romana ( East ). Decorated with expensive furnishings and offering a more exclusive atmosphere, an ultra luxury rental is a lifestyle for people traveling to Caribbean destinations like the Dominican Republic. These type of villas are perfect for corporate groups and large family reunions, weddings and celebrations. The one in the collage below has a cost of US$3,000.00 per day:


    Rules & Security Deposits:

    Since there can be damage to the property or its furniture, art or electronics, a security deposit is always a must. In smaller villas it`s usually $100-200 and for larger villas it ranges from $500-1000.00 or an open credit card voucher. Some of the rules in the villas are the same as in any respected neighborhood:

    1- Low noise levels ( not loud music allowed, varies from villa to villa ).
    2- No pets without permission.
    3- no fighting in the premises.
    4- no local visitors ( local bar females, some villas do allow them ).
    5- no nudity in the outdoor ( unless the grounds are walled ).

    A lot of the villas in gated communities are strict on these rules, understandably so because of the neighbors. However, there`s rentals that erase these rules because of location, some very ideally set such as a private hilltop, see example ( spc0245 ) or walled beach property ( spc0975 ). In any case, talking to the rental agent will yield a lot of information regarding each individual villa as there are a lot of exceptions to each different rule.

    Once the villa is rented, all that`s needed is food and drinks to make it a memorable vacation. Airport pick up services are available through the agency, also some extras such as private chef, car rental, driver, bodyguard, and tours. The vacation rental industry is rising worldwide, and so it`s positively affecting islands like the Dominican Republic. The new Carnival Cruise Port being built in Puerto Plata will bring an estimated 2 million visitors in the first 2 years of operation, starting in 2014.

    The full selection of villas for rent in Sosua can be seen by clicking the banner below.

    Many tours available in Sosua can be found in the following links:

    Tours in Puerto Plata

    Ecotourism in Dominican Republic

    Tours in Sosua

     

     

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    Top Six Tours When Traveling To Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

    THE TOP SIX: Tours. The Dominican Republic offers a wide selection of activities and tours for visitors, and this is the reason why more than 2.7 million visitors visit the island each year. Some of the tours are water sports, such as sailing, fishing, diving, kite surfing, jet skis and even paddle surfing. Other tours are geared towards eco friendly activities such as trekking, dirt buggies, mountain climbing, cave exploration and zip lining. Most of these tours are found in the North coast of the island, in the regions of Puerto Plata and Cabrera, that includes Sosua and Cabarete.

     

    Our top ten list starts at number 1, Fishing in Puerto Plata. Fishing is done in every coastal town of the Dominican Republic, east, south or North. Some say that the best fishing areas are around Puerto Plata, because of the Atlantic Ocean.

    The variety of fishing game in the area also influences its good ratings: Dorado (Mahi Mahi), Yellow Fin Tuna, Red Snapper, Yellow Tail Snapper, Grouper, Tarpon, Bone Fish, and Permit are available all year round. December until April is the main season for Dorado and Wahoo. November to January is the prime time for Sailfish. Blue Marlin and Sailfish are available from October until February. Boats depart from Playa Dorada, Sosua and the Ocean World Marina in Cofresi. Julie II is a famous fishing boat we recommend, docked in Sosua beach.

    Number 2 in our top ten is zip lining, which draws people from both local and international cities. There`s 2 major zip lines in the area, one is Yasika Adventures and the other one is the Monkey Jungle in Sosua. Yasika is located in the tourist highway that connects Sosua and Santiago, and is highly recommended. The Monkey Jungle now offers one week lodging in a very exotic setting of lush natural surroundings, and lots of monkeys.


    Our number 3 requires a PADI certification, because diving in Sosua is a serious business. There`s a large variety of walls, rocks and caves to explore, such as the Three Rocks, which are three giant coral heads that span for 45 meters (150 ft.), hosting an incredible mix of tropical fish and plant life. Paradise Reef offers beginners a chance to explore the inner ocean at a maximum depth of 12 m/ 40 ft. along a colorful reef wall. The Canyon (max. depth 18 m/ 60 ft.) is a reef wall that has split, forming an underwater avenue ideal for a relaxed, colorful cruise. The wall begins at 4 m/12 ft and is full of spectacular sponge life. A lot of other spots such as La Puntilla, Airport Wall, Pyramids and the airport wall are also of great interest to new divers and certified ones. Northern Coast Diving is one of the top providers of diving in the Sosua area.

    Number 4 in the list requires a life vest and a good camera with telephoto lens, so you can catch close ups of the whales in Samana. These large cetaceans visit the island each year in March, to breed and give birth to their offspring in warmer waters. Many travel agencies offer all-inclusive trips for those who want a close look at the big humpback ( Megaptera novaengliae ), and to their delight the whales play, sing and jump allowing tourists to snap pictures and film videos. Three of the tour operators that offer whale watching tours in Samana are Whale Samana and Colonial Tours.

    Our number 5 goes to Ocean World, the marine park in Cofresi that has become a sensation since its opening in March 2004. Centrally located in the Caribbean on the North Shore of the Dominican Republic, just three miles west of Puerto Plata, Ocean World Adventure Park Marina & Casino is an extraordinary entertainment complex dedicated to offering visitors a once in a lifetime experience that cannot be duplicated anywhere in the world. Guests of Ocean World Adventure Park have the opportunity to touch, pet and feed dolphins, sea lions, sharks, stingrays, exotic tropical birds, meet tigers, walk through a tropical rain forest and much more.

    The top 6 tour in the North coast brings the visitor to an adventurous land of back roads, farms, river crossings and much more. It`s called the Outback Safari. Oversized trucks fitted with seats and protective metal frames carry visitors to see native Dominicans in the country side, cooking, farming, and sharing daily life. The outback safari offers a Visit a typical Dominican home, meet the family that lives there & enjoy a drink of freshly made coffee with them. Beverages, food and cultural guidance is provided throughout the tours, a very enriching experience.

    Other tours in the North Coast worth visiting are the Damajagua falls, caves of El Choco, the kite surfing and board surfing beach in Cabarete, and ever present golf courses in Playa Grande and Playa Dorada. Horseback riding in the beach is a must to some, so don`t miss it. Villa rental clients in Sosua or Cabarete can call Golden Treasures Concierge Services and get more information and booking services.

     

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