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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    2013 Carnival in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

    The Carnival Union of Puerto Plata (UCAPPLATA) and the Municipal Government announced that every Sunday during February  afternoon there will be celebrations full of colorful activities performed by local people and their folklore. Providing more details UCAPPLATA president Dr. Janko Souffront said carnival evenings will take place in the area of the pier where awards will be held every Sunday for the most creative and colorful costumes and parades. 

    He explained that already works are being done tirelessly to organize this cultural festival that characterizes Puerto Plata, in a unique way, where tents and ramps will be installed so that citizens enjoy the carnival festivities. Dr. Janco Souffront said the carnival gala will take place this Saturday January 26 in Playa Dorada Celuisma where Momo will be crowned the king; on this occasion the young entrepreneur Roque Garcia (Roquelito) will be the chosen one, plus the choice of the queen, and princess.

    ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTION
    The mayor of Puerto Plata, Meyreles Walter Musa, said that despite economic cuts in the institution they will provide a million pesos for this event carnival. Meyreles Musa handed over a check containing the first RD$ 500,000.00 to be invested in the awards for best costume parades, both collective and individual.
     
    CARNIVAL FOR CHILDREN
     Also, the Department of Culture of the Municipality run by Ricardo Vilma (Aunt Vilma), organizes the children's carnival which will be staged at the Plaza Independencia and will  be enjoyed by the whole family. The details about the various activities that will take place in Puerto Plata Carnival 2013 were featured in a press briefing held in the Chamber of the local council by Rafael Balbuena Faringthon, the local council.

     

    The photos depicted here were taken on Sunday February 24th, 2013.

     

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    Cruise Ship Visit Opens a New Age in Puerto Plata

    The arrival in the early hours of Thursday, of the "New World" Cruise ship at the city harbor, with 223 passengers, opened a new age for tourism in Puerto Plata. The ship arrived when the clock marked 7:30 am in the morning, as planned by the authorities of the Ministry of Tourism and the Dominican Port Authority, who awaited in this city to welcome this cruise ship coming from Miami, United States.

    To say that the ship caused widespread admiration among the people of Puerto Plata is an understatement, because many cried "the cruise ships are back", in reminiscence of the 80`s when Puerto Plata was the top cruise port destination in the Dominican Republic. Others, however, welcomed the presence of these cruise tourists, executives from the company that brought it to this area, the crew and officers of the liner. The "The World" cruise ship is registered in the Bahamas (Nassau), is a boutique-style boat captained by Dag H. Saevik, Senior Captain, and Antonino Cardillo, Hotel Manager, where they travel with 223 passengers, plus crew staff and other workers.

    The visitors were received by officials of the Ministry of Tourism, Dominican Port Authority, government officials, hoteliers, tour operators, and other representatives of institutions linked to this activity, which welcomed these cruisers.

    The cruise ship "The World" is a world-class private yacht with 165 privately owned condos and suites.

    The last cruise ship to visit Puerto Plata was seen in 1986, so this visit is considered to have a strong impact on tourism for the North coast. Carnival Cruises is set to build a new hub port for cruise liners in Maimon, Puerto Plata that will start operations in 2014. Local authorities highlighted the importance of this visit, including port Administrator Juan Musa, who noted that tourists loved the natural beauty of Puerto Plata and its importance as a landmark and historical first in the Americas.

    Puerto Plata was Taino land when Christopher Columbus first came to American back in 1492. It was the first of many landmarks related to the discovery of the new world, including the first Spanish settlement in the Americas. Recently, the Dominican Republic was featured as Best of the Caribbean 2012 by Caribbean Travel and Leisure. Another cruise line ( Royal Caribbean ) was in talks with President Danilo Medina about construction of a larger port in Samana.

     

    The ship visited Puerto Plata this week and leaves on early Saturday morning.

    The widespread construction of luxury condos and villas in the North coast combine with existing hotels to provide thousands of rooms and lodging units to supply the demand for accommodation in the area, specially in Sosua, Cabarete, Cofresi and Cabrera.

     

     

    Related links:

    http://aboardtheworld.com

    http://www.cruising.org/vacation/destinations/cities/puerto-plata


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    Best of the Caribbean 2012: The Dominican Republic

    Being at the top of the consumer`s preference is only reached through hard work, large investments and the strong dedication of thousands of people that everyday wake up to work on one of the largest tourist markets of the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic has once again been included in the top list of best of the Caribbean, this time for 2012 by the prestigious firm Caribbean Travel and Leisure. Their Editor`s Picks rated dozens of islands that are filled with exciting activities, amazing resorts, and convenient airline travel connections. The best of the Caribbean selection for 2012 can be seen online in their website.

    No wonder why the island is featured in international magazines and reviews, The Dominican Republic has over 1,600 kilometers of beaches, varying with golden, white and creamy colored sand in the most exotic locations across the island, from East ( Punta Cana, Bavaro, La Romana, Juan Dolio ) to the North coast ( Puerto Plata, Sosua, Cabarete, Cabrera, Cofresi ) to the South coast ( Barahona, Pedernales ). Many a review has been written about the wonderful locations in the island, its rich history, heritage and nice people.

    Some interesting facts on the Dominican Republic can be found in Wikipedia, citing that "The Dominican Republic has become the Caribbean's largest tourist destination, especially in Punta Cana, Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo. The country's year-round golf courses are among the top attractions on the island. In this mountainous land is located the Caribbean's highest mountain, Pico Duarte, as is Lake Enriquillo, the Caribbean's largest lake and lowest elevation. Quisqueya, as Dominicans often call their country, has an average temperature of 26 °C (78.8 °F) and great biological diversity. Music and sport are of great importance in the Dominican culture, with merengue as the national dance and music, and baseball as the favorite sport."

    The island as a favorite destination is featured in many travel sites, such as the following ones:

    http://www.godominicanrepublic.com

    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/dominican-republic

    http://dominicanrepublic.com

    http://www.thedominicanrepublic.net

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g147288-Dominican_Republic-Vacations.html

     

    Golden Treasures is proud to be the top villa rental agency in the North coast of the Dominican Republic, with a strong presence in the finest beach and ocean view communities with top class services and a wide range of deluxe villas for families, groups, bachelor parties or corporate retreats.


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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 Truth on Tourism Advertising and the Dominican Republic

    When planning a trip to a Caribbean destination, close to 90% of travelers take some time to research into the available offers from tour operators, travel guides, friend referrals, and other online sources that provide information through travel review sites, forums and specialized sites. In a competitive industry such as travel and  tourism , it is expected that some destinations become affected adversely by the success of others, thus creating a market for PR attacks and negative campaigns if the competing destination has no creativity to compete in a fair way.

    The Dominican Republic  has been the victim of such PR attacks since more than 2 decades ago when it began to compete in the international market for all inclusive tourists that began in the city of Puerto Plata and later expanded dramatically to the Bavaro-Punta Cana areas. It is common to read online and printed reviews about inflated crime figures, poor roads, warnings about leaving the hotel zones and other misleading data that luckily some tourists double check before considering and yet after all this bad publicity  the   Dominican   Republic  still gets around 2 million visitors each year and statistics show growth, though modest due to the misleading bad PR. New York is a top world destination, and has a exceedingly high crime rate... compare that to all tourists areas of the DR combined and you`ll have all New Yorkers coming to live here.

    About 50% of the bad PR goes towards the island, something that clearly shows that the false  advertising  comes from other competing islands, including Mexico according to published news citing DR government officials.  The rest of the misleading reviews are directly aimed at the first tourist destination of the island, the North coast. Although Puerto Plata suffered when Punta Cana and Bavaro started to lobby government officials to get the bigger and eventually the whole  advertising  and infrastructure budget from the government, still the city retains its much higher value with a superior natural beauty and appeal – There`s no better ecofriendly and varied  tourism  offer than Puerto Plata, including Sosua, Cofresi, Cabarete and Costambar.  Nearby Cabrera is also considered part of the extended package, with amazing places to visit.

    The diversity of environments and natural and cultural attractions makes  the   Dominican   Republic  one of the top in the Caribbean.

    It`s no wonder that most of the all-inclusive  tourism  belongs to the East of the island, which has row after row of beach resorts packed next to each other. For a weekend of beach and sun it sounds fantastic.  Then there`s a more complete type of  tourism  that involves cultural, ecofriendly travel that takes the visitor to a wide range of tours including towns and beaches not set inside the seclusion of a resort.  Puerto Plata has all that, including the largest self catering vacation rental market in the island. Another interesting factor that misleads visitors is the claim by tour operators and some beach resorts that venturing outside resorts boundaries is too dangerous, which they do because of some interesting reasons, being the main two that they want tourists to spend their dollars in the resort stores and restaurants, and the operators want to minimize losses on travel insurance if used.

    Compared to other destinations (e.g. Jamaica and Mexico) the island of  Dominican   Republic  is far less dangerous, and most crime cases can be traced back to irresponsible lifestyles related to drugs and sex for pay. Small towns such as Sosua in the North coast have seen quick change after the new major took over office, although to some it`s been too quick too hard ( some bars and restaurants complained ). In the world of  advertising , perception is everything.  2012 presidential elections will be a good arena to present plans and demand change, since the current administration has failed to make  tourism  grow  in   the   Dominican   Republic  as everyone expected in a long 8 year government.

    As a vacation rental agency, we`re doing a research among our clients and found that none has reported high levels of violence as  advertised . We will be soon publishing the full report with some interviews to local law enforcement officials, and the result will astound many. When we compared the data with other destinations it`s incredible that they want to splatter their bad numbers on our face instead of being honest to the public.

    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: A RICH CARIBBEAN DIVERSITY TO BE DISCOVERED

    1 .- BIODIVERSITY: The  Dominican Republic ranks first in biodiversity in the Antilles, as well as taking third in the world in biodiversity of the island, in proportion to its territory. It has the largest geomorphological diversity-reliefs represented by three mountain ranges, five saws, three regions kársicas or limestone, four coastal plains, four valleys, more than fifteen mountain valleys and tectonic depressions.

    2.-VARIED LIFE:There exists as many areas of life, determined by altitude, as their attention spans from 45 feet below sea level on Lake Enriquillo and Cabritos Island to 3,087 meters above sea level in the Pico Duarte.

    3.-DUARTE PEAK is the highest of the Antilles, Pico Duarte, with 3.087 meters. And the deepest tectonic depression of the Antilles, the Hoya Enriquillo, 45 meters below sea level.

    4 .- The ENRIQUILLO LAKE is the largest hypersaline lake in the Antilles,  with 240 to 260 square kilometers and still growing. We have the western pine-conifer-largest ground limestone of calcareous origin, in the land of Bahoruco. This species grows in acid soils, this being an ecological rarity in the world.

    5 .- EXCLUSIVE SPECIES:Perhaps we also have the highest endemism in the Antilles, approximately 39% or more. We have the highest plateau of the West Indies, New Valley, located 2,200 meters above sea level.

    6 .- ENVIRONMENTS: It is the only area of the West Indies where there is vegetation and Andean alpine type, the New Valley. It is the largest waterfall in free fall height of the Caribbean, Salto de Aguas Blancas Constance, with two waterfalls of 83 meters. Can also be the highest altitude is around 1,800 meters.

    7 .- CAVES: We have the largest number of caves in the West Indies. We have the largest number of cave pictographs in one room, more than 1,700, in the cavern of José María del Parque Nacional del Este. The country has the largest number of rock art in the West Indies.

    8 .- VALLEYS: There are mountain valleys located at higher elevations of the West Indies, Bao Valley, about 1,800 meters above sea level. Here we have recorded the lowest temperatures of the West Indies, 8 degrees Celsius in the area of Pico Duarte and the valley's intromontano Bao.

    9 .- ICE: is the only place in the West Indies where there was ice: New Valley and the mountain valleys of Bao and rucksack, all located in the Cordillera Central.

    10 .- HAITISES: We have the kársica-limestone region of Los Haitises, most impressive of the West Indies, covering an area of 1.600 square kilometers Haitises-formations-conical mountains, hills, valleys, sinking micro-caves, rivers underground and a rainforest. Much of this is a National Park.

    11 .- HUMPBACK WHALES: There is more visits of humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, in the Caribbean Sea for reproduction, between the months of January through March, the banks of the Plata and Navidad ,and at the Samana Bay. They come every year an average of three thousand -3.000 - constituting a invaluable spectacle for ecotourism. This generates more than 20,000 eco-tourists and scientists who come each year to Samana, turning it into a major ecotourism destination.

    12. THE FIRST ONES: The Dominican Republic has a record of firsts, since it was the place where the first Spanish settlement, church, city, university and many other important institutions were created. Christopher Columbus found the New World in La Isabela, Puerto Plata in October 12, 1492. Still, the Colonial city in Santo Domingo has most homes, churches and important buildings as they were more than 500 years ago including Columbus house and its furnishings and beds.

    13. BEACHES: Endless kilometers of beaches, golden sand in the North and white sand in the East. Spanning a large part of the island shores, there`s beaches virtually in every coastal town of this blesses Caribbean island. Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Cabarete, Sosua, Boca Chica, Juan Dolio, Guayacanes, La Romana, Bavaro, Arena Gorda, Samana, Cabrera, Rio San Juan, Barahona, to mention just a few.

    There`s so much more about the island, it might take forever to put it all in writing, much less in graphics ( our long term goal ). 

    Partially excerpted from:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Republica-Dominicana-Continente-En-Miniatura/213289318705661

    http://www.goldenkeymanagement.com/dominican-republic.htm

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