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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    Puerto Plata Sees a Economic Renaissance with New Investments

    Once the first and foremost tourist destination of the Caribbean and the Dominican Republic, the province of Puerto Plata had seen a rise and fall like no other location in the DR. Now, with a new elected president in office, and after 20 years of being the underdog of the tourism industry, this old city and its beach resort towns are slowly seeing a rebirth that is sure to bring it back to its past splendor and status as the first Spanish settlement of the New World ( Christopher Columbus, October 12th, 1492 ) now with a much modern twist.

    Carnival Cruises will hub its vessels from Maimon Bay, Puerto Plata

    The new Cruise Ship Hub in the Caribbean

    Puerto Plata`s road to recovery began with the announcement by Carnival Cruise Lines, of a new cruise ship port to be built in the Maimon Bay, that promises to bring half a million tourists in its first year of operation, set to begin on late 2014. The positive economic impact on the region will be significant, as many travelers that can`t  board from Miami will use the local POP airport to come board from here; use local transportation and more important, the local produce that will supply a large number of vessels traveling through this new hub.

    The Wider Highway

    President Danilo Medina has promised to begin work on the Santiago- Puerto Plata highway to make it wider and better, a crucial aspect of the plan to draw more visitors to the North Coast ( Santiago`s STI airport is a major hub in the Central Cibao region ). Local representatives and business people have tried to persuade past presidents unsuccessfully and now it seems that finally Medina agreed to include it in the country`s annual budget.

    Local Representative Jose Paliza pushed the agenda on the highway

    The new Riviera Azul

    A group of investors recently inaugurated a new resort in Playa Dorada, called Riviera Azul. President Danilo Medina led the inauguration of the first phase of the project, as part of government policy to support the country's tourism development. The complex will consist of three stages with a total of 180 apartments and a total investment of about 100 million, with approximate 44.000 meters of land, 350 meters beach and several green areas, swimming pools, tennis courts , basketball and other sports. This first stage is the delivery of two buildings of three stories each , with a total of 75 apartments of one, two and three rooms with sea view, pool or golf course from all units, all built with top quality.

    President Medina led the opening of the Riviera Azul

    Tourist Development Program will boost investment to Puerto Plata`s municipalities

    President Danilo Medina submitted a draft to the senate, amending the Law for the Promotion of Tourism to, among other objectives , grant exemptions for investments in existing and future structures in the tourism sector to benefit from the 100% exemption from import duties and other charges applicable to machinery, equipment , materials and property. The head of state means that the project aims to bring tax incentives established by Law 158-01 to levels that allow constant development of the tourism sector and attract investment from local businesses, foreign and multinational.

    This will result in a direct boost of support for new investments in Sosua, Cabarete, Costambar, Cofresi and other important locations of the North Coast. These regions are influential in the development of housing projects, and are already a known villa and condo rental destination for North Americans and Europeans.

    The large Supermarket Chains

    La Sirena, one of the largest supermarket chains in the Dominican Republic, set foot in Puerto Plata 2 years ago and now has started construction of their flagship Super Pola in Sosua. Housing developments in this beach town keeps growing despite the world`s economy, and projects like Casa Linda and Hispaniola ( mid range priced homes ) keep growing each year, adding new and more modern vacation villas. It is this market of foreign-owned luxury homes that attract big players like the Ramos Group, owner of the Super Pola and La Sirena franchises.

    The new Super Pola will bring a new level of service to Sosua

    Reorganization of Sosua Beach

    A jewel that stands apart in the universe of beaches in the North coast, Sosua beach has often been criticized for its excessive number of informal vendors and shanty stores, half of which are not in good condition, or closed. The Tourism director for the North Coast announced a plan to build a plaza and reorganize the beach to make it better for visitors. Rumor has it that the land between the road and the beach in Sosua will see a large development resort, long overdue due to its high value potential.

    Sosua beach will be reorganized to make it better for visitors

    "On the beach of Sosua there are 242 vendors, and the same number of modules or cubicles will be built for relocation", said Mr. Lorenzo Sancasani. To add: "With the construction of the square we seek to unclutter the beach of Sosua, improve quality of life and the vendors themselves." Meanwhile the mayor of the Municipality of Sosua, Ilana Newman, favored the construction of the Plaza of the Seller by the Ministry of Tourism, and understand that the project works for the benefit of the beach vendors and the community.

    New Flights for newly remodeled POP Airport

    The provincial director of tourism for the North, Lorenzo Sancassani, reported that he`s in talks with Caravelle, a major European tour operator that could bring 2 new flights to Puerto Plata. He said he has traveled to Brazil and Argentina in search of new flights and connections with tour operators, "and the interest is more active, there is enough interest in Puerto Plata". Mr. Sancassani reported that the start with Caravelle in early next year could bring 600,000 tourists to that destination, which will increase to about two million when the new Cruise ship port opens at the end of 2014.

    POP airport serves the entire North Coast of the Dominican Republic

    The Minister of Tourism, Francisco Javier Garcia announced that in the coming months there will be an increase in flights from Europe , Miami and Puerto Rico to Puerto Plata as part of its efforts to increase arrivals to the North. He said that beginning in June Air Europa will include an additional weekly flight from Madrid to Puerto Plata on an aircraft with a capacity to transport 300 passengers. He added that similar actions will be taken by other airlines from Miami and Puerto Rico, as part of the steps to follow so that the province of Puerto Plata returns as one of the main destinations of the country.


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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.

    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.
     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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    The MS Hamburg Cruise Ship Will Visit Puerto Plata

    PUERTO PLATA. - About 400 travelers will arrive this Friday, March 8th at the port of this city,  aboard the Cruise Ship "HAMBURG" from the German company Plantours & Partner, said Deputy Minister of Tourism, César José de los Santos.
    This cruise ship will arrive at 12:00 noon to the local port of Puerto Plata, thus making it his first visit to the Dominican Republic. Deputy Tourism Minister César José de los Santos revealed that Shipboard "HAMBURG" will be held reception in which the ship's captain will greet various city officials in a special ceremony.

    The ship is a massive 145 meters long and has a crew of 170 to serve 197 cabins from Junior to Master.

    The cruiser "HAMBURG", is exclusively dedicated to the German cruise travel market by the operator Plantours & Partner, and it was built by the shipyard Schiffswerft GmbH in Wismar, Germany in 1997, and has already Nassau Bahamas flag and port of registry. This large boat has 145 meters long, 21.50 meters to 5.100 meters sleeve draft, has 170 crew and consists of 197 cabins and 8 suites.

    The arrival of the cruise "HAMBURG" to the pier of Puerto Plata is expected to gather the authorities of the Dominican Port Authority (APORDOM), Ministry of Tourism (MITUR), City Hall, Provincial Government, and others. Preparations include government agencies that coordinate efforts to enable and adjust the local port to provide a proper reception to the tourists coming in the ship.

    Boasting deluxe restaurants and high end owner suites, the MS Hamburg is considered one of the best luxury cruise ships worldwide.

    The German cruiser "HAMBURG" is the second tourist cruise ship to visit the port of this city in recent times, as last December 13th, 2012 the boutique cruise ship "The World" paid a visit to Puerto Plata and re-started a tradition that was common 2 decades ago when the North Coast was the top destination in the island and the Caribbean.

    MS Hamburg is a 15,000-ton, 420 passenger, luxury cruise ship owned by the Hapag-Lloyd cruise line; but is now operated by Plantours. She was built in 1997, in Wismar, Germany.

    Given the hotel rooms and private villa rental offers now available in the area, this can be a great opportunity for the North Coast to provide jobs to many that were laid off due to slower tourism in the past few years. Cabarete, Sosua, Cabrera and Cofresi are now considered top destinations in the island given the beauty of its beaches and the varied landscape.


    For more information:!prettyPhoto

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    A Cabarete Classic Villa Opens to investors and renters alike

    Cabarete is known for its wide selection of towering apartment buildings bordering its windy bay, where most of its travelers find lodging or retirement living. Private villas are scarce near the bay, and while there`s a few clusters of small villas in the kite beach area ( Bahia de Arena, Nanny`s Beach Houses, Olas De Oro ) those are mostly small scale units and almost always booked up because demand is higher than supply.

    Almost all of the large scale, high end luxury rentals of Cabarete are found in gated communities, like Perla Marina, Sea Horse Ranch, Hideaway Beach, Playa Laguna and Lomas Mironas ( in reality, the best ones are in the second and third option ). It`s rare to find a large, luxury rental villa close to the bay and the night life, because most of the prime land is reserved for buildings.  In late December 2012, a classic beach front house was introduced to the rental and real estate market, opening a new door to those seeking to rent or buy a villa close to the heart of Cabarete:   as a rental   for sale

    Once just a family beach house rarely used by its owners, it has now been opened to bidders who can afford its daily rental rate of US$550/night, providing 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms ( the 5th is closed ) and promising great family vacations, wedding venue celebrations by the beach and even corporate retreat and meetings. The sale price is a generous US$1.3 million, low by any standards for a property of more than 600 square meters of construction (over 6,480 sq ft ).

    The house is built on three floors, offering 2 bedrooms in the first level, 2 on the second and a large master suite with a long balcony in the upper level. A set of panoramic windows grace the living room with fine vistas of the ocean, and a modern European kitchen sets the tone to entertain guests and family. The outdoor gazebo attached to the exterior pool side towers on top of the pool terrace and includes a brick BBQ grill and patio furniture. This property has many fine features, and the beach front swimming pool almost next to the golden sand beach is just one of the best.

    The villa was "rediscovered" by Golden Treasures Luxury Rentals, and restored to bring back its grandeur and make it available for its customers. Contact us for more information on booking and visiting this fantastic beach villa in Cabarete.



    Useful resources on travel to the North Coast:

    Puerto Plata Travel Guide

    Dominican Republic Travel Guide

    Sosua Villa Rentals

    Cabarete Villa Rentals

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    Dominican Republic Becomes a Cruise Ship Supplying Hub

    World class MSC Cruise Ship initiated the Dominican Republic as a Caribbean hub for the cruise industry, with its first visit to get locally produced perishable goods and provisions. The Italian cruise line Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) began operations in the country yesterday with the arrival at the port of Santo Domingo of the vessel MSC Lirica, which brought 1,800 European tourists traveling to several Caribbean islands, in addition to a crew of 800 people.

    The vessel arrived at 9:00 am, to depart at 11:00 pm with a  destination path that includes La Romana, San Martin, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Antigua and Barbuda and the British Virgin Islands. During a tour of the boat, the executive director of Sans Souci Ports, Jaime Jorge Castillo, said that this boat will get their supplies of various agricultural products in the country, as well as take advantage of the tours offered to enjoy the attractions of Santo Domingo, which will have a positive impact on the Dominican economy. 

    He explained that the arrival of a cruise leaves the country between U.S. $ 180,000 to U.S. $ 200,000 (per day), taking into account the services that the country has to offer. He said The MSC Lirica will visit the Dominican port MSC 10 times during this cruise season. "The MSC is also very popular and has a notable influx of European cruisers, especially French nationals, with interest to know and enjoy the city of Santo Domingo," he said Castillo.

    He said the Port of Santo Domingo and its terminal is ready to receive cruise ships. While recognizing that there are still challenges to face and areas for improvement, Castillo highlighted the joint effort of several public institutions to promote tourism. For his part, the ship's captain, Raffaele Iaccarino said MSC is a family cruise line, so from now on going the Dominican Republic will be part of that family. He highlighted the benefits that the country offers. During the inaugural MSC Lirica touch was the traditional exchange of plates, since it is the first time that vessel reached the port of Santo Domingo.

    The tour around the boat included executives from Sans Souci Ports, the mayor of Santo Domingo, Juan De los Santos, the director of the Port Authority, Ramon Rivas, the director of the Ministry of Passenger cruise, Orfelia Salazar, the president of Maritime Dominican Karster Winder and journalists from different media. MSC Lirica. This ship has a capacity for 2,200 passengers. Among its amenities are interior staterooms with ocean views and balconies, a theater, nightclub, casino, bar, two restaurants, beauty salon, shops, spa, video arcade, swimming pools, among others.

    The executive director of Sans Souci Ports called on the Dominican community for them to be good hosts of tourists visiting Santo Domingo through the cruise, to highlight the benefits and dynamism left in the city as a result of the different activities and foreign exchange generated by thousands of visitors. The island has become a focus of interest for various cruise ship companies including Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruises. The MSC Lirica can be seen at

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