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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    Tourism Director Announces New Plaza For Vendors of Sosua Beach

    Deputy Director of Tourism for the North Coast Announces New Plaza For Vendors of Sosua Beach

    The statement of Mr. Sancasani states that the Ministry of Tourism and has made contact with owners of land near the beach of Sosua, with whom he intends to formalize an agreement to build there all modules necessary to relocate the houses that exist in Beach areas. All houses occupied craft vendors and other products, on the beach of Sosua will be relocated by order of Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic.

    The provincial director of tourism, based in Puerto Plata, Mr. Lorenzo Sancasani informed reporters of this news means that in the coming days they will hold a meeting with leaders of the Association of Caseteros of Sosua beach, in order to deal with them the proposed relocation of the sector. The information was provided by Mr. Roberto Sancasani, Regional Director of Tourism, on Tuesday, in an act accompanied by the Mayor of the Municipality, Ilana Newma, who submitted design drawings of the new plaza.

    The official explained that it is the interest of Dominican Republic president, Danilo Medina and the Minister of Tourism, Francisco Javier Garcia, to unclutter the important beach of Sosua. The architects of the Ministry of Tourism, who were responsible for designing the "Plaza del Vendedor" to be built in Sosua, Amalia Beato, Ivan Rodriguez and Jonathan Gonzalez Diaz, attended the activity, and offered extensive explanations on the particular. The Regional Director of Tourism said that a census was conducted of the beach vendors operating in the Sosua beach, before making the plan of the square to be built.

    "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.

    "This is an opportunity we can not pass up, and we thank you in advance President Danilo Medina, the Minister of Tourism and Mr. Roberto Sancasani, Regional Director of Tourism, for taking into account our destination within the Infrastructure Plan of Tourism, with the construction of this square.

    The design drawings of the plaza were presented in a ceremony that took place in the halls of City Hall of Sosua, which was attended by civil society representatives from the community, including hoteliers, community leaders, church Catholic and others. The work would be ready in about 10 months, the land where it will be built will be donated by the family Pastoriza.


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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.



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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:


    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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    Royal Caribbean Cruises Promoting New Port in Samana, Meets President Medina

    President Danilo Medina met yesterday with executives from the Royal Caribbean cruise line, aboard the "Explorer of the Seas" ship docked in Samana, where the head of state traveled by helicopter and whose visit had access only for the official press . In the interest of promoting and boost cruise tourism, the Dominican president accepted the invitation of Royal Caribbean, whose vice president, Michael Ronan, presented the deployment strategy that will continue in the coming years and provides for the possibility of increasing cruise ship arrivals to that area.

    In his presentation, Michael Ronan expressed the readiness of Royal Caribbean to work with the Dominican authorities in the necessary transformation of Samaná, so that it is able to receive arriving cruise passengers by providing better transport services, information, infrastructure, road safety and organization, among others, especially individual tourists, who do not buy excursions.

    "I want to work so they can bring more tourists and more people to benefit from tourism," said President Medina, saying that the Dominican government will do whatever is necessary to support cruise tourism turn the Dominican Republic into a main Caribbean cruise terminal. At the meeting, Federico Schad, from Bahia Cruise Services, offered details of a project to build a new dock in an area of 50,000 square meters next to the existing pier, which would provide more infrastructure facilities, better services and better views to cruise passengers visiting Samana and would be operational for the 2013-2014 season.

    Schad said that it could take advantage of the cruise market that operates year-round, especially from the U.S. East Coast, allowing Samaná compete with other ports in the Caribbean, receiving between 800,000 and one million cruise passengers to year.

    In another effort to make tourism the engine of national development, President Medina reaffirmed the government's support and detailed project plans, and requested a full presentation of all these initiatives, to be channeled through the corresponding authorities.

    At the meeting, President Medina also heard Samana`s mayor Miguel Bezi, and Rafael Blanco, president of the Tourism Cluster of the area, who spoke about the shortcomings of the province and its possible solutions. White spoke of the need to work for a comprehensive tourism system that takes into account the community, to guarantee the sustainability of the investments made in the sector.

    After the meeting, Michael Ronen gave out information materials and a souvenir to President Medina, who was subsequently shown the cockpit, where he was received by the captain of the ship. Later they had lunch with Royal Caribbean executives, administration officials and provincial and municipal authorities. President Medina was accompanied by the presidency ministers, José Ramón Peralta, from Tourism, Francisco Javier Garcia, and Public Works, Gonzalo Castillo. Also, the provincial governor, Lalane Enriquillo and the Dominican Port Authority director, Ramon Rivas.

    Author`s note: Last year, Ex president Leonel Fernandez announced plans for a new cruise ship dock to be built in Luperon Bay, Puerto Plata by Carnival Cruise Lines, a competitor of Royal Caribbean. If both ports are built, the Northern coastal areas of Cabarete, Puerto Plata, Sosua, Cofresi, Costambar, Cabrera and Samana will see close to 2 million tourists and a booming economy with subsequent higher sales and rentals of real estate properties and new hotels. The area is a prime location offering luxury villas and condos to retirees and investors from all over the world.

    Press release in Spanish from the presidency of the Dominican Republic


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