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

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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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    An overview on location of villas in Sosua and Cabarete

    Having a great vacation in the Dominican Republic might involve renting a private villa or condo for the conveniences it offers. Most travelers contact us requesting beach villas in Sosua and while there`s a lot of villas advertised as beach villas for rent or sale, the reality is that most of the rental ones are not really on the beach, except for a few ultra luxury properties set on the ocean front or in neighboring residential communities. Over 95% of the most demanded villa rentals in Sosua are set on gated communities as seen in the map below showing the main beaches numbered 1 to 6; to keep private villas as such, we`ll classify the villa locations from A to J:

    Location A has the most villas below US$300.00 per day, a 20 min. walk or a 3 min. drive in a car, includes free daily shuttle 5 times per day to Sosua and Cabarete beach. Location B has some small villas too, mostly booked up.  The C has the SPC0575 /SPC0576 which is a top rental for groups, within walking distance to town and can offer a total of 7 bedrooms or rented as a 2, 5, 6 or 4 bedroom villa ( configured with 2 attached villas or 1 ). D has two oceanfront listings: spc0255  and spc0429 which could be available at a deal on low season.



    Location E has some condos and villas for rent, best if a rental car is at hand.  F has some of the finest villa rentals in Sosua, starting around US$850.00 per night and much higher for beach front properties. The I has luxury beachfront condos for a low deal, starting around US$145.00 per night, code SPC0591 and frequently used for bachelor parties because it`s a private area within walking distance to town and there`s good availability most of the year.


    All the villas we list are certified to be good as a vacation rental, and testimonials attest our dedication for quality. If we ever face an issue with a villa not being up to our standards, we place it in a special list pending re-certification once the issues are corrected. Airport transfers are available for all the rental guests, the current cost is US$30.00 for a van that fits around 10 people.

    Other locations such as H and G in the map below also offer excellent beach front villa rentals, one of them is spc0873 which has 3 bedrooms and located right on the beach. The distance from these two locations is about a 6 minute drive to Sosua`s main center, same for Cabarete beach. Quite easy just to rent a car, there`s drivers available and rates as low as US$34.00 per day. Location J in the map has a magnificent mountain view villa, code spc0661. which has 4 bedrooms and takes just 7 minutes from the center of town to the villa.



    There are many good deals available, specially with the one bedroom option rental club that applies to some properties that will let you rent one or two bedrooms for a fraction of the price, letting you rent a luxury villa and just use what you need. Just make sure you ask the rental agent before if you plan to host a bachelor party, so the proper vacation villa is booked, since there`s some properties not fit for parties due to neighbor`s proximity.

    Call Golden Treasures Vacation Rentals for more information at 809-377-2038 / 829-477-2038 or email us.



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    Carnival Cruise Lines will Invest U.S.$ 65mm in Puerto Plata`s new cruise ship terminal

    Carnival Corporation announced the construction of a modern cruise ship terminal in the community of Maimon, Puerto Plata, at a cost of $65 million and will generate about $ 30 million in the first year of operation. The announcement was made by Giora Israel, senior vice president of this world leader in cruise ship tours,  in a ceremony which was led by Dominican Republic Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia.  The tourism executive described the work as a high-impact tourism project for the province, which will be ready to receive two ships simultaneously for at least four thousand passengers and crew of one thousand, and will begin construction on October of 2011 and be completed by 2013. The terminal at Bahía de Maimón will be equipped to dock two 4,000-plus-passenger, 1,000-crew cruiseships simultaneously. Although it will be built and operated by Carnival, other cruiselines will be able to dock at the new facilities.

    Cruise Port Layout shown by local authorities and Carnival Cruises representatives

    "This project has a future and guarantees success for Carnival Corporation in addition to an investment of $65 million there`s a guaranteed massive presence of cruise ships and passengers, as opposed to that terminal's being built by the Dominican goverment," said Tourism Minister. Javier Garcia said Carnival Corporation unites all sectors of the region working in one direction, and that according to preliminary studies in the first year would reach 250,000 cruise passengers, and the following would reach 600,000 vacationers on cruises, a number far larger than the ones received in the country today via cruise ships.

    Carnival Cruise Lines is the world`s largest ship cruise tour operator, here the Carnival Pride.

    "In its heyday Puerto Plata received 174,000 passenger cruise ship that touched its port, Carnival says the first year 250 thousand, and in the coming years, this amount may increase to 600 thousand, which means that Puerto Plata will receive more than all received across the country today, "he said. The terminal will be built in a tourist area of 50,000 square meters in the Bay of Maimon, for a period of two years, will have shops, market, park area, aquatic environment, amenities and public area, creating about 800 jobs.

    Executives of the company highlighted the qualities of the area and the beautiful surroundings, the facilities for passengers to move to the city of Puerto Plata and other parts of the region, but especially the environmental impact and respect for the International Code for Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS). The speed of the work is mainly due to the investment does not require any funding and the facilities offered by the Dominican government to investors, bringing together all sectors involved in the planning and construction of the project from the initial permit until the end will have the backing of President Leonel Fernandez.

    The Carnival Magic is the latest ship added to the fleet, now also coming to Puerto Plata.

    The study submitted by the investor plans to increase spending by cruise passengers $ 43 to $ 95 per day, assuming that the average cost is $ 97 per passenger and the terminal will have all the facilities for passengers. The terminal will be built and operated by Carnival Corporation, but other cruise lines will play Puerto Plata tourist destination. The doors were also open to investors who want to be part of the terminal in the complementary offer for visitors. Giora Israel revealed that although Puerto Plata has conditions as the target aspect was the motivation of the Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia, during the celebration of the XVII Cruise held last October in Santo Domingo.

    The news of the construction of the new cruise ship port is having a very positive impact on the beach towns of Sosua, Cabarete, Cofresi, Costambar and Puerto Plata which have seen a decline in tourism in the past few years due to low investment and efforts by the goverment. Despite all this, real estate, villa and condo rentals have kept tourists coming to the North coast because of its natural beauty and scenery. The cruise ship travel industry has highlighted this as one of the most important announcements in the industry this year.

    VIDEO: Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.


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    Leatherback turtles nest on the beach in Cabarete, Puerto Plata

    Two leatherback turtles  (Dermochelys coriacea), one of the four species that nest in the island of Dominican Republic, laid eggs in two nests on the  beach in Cabarete, Puerto Plata, said the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARENA). It is expected that most of these animals come ashore to spawn. Technicians from the Coastal and Marine Resources Office inspected the  Cabarete beach and found two nests separated by a distance of 800 meters apart and 10 meters high from the tide, which had been protected with a fence of wood and rope, placed by members of the community, the Navy, Politur and Ministry of Tourism.

    Environmental technicians formed a protection committee, with all the materials needed to reinforce the perimeter of the nests as it is expected that more turtles  arrive to this beach . The committee is composed of Jose Sanchez, coast inspector of the Dominican Navy and Miguel Gómez from Military Intelligence, Lorenzo Zancazanis, Joseph A. Arias, Nelson Nivar, John Vine, Vine Celina, Christian Azar, Marino Peralta, the  Cabarete   beach  vendors Association, among others, who will be in contact with the Directorate for Protection, Monitoring and Control of Marine and Coastal Resources to monitor these  nests.

    The photo above shows the large leatherback  turtle  surrounded by a crowd  in   Cabarete , back in May 2008 and a male in open water.

    Back in May 2008 the leatherback  turtles  surprised the community of  Cabarete  by  nesting  in  the   beach , drawing media attention and soon becoming distinguished guests of the community. The leatherback  turtle  (tinglar in the Dominican Republic) is the Dermochelyidae family. In English is called Leatherback  Turtle , in French Tortue Luth. It is the largest sea  turtle  and also more specialized. The front legs, transformed into broad flippers, have a wingspan of more than 3 m to a carapace length of 2 m and a weight exceeds 500 kg. The hind legs, short and broad, reminiscent of the seals, and are attached to the short tail with a leathery expansion.

    But the most striking character of the leatherback  turtle  is its shell, which consists of small independent bone flakes, covered with a thick skin. The shell has a rubber texture, about 4 cm thick and is made up of strong connective tissue saturated with oil. The young are covered with small scales, which resemble those of many lizards, but are shed with age. They are mostly black on the back but the fins have white margins, and have lines of white scales along the back. On average, measuring about 61.3mm long and weighing 45.8 g. Leatherbacks travel much greater distances in the ocean than the other marine  turtles . It is assumed that in one year, they migrate from South America to the northeastern United States and then return to their starting point.

    The turtles  hatched in 2008 and were a sensation in Cabarete beach, the photos here show the small creatures popping out of the sand.

    The leatherback forages in cold waters, able to withstand temperatures of 6 º C - 15 ° C. It has also been recorded that this  turtle  can reach up to 1200 m below sea level and at that depth, water temperature is rarely above 5 º C, even in tropical regions. Unlike almost all living reptiles, leatherback is endothermic, maintaining a body temperature of around 25 º C. They feed mainly on pelagic invertebrates such as jellyfish and tunicates, pelagic crustaceans and juvenile fish. A kind of rear-facing spines that are in the throat, help them to swallow jellyfish. The main  nesting   beaches  are on the Pacific coast of Mexico, the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, French Guiana, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. They also spawn in smaller amounts in Veracruz, Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Colombia, Windward and Leeward Islands and Guyana.

    VIDEO: The hatchlings going into the ocean

    The main threats facing the leatherback vary from one region to another but can be summarized in:

         -  Habitat loss, due to the marketing of tropical  beaches  (especially tourism) and industrialization.

         -  By catch by fishing nets, causing it to suffocate.

         -  Pollution caused by industry in tropical waters and heavy industry in cold waters used for migration.

         -  Human predation: In many countries, the leatherback population is threatened by uncontrolled harvesting of their eggs. This is due to various cultural beliefs in relation to eggs.
            In several countries, the leatherback  turtle  is hunted for food. For example, in the Kei Islands (southwest of New Guinea, Maluku Province of Indonesia), leatherback  turtles  are regularly hunted as a food source.

     Cabarete  beach is world famous for its windy bay that attracts Wind and Kite surfing enthusiasts all year long from all over the world. Golden Treasures Real Estate and Rentals is dedicated to promoting eco tourism and the protection of all marine species in the North coast in order to preserve this legacy for present and future generations. With the constant growth in the villa rental and real estate market of the area, it`s imperative that strict guidelines are enforced in order to protect all natural habitats for the marine species such as the Dermochelys coriacea, also called Tinglar and Laud  turtle .

    Trips from Sosua and Puerto Plata should be arranged to the  nesting  site in order to show children and adults some awereness and respect for nature. Also, people at  Cabarete   beach  must know to make silence when the hatchlings come out, so they can hear the ocean sounds and guide their first trip to the water more efficiently. It is believed that  turtles  rely on ocean sound and vibration ( some say they also use magnetic poles orientation too ) to find the way to the ocean after cracking the eggs. Also, no need to touch and cause stress to these beautiful animals.

    The Dermochelys coriacea species is the longest living and the deepest diving one of all  turtles . Click to view larger.

    SOURCES: turtles /leatherback.htm turtle


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    Reef Girls Visit Cabarete, Dominican Republic

    The Dominican Republic,  Cabarete  and the whole North coast gave a warm welcome to the  girls  from Miss  Reef  International, who are  visiting  the Dominican Republic for a 4 day appearance in the fantastic  Cabarete  beach.  The  Reef   girls  are part of a tradition spanning four years that includes a calendar shot in the most exotic locations of Latin America.

    Some of the  girls  will  visit  Nikki Beach  Cabarete  as part of an agenda that starts on Wednesday June 22nd, ending on June 25th, 2011. At 2:00pm they will have a press conference in Nikki Beach and next day we`ll have Ari de La Guardia from Panama, Katherine Fuenmayor from Venezuela,  Michal Lauren from the United States, Natalia Baccino from Argentina and Sunessis de Brito from Brazil in a photo session by Hege Holt, a well-known photographer of  Cabarete.

    The  Reef girls  will be present at the happy hour from 5:00pm-7:00pm and on Friday June 24th they will be giving out autographed copies of the 2011  Reef girls Calendar in a big party at Nikki Beach. On Saturday June 25th from 4:00pm to 6:00pm they will be signing autographs at the Surfea Surf Shop and later that evening they will stage a fashion show on Cabarete  beach.

    This is the first time that the Miss  Reef  International  girls   visit   Cabarete ,  according to Verona Peñalba, Marketing manager at Nikki Beach  Cabarete. “it`s the perfect combination, they represent sport, beauty, health and happiness” she said. Aliza Lao, from the marketing staff at Miss Reef, it`s always a pleasure to bring the sensuality and beauty of Miss Reef ( to the Dominican Republic ). We thank Nikki Beach for welcoming the girls and we hope this to be the first of many visits.

    Among the sponsors of the events: Presidente Beer, Amber Dune, Nikki Beach and special thanks to  Reef  International. Music by resident Dj Ro-Z and Resident Dj Dav Motta.

    Golden Treasures Real Estate and Vacation Rentals recommends Nikki Beach as one of the top restaurants for our luxury villa rental clients when  visiting   Cabarete  beach, and gives them special thanks for bringing the  Reef   girls  to the North coast. Our  Cabarete  villas for rent include beach and ocean front properties in the most prestigious locations.


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    Finding deals on villas for rent in Cabarete and Sosua, Dominican Republic

    Welcome to the One Bedroom Option Rentals Club. Renting villas have become a quickly growing trend that has many people traveling to the Caribbean chasing the sun and fun of spending a few days in a beach house instead of the all inclusive resorts. Among several hidden deals most travelers don`t know about is the one bedroom rental option that some villas allow, if you travel in low season. By renting one or two bedrooms only,  the rate of a 4 bedroom villa can drop to even 50 or 40% of the original price, so you could be staying in a $600-1000 per night luxury villa for a fraction of the original rate.

    Most of these super deals on villa rentals are only known to those lucky enough to get the information from the local rental agency ( international rental sites don`t know about such deals ) or be bold enough to try and inquire about it. Not all the villas will offer a one-bedroom deal, though the ones that do are usually good ones. A newly listed beach house for rent in Cabarete has this advantage,  and while the villa charges for 3 bedrooms it also is advertised with the option to rent one or two only at a discounted deal. The villa can be rented as a Sosua rental option, since it is just 5 minutes from Sosua and the beaches ( the gated community is located in the middle of both towns ).

    Another similar deal on a Cabarete luxury beach front penthouse for rent in Ocean One can also be obtained through Golden Treasures Vacation Rentals, just published recently with the one bedroom option for half its original price plus tax. The penthouse is one of the top three in the area, rated five stars and it offers the highest level of comfort as expected in a US$700.00 per night lodging. When rented with 1 bedroom only with 2 guests, it goes down to US$350.00 which is a bargain, but only to qualified renters ( no single men, sorry ). It is more a family oriented rental for discerning travelers and business people who will be good to the expensive furnishings that also include an open VoiP line to make free calls worldwide. A special promotion was including a package deal for the penthouse that includes a discount at world famous Nikki Beach, the posh club restaurant in Cabarete beach.

    Another vacation villa Rental in Cabarete that includes the one bedroom choice and will turn heads is the spc0659, a fantastic 5 bedroom luxury rental in the most prestigious gated beach community of the North coast. The house is decorated entirely as a beach house, with white washed walls and furniture, combining wooden flooring in some bedrooms and light tone decorative artifacts reminiscent of a sailing vessel. Its large garden and swimming pool are private and withing walking distance to a secluded beach in the private community that includes a high end club house with a fine restaurant and 2 more beaches. This villa is simply perfect for the ones seeking to be in a more refined setting where the neighbors are all multimillion dollar villas and access is strictly controlled by guards.

    Although not guaranteed, the option of the one bedroom option rental club can be requested from other villa owners, if the rental agent is savvy enough to know which owners are willing to do so. Many would be surprised at the myriad of choices available in the villa rental market, that most people ignore because the rental agents are not creative enough to connect the dots and take the extra step to match option and client.  Another excellent deal is the Sosua penthouse for rent  coded spc0621, with the most magnificent view of the waterfront beach, and just a few meters from the actual Sosua beach and all the good restaurants in the area. The unit has 3 bedrooms, and originally costs around US$600.00 per night. The owner offered a deal to the agency: rent only the 2 guest suites and make it only US$300.00 a night. The master suite is kept locked, but the renters keep the whole penthouse and the magnificent vistas and its ocean shore swimming pool.

    As the world economic recession lasts for longer than expected, it is only business wise to open more options to renters and keep the market healthy in low season. This opens the property to other markets such as the honeymooners, romantic couples, and other travelers that require much less than the 3 or 4 bedroom villas and condos offered by the vacation rental market in the Dominican Republic. One interesting note is that all the featured listings in the one bedroom option rental club seen here are aiming at the mostly quiet, romantic type of traveler, as opposed to loud parties and single men with bachelor parties ( for that type of rentals just call us and we`ll show you a list of available ones ). All Luxury properties featured here are all valued around a million dollars, so it is expected that the renters be considerate to its good condition. If you ever want to purchase a condo, beach house or villa in the Dominican Republic`s North coast just visit the real estate listings by Golden Treasures and contact us for a visit to the ones you like.

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