Friday, March 30, 2018

The East Coast

The 50-km eastern coastal stretch from Uvero Alto Cana is for people of all ages who are primarily in search of rest, relaxation and water fun. All-inclusice resorts prevail in this area, making vacations very carefree. Because of the lovely beach settings, weddings are frequently held at resorts. Most hotels attract families by offering child friendly facilities. The area has gone upscale, with a handful of award-winning boutique hotels and luxury resorts. Most of the older hotels in the area have renovated to offer larger plush facilities, seeking to cater to the more discerning baby boom tourist and the affluent young that seek the ultimate in comfort in the Caribbean.
Map of Dominican republic
Getting there
Punta Cana International Airport is the preferred port of entry, from which area hotels are a 10-to 45-minute drive away. This airport offers scheduled service by:
USA: American Airlines (Miami, New York), Continental (Newark, Houston), Delta (Atlanta, New York), Spirit (Fort Lauderdale), United (Washington-Dulles, Chicago), US Airways (Charlotte, Detroit, Philadelphia), USA 3000 (Baltimore-Washington, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St.Louis).

Caribbean: American Eagle (San Juan, Puerto Rico), Condor (Antigua), Martinair (Cancun, Montego Bay).

Europe: Condor (Frankfurt, Munich), Iberworld (Madrid), Livingston (Milan, Rome), LTU (Berlin, Leipzig/halle, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich), Martinair (Amsterdam).

South America: Aserca (Caracas), Avianca (Bogota, Colombia), Lanargentina (Buenos Aires), Lanchile (Santiago de Chile).

Ocean Blue & Sand
There is additional charter service from:
USA: Boston, St.Louis, Milwaukee;
Canada: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Pikangikum, Quebec, St.John’s, Toronto, Vancouver, Wninnipeg
South America: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Europe: Amsterdam, Basel, Brussels, Lisbon, London, Manchester, Milano, Moscow, Paris, Prague, Rome, Vienna, Zurich.
Take note that several of these regular and charter flights may be seasonal. Takeoff offers domestic flights to key domestic destinations. There are also domestic charter flights.

Getting around
While Punta Cana’s interior roads often seem like a labyrinth, there is some logic to them. They basically lead to the Uvero Alto/Macao area to the north, the Arena Gorda, Bavaro, El Cortecito, Cabeza de Toro area in the center of the East Coast hotel strip, or to the Punta Cana/Cap Cana area to the south. The new expressway has considerably cut driving time between the airport and the most northern resort area. There is an express bus service from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo, with a stopover in San Pedro de Macoris. There is also service to La Romana.

Barcelo Bavaro Palace

Most visitors will take advantage of the excursions offered at the hotels, for which transportation is provided. Taxi service is available at hotels and car rentals can be obtained for those wanting to tour the area independently. The locals get around using public transport minibus and van service that is also available to tourists but must be taken from outside the hotels.

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

La Romana & Bayahibe

Casa de Campo put La Romana on the travel map since its start as a tropical golfer’s paradise in the 70s. Over the years, the destination has added more world class golf courses. To complement the golfers, yachtsmen and water sports buffs join horseback riders, weekend cyclists, tennis fans, hunters and skeet shooters alike who all enjoy mingling with the Dominican Republic’s jet-setters.
Visitors meet up with their friends who have migrated to their La Romana homes to escape the stress of big city life. The city was originally built around and maintained by the large sugar mill years before tourism became the mainstay in this region. Even now, the seasonal production of sugar fills the air with the sweet smell of molasses and the design of the La Romana International Airport (LRM) mirrors a sugar cane mill, as a reminder of the days when sugar was king. La Romana and the nearby beach town of Bayahibe and Dominicus have just the right mix of right – on – the – beach hotels, small restaurants and shopping to make for comfortable visiting and living. One of the best beaches in the country, Bayahibe (Dominicus) is but a 30 – minute drive from La Romana city, and is where the largest concentration of hotel rooms can be found.                                                                                       
                                                                                               Hotels in La Romana

La Estancia

Getting there
La Romana International Airport puts most tourists, whether headed to the La Romana area or Bayahibe area, less than 20 minutes from their hotel.
This airport is served by regular flights by/from: American Airlines (Miami) and American Eagle (San Juan, Puerto Rico).
There are also charter flights from: Canada: Skyservice, Air Transat, Sunwing, Zoom Airlines (Toronto), Can Jet (Halifax, Quebec City), Air Transat, Sunwing (Montreal) Europe: Blue Panorama (Rome, Milan), Livingston (Milan, Rome), XL Airways France (Paris), Air Pullmantur (Madrid), Condor (Frankfurt), LTU (Dusseldorf, Munich).

Altos de Chavon
Getting around
Guests of Casa de Campo will enjoy the internal shuttle transportation. A taxi may be taken to La Romana city and Bayahibe and car rentals are also readily available and enable tourists to take advantage of what the area and environs offer. There is a frequent scheduled bus service from La Romana city to Santo Domingo, and twice a day service to Punta Cana. Dominicus hotels feature regular shuttles to Bayahibe town.

Altos de Chavon. Altos de Chavon is the principal cultural attraction of the region, where the bests national and international artists perform at the 5,000-seat amphitheater. This re-created 16th century Mediterranean village overlooks the mesmerizing Chavon River. When established in 1981, Altos de Chavon was declared a working artists’ village by its creators, who dedicated it to the fine and applied arts. Its other-wordly cobblestone streets and quaint architecture overlooking Chavon River conceal charming shops, fine restaurants, intimate bars, artisanal workshops, a church, an archaeological museum and a university that specializes in design and is affiliated to Parson’s School of Design in New York.

Casa de Campo Marina. This marina, residential and shopping precinct was designed to evoke Portofino, Italy located where the mouth of the Chavon River opens into the Caribbean Sea. This is the place where the Dominicam Republic’s rich-and-famous meet, play and host their international jet-set companions. Admission to this area is restricted, and reservations are required.

El Artistico Shop. Eclectic and inspiring art work creations made of recycled iron. It is located on the main La Romana city road on the way west.

Alberca la Romana

Bayahibe town and beach. This is a laid back fishing town and beach with its nearby collection of small hotels, restaurants and few shops. Bayahibe is the site from which many excursions to the nearby Saona and Catalina islands are launched. The vive Bayahibe cultural movement presents events to make the town an attractive destination in itself and connecting free shuttle buses are now available from most Dominicus beach area hotels. The town lies 10 minutes from Dominicus beach resorts and less than half an hour from Casa de Campo or the city of La Romana.

Dominicus town and beach. Catering for the local residents and the occasional tourist that stray from the all-inclusive resort, a handful of casual restaurants and shops dot the Dominicus beach strip hotels. There is an unrestricted access to Dominicus beach between Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace and Iberostar Hacienda hotels.

Catalina Island. Catalina is a 15-square kilometer uninhabited offshore wildlife reserve located five miles south of La Romana, easily accessed by sea. Tourists visit for the snorkeling and scuba diving. For the least adventurous, glass bottom boats take tourists out to observe the submarine world.

Casa de Campo
Saona Island. Located in the National Park of the East, the excursion to Saona Island is the most popular all-day trip taken by tourists visiting the southeastern or eastern coast. The ride along the shallow coastline is one of the fine points of reaching this palm-studded paradisiacal island, whose 115-square kilometer area makes it the largest in the Dominican Republic. Also of interest is a visit to Palmilla (a natural pool) with its shallow crystalline waters and underlying sea stars that span a large area on the way to the island of Saona. Saona is the living image of the best of the Caribbean with its many fine, white-sanded beaches and a small picturesque community of Mano Juan.

Rancho Cumayasa. This ecolodge built up on a hill overlooking Cumayasa River offers horseback riding excursions and boat rides to Catalina Island, with an excellent Dominican lunch included.

Hotels in Dominican Republic
The National Park of the East. 420-square kilometer flora and fauna reserve, it is also a major archaeological center for Taino Indian culture. Botanists have counted 539 flora species there, while 144 types of birds are also known to make the park their home. Hikes can start from Bayahibe and Boca de Yuma towns, a certified Ministry of Environment guide is required.

Scuba diving
Observe the marine life at the underwater sanctuary created by the sunken St.Georges cargo vessel off the Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach. Thousands of colourful sea creatures make scuba diving a major attraction for those vacationing in the area. The area is well known for the dive operations located at the resorts. For the less adventurous, glass bottom boats take tourists out to watch the underwater view. Living underwater museum. The Captain Kidd shipwreck site is a leading attraction for scuba divers in the Caribbean. It is being converted into a living museum to protect corals and other threatened biology in the surrounding reef systems as well as showcase this extraordinary discovery. Indiana University and Dominican archaeologists have worked together to create the underground attraction that showcases the Cara Merchant, the ship Captain William Kidd commandeered and then abandoned in 16 as he raced to New York in an ill-fated attempt to clear his name of piracy charges . The Captain Kidd site is the only pirate ship ever discovered in the Americas. It is located off Catalina Island.

Teeth of the Dog
Family activities
With its great variety of sports, activities and outdoor excursions, La Romana, Bayahibe and Domenicus area is family-oriented. Take PADI certification diving courses, learn to windsurf, kayak or canoe, take a banana boat ride, go fishing, horseback riding, 4-wheel motorcycle riding and much more.

In Bayahibe, the Padre Nuestro Ecological and Archaeological Route makes it easy to appreciate the tropical vegetation along a 2 km trail into areas populated by the Tainos hundreds of years ago. A 1km route takes tourists around the flora and cultural heritage of the town with its early 20th century church, Indian burial site, and the Flower of Bayahibe cactus forest.

La Romana town, Altos de Shavon and shops in the Casa de Campo and Dominicus and Bayahibe beach areas offer excellent shopping for arts and crafts. Jumbo at La Romana city is a good place to stock up on good Dominican rum and cigars, or buy Dominican marmalades or sweets.

The nights are when the entertainment staff of the hotels show off their artistic talents. Options open to all in the area are:
Altos de Shavon.Some of the world’s best perform on the Chavon amphitheater stage. From December to April, you might be able to catch a Kandela tropical music extravaganza with more than 50 performers on stage.

Casa de Campo Marina. This marina, residential and shopping center was designed to evoke Portofino, Italy and is located where the mouth of the Chavon River opens into the Caribbean sea.

La Romana city features many restaraunts, discos and beer bars that cater to residents in Casa de Campo.

In Bayahibe, the restaurants and the colmadones or open bars are where people linger in the evening. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Boca Chica & Juan Dolio

Barcello Punta Cana
Southeastern regional coastal strip featuring the beaches of Boca Chica, Caribe (Embassy), Guayacanes and Juan Dolio, all within a less than 20 minutes drive from each other. Several golf residental communities have developed in the Guayacanes - Juan Dolio area. The golf courses and beaches attractmany residents from the nearby capital city of Santo Domingo, bringing a boom of good restaurants from Boca Chica to Juan Dolio.

Getting there
The closest airport is Santo Domingo's Las Americas International Airport, a 10 minute drive west of Boca Chica, 20 minutes from Juan Dolio. But the La Romana International Airport is also relatively close to destinations in this area, an additional 25--45 minutes east.
                                                                     Hotels in Dominican Republic

Getting around
Due to the multiple attractions, tourists staying in the hotels in this area should consider renting a car to get around. This will allow day trips to Santo Domingo or La Romana, and to the many beaches that embellish this strip. Otherwise, minibuses  make stops along the highway. Of course, there are hotel taxis available 24 hours a day.


Beaches - The seaside area is made up of four stretches of public beach - Boca Chica, Playa Caribe, Guayacanes and Juan Dolio, around which all - inclusive, small hotels, residences, apartments, restaurants and shops have sprung. The four beaches differ, however.

Hotel Boca Chica
Boca Chica is the largest reef protected lagoon in the Caribbean. This is a white sand and turquoise-colored beach where the waters range from shallow to a strip  of around two meters deep before getting to the coral reef.
By contrast, Playa Caribe (Embassy) is about small waves in the morning that become big waves ideal for surfing and body boarding as the afternoon advances.

 Juan Dolio and Guayacanes are two side by side but non-continuous beaches that sit on generally placid waters surrounded by a coral reef that separates the beach from the Caribbean Sea.
Major high-rise  real estate developments mark the area as more visitors want to make theirs the lovely views looking into the Caribbean over the  extended Juan Dolio beach. Guayacanes, less developed, is still for long strolls along the coastline.
Juan Dolio Beach

Santo Domingo Yacht Club - Located in the nearby port area of Andres, this club hosted the sailing events for the 2003 Pan American Games and continues to host national and regional sailing championships. To this day, Boca Chica is a prime area for learning to sail on weekend and during the summer. Laser, Sunfish and Optimist instructors use the yacht club as base.

Scuba Diving - Visitors can enjoy the water sports program which includes the opportunity to scuba dive at nearby La Caleta Underwater National Park, site of the Hickory wreck.

Los Marlins Golf Course
Los Marlins Golf Course
Golf - This area is gaining reputation as a golfer's mecca. It features two public courses around residential communities.
Los Marlins Golf Course, Guavaberry Golf & Country Club, Guavaberry Equestrian Center -

Baseball - From the end of October through January, you may catch a game of winter league professional baseball at the Tetelo Vargas Ball Park in San Pedro de Marcoris. This city is home town of Sammy Sosa, Alfonso Soriano and Vladimir Guerro.

Shopping - Boca Chica to Juan Dolio is an area dotted with numerous small gift shops. San Pedro's Jumbo supermarket is about 20 minutes east, and is where to stock up on good rum, beer and groceries.
New golf and beach development offer attractive  investment opportunities for those seeking second vacation homes or apartments.

Nightlife - The evening activity centers on the collection of restaurants in the Boca Chica, Guayacanes and Juan Dolio area. The out of the ordinary bar/restaurant Aura, with its Asian style lounges right in the middle of Juan Dolio Beach, El Ensueno or Deli Swiss in Guayacanes or Meson Espanol in Juan Dolio are local favorites and where beach fun is extended well into the evening. There are also hotel casinos and discos in the area.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Colonial Santo Domingo


Santo Domingo founded by the Admiral’s brother Colon in 1498, became the first city of the New World.Some years later, in 1502, it moved to the other side of the river where it continued growing until it became what it is today, a dynamic cosmopolitan city with a splendid past, judging by its buildings, fortresses and monuments that remained intact and  converted the city into a UNESCO World Heritage site. Santo Domingo claims to have the first cathedral, monastery, hospital and university of the New World.

Santo Domingo port
In order to explore the colonial era, it’s good to have a walk around the old part of the city. For those who prefer a guided tour, starting at The Earl Street in the city center is a good point. From that place within a walking distance you reach Plaza Colon, with its majestic Christopher Columbus statue in the center. It’s a very popular and busy tourist sight with several hand craft workshops of clay, wood, leather etc. 

On the opposite site of the plaza is the Santa Maria Cathedral, finished in 1540. Continuing down the street La Dames is the impressive Fortress, the oldest fortress in America with its stored cannons that are still watching over the city’s port. On the other side of the river, next to the Dominican Windmills silos stands the humble Rosario Chapel. It represents the first religious building where Catholic worship was held on this side of the Atlantic. Returning back to the street of La Dames is the Spanish Square with the statue of Nicolas and the old Columbus Palace, office of the New governed delegation of Spain in the New World. Next door is the Vice regal Museum and the splendid collection of buildings from the XV century.
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Santo Domingo Cathedral
Santo Domingo is famous by its churches and Monasteries among which Santa Barbara, the Monastery of Saint Francis, Santa Clara Church, Regina Church, constructed over 400 years ago and the headquarter of the first university of the Americas the Church of Dominica. The cobblestone streets and the antique facades of the Colonial City today are the home of some picturesque and festive bars, small hotels and reputable restaurants. Restaurant around Spanish and Colon Square tempt with their exquisite international and Creole cuisine. Outside the Colonial City across the river is the Mausoleum of Christopher Columbus.

Colonial Chu-chu 
Night Life

The Colonial Area dresses up at night. The street lamps illuminate the streets with magic, inviting party, romance and fun, in a place where every encounter is unforgettable and marked with joy.Without a doubt, the country's finest nightlife is found in Santo Domingo. For starters, the restaurants rival those of any cosmopolitan city in the world. Whether your choice of restaurant is in the modern Naco-Winston Churchill area, Gazcue, the Malecon or the Colonial City, be prepared to discover perhaps the largest and finest selection of restaurants of any Caribbean city. Several of the larger Santo Domingo hotels feature casinos.
Dinner show
Dominicans dine late, as you will notice, with restaurants standing empty at around 6 pm and filling with patrons after 9 pm. After dinner activities abound for an evening spent on the town. Begin with an outing to the National Theater, with its weekend to weekend schedule of cultural events and world-famous population that conglomerates at the plush discos and fashionable clubs of the Naco-Winston area. The small bars and cafes of the Colonial City stay open until late on weekends.

Your visit to the Dominican Republic, its ocean sunsets down the seafront, sense of the rhythm and taste of its Rum will always remain in the memory as a long-lasting travel experience. Santo Domingo, a World heritage city, conserves its splendor from the colonial era, present by the lovely buildings, the proud witnesses of the first New World constructions.

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