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Tourism

Tourism

Although the Dominican Republic is part of the second largest island in the Caribbean, shared with Haiti, with an area of 48,442 km2 and a population of about 10 million inhabitants, it is the largest Caribbean tourist destination, with 21% of the total regional arrivals. The DR has over 67,000 hotel rooms and welcomes 4.2 million visitors per year, generating approximately US$4.065 billion annually and employing 200,000 people (direct jobs) in the tourism industry. Real estate in the Dominican Republic is fueling interest among international investors and it is expected that the demand will remain stable despite a slow-down in the global economy.

Over the past few years the DR has steadily grown as a “diversified” tourist destination, thanks to its widely varied options – from simple eco-tourism to high-end luxury, along with 23 top-notch golf courses, including designer golf courses designed by renowned experts such as Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye and Robert Trent Jr. The DR also boasts five marinas, including the beautiful marinas at Casa de Campo, and Puerto Bahia, in Samaná; world-class theme parks such as Ocean World in Puerto Plata and Manati Park in Punta Cana.

Behind the success of its pristine beaches, golf courses, marinas and national parks lay many other treasures. The island has the highest peak (Pico Duarte) and the lowest point in the Caribbean. The country’s inland areas are sprinkled with pine forests, and vast sugar plantations leading through small villages, mountain valleys and vast rivers with great waterfalls.

Furthermore,  Dominican Republic’s capital Santo Domingo is a world heritage city declared by UNESCO as it conserves the splendor from the colonial era. After Christopher Columbus's arrival on the island in 1492, Santo Domingo became the site of the first cathedral, hospital, customs house and university in the Americas. This colonial town, founded in 1498, was laid out on a grid pattern that became the model for almost all town planners in the New World.

tourism

The Dominican Republic is a land of contrasts, with a diversity of landscapes in disparity to the coast The most metaphorical aspect is found between the urban street life of Santo Domingo and the rural villages only a short drive away, all these amenities, combined with the Dominican Republic’s abundant natural beauty, make it the perfect place to escape to.

This beautiful tropical paradise is also strategically located, with convenient air links to the American and European markets through regular international and regional flights serving its seven international airports. With an ¨open skies¨ policy in the field of air traffic transportation, the DR attracts more and more international carriers to Santo Domingo, its capital and commercial center, a great Caribbean location just over one hour from Miami. Daily flights to New York and other cities in Europe make it ideal for business and leisure investments.

Punta Cana International Airport represents the main tourist destination, with 54% of all air traffic to the Dominican Republic, followed by Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, Samaná, Bayahibe-La Romana and Barahona-Pedernales.

The Dominican Republic is not only a prime international tourist destination but also attracts investors from around the globe, drawn by the country’s economic, political and social stability, significant tax incentives for domestic and foreign investors, a skilled technical and professional workforce and a well-developed cable and wireless telecommunications system. FDI has reached record growth since 2004 and the DR has become the prime investment destination of the Caribbean basin.

Dominican policymakers work persistently to promote domestic and foreign investment by participating in international forums and maintaining strong international relations in both the private and public sectors. The Dominican government is particularly committed to promoting sustainable tourism that protects and preserves the country’s ecological diversity.

The Dominican tourism market still has considerable growth potential. The main factors of competitiveness in tourism investment are its exceptional natural sites: 432 km of white sandy beaches, the Caribbean’s highest mountains, 31 national parks, scientific reserves and 24 ecological reserves. The country is famous for its hospitality, its relatively low crime rate and its abundant human resources at competitive prices.

Tourism

Foreign investors have rights and obligations similar to those of nationals. This means that under Dominican law, foreign investment receives equal treatment with respect to local investment. Dominican legislation accepts the free transfer of profits and repatriation of capital gains. For developers of hotels and other tourism projects, Law 158-01 enacted in 2001 currently grants tax exemptions for a period of ten years on income tax, real estate transfer tax, property tax on luxury housing and undeveloped lots, import taxes, and others In order to qualify for these tax exemptions, the hotel or tourism project must meet specific requirements as to its location within Dominican territory and certain elements of the project’s conceptualization. Nevertheless, these conditions are easily met with the appropriate legal assistance.

Recently, the DR has witnessed a number of mega-tourism projects, which as well as representing a major investment in the country but also demonstrate the Dominican Republic’s strength as an essential market for tourism investors.

Finally, since the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) held its annual meeting in Santo Domingo in October 2010, the international cruise industry is showing more interest in the DR and the Dominican Tourism Ministry now anticipates a five per cent growth in this segment of the market.

We invite you to visit the Dominican Republic, where we will welcome you with opened arms and our friendly hospitality.

Southeast Coast

Colonial Santo Domingo

Colonial Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic. In 1498, Bartolome Colone, the Admiral’s brother, founded Santo Domingo de Guzman, the first city of the new world. It is situated on the southeast coast of the island of Hispaniola, in a natural virgin setting on the shores of the Ozama River, and is the oldest permanent city established by Europeans in the Western Hemisphere. The city is also the seat of the oldest Roman Catholic archbishopric in the Americas.

Years later, in 1502, it moved to the other side of the river where it continued growing until it became what is it today, Nobody can visit the Dominican Republic without knowing its Magical, Historical, Romantic and first city founded in America, Flows into the Caribbean Sea, the city has a fine artificial harbor accessible to most commercial and passenger ships. It is connected by both ship and airlines with two international airports serve the region, one about 10 miles (16 km) north-northeast and the other some 15 miles (24 km) east of the central city with principal points in North and South America and is at the hub of a network of modern roads, Santo Domingo is a tourist, economic, and administrative center.

There are so many different attraction in Santo Domingo, and for those who prefer a guide tour, it is better to start at the Calle el Conde (The Earl street), whose refers to the Baroque Style. From there you will reach the cobble stoned Plaza Colone, where the majestic statue of Christopher Columbus stands in the center, and the Santa Maria de la Encarnacion Cathedral. There are several shops in front of handcrafted works of clay, wo

You can also visit the Old Colonial Zone, The Old Town od, leather, Cigar…etc. features the New World's first street (Calle Las Damas), fortress (Ozama fortress), sundial and Cathedral (Catedral Primada de América), among others, as well as many old churches, el Alcázar de Colón (Diego Columbus' house), el Museo de las Casas Reales (Museum of the Royal Houses), the Amber Museum, etc.

In the National Aquarium, you can enjoy watching the fish and other sea creatures found in our waters and in other parts of the world. The main attraction is the Plexiglas tunnel where you can walk as if you were under the sea and see the sharks, manta rays, etc. and not to forget Columbus Light House, Botanical Garden, Square of the Flag and many, many more.

Boca Chica

Boca Chica - Jaun Dolio

Located in the southeastern part of the island, and only 30 to 40 minutes from the capital, is characterized by its coastal beach strip, golf courses, and great restaurants. The seaside area has four stretches of public beach – Boca Chica, Playa Caribe, Guayacanes, and Juan Dolio. All of them are surrounded by small hotels, residences, apartments, restaurants and shops. However, the four beaches differ; Boca Chica is the largest reef-protected lagoon in the Caribbean. Its crystalline waters and the immaculate fine, white sands, turned Boca Chica into the most crowded and family friendly beach of the Dominican Republic.

Jaun Dolio

Just 20KM from Boca Chica and 50KM from Santo Domingo, another beach near the capital with tourist development, besides being a great place to find Dominican craftsmanship.

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.

East Coast

Punta Cana and Playa Bavaro

East Coast

Punta Cana is known for stunning beaches that rank among the world’s best. Beaches among them: Bavaro, Arena Gorda, Cortecito, Cabeza de Toro, Macao and Punta Cana situated on a perfect 40KM stretch of palmed-lined coastline make up the Costa del Coco. The lapping ocean waves and the rhythms of merengue are Punta Cana’s soundtrack. Its laid-back island culture welcomes you and invites you to experiences its riches. Scuba diving, snorkeling, excellent golf courses and tennis courts, theme parks, pools are some of the many attractions that this beautiful area offers.

La Romana

La Romana has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country because of its beauty and its infrastructures that unites the most beautiful beaches of the world according to UNESCO and bases its growing economy on luxury tourism. Golf courses, sports facilities, idyllic beaches, extraordinary diving, fishing sports and one of the world’s 10 best resorts, Casa de Campo, make La Romana and ideal place to enjoy.

Casa de Campo Resort, is a luxurious 7,000acre ocean front residential gated community that offers world class golf courses including the world famous, Teeth of the Dog Golf Course designed by the famous course designer Pete Dye, furthermore the resort offers polo fields, a skeet shooting centre, har-tru tennis courts, an equestrian centre, water sports, spa treatment centre, private yacht club and more; which will please almost any visitor.

Inside the city of La Romana is the Duarte park, were one can see picturesque colored wood houses, the lovely Santa Rosa de Lima Church, the traditional coastal neighborhood, the market, the Ingenio Central and the Caleton Beach.

There are excursions from La Romana to the Chavon river by boat to contemplate the impressive landscapes that make up the interweaving palm trees, a place that perceivably has not been touched by the human hand, so particular and impressive that it has been in movies such as Apocalypse and King Kong.

Saona Island and National Park of the East

Saona Island and National Park of the East

The Saona Island is located a short distance from the mainland on the south-east tip of the Dominican Republic, near La Romana Province. it is inside the Natioanl Park of the East where virgin white sand beaches used to belong to the chieftain Cotubanama and later on served as a hideout for pirates.

Saona island’s extraordinary rainforest landscape bathed by the crystal waters of the sea and natural pools have been cleared to create some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the Caribbean.

Fourteen miles long and a little over three miles wide, Saona Island is a very popular area of the Eastern National Park. The island is home to 112 species of birds, along with turtles, sharks, bottle-nose dolphins, whales and manatees around the island waters. It is complete with facilities such as bathrooms, showers and picnic tables for visitors who want to spend the day there. The island has a small population living in the settlement of Mano Juan.

Samana

Samana

The peninsula of Samana on the northeast coast creates the magical bay of Samana, which attracts whale-watchers from around the world to observe the fantastic conclave of thousands of humpbacks in mid-January to mid- March. Samana is a land where Europeans, who first came as tourists, have opened innumerable small hotels and restaurants. With the opening of the international airport and the express highway to Santo Domingo, new investors have come to cater tourists seeking relaxation at resorts or at their own vacation homes. Samana is also the place to enjoy Dominican specialties, such as the delicious fish in coconut sauce.  The bay of Semana features an important historical site. When Christopher Columbus decided to return to Spain to tell of his discoveries to the Catholic Kings, he discovered the Bahia de Samana, where the first encounter between Indians and Spaniards took place in the New World. The place was named the Gulf of Arrows.

Samana is a paradise whose time has come beautiful beaches and waterfalls, wondrous caves, spectacular marine life and international dining make the once-remote destination a must visit. Samana is located in the Northeastern part of the Dominican Republic located 245KM north of Santo Domingo, this peninsula is famous for its unspoiled beaches and for the fact that every winter thousands of hunchback whales can be seen just a few meters away. Its an ideal destination for eco-tourism.

Through the bay, crossing the bridge, we can reach the three small islands stretching towards the east of the peninsula Semana, where you ‘ll reach Las Galeras and the Beach of Playa Rincon where turquoise water blends into the white sand, the sunlight and nature.

National park of the Haitises

National park of the Haitises

This nature reserve of high limestone plateau, covered by climbing plants is a curious geological formation that creates an unusual landscape of mounds and flat-topped hillocks. The high humidity favors the growth of the lush and diverse vegetation, with more than 10,000 breadfruit trees, as well as more than a 100 different species of tropical birds, including parrots, owls and gannets.

There are also several caves with pre-Columbian inscriptions, such as the Devil’s Mouth: an enigmatic cave full of stalactites and stalagmites with colored canals and enormous corridors.

There are important mangroves in Los Haitises National Park and two major life zones: the wet forest and the subtropical rainforest. Cedar, ceiba, mahogany, and other tropical American trees are common here.

Las Terrenas

Las Terrenas

Located on the northeastern coast of the Samana Peninsula, Las Terrenas offers miles of protected inshore waters and beautiful, undeveloped white-sand-beaches, lined with tall palm trees and pastel-colored fishing boats. Trade winds and the warm temperature of the sub-tropical Atlantic Ocean bring this part of the island year-round balmy weather.

It is one of the most beautiful parts of the island is also where you can enjoy one of the oldest natural spectacles every year from January to March around 3,000 humpback whales of up to 18 meters long arrive here from Greenland to mate and give birth to their young in the Banco de la Plata.

North Coast

Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata

At 235KM from Santo Domingo is Puerto Plata (Silver Port) given this name by Christopher Columbs in 1493 for the color of the water at dusk at its more than 11KM of beautiful beaches and abundant vegetation. This was the scene of the first and main historical events after the Discovery of America: the first disembarkation, the constriction of the Christmas Fort with the wreckage of Santa Maria, the foundation of the first city of the New World on his second trip, among others.

It is considered the capital of Amber Coast, for the richness of the pine fossil resin that existed in the tertiary era and the mines for the gem, which can be admired and acquired in the Amber Museum.

Puerto Plata is for those seeking an attractively-priced active vacation with the option of lots of places to visit in the area as it offers so many different attractions such as San Felipe Fort, built by the Spaniards in the 16th Century on the waterfront to fend off pirates. The 2,000 square meter fort is the oldest standing edifice in Puerto Plata and the only remnant of the colonial time architecture.

Puerto Plata has 2,565 foot (800 meter) cable car ride up to Monte Isabela de Torres park, the most impressive geographic feature of the city, the peak overlooks to the city.

Just 50km to the west of Puerto Plata at the foot of a vegan mountain, is the place where Christopher Columbus founded the islands first settlement, La Isabela, named in honor of the Queen Isabela the Catholic. Nowadays it is declared National Park La Isabela.

Puerto Plata has a 135,000 square meter gorgeous Botanical Garden at the top with its subtropical vegetation and 15 small brooks and streams amidst multiple trails.

In addition to the views from the top are botanical gardens, a statue of Christ similar to the one in Río de Janeiro, and a restaurant.

Sosua

Sosua

Sosua is half way between Puerto Plata (25 kilometers to the west) and Cabarete. It is considered the Acapulco of the Dominican Republic. You could say that this is where tourism first began back in the 70s and 80s. Despite development, Sosua still keeps its charm with the highest density of shops and restaurants in the Batey section of the destination. You can enjoy the kilometer long beach that includes all the ingredients to practice scuba diving and water sports. Sosua is also famous for its traditional craftwork of leather, clay, wood, necklaces, paintings, and for its annual International Jazz Festival.

Cabarete

Cabarete

Just 10 minutes to the east of Sosua is Cabarete, considered one of the world’s 10 best beaches for windsurfing and kite surfing. The great wind and absence of reefs offers a spectacular waves all year that are enjoyed by surfers, windsurfers and kite surfers. In Cabarete the beach is the main attraction, with body boarding and kite surfing being offered as options to windsurfing. But tour companies have also arrived to take advantage of the energies of the crowd that visits. Tourists should take advantage of well-organized horse ranch tours, cave tours in El Choco National Park (Laguna Cabarete and Laguna Goleta), and mountain biking in the neighborhood.

Center

Santiago De Los Caballeros

Santiago De Los Caballeros

located on 166KM from Santo Domingo, on a hilly terrain in the middle of the Cibao Valley in the Central Region of the Dominican Republic, one of the most fertile lands found in the island. The Yaque del Norte River passes by Santiago which is in between the Cordillera Central and the Cordillera Septentrional, two of the three major mountain ranges on the island of Hispaniola, forming the Cibao Valley.

Santiago De Los Caballeros, 166Km from the capital of Santo Domingo is the country's second largest city in the Dominican Republic, with almost one million inhabitants, it brings together beauty, history and a vibrant culture.

Santiago is often called the "heart city," as is in the center of the lush Cibao Valley, birthplace of rum, merengue and tobacco. Its plantations produce cigars that are appreciated all over the world, making up two thirds of the worldwide market of Premium handmade cigars.

Its main street, Calle El Sol, is filled with businesses, hotels, restaurants, bars and a wide variety of stores. Parque Duarte [Duarte Park], located at the north end of the street, is very popular among the locals and a great example of Santiago's relaxed lifestyle.

Jarabacoa

Jarabacoa is recognized as the birthplace of the country's ecotourism industry. Situated 700m high  in the mountains of the Central Cordillera, Jarabacoa is a great place for long horseback rides through beautiful pine trees. Although it can drop to 45 F (7 C) in winter, Jarabacoa nearly always has a pleasant temperature from 60 to 75 degrees F (16-22 C). Locals call this steady climate the "city of eternal spring," which is perfect for growing strawberries and flowers.

Jarabacoa has three large rivers, Baiguate, Jimenoa and the Yaque del Norte where there is plenty of adventure to be found. Popular for their level-two rapids, you can float down in tubes, white water raft, or even rappel down vertically.

La Vega

La Vega

La Vega, or Concepción de La Vega is the largest city and municipality of the central Dominican Republic and the third of the whole country.

Christopher Columbus built a small fort near present-day La Vega, in 1494. It was intended to guard the route to the interior gold deposits of the Cibao valley. A Spanish settlement known as Concepción de la Vega gradually grew up around the fort, and after 1508, when gold was found in quantity there, Concepción became the first gold boomtown in the continent. By 1510 it was one of the largest and most important European cities in the hemisphere. The town was destroyed and buried by an earthquake on December 2, 1562, and the survivors relocated to the present site on the banks of the Camú River in the western border of the Cibao Valley, It is considered  a cultured city for its dedication to the arts and for its Carnival.

La Vega’s Carnival is one of the oldest and most traditional carnivals celebrated in the Dominican Republic. Some researchers claim that the first carnival celebrations were held in La Vega Vieja (the old city of La Vega) as far back as 1520, when residents of La Vega dressed themselves as Muslims and Christians and participated in festivities that eventually became the modern-day carnival.

Townspeople work all year to prepare for La Vega’s Carnival where you can see the spectacular "diablos cojuelos" [mischievous devils] with their oversized masks and huge horns as they portray demons or animals. It is celebrated every single weekend through February and the streets become filled with visitors from all around the world.

La Vega has beautiful royal Poinciana trees and it is also home to great athletes, which is why it's known by the locals as the “Olympic city.”

South West Coast

San Cristobal

San Cristobal

San Cristobal is located 28Km from Santo Doming, it’s a beautiful city founded by Christopher Colubus’ brother. Here you can find reminders of the late dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s life: in the house of Caoha, the live Rock monument and the Church of Nuestra Senora de Consolacion, with her mausoleum. Other constructions unrelated to him and of great interest are the Virgen de Altagracia Cathedral, decorated with extraordinary murals of Vela Zanetti, the artist responsible for the murals of the United Nations, the Church of San Cristobal and the obsidian grottos.

A stroll through the city is also quite enjoyable, there are plenty of mahogany trees and very nearby you can find the spectacular beaches of Njayo, Nigua and Palenque, where French galleons sunk during the past century, making this an attractive diving spot. You can also visit the ruins of the first sugar cane mills of America.

Bani

Bani

It is a must go to destination, with its peaceful beaches, colored houses, modern colonial style buildings and restaurants, makes it an attractive city to enjoy the simplicity and perfect for relaxation. The Museum of Dominican Coffee, perks the interest of all coffee lovers.

The capital of the province Bani, city of poets, this community is related to the caciquism of Maguana, is situated 66KM from Santo Domingo. From here you can visit the Salt mines and the dunes. Very highly appreciated species hide out like: the monarch butterfly, amphibians, reptiles, and birds.

Barahona

Barahona

Barahona is located 204KM west of Santo Domingo, it is the DR's tourist destination with the greatest biodiversity, the Barahona-Pedernales area of the country is the final frontier for local tourism development. These days, domestic travelers and international nature specialists  are the most frequent visitors. The striking natural attractions of this region are incomparable. It boasts the largest lake in the Caribbean, a spectacular panoramic highway with vistas along the coast, a mountain chain that overlooks a remarkable chasm, scorching hot, dry forests that lie not far from cooler highland pine tree forests, as well as being one of the most significant fruit-producing areas in the country. The seafront has many restaurants and local craftsman.

There are so many different attractions to discover and visit in Barahona such as:

Pedernales

Pedernales has been called the Dominican Republic’s best-kept secret. Here you will find hospitable locals, beaches with Dominican families relaxing and endangered species roaming freely. The Península de Pedernales is as gorgeous for its realness as it is for its physical beauty and natural diversity. It makes up the southernmost shoreline along the Caribbean and contains three national parks (Jaragua,Sierra de Bahoruco, and Isla Cabritos), attracting more Eco-tourists every year. 

The Magnetic Pole of Cabral

This is certainly the area where the best Dominican coffee is produced. Here, nature has some surprises. You can stop on the road to observe the magnetic hill phenomenon. This is a strange phenomenon that makes vehicles which have stopped at a neutral point slide upwards on the hill.

The Park and Lake Enriquillo

The Park and Lake Enriquillo

The largest in the Caribbean, this lake covers an area of approximately 102 square miles (265 square kilometers). The lake also marks the Caribbean's lowest point, a remarkable 40 meters below sea level. The name Enriquillo honors the first successful insurgent against the Spanish conquistadors. The high salt content of this inland phenomenon has created a barren, seemingly lifeless environment that is inhospitable to humans, but ideal for the basking American crocodiles, friendly iguanas and graceful pink flamingos. 

Bahia De Las Aguilas (Eagle Bay)

Playa de las Aguilas was named like this, because of the eagles who were taking refuge in this area, it is a privileged natural setting considered one of the most virgin area of the country, there are many species originating from the island such as flamingos, marine turtles, white-crowned pigeon and many others. It is famously known as the most beautiful beach of the entire country. To discover this paradise for fishermen and for nature lovers of white sand beaches and crystal-clear water, you need to pass through the small village of "La Cueva", famous for its caves. It is considered one of the most virgin of the country.

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