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Dominican Republic: A unique and endless destination throughout the world.

Cibao Valley
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Cibao Valley

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Observe the fascinating view offered by popular architecture and the intense colors of the dwellings of the rural folk. In the traditional bohío (a hut thatched with palm fronds) but also in the more contemporary homes, you can appreciate the creativity of the Dominican countryside.

While qualified professionals labor hard to sculpt comfortable spaces to satisfy the various needs of the urban environment, the inhabitants of the Dominican hinterland simply study their surroundings and build houses that straddle the fence, between their practical daily needs and their vital importance of space. Adding a protective coating to protect it against inclement weather and insects, the rural homebuilder or homeowner ultimately infuses his persona into his home: the combination of various tones and hues mirrors the variegated tapestry of the struggles and joys that are an integral of the human experience.

Since you are now touring the central mountain range (Cordillera Central Massif), let us tell you that our mountaínous regions constitute a splendid natural resource for ecological and adventure tourism.

This exceptional region is the most fertile and productive in the country, our breadbasket. The provinces Duarte, Espaillat, La Vega Real, Monseñor Nouel, Salcedo, Sánchez Ramírez and Santiago de los Caballeros occupy the center of the Hispaniola island and in them also are found great deposits of iron, gold, nickel, and other minerals.

The Duarte province has San Francisco de Macorís as its capital, a progressive city of friendly people and great commercial activity. Moca, the capital of the Espaillat province, is a small, enchanting and clean town, with very hospitable, kind and friendly people, celebrated also for the courage of its people.

La Vega Real and El Santo Cerro

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The origin of La Vega Real goes back to 1495 when Christopher Columbus arrived at Guaricano, dominion of the cacique Gaurionex. Armed with a royal edict to establish the third fort on American ground, Columbus oversaw the building of Fort La Conception (The Conception). However, its modest extension, Villa La Concepción, gained so much importance for its gold foundry, that it became a center of much activity. It may have been here, it is believed, that sugarcane was produced for the first time in the New Indies.

Five kilometers past La Vega, atop the Santo Cerro, is the first convent of the Order of Mercy a historical relic dedicated to Nuestra Señora de Las Mercedes (Our Lady of Mercies).

Here, for the first time the cross (symbol of Christianity in the Americas) was erected. Legend has it that in the midst of a bloody battle fought between the native Taínos and the Spaniards, the Viregen de las Mercedes appeared when cacique Guarionex tried unsuccessfully to burn the cross.

It was also here, in 1492, that Christopher Columbus planted the cross that had been given to him by Queen Isabel la Católica when he left Puerto de Palos de Moguer. Visitors can view a piece of the cross, preserved as a silent witness to the ignominious tragedy that was visited upon the indigenous people of the Americas. They can also contemplate the beauty of the Valle de la Vega Real from the very spot where Admiral Don Christopher Columbus exclaimed before its magnificence: "This is the most beautiful land that human eyes have ever beheld."

Carnaval

The Carnaval de La Vega, Folkloric Patrimony of the Nation, is a colorful cultural event that attracts many national and foreign visitors to the beautiful city of La Vega every February; visitors who enthusiastically wander through the Las Flores Park and its surrounding areas dancing in the streets to the contagious and exhilarating beat of traditional carnival music.

How to Get There:Take Duarte Highway (N 1), about 130 km from Santo Domingo.

Where to Go La Vega

Ruins of La Vega Vieja, Ruins of the Franciscan Monastery, Santo Cerro (Holy Hill), La Plaza de La Catedral (Cathedral Plaza), Balnearios of Bayacanes and Acapulco. During carnival season the beautiful countryside of La Vega is ideal for enjoying rural tourism.

Mountain Tourism

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Visitors who associate mountains with winter sports should be informed that these mountains offer a year-round very mild, cool temperatures; its monotonous tranquility is broken only occasionally by the chant of a nightingale, the mesmerizing notes of crystalline creek cascading down some falls, or a gentle breeze that gently caresses the pine trees.

Constanza

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"God is everywhere but Lives in Constanza"

Constanza, a municipality of the province of La Vega that lies deep within the Cordillera Central, as geographical characteristics that make it the cradle of diverse ecosystems, amongst which one can highlight the Valley of Constanza, the highest in the country at 1,200 meters above sea level; the valley of Tireo, La Culata and Valle Nuevo, all of which register temperatures as low as 0º during winter.

In the areas of San José de las Matas, Constanza and Jarabacoa, temperatures rage for most of the year between 5 ºC and 20 ºC (41 ºF to 68 ºF), allowing for fruits, vegetables and ornamental flowers typical of mild climates to be successfully grown in the country. The best quality of produce, whether destined for local consumption or exportation, is found in this region.

How to Get There•

If you are driving from Santo Domingo via the Autopista Duarte (Duarte Highway), approximately 5 kilometers after passing Bonao, you will find the sign for the Casabito Highway, which has been reconstructed as per the required road safety standards, protected and signposted as to be safe and passable in any kind of vehicle. It is a drive of about 50 Km through curves that wind around blue skies, lush green mountains and wild flowers.

A customary stop for travelers once they reach the top of the hill is the Shrine of the Virgin, where bathrooms and a scenic viewpoint from which part of the Ebano Verde Scientific Reserves can be enjoyed are available. And, if you are up for it, we invite you to dive into El Arroyazo, a unique natural pool located within the Ecological Heritage site.

Where to Go Constanza

Companies offer excursions on all-terrain vehicles, monster trucks and safari jeeps. You can tour forests and botanical gardens and go to Las Pirámides located in the National Park and Scientific Reserve of Valle Nuevo. You can even plan to go on a nocturnal hare hunt. According to experts, this may be the geographical center of the island; and the alpine vegetation that surrounds the area, among the coldest in the country, has been the subject of comparative studies with Europe's Alps.

constanza

It is worth enjoying this spectacle that the Salto de Aguas Blancas offers at 1,680 meters above sea level. Indeed, with year-round temperatures between 10 ºC to 12 ºC, the Arroyazo and the Balneario Las Palmas have become a favorite vacation spot for Dominicans during la Semana Santa (Holy Week). The Salto de Aguas Blancas (Aguas Blancas Falls) is a marvel worth experiencing. Located 1.680 meters above sea level and boasting temperatures between 10 ºC and 12 ºC year-round, it is, along with the Balneario Las Palmas (Las Palmas Spring) a favorite spot for natives during Holy Week and summer vacations.

For private aviation enthusiasts, Constanza offers the Aeródromo Expedición 14 de Junio (Expedicion 14 de Junio Airfield), where Fly In tourism is promoted and encouraged. For those who love adventure travel and Xtreme Sports, in ALTOCERRO, Villas, Hotel & Camping you will find everything you seek and more.

Jarabacoa

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"Land of eternal spring "

According to legend, Jarabacoa, which in the melodious Taíno tongue means "place where the water flees", owes its names to the love story between a beautiful Taíno damsel and a handsome Spanish gentleman.

The geography of the Jarabacoa Valley, perched atop the Cordillera Central at more than 500 meters above sea level, explains the year-round mild and even cool climate.

With an average annual temperature of 22 ºC, this part of the country is the home of eternal spring. Here, the trill of the nightingale, and the whispers of the soft zephyr among the pines are a call respite, reflection, contemplation, and prayer.

How to Get There •

Metro Tours offers transportation from its bus station in Santo Domingo. If driving, take Autopista Duarte from the north, past La Vega Real, the industrial free-zone facilities, and the ornamental plants put together by the Salesiano School of Agriculture. You are now Jarabacoa-bound. After some 24 kms on the Federico Basilis Highway, the journey is over. Transportation options in Jarabacoa are: taxi, moto-concho, or horseback.

Where to Go Jarabacoa

The area is ideal for eco-tourism as well as adventure tourism. Rancho Baiguate has routes designed with different options that allow you to whitewater raft along the rivers.

picoduarte02An excursion for the most adventurous is canyoning, a rappel down the Jimenoa Canyon, a drive to the water falls in four-wheel, off-road vehicles (Quad Runners), tubing along the Jimenoa River, a visit to a coffee factory, an ascent of Pico Duarte or paragliding with a pilot instructor (from a hill 200 meters above sea level) to experience nature's peace and masterpieces: the fragrance-filled air, and the sight of fruits and vegetables that adorn the fertile Jarabacoa Valley.

Info: 809-686-2923
www.ranchobaiguate.com

 

 

 

 

Santiago de los Caballeros

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Nestled within the Cibao valley, the fertile land suitable for the cultivation of nearly everything is the province of Santiago de los Caballeros, the industrial center of the country. Its capital, of the same name, is the second most important city in the nation and is recognized internationally for its tobacco industry: large plantations, a long-standing tradition of cultivation, harvesting, processing, marketing, and a relatively affluent populace whose wealth derives from this industry.

Tobacco production includes varieties of blond, burley, wrapper and black.

Santiago is the pride of the Dominican Republic's tobacco industry. Its cigars are offered to the international market in much the same way as our Taíno ancestors offered them as symbols of peace to their friends and guests. Our country produces two-thirds of the premium, hand-rolled cigars sold on the international market.

How to Get There•

Metro Tours offers transportation from its bus station in Santo Domingo. If driving, take Autopista Duarte (N 1) from the south to the north to the Monument of the Heroes of Restoration, an impressive white marble structure that welcomes you to the city. Within the premises, the exceptional murals of the Spanish painter Vela Zanetti are exhibited.

Where to Go

Take a tour of the Tobacco Museum and visit the first cigar factory, La Aurora, established in the country since 1903. • Museum of the City of Santiago, located in a magnificent Victorian palace • Tomás Morel Folk Art Museum • Museum of Yoryi Morel, teacher and costume designer • The Monument and Cultural Center • Visit the rum distilleries and the Kaskada Park, great for the whole family • Centro León

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