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

The East Zone
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Frances italiano

English Español

Frances italiano

Towards the Land of The Sunrise

sunrise-1Situated in the vast Hicayagua plain, ruled by the cacique Cayacoa, is divided into five provinces that form the eastern region: San Pedro de Macorís, Hato Mayor, El Seibo, La Romana and La Altagracia. Its inhabitants work mainly in the sugar-cane industry, cattle trade, industrial park zones, and tourism.

Leaving Santo Domingo and going towards the Land of the Sunrise, there are marked routes that will prevent confusion: a) Along John F. Kennedy Avenue, take the Centenario V express, make a left on Yolanda Guzmán, which runs towards the south and you will find the exit to Puente Duarte that you will take to Avenue of the Americas; b) The route 27 de Febrero will take you directly to Avenue of the Americas; c) Taking El Malecón towards the Avenida del Puerto that carries you to the provisional bridge, or to Puente Mella, upon leaving the bridge, turn to the right. The Sugar Cane Monument indicates that you should take la Avenida España on the premises of Parque Mirador del Este.

Here you can visit the National Aquarium and El Faro a Colón, the most outstanding monument built in this century to honor the memory of the Discoverer of America, Christopher Columbus. There lie the mortal remains of the Great Admiral and there is a permanent exhibition from nearly all of the American countries.

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Twenty-one avenues, one for every American nation, set out from the Faro a Colón and converge in the Autopista de Las Américas, a scenic highway facing the Caribbean that leads you to the Las Américas International Airport of JFPG and connects with the eastern highway that ends in La Romana.

Upon taking the Avenue of the Americas, you can visit Los Tres Ojos, an enormous open-air cave and lagoons with transparent water located about 50 feet down. Here you have the opportunity to take a boat ride and refresh yourself in the humid, tropical climate.

The eastern plain presents calcareous phenomena in its relief pattern that give rise to the formation of caverns, some of which have been conditioned, constituting an attraction for natives and visitors. Perhaps the best known by tourists are: the Mesón de la Cava and the Guácara Taína, located in Santo Domingo's Mirador del Sur park in Santo Domingo, filled with exotic restaurants and night clubs, the Caves of Santa Ana, Los Tres Ojos y, the Fun-Fun Cavern. Here you can experience an adventure that surpasses all limits, descending with a rope along a drop of more than 20 meters. 

La Caleta

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Entering from the Las Américas International Airport JFPG, making a right turn, you find La Caleta Park and Museum that exhibit an indigenous cemetery in its original location, and a sample of pre-Hispanic ceramic figures. There is no admission charge.

The most beautiful sunsets can be seen from this small fishermen's port. Many artists set up their easels here trying to capture on their canvas the rich colors offered by the crepuscular skies.

From here to Punta Cana and Bávaro, located on the eastern tip of the island, you find the most beautiful white sand and crystalline water beaches. According to a study of this region carried out by UNESCO experts, these beaches "should be included among the best in the world."

The natural resources, the agreable climate, the few rainy days, and the Dominican's innate hospitality have sustained tourist growth that make the eastern region a privileged destination for vacationers in the Caribbean. At present there are more than 13,200 hotel rooms designed to operate under the EP, MAP, FAP or the all-inclusive regimen, in the interest of offering an unbeatable quality-price ratio.

There are three international airports located in the region: Las Américas JFPG in Santo Domingo, Punta Aguila in La Romana, and Punta Cana in Higüey, all with daily scheduled direct flights from the world's major cities.

Boca Chica

bocachicaYour next stop is Boca Chica, only five minutes from the Las Américas International Airport JFPG, and the ideal place for resting, sunbathing, swimming, and walking along one of the east coast's most beautiful beaches. Shallow waters and incredibly fine white sand make it a favorite spot of capital city's residents.

Near the town, that is gradually organizing itself to receive tourism, you can find magnificent hotel rooms in the vacation complex Be Live Hamaca Hotel, and other smaller ones such as Villas Sans Soucy, which offer very good service.

There are also good restaurants with specialties in German, Canadian, French, Italian, Creole, and international cuisine, offering you the personal attention of their owners, most of whom are foreigners who have made this area their home.

In small, popular establishments owned by Dominican locals, you can buy: chicharrón (fried pork skin), fried fish, and yaniqueques (Johnny cakes), products of Dominican freiduría (frying establishments) that for many have a peculiarly exquisite taste.

Playa Caribe, Juan Dolio, Guayacanes and Villas del Mar

juandolioThese are the other very beautiful, small beaches found on the route.

Playa Caribe is a cove with an abrupt bank and violent surf, sheltered by coconut groves; it is a favorite spot for young people.

Juan Dolio, Guayacanes and Villas del Mar are a delight for those searching for smooth surf and quiet waters.

In the environment of these beaches, surrounded by coconut groves and a lush tropical landscape are fabulous vacation resorts, designed so that the visitor can enjoy to the utmost an all-inclusive vacation. There are also small hotels and very good restaurants. The weather is almost excellent all year round. It is a preferred destination for Canadians and Europeans.

This tourist area is 30 minutes from the international airport of the Americas, and some 45 minutes from Santo Domingo's monuments district.

San Pedro de Macorís

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The city was founded in the early 19th century by German, Arab, Spanish, French and Italian immigrants as well as the community's native settlers, and raised to the status of province on June 23, 1882.

When several decades ago our sugar was sold at the incredible price of twenty-two cents a pound in the US preferential market, this produced in the "sultanate of the east" (as the city was then known) an economic boom known as the "dance of the millions", which converted San Pedro de Macorís into a prosperous and stately city, filled with palatial homes and princely mansions denoting the cultural refinement of its first immigrants and of the townspeople.

Together, they created a beautiful city of neoclassic and Victorian style, with a mixture of local-style architecture done by the hands of qualified laborers that arrived from the neighboring British isles, attracted by the bonanza produced by the sugar mills.

san-pedroThese humble workers from the Windward and Leeward Islands, known as cocolos, not only brought easily identifiable architectonic styles (recognizable when touring the city); but, also brought their Bible, perhaps as their only baggage, and the rudimentary instruments with which they produce the magnetic sounds of the cainanés.

Also theirs is the momise dance, known by the townspeople as the guloya, a name extended to the dancers. It derives from the English drama "Mummers," which is preserved with slight modifications and three differentiated music themes: the wild dance, with which they roam through the streets; the dance of Father Winter, representing the battle of the Giant with St. George, and the dance of El Codril, formed by a group of dancers divided into two lines, dancing arm in arm.

Just like their African ancestors who worshipped their gods in ritual ceremonies at dusk, the guloyas, after a hard day's work, surrender with passion to the impulse of their erotic and sensual dances.

During their patronal festivities and carnivals, the guloyas parade with their costumes and ornaments full of all kinds of beads. At the rolling of their rustic drums all composure is lost. The crowd surrounds them and moves, marking with their feet and whole body each tone of the dominant rhythm's beat.

As they pass, everyone rushes to the street to enjoy the spectacle. A shower of coins rain into the street and a bottle or so of liquor passes from hand to hand until its contents are emptied. This is how the guloyas and the people of Macorís celebrate their festivities and their patronal feast. Don't miss it if your visit coincides with the 29th of June, the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul. Undoubtedly, the people of San Pedro de Macorís will offer you the most hearty welcome.

sanpedrobaseballIn San Pedro de Macorís is the Universidad Central del Este (UCE) (Central University of the East). Since its foundation, UCE has transformed the city's lifestyle. From the activity it generates, drives the demand for services that the private sector supplies with the innate hospitality of the Macorisanos.

Baseball season sends the city buzzing with activity from October to February, when the lights of the Tetelo Vargas Stadium are turned on. Its home team is the Estrellas Orientales.

Opposite the Macorís or Higuamo River stands the neoclassic-style Church of St. Paul the Apostle, whose tower (the city symbol in photographs and post cards) is visible from any part of the city and serves as a guide for visitors. Several bus terminals operate here with fixed, scheduled routes to Santo Domingo, La Romana and other eastern provinces.

 

La Romana

marinacasadecampoLocated in a beautiful zone settled by Juan de Esquivel in 1502, La Romana became a province on January 1, 1945. It is a clearly flourishing region, and home of the Central Romana, a privately-owned sugar-cane mill. Crossing the Dulce River you find Casa de Campo, the Caribbean's most complete tourist complex and regarded as one of the world's ten best.

It has its own airport and those who wish to vacation at this resort can fly directly by private planes or by the different commercial airlines.You can also arrive at Santo Domingo's Las Americas international airport via the routes served by major European and US airlines.

A few minutes from Casa de Campo is Altos de Chavón, an artists' village dedicated to cultural exchange and enrichment.

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In the heart of Altos de Chavón you can visit: a school of design affiliated with Parsons School in New York; St. Stanislaus Church; the Regional Archeological Museum with its ample collection of pre-Hispanic art; and small, old-style shops offering locally-made jewels, ceramics, and crafts.

The village also contains an amphitheater, with capacity for and audience of 5,000 in the natural landform offered by the terrain's depression. It is the town's center for performance arts and an international stage that has seen superstars of the caliber of Frank Sinatra, Julio Iglesias, Gloria Estefan, Carlos Santana and Sting, among many others.

Towards the eastern area there is a beach called Bayahibe, where you can find the Be Live Canoa, a resort with 532 rooms. Along the same road, on one of the most beautiful beaches in the region is Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach, offering a secluded spot for spiritual rest, far from city noises, with informal cabins, constructed with primitive-style thatched roofs of natural fibers resembling Taíno bohío.

A little farther along, for those who like observing wild life, is the boundary of the East National Park, which includes the Saona and Catalina islands, an area reserved as a sanctuary for Dominican flora and fauna in the interest of protecting endangered species.

The Saona Island is the largest of our adjacent islands. Located within the Parque Nacional de Este, it is a part of the tourism attractions of the region thanks to the majestic natural beauty of its landscapes and the breathtaking untouched beaches that surround it. Saona Island has only two permanent human settlements in it: Mano Juan and Catuano, though everyday the number of visitors that, upon entering the Dominican Republic, schedule a trip to Saona in order to enjoy the soft breeze as it blows through its many coconut trees, walk on the pristine white sands that cover over 110 square kilometers and bathe in its crystalline waters grows. Various circuits take travelers to this slice of paradise on earth, which, aside from offering tourists an unforgettable experience, also serves as the habitat of endemic species liker the manatee and the Carey turtle.

At Catalina Island, another jewel set on our Eastern coast, The "Museo Vivos del Mar" (Live Museums of the Sea) attraction was recently inaugurated. Here the remains of Captain Kidd's ship, the Cara Merchant, which dates back to 1699, are exhibited. A tour through this underwater universe includes a recreation of the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe shipwreck in the reef of Playa Dominicus, the reef of St. George and of the of the canons in the Guaraguao reef.

Info: Asociación de Hoteles La Romana-Bayahibe and Cluster Turístico Romana-Bayahibe (829-520-9153) Tourism Office (809-809-550-6922.)

loshaitisesAnother regional attraction is Los Haitises National Park, a forest reserve of impressive beauty, located in a zone where the capricious hills and valleys lose their continuity as they plunge into Samaná Bay.

If you wish to take a tour or coordinate an excursion to Los Haitises, call The Vice-Ministry of Protected Areas and Biodiversity ( 809-472-4204.)

Higüey, Holy Land of America

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Higüey, America's Holy Land. It was founded in 1494 by Jamaica's conqueror, Juan de Esquivel and settled from 1502 to 1508 by the Captain of the Conquest, Juan Ponce de León. Higüey is the Mecca of the largest pilgrimages of Our Lady of Altagracia's followers where, every year on the 21st of January, thousands of pilgrims arrive at the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia seeking health or spiritual wellbeing.

Twenty-four kilometers from Higüey is San Rafael del Yuma where you may visit the castle that was built from 1505 to 1506, by the man in quest of the fountain of youth.

From Boca de Yuma Bay, Juan Ponce de León sailed, in 1508, for the conquest of Puerto Rico, and in 1513, for that of Florida.

The National Eastern Park, located along the road from Bayahibe to Boca de Yuma, is a natural and scientific reserve, a forest of protected ecosystems, mangrove swamps and beautiful beaches where important species of marine fauna survive, such as dolphins and manatees. This sanctuary park harbors several species of migratory and native endemic birds, among which the White-crowned pigeon prevails and nests there.

Toward the southern coast, we can find our largest adjacent island, La Saona, with a surface of 110 square kilometers. It is currently inhabited by approximately 450 people, who live in the town of Mano Juan and the community of Punta Cautano. They mainly make their livings out of fishing and hunting pigeons and wild boars. Between the areas of firm land and its emersion and submersion coasts, there are lowlands that turned out to be wonderful breeding areas for fish and shrimps.

It is important to point out that La Saona enjoys the lowest mortality gross rate in the Dominican Republic.

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Some other unique places located in the province of Higüey are the beautiful beaches of Macao, Bavaro, Punta Cana and Cap Cana, acknowledged to be among the best in the world, according to a report issued by the UNESCO: "Out of all the tourist beaches throughout the world, there are few that enjoy such crystalline water and thin sand. It is so white that it is hard to believe it's real. It can certainly be said that this area must be included among the best ones in the world".

Within the healthy environment favored by nature in this part of the island, visitors will find all the comforts granted by exclusive services, designed to make tourists enjoy these beautiful beaches with white sand and clear turquoise waters, sheltered by exotic palm trees and coconut palm trees.

In the area between La Romana and Punta Cana we can find the country's best hotels and holiday complexes, almost all of them acknowledged as world-class destinations. Those that stand out are Casa de Campo, PUNTACANA Resort & Club, Tortuga Bay, NH, Pueblo Bavaro, and Cap Cana. There are different transportation options to reach this area, either by air, by land or by sea, as it has two international airports currently working, in addition to national roads and a cruise port.

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The area of Bavaro-Punta Cana has more than 26,000 hotel rooms, golf courses of international firms such as Jack Nicklaus and Pete B. Dye, world-class marinas, and high quality alternate services like laundry, restaurants, ironmonger's, supermarkets, shopping malls, department stores, and thematic parks like the Animal Adventure Park, where visitors can enjoy a collection of lions, parrots, monkeys, squirrels, iguanas, sharks, rays, and Bengal tigers trained by a team of expert vets and biologists. For more information, go to: :www.animalpark.com.do.

For the delight of shoppers, you can visit the distinguished Palma Real Shopping Village, the main shopping destination in the Dominican Republic's eastern coast. There, you can find a diversified offer of renowned prestigious brands and designers who set the standards of international fashion, as well as beverages, cigars, and Lariman and Ambar jewelry of refined national metal work. To read the stores directory, go to: f1 :www.palmarealshoppingvillage.com

The Marina of PUNTACANA Resort & Club is located at the resort's southern end, and it includes two docks with 43 mooring sites for boats up to 70 feet long, and an eight feet deep protection channel sheltered by a breakwater. Its GPS is: N-18-30-059 W-68-22-031. Over these last few years, PUNTACANA Resort & Club has sponsored ESPN's Billfishing Xtreme Tournament. In its surroundings, the Marina Residential Area is being developed, where residences and condos are currently being built.

marinacapcanaCap Cana's Marina is another delight for distinguished shoppers, considering that many internationally prestigious stores and jewelry shops are located there, namely Conchita Llach, Sculpture, Morphy and Nye, Paló, Arcadio Diaz, Sun & Wood, Habitanea, and Sea Whisper. And to enjoy a banquet fit for a king, there's the internationally renowned Mitre Cap Cana Restaurant.

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