North Coast Happenings!

Dominican Republic North Coast News!

2017 was a year full of promise for the North Coast of the Dominican Republic! The re-opening of several existing hotels and the arrival of some new names to the area show promise for the immediate future.

On-going renovations:

The venerable Victoria, owned and operated by the VH group, has been renovated and has re-opened as the VH Atmosphere, www.atmospherehotel.com

VH Atmosphere Hotel in Playa Dorada

The former Celuisma in Playa Dorada is now owned by Grupo Hodelpa and has reopened after a complete renovation as the Emotions Puerto Plata, www.emotionsbyhodelpa.com

Lastly, the well-known Sol de Plata hotel near Cabarete is currently undergoing a total makeover and will open later this year as the Aldiana Cabarete, www.aldiana.de/cabarete.com.

The Luxury Market:

The fabulous Playa Grande resort and golf course have been acquired by the Discovery Land Company and a multi-year upgrade of the Robert Trent Jones golf course and associated hotel and development properties is well underway. The Aman Hotel, www.aman.com, operated by the renowned Amanera Group, is located within the Playa Grande grounds. Expansion of the Aman Hotel is under consideration, as is the addition of other Ultra-Luxury hotel names.

Hotel Amanera, Playa Grande

The recent opening of Ani Villas, www.aniprivateresort.com, near Rio San Juan, brings yet another luxury resort name to the north coast. Designed by celebrated architect, Sara Garcia, the beautiful, ultra-private resort complex is quite close to another Garcia creation, the Playa Grande Beach Club, www.playagrandebeachclub.com.

Playa Grande Beach Club

New Arrivals:

Senator Hotels, the well-known Andalusian company, has acquired the RIU Hotels in Maimon. This 1800 room property came under the operating control of Senator on 1 December, 017. In April of 2018, the existing RIU Bachata and RIU Merengue will revert to Senator Hotel’s control and will be re-named.

Conclusion:

With the recent opening of the Carnival Cruise Lines’ new destination facility at Amber Cove has come an on-going effort to beautify and renovate roads, bridges, and landmarks in the Puerto Plata area. The Colonial Zone has seen an extensive renovation of buildings and streets, and the Puntilla Auditorium has been renewed and is currently in use.

In addition, Puerto Plata’s international airport (POP) has seen the addition of new flights from North America and Europe. In short, the North Coast is more popular than ever before!

Translated from Spanish into English. Written by Pedro Sanchez Rivas.

Plaza Central in Puerto Plata

Puntilla Auditorium in Puerto Plata

River Fishing in the Dominican Republic

River Fishing On The North Cost Of The Dominican Republic

River Fishing in La Boca

River Fishing

Some of the finest and most challenging river fishing in the Dominican Republic is to be found in one of the many rivers that flow to the sea from the interior highlands. Many of these watercourses are well known, and a few are well-kept secrets amongst local anglers. Many of the riverine and/or estuarian species found in South Florida are also found here, and with much less fishing pressure.

Guides are available who will supply the boat, a well-stocked gear.

Living on the north coast of the Dominican Republic

I understand that you are an avid fisherman, and I would like to tell you a little about this island and living on the north coast of the Dominican Republic.

We live in a beautiful residential community on the Dominican Republic north coast called Sea Horse Ranch. This is, quite simply, the best place of its kind on this side of the island, a place of quiet elegance and enough amenities to satisfy most people. Our international airport is 15 minutes away with daily service to Europe and all of North America, and the restaurants, shops, and nightlife of Cabarete/Sosua are diverse and fun.

In this area, close to Puerto Plata, one will find mountains, rivers, reefs, and most any type of pursuit one might crave. And for fishermen, the north coast is sublime. The ocean just north of us is deep with many upwellings of nutrients that attract shoals of baitfish. The larger pelagics like marlin, wahoo, king and dorado are plentiful and relatively un-used to boat traffic. The annual migration of Humpback whales also passes close by and the animals winter here from December to April, having their young in Samana Bay, just to our east. There is an expanding interest in sportfishing as people discover the richness of the grounds here, but only a handful of boats operate as charter vessels and the private fleet is still quite small. A modern marina, located at the OceanWorld complex 20 minutes away, hosts a growing number of big Rybos, Posts, and Hatterases. See www.oceanworldmarina.com

Ocean World 2

I enjoy river and reef fishing as well as deep-sea.  The rivers and lagoons of this coast are teeming with snook up to 20 lbs and we see tarpon in certain months, usually in the 30-50 lb range (though larger ones have been reported). I like to cast a salt-water fly for snapper and small grouper around coral heads in the early morning calm.

In addition to the fishing, the north coast offers easy access to the Turks and Caicos islands, just 90 miles away. 5-6 hours at cruising speed in most sports fishermen will have you in Grand Turk and another 2 hours will see you at Provo, you undoubtedly know how great the diving is there. Just beyond T&C lie the 700 islands of the Bahamas. It is an easy run of just a few days to S Florida, stopping for fuel at conveniently-spaced marinas. Or take a week and drive the walls at Samana Cay and the forest of giant heads NE of conception Island.

There is nowhere I can think of that has such a great balance of lifestyle, natural beauty and close-by fishing of almost every kind. In addition, the people of the Dominican Republic are friendly, eager to laugh and smile. That fact alone decided me, after a lifetime cruising and experiencing the various Caribbean islands, to make my home here.

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This past weekend, we went kayaking down the Yasica River. The clear green water was refreshingly cool, and in 12 miles on the river, we saw only 2 houses. Last week, we ate fresh snook caught nearby. A couple of weeks ago, we drove with our kids to Las Terrenas and Samana where I sailed in a regatta. My wife has several horses here at Sea Horse Ranch Equestrian Center and both she and her daughter ride on the beach and through the coastal forests often. I walk our dogs to a nearby beach every morning and watch as snorkelers, surfers and stand-up paddle-boarders work the reef just offshore. A couple of weeks ago we had a great night of jazz at the Sea Horse Ranch Beach Club and on that same weekend were held both the national surfing championships and the annual kiteboarding event…..I mention these things to you to illustrate how full our lives are here.

Visit “La Isabela,” the first European settlement in the Americas

On January 6, 1494, Christopher Columbus officially founded “La Isabela,” the first European settlement to be built in the New World.

The settlement was named after the Queen of Spain. In spite of the prestigious name, the settlement did not last very long.

By the end of the 15th century, the settlement had been abandoned and the colonizers had moved on to found the cities of La Vega, in the country’s central region, and the capital city of Santo Domingo.

Visitors to “La Isabela” must first stop in the town of “El Castillo,” situated a short distance from Luperon, in the province of Puerto Plata. The highway is in good condition, and getting to it easy.

Today, the ruins of “La Isabela” are there for everyone to visit. The remains of the colonial settlement are situated within the recently established “La Española” National Park.

There is a small museum exhibiting ceramic, stone and iron artefacts discovered during various archaeological excavations. Beside the ocean are the remains of what once were the walls of the settlement.

Also found are the ruins of the home originally built by Christopher Columbus, as well as the foundation of the first church built in the Americas and of the town’s warehouses.

Clearly visible are the remains of the Spanish cemetery and an open tomb with the visible remains of a colonizer who died during the first years of the colonization process.

For more information, visitors should contact the Vice Ministry of Protected Areas: 809 567 4300, or write to them at areas.protedias@ambiente.gov.do