Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Well, this is great news for some, particularly tourists. Todays issue of reports that the exchange rate has increased. It is currently $1 dollar to $35 pesos, which is the highest it's been in 12 months. What does this mean? (in case you're a novice traveller) It means that you get more product/service for your buck!! So, you can bring home more souvenirs or stay an extra night at the apartments or buy a round of drinks for everyone at the Sports bar. Oh yeah, you can enjoy the company of more buggarones if you're so inclined!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


If you've payed any attention when in the Dominican Republic you've noticed how baseball dominates the sports culture. Many guys you meet will tell you of their current, or past, exploits on the diamond. I came across the following article and found it interesting enough to share with you.

Everybody has the dream. The prospect of untold riches is affecting the way Dominican players are signed and scouted like never before.
These days, baseball generates money more easily than just about any other industry in the Dominican Republic, whose top exports are sugar, cofee, tobacco, rum, merengue and ball players, not necessarily in that order.
In 2003, there were 860 foreign-born players signed to professional contracts by major league clubs.
Of that number, an astounding 55 percent were from this tiny island.
The dream is money. The major leagues have always been a way out of poverty here, but now it is more so than ever. With players like Ramirez make $20 million per year and other top name Dominican players with huge contracts; Sammy Sosa, Moises Alou, Miguel Tajada and others.
Many Dominican players spend their winters at home. So, their wealth can be seen by youngsters still trying to make it.
The players in the Dominican Republic are free agents. For now, at least, they are'nt subject to baseball's amateur draft. When a talented player comes along, it's open season for scouts, agents and the buscadores(or bird dogs) who act as go-betweens and collect finders fees when they deliver a young player to a scout or agent.
It is unfortunate that the wealth of the major leagues has not made it into the very place where they get the leagues hottest talent. Recently, a 16-year old shortstop named Bartolo DePaula was signed to a contract. His bonus check was only $8000 dollars. A bargain for the Brewers, a fortune for his family.
In a country where many youngsters are desperately poor, there are still Major League dreams; still scouts and agents who'll get rich trying to make dreams come true.
Click here for a list of Dominican players/profiles in Major League Baseball.
Alicia Patterson has an insightful look at some players and what happens when a dream's defered.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Hope everyone has a great holiday season and may all your "desires" be fulfilled in the coming year!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Here are some more pics from experiences on the river.

1. playing at the falls of Bonao-Camellon
2. doing laundry near San Miguel
3. "hanging" out in San Francisco De Macoris
4. chillin' in San Pedro De Macoris

Saturday, December 17, 2005


"If you got no money, you don't have to worry, people on the river are happy to give." Or so Tina Turner says in the song Proud Mary. She must have travelled to the Dominican Republic at some point.

The rivers of the D.R. are an integral part of rural Dominican life. They are used as a gathering place to socialize; fish; wash clothes, cars and selves.

Some areas even have pavillions for you to relax and have a meal or a drink. With the ever-present musica latina, of course.

The people on the river are truly happy people. They are friendly and accomodating, as long as you don't go looking like royalty and acting as such.

If you'd like a different experience the next time you're in the D.R., be sure to take an excursion to one of the many places where "a river runs through it". Hyacinth would love an afternoon on the river with light finger buffet and riparian entertainment. LOL

My friend Narciso lives in San Miguel, which has a couple of rivers that are frequented by the locals. These are some pics of one of our excursions.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


It's getting harder to keep up with the latest news as it pertains to tourism in the Dominican Republic. Every time you turn around there is a new this or a new that. The government is starting to issue tourist cards when one enters the country. It is suggested that you keep this card with you during your vacation. The system is somewhat up and running, but won't be in full effect until after the first of the year. It's not clear yet if this is for Dominicans or ALL tourists. also reports a new hotel in Puerto Plata. Since we just talked about hotel options, I thought I would mention this one as well. Puerto Plata is another beautiful place to visit. The beaches are scenic and there is still enough of the area that is unspoiled and inhabited by Dominicans. I always get a fuzzy feeling when I think about the friendliness of the people. They are usually so welcoming and receptive.

Hotel Playa Naco Resort & Spa is the newest
accomodation in the area. It has 414 rooms right on the beach, five restaurants, four bars, it's all-inclusive and it's very near to the airport in Puerto Plata.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


We've discussed hotels and resorts in various parts of the Dominican Republic, but have'nt mentioned very much about accomodations in the capitol city, Santo Domingo.

As in any major city, there is a variety of hotels and resorts. In Santo Domingo there are also apartments one can rent when staying a week or longer. Depending on your taste or your budget, you have choices in different price ranges.

Let's explore what's available in the five star range. First and foremost there is the brand-spanking new Hilton Santo Domingo and Malecon Center!!!!! With all of the amenities and services you would expect in a hotel of this caliber, you also have a first-class conference center and meeting rooms. Quite different for hotels in this area. Hilton is no doubt attempting to lure a different market to the island. That of the profitable convention type. Of course, Joe Blow will be treated like royalty and he will have shopping, dining and entertainment just outside the lobby doors. There is even a movie theatre in the complex. This is truly a unique place. Did I mention it is the largest hotel on the island, and possibly in the caribbean?

Also in the neighborhood (the malecon is on the waterfront) is the Jaragua, the Hotel Santo Domingo, the Intercontinental and the Melia Santo Domingo, which has been my favorite.
You may want to check the hotels policy on visitors, either they don't allow them or they access a fee for you to have them.

I have learned to stop paying for services I don't use. So, I pass up on the pools and exercise rooms in favor of using that money to enjoy a longer vacation. The Mercure on the Conde is affordable ($65 and up) and right in the center of the action. They have a wonderful breakfast buffet that you can eat while sitting on the patio (on the Conde). There is also the Venezia Hotel ($32 and up); walking distance to the Conde, close to a nice market and across from Cafe Villars, another noted restaurant with open-air dining. The Venezia allows guests and has great staff.

Of course, Monaga has apartments available, as does the Sports Bar. Options are plentiful. Monagas website also has recommendations on other hotels, etc. So, if you thought you couldn't travel to paradise because it would cost a fortune, think again. See you there!