Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Discovering More

dr1 reports:
Opening up a new mountain destination
Brazilian construction company Odebrecht says that the process of paving the Piedra Blanca-Rancho Arriba road is making good progress. The road will open up access to new attractions like the mountain destinations of Rancho Arriba and San Jose de Ocoa to residents of Santo Domingo. The region is also a major farming area, with opportunities for agro-tourism opening up soon with the easy access from the Duarte Highway that links the country north and south. http://elnacional.com.do/odebrecht-avanza-asfaltado-carretera-cibao-sur/
Underrated but outstanding landscapes
Online travel magazine Afar presents what is describes as "underrated" but outstanding landscape views of the Dominican Republic for the enjoyment of its readers. It includes photographs of farms in Constanza and nearby hiking in Valle Nuevo National Park, the beach at El Morro in Montecristi in the northwest, exploring Jarabacoa's rivers and mountains, including Manabao, and Barahona's pebble beaches. http://www.afar.com/magazine/the-dominican-republics-most-underrated-landscapes

Monday, December 28, 2015

AA From The Heartland

American Airlines has announced the start of new routes to Punta Cana and Puerto Plata from Texas, Illinois and North Carolina in the United States. The flights began on Saturday, 19 December 2015.
The new routes are: Charlotte, North Carolina (CLT) to Puerto Plata's Gregorio Luperon International Airport (POP).
Chicago, Illinois (ORD) to Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ).
Dallas, Texas to Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ).
American Airlines already had direct flights from Charlotte, Miami and Philadelphia to Punta Cana International Airport.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Vacation Planning 101

Be sure to visit the Travel Info Page for helpful tips when planning your vacation to the Dominican Republic. Support the links for great deals and great experiences!

Monday, November 30, 2015


The Cinemateca Dominicana in Plaza de la Cultura in Santo Domingo is hosting the 6th International GLBT Santo Domingo Film Festival, Outfest. The festival began on 26 November and continues until 6 December 2015.

See the schedule at

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

History & Luxury in St.Kitts

The Wingfield Estate conducts tours to explain the steps of the cane production and processing and feels like stepping back in time. The history can be seen through copper vats and rum casks. Enjoy views from above at UNESCO Brimstone Hill Fortress. Traveling on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, which was used to move the sugar cane from the plantations to the factory, gives a tour of the island and the only acapella group set on rails.
The signature luxury experience continues at Belle Mont Farm designed by architect Bill Bensley, who created the Four Seasons Tented Camp in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Every detail was carefully planned to create authentic luxury that matches the mountain top setting on Kittian Hill. Participate in the farm by picking your own mangoes and make sure to take part in the farm dinner.  For more visit HERE

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

D.R. Makes Lists

The Dominican Republic has been included on two of the Best of Caribbean travel lists of the US News & World Report publication.
Puerto Plata and Punta Cana are both included the "Best Affordable Caribbean Destinations" list. Interestingly, the destinations are given the same weight as countries such as Puerto Rico, Curacao, Jamaica, Grenada, Dominica, US Virgin Islands, Barbados, and St. Kitts and Nevis.
The publication recommends a trip to Punta Cana:
"Thanks to a wealth of all-inclusive resorts, Punta Cana is an affordable haven for sun-worshippers. This resort town offers everything from pristine beaches and turquoise water to challenging golf courses and top-notch cuisine."
And to Puerto Plata:
"This Dominican Republic beach town offers plenty for those seeking off-resort activities. Here, you can enjoy water sports in Cabarete and jaw-dropping sights like the Damajaqua Cascades [sic]. And with daily nonstop flights from the U.S., getting to Puerto Plata is a cinch."
In the "beach bum" category, Punta Cana is on the Best Caribbean Beaches list.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015


Now in its 19th year, the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival promises five nights of free concerts 4-8 November in Santiago, Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete. Confirmed artists for 2015 include international jazz players David Sanchez Quartet and John Patitucci, and the Pedrito Martinez Group. From the Dominican Republic, Pengbian Sang and Retro Jazz, and Manuel Tejada will be playing, as well as Josean Jacobo, Javier Vargas and the Big Band of the Santo Domingo Music Conservatory. Marco Pignataro and Matt Marvuglio of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute will also be playing.
This year the festival will pay tribute to saxophone players Juan Colon, Crispin Fernandez and Sandy Gabriel.
The event is sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Colonial Gem

Right in the middle of the Colonial Zone, off the beaten path, are the ruins of the monastery of San Francisco. I have always thought this could be a real jewel. Perhaps a concert venue, amphitheater sort of place with a nice restaurant and gallery.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The CNN List

CNN recently featured a gallery of 20 beautiful places for people to put on their list of attractions to visit in the Dominican Republic. Their selection included:
Northeast: Moron and Rincon beaches in Samana, and El Limon Waterfall and Los Haitises National Park.
Puerto Plata: The cable car to Mount Isabel de Torres botanical gardens, Damajagua Falls, and La Isabela, the first European settlement site.
Montecristi: El Morro beach.
Santo Domingo: the Santo Domingo Cathedral, Ozama Fort and the Presidential Palace.
La Romana: Altos de Chavon, Las Maravillas cave and Playa Bayahibe beach.
Higuey: Basilica La Altagracia church.
Punta Cana: Juanillo Beach (Cap Cana) and Punta Cana beach.
Santiago: El Monumento.
Peravia: Las Dunas de Bani.
http://dr1.com/forums/showthread.php/153778-CNN-20-Most-Beautiful-DR-Places http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/12/travel/gallery/dominican-republic-beauty/

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dengue and Hotel

According to the latest Epidemiology Bulletin, 7,579 cases of dengue have been registered so far this year, resulting in 95 deaths, mostly among children.

The Ministry of Public Health is calling a meeting of heads of pediatrics and internal medicine around the country to discuss the figures.

National Health Service (SNS) director Ramon Alvarado said that dengue fever should not be fatal and that it was a matter of providing the correct treatment at the right time.

In an interview on CDN Radio 5-7pm talk show yesterday, Monday 12 October 2015 deputy minister Dr. Nelson Rodriguez attributed a good number of the deaths to negligent and inadequately trained doctors. He said that no patient should die from dengue, but the disease requires close monitoring and treatment for patients. Several cases have also been blamed on misdiagnosis by doctors. During the show, Dr. Senen Caba, former president of the Dominican Medical Association, said that the government's failure to provide primary healthcare units was more to blame for the high death rate.

Read more in Spanish:

In better news: During his visit to Santo Domingo for the re-opening of the renovated Renaissance Jaragua Hotel & Casino, the area vice president for the Caribbean for Marriott International, Andrew Houghton, said that everything is new at the seafront Jaragua, from the air-conditioning system, the rooms, the lobby and the restaurants to the pool. The company invested over US$40 million in the makeover.
Marriott International has three properties in operation in the Dominican Republic, all in Santo Domingo: the Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino (on the Malecon), the Courtyard Santo Domingo (on Av. Maximo Gomez) and the JW Marriott (on Av. Winston Churchill). Houghton said the company is planning other investments in the Dominican Republic.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Swimming With Seaweed

dr1 reports:

The executive vice president of the Dominican Republic Hotels & Tourism Association (Asonahores) Arturo Villanueva said that hotels are absorbing the high cost of removing the seaweed from the beaches. The problem has mainly been affecting the southeastern beaches of La Romana, Juan Dolio, Guayacanes, Boca Chica and La Caleta. In Punta Cana and Bavaro, hoteliers have been hard at work dealing with the seaweed for several months.

It is now obvious that it is a large-scale natural phenomenon and no one has any idea how much longer the sargassum bloom will last. Explanations for the sudden invasion of tons of algae on Caribbean shores include the changing weather patterns and warmer temperatures in the region.

Deputy Minister of Coastal and Marine Resources at the Environment Ministry, Ydalia Acevedo Monedro said that there is nothing that can be done to stop the flow of the seaweed and the only option is to collect it to remove it from beaches.

She said that it was usually a seasonal issue but this time it had been much worse than normal.

Boca Chica is now in a state of emergency due to the sheer volume of seaweed and there is now almost nowhere to swim as the whole bay and part of 60-meter beach are covered. Mayor Daniel Ozuna says they do not have the funds to solve the problem and asked for government help in order to tackle it.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Puerto Plata Means Music

Merengue Festival in Puerto Plata
If you're in Puerto Plata on the weekend of 25-26 September 2015, check out the merengue music festival at La Puntilla.
25 September 2015: Hector Acosta, Chiquito Team Band and La Nueva Escuela (urban music).
26 September 2015: Merengue Big Band with Dioni Fernandez, Aramis Camilo, Benny Sadel, Rasputin, Feny Ortiz, Diomedes, Tito Gavy "Los Kenton," urban music star Mozart la Para and grassroots music by Banda Real.
Dominican Republic Jazz Festival in Puerto Plata
Now in its 19th year, the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival promises four nights of free concerts from 4-8 November 2015 in Santiago, Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete. Confirmed artists for 2015 include international jazz players David Sanchez Quartet and John Patitucci, and the Pedrito Martinez Group. From the Dominican Republic, Pengbian Sang and Retro Jazz, and Manuel Tejada will be playing, as well as Josean Jacobo, Javier Vargas and the Big Band of the Santo Domingo Music Conservatory. Marco Pignataro and Matt Marvuglio of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute will also be playing.
This year the festival will pay tribute to saxophone players Juan Colon, Crispin Fernandez and Sandy Gabriel.
The event is sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism.
Jazz dates are:
4 November Santiago
5 November Sosua
6 November Puerto Plata
7-8 November Cabarete

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

First Flight

Pawa Dominicana had its inaugural flight from St. Martin to Santo Domingo, yesterday, Monday, 17 August 2015. Following the landing of Pawa Dominicana Flight 72l there was a special ceremony at the Las Americas International Airport, in which Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez blessed the airline's fleet of planes, each of which prominently displays the Dominican Flag.

The airline will initially have direct flights from Santo Domingo to Aruba, Curacao and St. Martin. A spokesperson for the airline promised that within six months Pawa Domincana will introduce new routes to San Juan Puerto Rico, Havana, Cuba, Miami and New York.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Vacation Planning 101

Be sure to visit the Travel Info Page for helpful tips when planning your vacation to the Dominican Republic. Support the links for great deals and great experiences!

Friday, August 07, 2015

Tuesday, August 04, 2015


The Ministry of Environment has inaugurated new installations at the Three Eyes (Los Tres Ojos) natural monument in Santo Domingo east. The renovations were carried out with RD$2 million provided by the United Nations Development Fund.
Environment Minister Bautista Rojas Gomez and the representative in the country of the United Nations Development Fund, Lorenzo Jimenez de Luis attended the opening last week.
The new installations at the park include a square for sales of local works of art, the reconditioning of the trails, the entrance and the garden and the replacement of the signage. In addition the guides have been trained so that they can offer better service to visitors.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pre Clearance in Punta Cana

Punta Cana could soon become the first Dominican airport to offer pre-clearance facilities for entering the United States. This means that passengers flying out through PUJ would clear US immigration and customs in the Dominican Republic, allowing for an expedited entry into the United States. The facility at the present time is offered in 15 international airports around the world.
The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it has begun negotiations to expand its Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) preclearance program to ten new foreign airports, Punta Cana International Airport included. Other airports are Brussels International Airport (Belgium), Narita International Airport (Tokyo, Japan), Amsterdam Schipol International Airport (Netherlands), Oslo International Airport (Norway), Madrid Barajas International Airport (Spain), Stockholm Arlanda International Airport (Sweden), Istanbul Ataturk International Airport (Turkey) and London Heathrow International Airport and Manchester International Airport (United Kingdom).

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

US-Cuba Relations

WASHINGTON, USA -- The United States and Cuba formally agreed on Wednesday to restore diplomatic relations on July 20, setting up a trip to Havana by John Kerry, who would become the first US secretary of state to visit the country in 70 years.

Sealed by an exchange of letters between US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro, the deal fulfills a pledge the two countries made six months ago.

The letters set a date of July 20 for the re-establishment of relations, and embassies could be opened at that time or later.

Kerry, speaking from Vienna, said he would visit Havana to raise the US flag outside the future US embassy, currently known as an interests section.

"The progress that we mark today is yet another demonstration that we don’t have to be imprisoned by the past," Obama said from the White House Rose Garden. "When something isn’t working, we can -- and will -- change."

Obama noted that ties were severed in the year he was born, 1961.

Isolating Cuba had been a foreign policy objective under ten US presidents and Obama declared it had failed to promote democracy or improve the lives of Cubans living in a one-party state.

"It hasn’t worked for 50 years. It shuts America out of Cuba’s future, and it only makes life worse for the Cuban people," Obama said, while noting stark differences between the two governments would remain.

Cuba's Communist government controls the media and represses political opponents, a policy it has justified based on US attempts to destabilize the government and Washington's open support of dissidents.

Raul Castro, 84, Fidel Castro's younger brother and Cuban president since 2008, welcomed diplomatic ties that he said should reinforce the principles of sovereign equality and non-interference in his country.

"Cuba is encouraged by the reciprocal intention to develop respectful and cooperative relations between our two peoples and governments," Castro wrote in his letter to Obama.

Obama said the agreement would increase US contact with ordinary Cubans, permit a larger staff of diplomats and grant them more freedom of movement across the island.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Friday, June 19, 2015

Luis Is Another Name

                Before he was Macana Man he was a Miami Boy.
                                      See more HERE!


Monday, June 15, 2015

DR To Be Cleaned In 2 Days

In two days about a quarter of a million people will be made stateless. They will have no homes, no passports, and no civil rights. There are several reasons for this, but the primary reason is racism.

At issue is a ruling by the Constitutional Court in the Dominican Republic to strip away the citizenship of several generations of Dominicans.

According to the decision, Dominicans born after 1929 to parents who are not of Dominican ancestry are to have their citizenship revoked. The ruling affects an estimated 250,000 Dominican people of Haitian descent, including many who have had no personal connection with Haiti for several generations.

What we are witnessing is one of the largest humanitarian crisis in the western hemisphere, except this one is completely by choice.

As a recent Peace Corps volunteer in the DR, stationed near the border of Haiti, I have a very personal perspective on this issue.
This may be hard to believe for most Americans, but racism in the DR is much worse than racism here in the United States. The idea of being black in the DR is wrapped up with being Haitian, and then takes on a xenophobic quality.
The thing is, 90% of Dominicans would be considered 'black' by American standards. So there is a huge difference between being considered moreno (brown) and negro (black). The Policia Nacional Dominicana are so underpaid and openly corrupt that being mistaken for being Haitian means having to bribe officers (which I've personally witnessed) or be arrested and possibly beaten. Being mistaken for being Haitian means being denied job opportunities, public education, bank accounts, and health care.
In other words, being black in the DR means being a second-class citizen with no legal protections. And now it means being stateless.


What the Dominican Republic is doing is ethnic cleansing, pure and simple. It's shocking that we haven't heard anything in US media about it. Also, Haiti, being the Western Hemispphere's poorest country, has problems of its own. What would happen if Haiti refused to take these people in?

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Not Jumping Ship

From the time I first travelled to the DR I loved it. Granted it was not the capitol city as the travel agent had said, but looking back she probably didn't know it herself. Not many people had even heard of the Dominican Republic then, and much like today, people are still guided to the north coast or to the resorts, though word has spread about the benefits of staying in Santo Domingo proper, especially if you are LGBT.

That said, my first trip was glorious! My group had the best of both worlds. We stayed at a nice resort in Juan Dolio and enjoyed its accommodations, then ventured into Santo Domingo to party and to explore the city. We made the best of it. During that initial trip we met some long-time acquaintances and picked up on the unspoken and spoken codes. One thing was for sure, we were definitely returning to SDQ and would be staying in the city when we did.

Yes, so many things have changed since those days of Paradise, Penthouse and the others. Even the short-lived Atlantis was a great dance and mingle spot on the Malecon. There have been others to make their mark, such as Monaga, JD's Disco and the Sports Bar SDQ  and I agree that Bar Phoenix, aka Bar Freddys aka Bar Friends, is a bit cheesy, but that's what makes it the gathering place that it is. It has never tried to be something other than what it is, even under the auspices of "Dr" Leon.

There has always been a need to have a place to let your hair down, somewhere unpretentious, where one can be uninhibited. Even if it seems a bit seedy, that is its calling card. That's why places like The Lido stay in business. And don't pretend you don't know about The Lido theater.

Yes, there have been changes in our little piece of paradise. Fact is, there will continue to be. This is life, honey. Change is inevitable. I have learned that things cycle back around. I have also learned that we, LGBT, can be a fickle bunch.

No, I'm not ready to give up on my beloved DR yet. Cuba is forthcoming on the travel list, but I have history with the DR and I just believe that there is much more to discover. I believe that beautiful tropical flower will continue to blossom and reveal even more.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Saturday, May 02, 2015

More Bang In Miami

There is a BIG sale going on at MiamiBoyz. The monthly renewal rate has been lowered to just $13.95US. Visit the site and see all the hot latin guys in solo and group action!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Brewster Comes For Mejia

The United States ambassador in the country, James W Brewster, has confronted former President Hipolito Mejia over his recent comments in New York on homosexuality and gay marriage, which he described as derogatory. "I am particularly shocked and disheartened at your recent disrespect and insensitive comments about people who have a different sexual orientation than yours, because we have been together in our respective homes," he said in a letter sent to the former President. He said that the term "little queer" used by Mejia is pejorative and perpetuates bullying, discrimination against minorities and promotes abuse at all levels of society. He says that although Mejia's words were not intended as an insult, they had that effect. 

"As the former President of the Dominican Republic and a public figure, your comments reflect a negative image of your nation's dignity. Many Dominicans here and overseas are fighting for equality between everyone created by God, a struggle that I hope you appreciate and lead," he stated. Brewster said that his husband, Bob Satawake, was willing to meet with Mejia to discuss the issue. He said that the former President's arguments against gay marriage, concerning procreation, as well as discriminating against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, also insult the significant number of people who are unable to have children or who choose not to procreate. 


Monday, April 27, 2015

Texan To Sing In Cuba

AUSTIN, USA -- An alignment of the stars has occurred for Austin, Texas, musician Leticia Rodriguez, as the first American ever to be invited to perform in Las Romerias de Mayo, Holguin, Cuba, from May 2 - 8. She will be performing with Cuba’s popular band, Septeto Cristal. This prestigious festival comes at a time when the US and Cuba are entering a new stage in relations. 

While this news came as a surprise to Rodriguez, the path leading to this invitation has been years in the making. Rodriguez sings the music of her aunt, Eva Garza, an international singer (1917-1966). She was an acclaimed singer in Cuba, as well as the Americas, during the 1940s - 50s.

It has been a dream of Rodriguez to bring Eva’s music back to Cuba. Eva and Leticia both share a love of Cuban music, and Rodriguez’ hit song, Saguita al Bate, will be featured in Holguin, along with other selected songs from Eva’s repertoire.