Tuesday, December 19, 2017

50 Best All-Inclusives

Excellence Punta Cana

MSN recently published their 50BEST all-inclusive resorts, most of which are in the Caribbean. Of course the DR had many resorts on that list: Excellence Punta Cana, The Reserve Punta Cana, Casa de Campo in La Romana, Zoetry Agua in Punta Cana, Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro in Punta Cana, Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus in Bayahibe and Luxury Bahia Principe in Samana.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Want To Get Away?

HERE is a great deal on a weeklong Caribbean cruise on Holland America. Ports of call may even include Cuba.

Monday, November 27, 2017

USVI Storm Recovery

With so much attention on Puerto Rico, let's have an update on the USVI:

Lieutenant Governor Osbert Potter, who is currently acting as governor, reported continued progress in the US Virgin Islands on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday, with about 40 percent of the territory now re-energized.
Speaking on Wednesday, the acting governor expressed his gratitude to the people of the US Virgin Islands and the territory’s partners for continuing to rally around recovery efforts as life steadily returns to normalcy.
Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) executive director Julio Rhymer reported about 40 percent of the territory has been re-energized, as WAPA and its partners continue to work towards their goal of 90 percent restoration by Christmas. Additional linemen arrived in the territory on Wednesday from the US mainland to support the re-energization efforts. More than 19,000 customers have been connected to date across the territory, Rhymer reported.
cards were not loaded in time for Thanksgiving.
“I know we are (a) resilient community and we will make it through,” Powell said.

source:Caribbean News Now

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tropical Desires wishes all the best to our supporters and readers. We are truly thankful for your loyalty throughout the years.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

A Freindly Hotel re-branded

The former Mercure Comercial on the Conde has been refurbished and re-branded under the new owner, Hodelpa, which has several options in the Colonial City.

Hodelpa Novus Plaza has new rooms, free WiFi throughout the hotel, access to GYM by Nike (a short walk away) and privileges at casinos in their other hotels.

The new owners have maintained the popular El Patio restaurant (thank God) and continues to offer free full buffet breakfast to guests. The restaurant is a prime spot for people-watching and jump starting your day or evening activities.

Rooms start at US $61 dollars and have various features, some with balconies.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

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!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tropical Jazz

The annual Dominican Republic Jazz Festival is scheduled for the end of the month. It offers a blend of superb jazz with an extensive educational program.

The program calls for jazz performances on Sunday, 29 October 2017 in Santo Domingo with a concert dedicated to France. Musicians from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (CNSMDP) will participate along with the stellar performance of Riccardo del Fra.

The festival then continues from 1-5 November in venues in Santiago and Puerto Plata. On Wednesday, 1 November in Santiago: El Eco (Argentina) and Edmar Colon and Jonathan Suazo (Dominican Republic); Thursday, 2 November in Sosúa with Roni Eytan Quartet (Israel), Anat Cohen with the Berklee Global Ambassadors (Israel, USA), and Javier Vargas (Dominican Republic); Friday, 3 November in Puerto Plata: Trio da Paz (Brazil), Guy Frómeta Trio (Dominican Republic); Saturday, 4 November in Cabarete: Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors Sean Jones and Brian Lynch (USA); Sunday, 5 November in Cabarete: William Cepeda (Puerto Rico), Marco Pignataro's Almas Antiguas Quartet (Italy, Puerto Rico), and more.

The DR Jazz Festival shows are free and open to the general public. VIP tickets and priority seats are available for purchase, making a contribution to the Fedujazz. Contact Fedujazz for more details at 809 571-9350 or by emailing info@drjazzfestival.com


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Beach Sexy

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Getting Serious About Police Force

dr1 reports: According to the director of the National Police, Major General Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte, the police will have to take lie detector tests to check if they are involved in illegal activities, as part of his new strategy to strengthen the force.

Ten polygraph machines have been donated by the United States Embassy and will be used on those police officers currently serving as well as those who wish to join.

In addition agents will be subject to anti-doping tests that are being carried out by Internal Affairs.


Monday, September 25, 2017

After Maria

Caribbean News Now: The Caribbean islands of Antigua, Barbados, Saint Lucia and Palm Island in the Grenadines are open for business, and normal tourism activities have resumed. The airports that service these islands have returned to normal operations and are accepting flights from all gateways.
Antigua was largely unscathed by Hurricane Irma, and many other islands, like Saint Lucia, Barbados, and Palm Island in the Grenadines were not affected at all by the storm.
“Now is the perfect time to experience the authentic Caribbean on the charming islands of Antigua, Barbados, Saint Lucia and the Grenadines, with great offers and low airfares from many major US cities. Your support means the world to the wonderful people and businesses of these spectacular islands, and we hope to welcome you in the Caribbean soon,” said Steve Heydt, president of Elite Island Resorts.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Hurricane Irma

For all my Dominican friends who read this blog, GET TO HIGH GROUND!

All attention in the country is now focused on preparing for Hurricane Irma as recent weather reports show it is a grave threat for the country. There were hopes, following the early forecasts, that on Monday afternoon, 4 September 2017, the category 3 hurricane would begin its move to the west but the 2pm bulletin showed it continued to travel south southwest, bringing it closer to the Dominican Republic. Irma is expected to be a category 4 hurricane when it crosses by Dominican coasts.

According to Gloria Ceballos, director of the National Meteorological Office (Onamet), the first effects of the storm could be felt on Wednesday. The storm is expected to hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday and the brunt of the storm is expected to hit the Dominican Republic around noon on Thursday, 7 September.

As per the forecast on 5 September 2017, the most affected provinces will be Puerto Plata, María Trinidad Sánchez (Nagua), Samaná, La Vega, Monseñor Nouel (Bonao), Sánchez Ramírez (Cotuí), Espaillat (Moca) and Duarte (San Francisco de Macorís).

Given the magnitude of the storm, Onamet is alerting everyone to carefully monitor the storm as it approaches the island. There are many uncertainties with the path of Hurricane Irma.

President Danilo Medina met with all of the emergency organizations to coordinate the process of planning for the arrival of the hurricane and the Hurricane Contingency Plan has been put into operation. In addition, the government has now declared it is in permanent session as announced by the Administrative Minister of the Presidency José Ramón Peralta.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico has declared a state of emergency ahead of the landfall of Hurricane Irma. Classes in the public school system were called off for Tuesday.

See the last page of the DR1 Forums Hurricane Section at:

Monday, August 28, 2017

Weekend Winner

The representative of Duarte province (San Francisco de Macorís), 24-year old 5'11 Carmen Muñoz Guzmán was crowned Miss Dominican Republic by her predecessor Sal García during a gala that for the first time took place outside of Santo Domingo. The stage of the Gran Teatro Cibao in Santiago was chosen this time to host the contest. 37 women competed for the grand prize, the right to represent the Dominican Republic in the Miss Universe 2017 scheduled to take place in Phoenix, Arizona, USA on 26 November 2017.

The first runner up was Lytza Sofía Álvarez di Crestana from Santo Domingo East, who won the right to compete in Miss United Continents 2017. The second runner up was Jeisy Lucía Rodríguez Estévez, who will represent the country in the Reina Hispanoamérica 2017 pageant. Fourth place went to Zaidy Bello, representing Barahona, who was chosen Miss Quisqueya.

Other awards that event went to Mayelin de la Cruz from La Vega, who won the best reality show, Lytza Alvarez of Santo Domingo East, who won the best typical dress, created by designer Leonel Lirio. Kassandra Montandón, of the National District, won the "best body” award. Jennifer Daniel of Independencia province won the title for the "best smile” and Lorenne de Oleo from Elías Piña was voted Miss Communication.

The favorites of the public were
Zaidy Bello, representing Barahona; Alicia Restituyo, representing La Vega; Dharla Bodden for San Juan de la Maguana; Carmen Muñoz de la for Duarte province and Jeysi Rodríguez, from the host city, Santiago.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Family Scandal in Paradise

Here's something you may not find in the NY Times society column:
46-year old American resident Paul Sandford Guggenheim is suspected to have committed suicide at the Palacio de la Justicia Jail where he was held. The case file charged Guggenheim with taking advantage of children and teenagers in vulnerable situations, paying them in exchange for sexual favors.

His hung body was found in the cell's bathroom by a fellow inmate at the Palacio de Justicia. Prosecutors had delayed formally charging Guggenheim until Friday, 18 August, due to the holiday celebrated on the Wednesday, 16 August.

The deceased had been arrested on 11 August 2017 after being caught infraganti having sex with a 15-year old male child at his Piantini apartment. The case file says Guggenheim had offered to pay the child RD$2,500 for the sexual favors. Guggenheim reportedly had picked up the child from the Plaza Juan Barón on the Malecón.

The news comes as a surprise as Guggenheim was country representative for Counterpart International, a leading development non-governmental organization.

As reported in El Dia, neighbors in the Piantini apartment building where he lived, had alerted the authorities on 31 March that vulnerable minors were visiting Guggenheim in his apartment. The minors would visit at night and leave in the early morning. This would be confirmed by the surveillance videos of the building, according to the case file.

The file mentions two specific cases of sexual abuse of minors. Reportedly, the deceased had sexually abused two teenagers, ages 13 and 15 years old. The 13-year old said he made a living begging on the Malecón and admitted to having sex for money. The file says the minor explained that the following morning Guggenheim would drop him off where he had picked him up the previous evening and pay him RD$1,000 for the services.

State prosecutors had been investigating the case, culminating to the arrest on 11 August.

During the search of Guggenheim's apartment on 11 August, the Police reportedly found a significant number of condoms, lubricants, sex potency pills, children-sized shoes and clothing, mobile phones, laptops, and tablets.

Reports are that Guggenheim was suspect of having committed suicide on Tuesday, 15 August. El Dia says an autopsy was ordered to confirm the suicide.

Guggenheim is related to the famous Guggenheim family that has created the cultural wonders of the New York Solomon Guggeinheim museum and the Bilbao Guggenheim museum, among others.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

New Way to See the Colonial Zone

Two companies are offering drinks and bike tours in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo. These are La Coroleta (Beer Bike) and Bike Party, as reported in Diario Libre.

The Beer Bike has capacity for 16 persons that can pedal away, while enjoying snacks, soft drinks, hydrating drinks, water or beer while touring the city. The company offers wi-fi service so participants can up load their photos and share the experience as they go along. A Go-Pro camera videos the tour and shares this with the participants. The tours for 30-45 minutes start at RD$400 per person.

Party Bike is a new product by Trikke Dominicana and has capacity for 14 persons. Soft drinks, juice and light beers are served. The duration is 1:30 minutes and costs RD$550 per person.

There are also individual bikes for rent if you wish to see the Zone without the buzz of other tourists as a distraction.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

On High Alert

dr1 reports: Business owners in Boca Chica are complaining about the high level of crime in the municipality. Representatives of the business community argue that the police, rather than preventing crimes, are aggravating the situation by demanding handouts.

Enrique Félix, president of the Union of Small Businesses in Boca Chica, highlighted that on Saturday morning, 22 July 2017, two individuals held up a tourist at gun point, stole her bag and left shooting in the air, all this only 500 meters from the police station.

He said that rather than the police protecting the tourists that some of their members blackmailed and extorted the tourists. Felix cited an example a group of firefighters from New Jersey who the police threatened with guns and demanded US$200 not to be taken to jail.

Felix reported low occupancy in Boca Chica, estimating this at 50% due to the insecurity.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Day At The River

I've said it before, there is nothing like an experience on one of the many rivers running throughout the Dominican Republic.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

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!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Take Your Papi to Dinner

The Billini Hotel is inviting the public to a plated three course dinner to be prepared on the evenings of Friday, 28 July, Saturday, 29 July and, Sunday, 30 July 2017 to celebrate Father's Day in the Dominican Republic. Father's Day in the Dominican Republic falls on the last Sunday in July, this year is 30 July.

The dinner cost is RD$2,490 plus government taxes and includes a bottle of red or white wine and a surprise gift. Reservations to 1-809 338-4040

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Smooth Sounds in SDQ

Will you be in SDQ this July? Looking for a classy, cultural alternative to the club scene? Fiesta Sunset Jazz at the rooftop of the Dominican Fiesta Hotel presents a selection of guest jazz musicians from Puerto Rico and the United States on Fridays at 8:30pm. Admission is free to listen to great jazz music. These are presentations by Jazz en Dominicana.

This July the schedule is:
Friday, 7 July: Richard Peña Latin Jazz Band (From San Juan, Puerto Rico)
Friday, 14 July: Peter Novelli´s History of the Blues (From New Orleans, Louisiana)
Friday, 21 July: Rafa Patán Trío (From Troy, New York)
Friday, 28 July: Pavel Polanco-Safadit Latin Jazz Quintet (From Indianapolis, Indiana)

Also enjoy jazz music at O.Livia restaurant on Av. Lope de Vega on Mondays, and Thursdays in July at the Casa de Teatro Jazz Festival.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Caribbean Tourism to Meet in Santo Domingo

dr1 reports: The 21st Caribbean Tourism Exchange (Bolsa Turística del Caribe) opens on 22 June 2017 at the Dominican Fiesta convention center. BTC 2017 will continue through 24 June. Coming for the event are buyers and sellers from the Caribbean, Central America, North and South America.

There will be a workshop on Accessible Tourism Congress, with the theme, "Social Innovation for Development” focusing on sustainable tourism. There will be an artisan exhibition, activities for travel agents, and a gastronomy festival with five chefs from five countries.

The event is organized by Luis Felipe and Luisa Aquino. See the program at

Monday, May 29, 2017

Orange Is The New Gone

Altice announced on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 that Tricom and Orange would be rebranded to be known under the Altice brand of the parent company. Tricom and Orange together have more than 4.8 million customers in the country, who subscribe to cable TV, fixed line, mobile and internet services.

The name change would be completed before the end of the first half of 2018. Altice has announced this is part of a worldwide strategy for the brand. The rebranding comes as Altice USA prepares to go public, with its stock to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Altice, based in Luxembourg, acquired 100% of the French company Orange Dominicana in November 2013. In the previous month it had bought the Dominican telecom firm Tricom.

Michael Combes, executive director of Altice, said in addition to a new logo, the rebranding includes a new musical theme and slogan – "Together has no limits.”

In making the announcement in the United States, Patrick Drahi, founder and controlling shareholder of Altice NV, stated that the rebranding will help the company better compete against Internet giants Facebook, Google and Spectrum and other cable television providers.

The company is now waiting for the approval for the change from the Dominican Telecoms Institute (Indotel).

Friday, May 19, 2017

Punta Cana sale

For those of you who like to save money on travel, Travelzoo.com (one of my favorite sites) has weekly deals that are incredible! Visit their site and sign up for email alerts and weekly notifications like this great deal for a vacation package to Punta Cana for only $599, including airfare, taxes, food and drinks. Click HERE for details.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

T&T Experience

Many people know the islands of Trinidad & Tobago for their awesome dive experiences, but there is much more to do and see in these culturally diverse destinations. Click HERE for more details and happy traveling!

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Cuban beach retreats

Sometimes you need to recover from all the “go here, go there, go everywhere” stress of vacation—and where better to take a breather than on a beach? Each of Cuba’s distinct regions boasts impressive stretches of magnificent sand where you can kick back with a beverage and find some simple peace of mind after enjoying the complexity of the country’s interior. We rounded up the most pristine, picturesque beaches so you can plan some fun in the sun for your time in Cuba. 

For travelers who enjoy all-inclusive resorts and spring break scenes, Veradero’s got what you’re looking for. As the most popular resort town and beach in all of Cuba, Veradero’s 12-mile stretch of all-inclusives and coral reefs make for the perfect mix of tourist attractions and natural beauty. There are more than 60 hotels running along the Hicacos peninsula where Veradero is located making it tourist-friendly (albeit not the best bet for one-of-a-kind experiences).
Cayo Largo del Sur
A small island off the south coast of Cuba’s northwestern coast, Cayo Largo del Sur is best described as a pure Caribbean paradise. The jewel-tone water is nothing short of crystal clear and the powdery white sand makes the beaches glitter. A stay on Cayo Largo del Sur is a guarantee to experience not only the peace of the island’s large, uncrowded beaches but also the excitement of native wildlife such as nesting sea turtles and flamingos.
Playa Sirena
Playa Sirena is only a short ride away from Cuba’s most popular tourist hubs but it feels leagues away from the hustle and bustle of Havana. Day trips to the beach are offered daily from Veradero and Havana—allowing travelers to enjoy kayaks, sun-soaking, bouts of beach football, and tropical drinks from a ranchón-style bar and restaurant before you’ve even had a chance to dust the city off of your shoes.
Playa Girón
If you like to inject your travels with adventure and adrenaline, Playa Girón is the beach for you. Situated on the east side of the notorious Bay of Pigs in the province of Matanzas, the beach has a sharp offshore dropoff that makes for the perfect snorkeling and scuba diving setting. The underwater caves are there just waiting to be explored.
Rancho Luna
Located five miles south of Cienfuegos, Rancho Luna is best described as a toned-down, low-key version of Veradero. It’s beautiful without boasting. Along with no-frills hotel complexes, guests can chose to go for the real Cuban experience and stay in the casa particulares that are available in the area.
Playa Perla Blanca
Nestled within a nature reserve, Playa Perla Blanca is a textbook example of Mother Nature’s pure beauty with its soft sand, lush flora, and refreshing breezes. As of now, there are no hotels or resorts tarnishing the environment, and the beach is relatively accessible despite being located in the northern cays.
Playa Ancón
Located only seven short miles away from the can’t-miss colonial town of Trinidad, Playa Ancón is tucked away on an impressive peninsula that fosters a sense of seclusion from the rest of the world. Playa Ancón is the definitive stretch of white sand, blooming acacia trees, quaint fisherman, and a tranquil atmosphere.  
Playa Los Pinos
We’re giving away a hidden gem here, but this list would not be complete without including Playa los Pinos—located in Camagüey. It’s dreamily picturesque and almost unbelievably empty. But once making the trek to Playa los Pinos, you’ll realize why this beach isn’t in much danger of being spoiled by the masses. If you make it to the end of the impressively bumpy and unkempt dirt track, you’ll be gifted with the playa’s beauty, your own private beach, and the opportunity to explore the surrounding salt marshes where native deer and other wildlife roam.