Tag Archives: dominican republic

Dominican Republic: Altos de Chavón

Altos de Chavón is a recreated Medieval-like village, where tourists can enjoy elaborate stone buildings and admire the sunset over the Rio Chavón. While roaming around this mountaintop village, you feel like you are in a time warp or have been teleported to somewhere in Europe. From the Christmas decorations to the large fountains and flower pots, the charm and chicness of it all left me in absolute awe.

Los Altos has a vast Roman-style amphitheater that seats 5,000 guests. You will notice architectural similarities to amphitheaters in Italy. The theatre hosts various concerts throughout the year and past performers include Frank Sinatra, Julio Iglesias, The Pet Shop Boys, and Duran Duran.

The view of the Rio Chavón, cliffside Pete Dye No. 4 golf course, and surrounding jungle is quite breathtaking. There is no doubt that this is a Kodak moment (so don’t forget your camera)! When you need a break from snapping photos, there are plenty of benches to have a seat with a drink in hand and simply absorb the surrounding environment.

There is a beautiful church situated in the center of the village. Tourists are told Michael Jackson married Lisa Marie here. Apparently this is a rumor, but it is certain the two honeymooned in Casa de Campo and spent time at Los Altos. The chapel and its surrounding fantasyland remains a popular wedding destination.

There are various entertainers that wander about the village. They are dressed in colorfully detailed costumes as they dance, breathe fire, and pose for pictures. Small shops and vendors surround the sidewalks while artisans craft their products for all to see. You can find anything from authentic pottery to handmade dolls.

As if cobblestone walkways and limestone walls isn’t enough, Los Altos is home to a design school (an affiliate of Parsons School of Design in NYC) and a Museum of Archeology. There is so much history and knowledge, which only adds to the overall dazzling demeanor.

Some tourists find Los Altos quite pricey due to the entry fee, restaurants, and souvenirs. In my opinion, it is worth every penny. Altos de Chavón offers an exclusive experience unlike anywhere else. So if you are traveling to the Dominican Republic and looking for an upscale day trip or classy restaurants to wine and dine, make the effort to explore Altos de Chavón!

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Dominican Republic: Isla Catalina

Many tourists are afraid to leave resorts in foreign countries. However, there are always plenty of safe options you can take to discover what else is out there… especially in the Dominican Republic. For example, my Dad and I took a day trip to Isla Catalina. It was a few hundred dollars well spent (unlike the money I lost at the casino the night before). And what could be classier than spending the day on an exclusive island? Upon leaving our resort, the drive to the boat dock was about an hour and a half . Along the way we passed by many Dominican towns, schools, railroads, and sugar plantations.

 
 
 

At a tourist-friendly rest area along the way, I saw some little Dominican boys on the other side of a fence. They seemed happy and waved to the travelers but everyone was ignoring them. I walked up and started a conversation in Spanish. None of them could speak or understand much English besides “American dollars.” Although we were advised not to give money to any Dominicans or others who beg for it, my Daddy and I couldn’t help but give them some of that dinero they asked for. They thanked us gratefully and posed for some photos as a few travelers looked at us with disgust. As the famous verse goes, “And now abideth faithhopecharity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (Corinthians 13:13). Not only was helping these poor children the classy thing to do, but the Christian thing to do as well.

 

Once we arrived at the boat dock in La Romana, we hopped on board the boat and set sail to La Isla Catalina. Along the way we passed through Casa de Campo marina, which is famous for its waterfront celebrity estates. In about 45-minutes we arrived at the island of paradise… Isla Catalina.

  

 Isla Catalina has several private beaches, many  of which are owned by cruise companies (like Costa Concordia) so their travelers can explore and play on this heavenly island. There is no habitation or development on the island other than some tiki huts. Many swimmers, divers, and snorkelers visit Isla Catalina for its turquoise waters that are filled with coral reefs and sea creatures.

  

 Activities for the day included suntanning, snorkeling, banana boating, tubing, and swimming.

A Dominican barbeque was served for lunch, which included hot dogs, chicken kabobs, lobster, cajan pork, and all the typical backyard barbeque side dishes with a tropical island twist. I was definitely a bit nervous to eat the food for health purposes but I just had to trust it. It ended up being a unique (and tasty) cultural experience.

  

Daddy and I spent the last of our time on La Isla Catalina hanging out in our classy beach attire and praying that the storm clouds rolling in would hold off. Luckily they did.

  

As we headed back to the mainland, we enjoyed drinks and dancing on the boat. There was a fantastic view of the sugar mill that La Romana is known for. Each day sugar churns inside the factory and smoke pours out of its tall stacks. The sugary-scented breeze can be smelled for what seems like miles! Just around the corner, we passed by the largest Italian cruise ship, a Coasta Concordia. Please note it was not the same ship that was involved in the tragic accident off the coast of Italy in January.

  

Isla Catalina was an effortless exploration that I would love to experience again. Still, there was one last stop on our little adventure that turns out being one of my favorite places…Los Altos de Chavón.
Post. Coming. Soon.

Xoxo,
Lindsay

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Dominican Republic: Punta Cana

Every classy girl needs a tropical island getaway to leave the brutally cold winter weather behind for a few days. Just before Christmas I traveled to the Dominican with my Dad for a little R&R after a stressful final semester of school. Punta Cana is a family-friendly vacation spot year-round and popular Spring Break destination for college students in March. With dozens of fabulous resorts to choose from, there truly is somewhere prefect for everyone. In Punta Cana, the beaches are sandy and white, the waves are big and blue, and the sun is high and scorching.

  

The ocean water is always a perfect temperature for swimming, but in case you don’t want to get salty and sandy, there is always the pool. Most resorts have more than one pool and they usually include swim-up bars, water slides, and built in chaise lounges. I suggest reserving a room with an ocean view so after a long day lounging by the pool, you can enjoy the sunset and fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves and swaying palm trees.

  
  

All-inclusive is absolutely the way to go so you can eat, drink, and play all day without having to worry about your wallet. Be sure to make reservations for resort restaurants each day (the food and experience is much more enjoyable than the buffet and is at no extra cost). They offer various cuisines including authentic Domincan, French, Italian, and Japanese (hibachi).

  
 

The resort will keep you busy day and night from the ocean and pool to twenty-four hour food and bar service. Our resort even had a trapeze bar so one afternoon I took a few minutes to swing higher than the palm trees. There is also plenty of nightly entertainment including a casino, nightclub, and shows.

  

The resorts in Punta Cana are perfect for relaxing and enjoying vacation time, but trust me, the Dominican Republic has so much more to offer! Look out for another post coming very soon to find out what lies outside the resort and across the island.

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