La Vega

Well, we’re coming up on Carnival (carnaval in Spanish) season again. While there are carnivals throughout the Dominican Republic one of the oldest and biggest is in La Vega, the largest parade is usually in Santo Domingo and Monti Cristi is know for one of the most unusual festivals. For many this is one of the highlights of the year a month of parades, colorful masks, and a overall sense of abandonment of moral restrictions. This abandonment is what makes the La Vega Carnaval a major tourist attraction but also makes this a rather dangerous time of year for foreigners.

Dangers of Carnival

If you haven’t figured it out yet I’ll state it clearly, I’m not a big fan of the Carnival month of February (more…)

Energy Cell La Vega Dominican RepublicOne of the necessities of living in the Dominican Republic is a cell phone. Few homes have the good old hardwired phone that we grew up with in the States so pretty much everyone, including kids, has a cell phone here. You have a choice of either using your phone from the States of buying a new one here. Either way you are probably going to visit a cell phone shop. One of shops I’ve worked with quite a bit is Energy Cell in La Vega, Republica Dominicana.

There is quite a variety of quality of phones available here. Cell phones can be picked up for a little as a quiniento or about $15 USD with the usual low end price being about 1500 pesos and the high end going over 16 mill (16 thousand pesos) for a blackberry or iPhone (at the Claro Store). The phones come prepared to be used here in the D.R so all you need to do is buy a provider chip, buy some minutes and you are ready to go.

If you want to pick up a little higher quality phone (which really helps with all the text messaging you will be doing here) and yet not get stuck on an 18 month long contract your best bet is to pick one up used. You can often find relatively recent iPhones and Blackberries a small percentage of the new price at phone shops. (more…)

Jarabacoa River Club Resort

Jarabacoa River Club Resort

When considering the Dominican Republic, most people think beautiful tropical beaches, palm trees, luxury beach resorts and beautiful oceans views. While all of that is true there is another side to the Dominican Republic, The Mountains! Don’t get me wrong, we’re not talking about the Alps here, but the 525 foot rise in elevation makes for a whole new experience, and the Jarabacoa River Club is a great place to experience it.

The Jarabacoa River Club sits on both sides of the “Rio Yaque del Norte”. The two sections of the club are adjoined by a rope bridge. Small and large swimming pools are scattered around on both sides of the river overlooking the valley and river below. Likewise there are patios, eating locations and clubhouses on both sides giving many unique vistas of the Valley.

Jarabacoa Excursions for Eco-Tourists

The Jarabacoa River Club makes for an excellent location to set out on the many excursions available in the Jarabacoa area.

  • One of the favorites is the river rafting excursion on the Yaque River that winds down below the club. The price for the rafting excursions is usually about 1,400 pesos per person.
  • Quads and mountain buggies (more…)

Magicjack continues to explode in popularity. The ease and cost effectiveness of using Magicjack to make long distance phone calls into the United States has turned this into a must have product for people living (or traveling) abroad and wanting to call friends and relatives in the states cheaply. Unfortunately some only hear about Magicjack once they get to the Dominican Republic. That can be a bit of a problem when buying and mailing items is a little problematic in the DR.

A while back Magicjack was emailing looking for distributers in the DR. While it doesn’t seem that too many Dominican companies decided to start selling them (I would have thought La Sirena would have been a good choice). One of Magic Jacks first distributers does have them available here. You can find Magic Jacks at the Santo Domingo Radio Shack. (more…)

If you plan on spending much time in the Dominican Republic you will no doubt at some point take a shot at driving here. Driving in the DR definitely poses additional problems then driving in other countries like the US. Poor roads, drivers that don’t obey safety or other traffic laws and just poor driving conditions make many decide not to own their own car here. Whether you own a car or just rent on occasion when you get behind the wheel you know you are taking a chance.

One thing people don’t often expect is to have to deal with police shaking down drivers for money. Unfortunately here that problem is pretty common. A report was written today in the Dominican online newspaper (more…)

The smallest of the Dominican internet providers Tricom, has concluded a deal with China based Huawei to upgrade their services to the new 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution). LTE is a trademark of ETSI

This announcement follows the announcement on June 6th that Telecom is planning to invest more than $125 million USD in upgrades tho ther fiber optic coverage with about $40 million USD to be invested in the next year. This would move the network up to a bandwith capacity of 1GH (Gigahertz).

So far the major emphisis is in the usual larger markets of the National District, Santo Domingo East and West, San Pedro de Macoris and La Romana. Future services upgrades are planned for Santiago, La Vega, Bonao and the San Francisco area.

The upgrades are part of the new product push called “Internet Max” that takes advantage of internet speed up to 100MB using an infrastructure of hybrid fiber optic network (HFC)

Here is a look at the Current Tricom plans as per (more…)

Wind Telecom is one of the newer providers of telecommunication services in the Dominican Republic. Wind provides some of the fastest high speed internet in the DR at some of the lowest prices. Wind telecom started in Santo Domingo and is at this time limited to only a few of the largest cities, although they are expanding rapidly to cover more area. I have several friends that are fortunate enough to have Wind in their area. Wind provides much faster high speed internet than Claro at a considerably lower price.

Wind 4G coverage is currently available in Santiago, Moca, La Romana, San Cristo, San Francisco de Macoris and in several barrios in Santo Domingo Hato Nuevo, Bayona, Cuidad Agraria, and Los Alcarrizos. Wind is working on moving into La Vega. (more…)

Casa Club

Casa Club Main Entrance

Those of us living in the interior parts of the DR can’t always get to a beach when we want to cool off on a hot summer day in the Caribbean. That’s where some of the pools come in handy. This week our group decided to visit the Casa Club pool in La Vega, Dominican Republic.

The Casa Club is actually a pretty big place with a large Multipurpose room that can fit about 2000 people, at least 2 glass walled areas sectioned off for smaller weddings and meetings and events, a smaller private bar area located below the main club area and even 15 Villas that can be rented in addition to the pool area.

For this trip we were just looking for the pool. The pool area was clean and well maintained There were bathrooms nearby and of course an “in-pool” bar where you can sit on the concrete “bar Stools” in the water and relax while having a drink. The bar appeared to open up at about 4pm. 4pm was also the time that things started to get far more active. When you check out the videos below you will see a marked difference between the first video which was pre-4pm and what the pool looks like rather soon after 4pm. If you are looking for a calmer relaxing time, you might want to call ahead and ask how packed the pool usually is on the day and time you plan on going.

The pool was well designed for families. There are three separate areas (all basically part of the same pool). The top section (more…)

A contestant from the La Vega province was crowned the new Miss Dominican Republic Universe (Miss República Dominicana Universo). The contest is held in Santo Domingo which decides who will represent the Dominican Republic in the Miss Universe pageant to be held in December of 2012.

Carlina Duran Baldera was crowned by last years winner Dalia Fernández in the Jaragua Hotel in Santo Domingo on April 17th, 2012. (more…)

It’s party time again in La Vega Dominican Republic. While it always kind of seams like there is a party going on, the month of February brings it to new heights. Each weekend during the month of February there will be parties going on throughout most of the Dominican Republic but the most famous area is Carnival Vegano in Le Vega.

The carnival is known for its costumes and in particular the masks. Groups of people spend month creating elaborate costumes called “diablos cojuelos” , or Devils with the competition centering around who can create the most grotesque masks.

Part of the celebration include “vejigas”. Originally dried cow bladder but now can be made out of almost anything similar. These are used to whip people in the streets. (more…)

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