The Dominican Republic (DR) is already becoming known as one of the hottest tourism destinations to feature state-of-the-art marina infrastructure. As such, the DR was chosen to host the final leg of the 2006 Americas’ Sail. The event, which featured a race of “tall” ships, classified as massive sailing vessels with multiple masts (think Schooners and Clippers ranging from 54 to 370 feet in length), was held June 14 - 19. Festivities began with competing ships porting at Casa de Campo’s marina in La Romana followed by a parade of sail to the DR’s capitol Santo Domingo.
In true Dominican style, the event concluded with a commemorative celebration in Santo Domingo.
Americas’ Sail kicked off May 27 in Brazil and featured dozens of tall ships navigating the Caribbean waters. Ships arrived at the port of Casa de Campo June 14 - 15 and raced towards Santo Domingo June 16 - 17. Americas’ Sail concluded June 18 - 19 with the celebration in Santo Domingo designed to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the city’s founding and the beginning of exploration of the Americas.
“The Americas’ Sail was created to celebrate the friendship and goodwill that exists between the nations of the Western Hemisphere,” explains Rev. William F. Wendler, President and CEO of Americas’ Sail. “And to conclude this important event in the DR at a time when the country was celebrating the anniversary of Santo Domingo is a wonderful added bonus.”
Both during and after the event, participants and guests were invited to experience the historical, yet contemporary, cities of the DR’s South Central region. As the country’s capitol and the oldest city in the New World, Santo Domingo offers a diverse spectrum of attractions that combine metropolitan flair with historical charm. While it boasts hip restaurants and modern hotels the city also features the well-preserved Zona Colonial which includes the first cathedral and first university of the Americas amid hundreds of preserved buildings dating back to the early 1500’s.
Guests seeking a history or culture lesson will also appreciate the Cultural Plaza filled with dozens of museums, the Columbus Lighthouse which houses the controversial tomb of discoverer and the National Aquarium. In addition, Santo Domingo is home to the world-renowned Merengue Festival held along the Malecon; Carnival, a celebration comprised of parades, food and drink; and the Presidente Festival, a music celebration where past performers include Christina Aquilera, Marc Anthony and Enrique Iglesias.
Great hotels to try in Santo Domingo include the historic Sofitel Nicolas which has accommodated celebrities like Brad Pitt ( http://www.sofitel.com/ ) and Hotel Melia, the host of this year’s Dominican Cocktail Festival held June 7 - 8 ( http://www.solmelia.com/ ).
Also located in the DR’s South Central region are Boca Chica and Juan Dolio. Boca Chica is a resort town where the beach is actually a reef- protected lagoon bearing azure waters and bordering powdery sand. Known as a great shopping destination, vendors display their wares along the beach and sell everything from jewelry and artwork to food and drinks.
Juan Dolio, located halfway between Santo Domingo and La Romana, is ideal for guests who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the capitol city. It boasts a Gary Player-designed golf course at Guavaberry ( http://www.guavaberrygolf.com/ ) and features San Pedro Tetelo Vargas Stadium where visitors can see a game during the Dominican baseball season.
For more information about the South Central region’s hotels and attractions visit http://www.godominicanrepublic.com/ . For additional information about the 2006 Americas’ Sail visit http://www.americassail.com/ .