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Trovador

Info - Dominican Republic, La Romana & Casa de Campo

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I posted this on the Casa de Campo thread. Just starting this thread in case you guys need more help and miss my post.

 

Hi guys!

 

I feel the need to help you out with some info about the Dominican Republic in the boards. I am from the Dominican Republic, live in Santo Domingo and frequently visit Casa de Campo as we have a family villa there.

 

First of all, about Tropical Storm Noel. Noel just passed over the Dominican Republic, no wind at all but lots of rain. The most damage was done to the southwest part of the island and specifically to small country towns that were too close to rivers. The affected areas are nowhere close to tourist ports, so I wouldn’t worry about it.

 

Most cruise lines dock in the port in La Romana. Casa de Campo is located in La Romana, about 5 minutes from the port if a taxi is taken. I don’t have too much info on the actual cruise package excursions as I haven’t done any of the arranged packages, but if you tell me about what’s being offered, I can give you my opinion on it.

 

Casa de Campo is a very nice resort with many villas divided in areas (like neighborhoods) so it is indeed a small city on its own. It is very beautiful and has many different things to do. I expect that there may be a fee for enjoying the different activities and facilities at Casa de Campo for a day. It shouldn’t be too much, and worth it IMO. If you want to go to the beach, “Minitas” in Casa de Campo, is the closest to the port, but you’ll need a taxi to get there. Other tourist areas near Casa de Campo are “Bayahibe” and Dominicus. The beaches there are great, with soft white sand. However, they are more than 30 minutes away from Casa de Campo, so I wouldn’t recommend going there if on a one day stop with a cruise.

 

Casa de Campo Website:

 

http://www.casadecampo.com.do/

 

Sports and activities in Casa de Campo:

 

http://www.casadecampo.com.do/en/sports/index.asp

 

 

 

The main attraction of Casa de Campo are its golf courses. If you like golfing (and you have enough time) you’re in for a treat. “Teeth of the Dog” is constantly ranked as one of the 50 best courses in the world, with many holes located right next to the sea. It is absolutely breathtaking. Another great course is “Dye Fore” which runs right next to the Chavon River over hills overlooking both the Chavón River and the Caribbean sea. Both golf courses were designed by Pete Dye. Highly recommended. The other courses, “Links” and the “Romana Country Club” are also very, very nice. All of them are 18 holes, with the exception of the one in the Romana Country Club, which now has 27 holes, but a membership is needed.

 

Golf in Casa de Campo:

 

http://www.casadecampo.com.do/en/golf/index.asp

 

 

Two other areas stand as attractions, both parts of Casa de Campo. The first one is called “Altos de Chavón”, which is the small “city” made out of stone that looks like a Mediterranean villa. It overlooks the Chavon River on top of the hills and has many different shops and restaurants. Some I’d recommend are “La Giacosa” (international cuisine, best view of them all), La Piazzetta (wooden oven pizza) and a Mexican Restaurant right under La Piazzetta, which is also very good.

 

Altos de Chavón website:

 

http://www.altosdechavon.com/fs_village.htm

 

The Marina is a nice plaza and villas shapped like an italian town. If any of you has been to Burano (an island next to Venice) the site of La Marina will be extremely familiar. It is mainly a yacht port, very beautiful, many different restaurants and shops. For restaurants I’d recommend “Pepperoni” (a bit pricey, but well worth it, international cuisine) and “Chinois” a great Chinese restaurant with amazing quality and prices. If you’re looking to just eat more casually and have some nice coffee “Caribbean Coffee” is very nice, located right next to Pepperoni in the main plaza. Right next to it is a very nice ice cream parlor that makes hand made Italian ice cream. I love the coconut ice cream they make, try it if want, very nice. It’s all very European with a very relaxing atmosphere. In the Marina there’s also an small supermarket called “Supermercado Nacional” where you can find many Dominican products at the same prices we get in the city. You can’t miss it.

 

La Marina de Chavón at Casa de Campo website:

 

http://marinacasadecampo.com/

 

Now, not all of you are going to want to go to Casa de Campo and prefer just to stay closer to the ship and maybe do some shopping… in La Romana, I’d recommend walking to “Jumbo”. It’s very close. By car probably less than 5 minutes, so maybe 15 walking, really not bad at all. Jumbo is a Dominican department store (forget about “The Mercado Modelo”! more on that later), which has everything you’d want to shop for here, including a full supermarket. The prices are VERY cheap. You can get very good souvenirs and products (my recommendations are detailed further on this post).

 

La Romana is a typical Dominican town, not a big city, so expect it to be different that anything you might find in the US. For those of you that have done Caribbean cruises, it’s the common small Caribbean city. People will be friendly and are usually eager to help.

 

Oh, if you like Arab food, there’s a good small restaurant called “Shish Kabob” very close to the port. The “Kipes” and “Cativias” are very tasty. Try them out if you can.

 

Some info on Shopping in La Romana:

 

http://www.bookit.com/travel_guide-m0g00-La_Romana-Shopping.html

 

 

Dominican products and brands that you might enjoy:

 

Coffee: our coffee is extremely good. The best one as considered by us: Santo Domingo coffee.

 

Beer: the best one by far: “Presidente”. Other options both local and from other countries, not easily available in US: “Brahma” from Brazil, one of the best selling worldwide beers. Quilmes, from Argentina. Stella Artois, from Belgium. Bohemia from Dominican Republic.

 

Rum: the best brands are Barceló, Brugal and Bermudez. To me, the best one is “Barceló Imperial” which has won many international awards. Another favorite, “Brugal Añejo” or “Brugal Extra Viejo”.

 

Tobacco: A million options. Second to NONE. “La Aurora”, “León Jimenez”, “Arturo Fuentes”, “Cohiba”, etc. Many loca brands and brands from other countries, Duch as Cuba, established factories here to get around the Helms-Burton embargo. Just buy a few and enjoy.

 

Inexpensive souvenirs: There’s a type of doll made (pottery) usually in a small town called “Bonao” that is very popular with tourists. You can get them very cheap (I’d say starting at about $1) and I’m sure they would delight anyone you give one to. There’s also many different paintings and articles from local artists.

 

Vanilla extract, jewelery (Larimar and amber are the most common), etc

 

Some info on Santo Domingo:

 

Santo Domingo is about 1.5 hours away from La Romana. It is NOT just a dirty city. The problem is that the port of call for Santo Domingo is right in the “Colonnial City” which is the oldest part of the city as established by the European colonists over 500 years ago. Here you can find the first Cathedral of the New World, many stone monuments and towes, the “Alcazar” which is the house of the brother of Christopher Columbus, etc. The remains of Christopher Columbus are on the “Faro a Colon” monument.

 

I could write 100 pages on Santo Domingo, so if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer. I almost forgot, I see some of you guys mentioning the “Mercado Modelo”. It is located in Santo Domingo, so if you’re arriving at the port in La Romana, you won’t have a chance to visit it. The problem with the Mercado Modelo is that it is a very popular market and quite dirty, so its not for everyone. Some tourists will love its “personality” other will find it too “in your face”. You can find many great bargains there though, if you’re the adventurous type. I haven’t been there in decades. Lol

 

Oh well, I hope this helps!.

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Guest Crazeecat5

Trovador,

Thanks for all the great information. I have a question for you....how handicapped accessible is the area that the cruise ships dock at? I use a mobility scooter and would love to get around to some of the areas you mentioned. Will this be possible for me or will I be spending the day onboard?

Thanks again,

Sheryl

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Trovador,

Thanks for all the great information. I have a question for you....how handicapped accessible is the area that the cruise ships dock at? I use a mobility scooter and would love to get around to some of the areas you mentioned. Will this be possible for me or will I be spending the day onboard?

Thanks again,

Sheryl

 

Hmmm, I couldn't say for sure. To visit most areas I mentioned, you would need to take a cab, but I'm not sure how's the access from the ship to where the cabs are taken. It's not far, but there might be some stairs. There will probably be a lot of people willing to help if you needed any, so I would at least give it a try and not stay on th ship!. I'll try to find some more info if I can.

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Thanks for all of your fantasic info!

 

Question - What would you suggest as far as nightlife in La Romania?

 

Are you looking for show type events or local dance clubs and such?.

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Are you looking for show type events or local dance clubs and such?.

 

 

We are open really. I would like to find a great place to eat dinner, and then maybe a fun bar to hang-out in. Probebly not a dance club we aren't really into that scene. We are in our mid-20's though, so something fun. :p

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travador,

 

Thank you so much for posting .

 

Our cruise ship offers two beach excurisions one to bayhiibe and the other to catalina island. Any advice on which would be better would be a great help.

 

If you know a good private tour guide please pass this along. We were hoping to do a tour of the country to get a feel of its culture and people with maybe an hour or two of beach time.

 

Thanks for your help.

Grace

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We are open really. I would like to find a great place to eat dinner, and then maybe a fun bar to hang-out in. Probebly not a dance club we aren't really into that scene. We are in our mid-20's though, so something fun. :p

 

On weekends, on some more than others, the Marina at Casa de Campo has a pretty good night life. It's a pretty cool ambient as there are many different restaurants and bars and the people usually have a nice dinner and stay there for a while in the main plaza (right next to all the yachts and the sea. On week days, it would probably have a lot less people. Now, in Romana, there are a lot of clubs if you're really adventurous. They play a lot of music (Merengue, Salsa and bachata) and the locals hang out until the whee hours of the morning. I'm not too versed on which clubs are the "in spots" at the moment (not going out too much after our 4 and 1 year olds were born ;) ) but I'll ask around and get back to you. Even so, when here, anyone in La Romana could probably tell you what's a good club to go. Ask more than one person though and establish consensus, tastes might be very different from one person to the other.

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travador,

 

Thank you so much for posting .

 

Our cruise ship offers two beach excurisions one to bayhiibe and the other to catalina island. Any advice on which would be better would be a great help.

 

If you know a good private tour guide please pass this along. We were hoping to do a tour of the country to get a feel of its culture and people with maybe an hour or two of beach time.

 

Thanks for your help.

Grace

 

Well, those two options are indeed quite different. The main difference is the type of beach they are. Bayahibe has better sand, so if you guys like to just chill on the sand and maybe take a dip now and then, then Bayahibe is better. However, Catalina island has very crystal clear water and it's GREAT for snorkeling. Some cruise ships port right next to Cataina and have small shuttle boats to the islands. They have even made an area to serve buffets and some activites, but the sand area is not as nice.

 

If I had to decide between the two, I'd go to Catalina, BUT that's because getting there is half the fun (it's a 30 minute ride by boat at about 24 knots, so if you're taking a Catamaran tour at a lesser speed, it can take way more time than that, I'd definitely ask). Since you're arriving on a cruise, it's not going to be as fun to hop on a boat for who knows how long to reach your destination. So ask what type of boat are you taking to get there, how long it would take, what type of activities are included once i Catalina, consider if you like snorkeling or relaxing in the sand, and take it from there!.

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I found this pretty cool website that could help you with info on the different hotels and areas here. Not sure if their prices are up to date, but it could give you some feedback on how good x or y hotel is and a comparison of their price and fees and information on all the different areas.

 

http://www.colonialtours.com.do/englishframe.htm

 

I don't have any feedback on them as a tour operator, so not sure how good they are at what they do. For info, their site looks pretty good.

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Thanks so much for all the info you gave us.

Have been looking into the zip-line tour offered thru the cruiseline. Is there more than one tour operator. I want to make sure I have the right site www.bavarorunners.com.

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On weekends, on some more than others, the Marina at Casa de Campo has a pretty good night life. It's a pretty cool ambient as there are many different restaurants and bars and the people usually have a nice dinner and stay there for a while in the main plaza (right next to all the yachts and the sea. On week days, it would probably have a lot less people. Now, in Romana, there are a lot of clubs if you're really adventurous. They play a lot of music (Merengue, Salsa and bachata) and the locals hang out until the whee hours of the morning. I'm not too versed on which clubs are the "in spots" at the moment (not going out too much after our 4 and 1 year olds were born ;) ) but I'll ask around and get back to you. Even so, when here, anyone in La Romana could probably tell you what's a good club to go. Ask more than one person though and establish consensus, tastes might be very different from one person to the other.

 

Thanks so much for the info! I'm sure we will have a great time! :D

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How do we get there on are own? We would like to beach and shop. Were do we catch the boats to take us to the beaches and about how much should it cost? we have about 9 hrs in port. The Dawn list cayo levantado do as the port. thank you

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How do we get there on are own? We would like to beach and shop. Were do we catch the boats to take us to the beaches and about how much should it cost? we have about 9 hrs in port. The Dawn list cayo levantado do as the port. thank you

 

Cayo Levantado is on the opposite side of the island from La Romana. Samaná is not as developed as La Romana, both as a town as well as a cruise port. The beaches are GORGEOUS, but I'd take a cruise tour if I were you. They've already identified the better tour operators, so you'll avoid the hassle.

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I´d like more infos on shore exc at Casa del Campo. What do you think of Cueva de las Maravillas?

 

I posted this on the Casa de Campo thread. Just starting this thread in case you guys need more help and miss my post.

 

Hi guys!

 

I feel the need to help you out with some info about the Dominican Republic in the boards. I am from the Dominican Republic, live in Santo Domingo and frequently visit Casa de Campo as we have a family villa there.

 

First of all, about Tropical Storm Noel. Noel just passed over the Dominican Republic, no wind at all but lots of rain. The most damage was done to the southwest part of the island and specifically to small country towns that were too close to rivers. The affected areas are nowhere close to tourist ports, so I wouldn’t worry about it.

 

Most cruise lines dock in the port in La Romana. Casa de Campo is located in La Romana, about 5 minutes from the port if a taxi is taken. I don’t have too much info on the actual cruise package excursions as I haven’t done any of the arranged packages, but if you tell me about what’s being offered, I can give you my opinion on it.

 

Casa de Campo is a very nice resort with many villas divided in areas (like neighborhoods) so it is indeed a small city on its own. It is very beautiful and has many different things to do. I expect that there may be a fee for enjoying the different activities and facilities at Casa de Campo for a day. It shouldn’t be too much, and worth it IMO. If you want to go to the beach, “Minitas” in Casa de Campo, is the closest to the port, but you’ll need a taxi to get there. Other tourist areas near Casa de Campo are “Bayahibe” and Dominicus. The beaches there are great, with soft white sand. However, they are more than 30 minutes away from Casa de Campo, so I wouldn’t recommend going there if on a one day stop with a cruise.

 

Casa de Campo Website:

 

http://www.casadecampo.com.do/

 

Sports and activities in Casa de Campo:

 

http://www.casadecampo.com.do/en/sports/index.asp

 

 

 

The main attraction of Casa de Campo are its golf courses. If you like golfing (and you have enough time) you’re in for a treat. “Teeth of the Dog” is constantly ranked as one of the 50 best courses in the world, with many holes located right next to the sea. It is absolutely breathtaking. Another great course is “Dye Fore” which runs right next to the Chavon River over hills overlooking both the Chavón River and the Caribbean sea. Both golf courses were designed by Pete Dye. Highly recommended. The other courses, “Links” and the “Romana Country Club” are also very, very nice. All of them are 18 holes, with the exception of the one in the Romana Country Club, which now has 27 holes, but a membership is needed.

 

Golf in Casa de Campo:

 

http://www.casadecampo.com.do/en/golf/index.asp

 

 

Two other areas stand as attractions, both parts of Casa de Campo. The first one is called “Altos de Chavón”, which is the small “city” made out of stone that looks like a Mediterranean villa. It overlooks the Chavon River on top of the hills and has many different shops and restaurants. Some I’d recommend are “La Giacosa” (international cuisine, best view of them all), La Piazzetta (wooden oven pizza) and a Mexican Restaurant right under La Piazzetta, which is also very good.

 

Altos de Chavón website:

 

http://www.altosdechavon.com/fs_village.htm

 

The Marina is a nice plaza and villas shapped like an italian town. If any of you has been to Burano (an island next to Venice) the site of La Marina will be extremely familiar. It is mainly a yacht port, very beautiful, many different restaurants and shops. For restaurants I’d recommend “Pepperoni” (a bit pricey, but well worth it, international cuisine) and “Chinois” a great Chinese restaurant with amazing quality and prices. If you’re looking to just eat more casually and have some nice coffee “Caribbean Coffee” is very nice, located right next to Pepperoni in the main plaza. Right next to it is a very nice ice cream parlor that makes hand made Italian ice cream. I love the coconut ice cream they make, try it if want, very nice. It’s all very European with a very relaxing atmosphere. In the Marina there’s also an small supermarket called “Supermercado Nacional” where you can find many Dominican products at the same prices we get in the city. You can’t miss it.

 

La Marina de Chavón at Casa de Campo website:

 

http://marinacasadecampo.com/

 

Now, not all of you are going to want to go to Casa de Campo and prefer just to stay closer to the ship and maybe do some shopping… in La Romana, I’d recommend walking to “Jumbo”. It’s very close. By car probably less than 5 minutes, so maybe 15 walking, really not bad at all. Jumbo is a Dominican department store (forget about “The Mercado Modelo”! more on that later), which has everything you’d want to shop for here, including a full supermarket. The prices are VERY cheap. You can get very good souvenirs and products (my recommendations are detailed further on this post).

 

La Romana is a typical Dominican town, not a big city, so expect it to be different that anything you might find in the US. For those of you that have done Caribbean cruises, it’s the common small Caribbean city. People will be friendly and are usually eager to help.

 

Oh, if you like Arab food, there’s a good small restaurant called “Shish Kabob” very close to the port. The “Kipes” and “Cativias” are very tasty. Try them out if you can.

 

Some info on Shopping in La Romana:

 

http://www.bookit.com/travel_guide-m0g00-La_Romana-Shopping.html

 

 

Dominican products and brands that you might enjoy:

 

Coffee: our coffee is extremely good. The best one as considered by us: Santo Domingo coffee.

 

Beer: the best one by far: “Presidente”. Other options both local and from other countries, not easily available in US: “Brahma” from Brazil, one of the best selling worldwide beers. Quilmes, from Argentina. Stella Artois, from Belgium. Bohemia from Dominican Republic.

 

Rum: the best brands are Barceló, Brugal and Bermudez. To me, the best one is “Barceló Imperial” which has won many international awards. Another favorite, “Brugal Añejo” or “Brugal Extra Viejo”.

 

Tobacco: A million options. Second to NONE. “La Aurora”, “León Jimenez”, “Arturo Fuentes”, “Cohiba”, etc. Many loca brands and brands from other countries, Duch as Cuba, established factories here to get around the Helms-Burton embargo. Just buy a few and enjoy.

 

Inexpensive souvenirs: There’s a type of doll made (pottery) usually in a small town called “Bonao” that is very popular with tourists. You can get them very cheap (I’d say starting at about $1) and I’m sure they would delight anyone you give one to. There’s also many different paintings and articles from local artists.

 

Vanilla extract, jewelery (Larimar and amber are the most common), etc

 

Some info on Santo Domingo:

 

Santo Domingo is about 1.5 hours away from La Romana. It is NOT just a dirty city. The problem is that the port of call for Santo Domingo is right in the “Colonnial City” which is the oldest part of the city as established by the European colonists over 500 years ago. Here you can find the first Cathedral of the New World, many stone monuments and towes, the “Alcazar” which is the house of the brother of Christopher Columbus, etc. The remains of Christopher Columbus are on the “Faro a Colon” monument.

 

I could write 100 pages on Santo Domingo, so if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer. I almost forgot, I see some of you guys mentioning the “Mercado Modelo”. It is located in Santo Domingo, so if you’re arriving at the port in La Romana, you won’t have a chance to visit it. The problem with the Mercado Modelo is that it is a very popular market and quite dirty, so its not for everyone. Some tourists will love its “personality” other will find it too “in your face”. You can find many great bargains there though, if you’re the adventurous type. I haven’t been there in decades. Lol

 

Oh well, I hope this helps!.

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I´d like more infos on shore exc at Casa del Campo. What do you think of Cueva de las Maravillas?

 

La Cueva de las Maravillas is about 30 minutes from Casa de Campo. It's a pretty nice cave system, and they give a tour for about another 30 hour with a guide. The price at site for the cave entrance is about RD$200, which is about US$6, but since it is 30 minutes away from the La Romana port, the taxi ride might not be cheap. Maybe $20-$30, not sure. So if there's a cruise tour that includes it, it would be better IMO to take it rather than visit it on your own. The tour is short enough that it should give you plenty of time left to shop around and see the town.

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Hi Trovador,

Although you posted a lot of information about Rep Dom, I´m still figuring out what to choose while in the port. We´re from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and live half block from Ipanema beach. So going to the beach is not a big thing. I´m asking what you would choose. We´re going to be there on jan31 with the Millenium. Maybe we shouldn´t choose anything and just take a look at Casa de Campo and Altos de Chavon. Couple (55-70) and a 16 yr old son. Hope you can help.

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Only now I saw yr comment on Cueva. So I think best choice is to take the ship tour to Cueva and be on ourselves for the time that is left. Tnks a lot.

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Thanks for all your information. We will spend the day at Catalina Island and Casa de Campo in the evening. We are considering the show Kandela at the outdood theater. Do you know anything about the show or the amphitheater? One of the members of our group had difficulty walking for more than 10 -15 minutes. Is it a long walk from where the tour bus will let us out to the theater itself? Also, is there any type of "handicapped" seating at the amphitheater?

 

Is parasailing or set ski rental available on Catalina Island? I know there are chairs and food provided and have read that the snorkeling is pretty good here.

 

Any info you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

 

Debbie

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