Dominican Republic Feature

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Santo Domingo a Cultural Capital

Santo Domingo won the distinction of being the American Capital of Culture in 2010, awarded annually by Buro Internacional de Capitales Culturales (BICC) in Barcelona, Spain.

B&Bs in Santo Domingo's Zona Colonial

For decades there were few hotels in this most appealing quarter of the city, but now there are more than a half-dozen petite hotels to please travelers. In most instances these urban sanctuaries are owned by artsy, intellectual expats, and the properties often reflect the personality of their charismatic owners.

Regenerated Beaches and Alluring New Condos

Two modern engineering feats, the regeneration of the beaches at Cabarete (broadened by some 114 feet) and Juan Dolio (lengthened by nearly 11,500 feet) have proven to be key elements in renewing tourism in the two towns. New ocean-front condos in Cabarete have added top-notch housing stock for expats and vacationers in the former backpacker's haven. Juan Dolio has seen an even more miraculous rebirth, with a new wave of luxurious, beachfront condos. Six miles east of Juan Dolio, Costablanca will have an 18-hole Greg Norman Signature Golf Course, a luxury marina, and a Chris Evert Tennis Center.

Ecotourism Is a Draw in the Southwest

The natural beauty of this unspoiled province, where the mountains and rivers meet a pristine coastline, is an enticement for all tourists who think green. The region is a crossroads for bird-watchers, nature photographers, bush pilots, volunteers and workers stationed in Haiti, and other globetrotters who take the roads less traveled. Three national parks preserve the landscape, while small, eco-oriented lodges and villas are sprouting up.

Cap Cana Keeps Growing Up

In 2008, Sanctuary Cap Cana Golf & Spa, the flagship hotel for the Cap Cana development south of Punta Cana, opened its doors with 177 posh ocean-view suites. In early 2010 the Sanctuary was relaunched and renamed Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana Golf & Spa. The Golden Bear Lodge and Spa, a luxury condo-style hotel, is also now open.

Early 2011 is expected to bring the first phase of the Fishing Lodge Cap Cana, another midsize luxury hotel on the marina. AMResorts has announced a $400-million project, a four-resort complex called the Gems at Cap Cana. Slated for completion in late 2012, it will have a total of 1,100 suites. Also part of the complex will be a major convention center, a spa, a 20,000-square-foot casino, gourmet restaurants and lounges, boutiques, an Explorers Club for kids, and an artists' square.

The Dominican Republic Is Now a Top Cruise Destination

Pirates once sailed these waters, but these days it's cruise passengers you'll find, some 600,000 of them in 2010. This increase means that the island's cruise traffic now rivals Puerto Rico's. Now every major line pulls into various ports on the island, and some offer cruises from Santo Domingo. The revitalization of the Don Diego Cruise Terminal near the Zona Colonial was a key element in the growth of the capital's cruise business. Nearby, the Sans Souci Port, with its terminal, tourist shops, convention center, and more, became the capital's major port after a renovation.

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