Disclosure: This post is part of my all-expense-paid trip to the Dominican Republic provided by the Tourism Ministry. However, typos, misspelled words and opinions are 100% mine.
Santo Domingo, Destino Capital 2014 Has it All #GoDomRep
Earlier this month I was invited by the Tourism Ministry to attend their annual Tourism Convention, Santo Domingo, Destino Capital, hosted in Paradise ‘the Dominican Republic’ in conjunction with The Santo Domingo Hotel Association. This press trip gave me an opportunity to live like a tourist at home. My agenda was packed with field trips, city tours, dinner at the most unique settings and spaces, always accentuating the historical and contemporary areas, so family time was not included this time. A week filled with fun every second, like a real tourist in the DR! It was spectacular! Never had I experienced my native island, the Dominican Republic, like this.
My journey began in the gorgeous City of Santo Domingo, the “City of Firsts”. This great city isn’t just my own, personal, roots, but also the roots of all that America has become! Imagine sleeping in a historic hotel built in 1502 for the FIRST governor of the Americas? With Spanish colonial architecture with contemporary style, located in the heart of La Zona Colonial. The Hostal Nicolas de Ovando Hotel sitting in the oldest street of Santo Domingo “Calle Las Damas” dating back to 1502. Beautiful cobblestone streets in the Zona Colonial area surrounded by historic walls! Seconds from the FIRST Catholic church of the new world and Christopher Columbus’s house the “Alcazar Colon”. We visited the area boutique hotels, strolled the stone streets that very soon will be free of motorists! It was breathtaking, full of culture, amazing history, and “sigh” perfection!
The Zona Colonial is currently going through a Multi-Million dollar renovation. Lots of monuments, historical places, and buildings have been restored back to their original state, (this is why the streets will be free of the motorist) such as the Fortaleza Ozama, the Casa de Rodrigo de Bastida, the famous and historic street, Calle El Conde, and the oldest Cathedral in America where the remains of Christopher Columbus were once housed, but keeping that sense of how they looked back in the days.
Attending the first day of Santo Domingo, Destino Capital, the convention was emotional. Not only was our delegation treated like royalty, but we got the chance to mingle with Travel agents, tour operators, TV and radio personalities, and travel representatives from all over the globe! I was in total awe learning even more about my “Quisqueya La Bella” and all its best-kept secrets. The various types of tourism to the capital city and all of the travel packages and activities available, such as shopping, hiking, golf, etc. One of the most interesting highlights for me was the “medical tourism” business. Have you heard of medical tourism before? (That was new to me.) Medical care is so much cheaper in Santo Domingo that they have entire tourism centered around it – interesting stuff! In recent years, Plastic surgery procedures have also gotten very popular. My handsome cousin, Dr. Kelvin Eusebio is a local Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon in Santo Domingo…….so who knows, I might be paying another visit soon!
Dominicans are well known for their hospitality and really know how to throw a party! The nights were filled with festivities, gourmet food, and créme de la créme networking. The Urban Festival held at JW Marriott Hotel located in the chic, trendy, metropolitan area of Santo Domingo, was an unforgettable evening. The pool area of the hotel was filled with delicious samples of Dominican and gourmet dishes and some with Creole ingredients prepared by Chefs known worldwide. Sancocho and Chenchén were among my favorites!
One interesting tour was our visit to the “Ron Barceló” plant and distillery in San Pedro de Macoris. We learned about the process behind the creation of the popular “Dominican Rum”. Very small samples were given out, and a few were real happy afterward!
Our next stop: Santiago and Discovery Puerto Conference in Puerto Plata! Stay tuned for more gorgeous pictures and fun!