Puerto Plata GAMECHANGERS: Andrés Brugal

Inside Puerto Plata’s series on “Puerto Plata GAMECHANGERS” will highlight and give well-deserved praise to amazing individuals, past and present, who have had a tremendous impact on Puerto Plata and its surrounding areas. We will be featuring both revered and controversial figures and look forward to stimulating dialogue from you, our readers.


In this particular post, we will talk about a man who had a great impact not only in Dominican Republic and Puerto Plata, but also all around the world. His surname is usually pronounced in pubs anAndres Brugald bars where good liqueur is offered, and is always associated with outstanding rum and quality distillation processes. You will see here that this man is not only responsible for the quality cocktails that people drink nowadays, but also for the business and industrial shift of a whole country.

Born during the very beginning of the second half of the 19th century (January 29, 1850, to be precise) in Sitges, Cataluña, Spain, Andrés Brugal decided to leave the old continent in 1868 and moved to Santiago, Cuba. During this first stop in the Americas, he acquired work experience in sugar cane distillation and in the rum making field. Due to the war that was taking place in Cuba, he decided to move to Dominican Republic and start his own company in the beautiful beach town of Puerto Plata, where he also took up permanent residence. That was the event that changed Dominican Republic’s industry.

Founded in 1888, and thanks to “Don” Andrés’ experience in Cuba, Brugal & Co. took Dominicans by surprise and introduced a high quality rum, which was made locally in Puerto Plata. That was the beginning of the rum making industry in Dominican RepublRum2ic, and also the beginning of a long family tradition, since the Brugal family has been managing the company until today.

During the following years, Brugal & Co. grew fast in popularity and Andrés Brugal, unknowingly, started to become the forerunner of business leadership in Dominican society. With an innovation, originality, quality and hard-work mindset, this Gamechanger set a whole new business philosophy, which serves until today as spiritual guidelines for companies, managers, business leaders and entrepreneurs all over Puerto Plata and Dominican Republic.

Due to the fast growth of the company, Andrés Brugal decided to open some new factories in the city of San Pedro de Macoris. Also, the first rum ageing storehouses were built, which featured oak barrels and advanced a whole new “Golden Rums” product segment thanks to Andrés Brugal’s initiatives. He knew that the white oak barrels combined with the particular weather of the “Bride of the Atlantic” would give his products the unique flavor needed to shine among all competitors.

Apart from his knowledge in rum’s distillation, production and ageing, Andrés Brugal was so smart and had such a strategic thinking that he set a tradition among Brugal & Co.’s managers to adapt to changes. That is why his company is always at the forefront of the production processes trends, and that is why Brugal & Co. always supplies all the market’s demands. At that time, this point of view was very radical, but today, it has influenced business leaders all over the world.

Andrés Brugal, the GAMECHANGER

Andrés Brugal made a name for his family as expert artisans in the production of fine rum. He also made some of his relatives work as “Rum Masters”.  They were involved in each and every stage of the production in order to bestow the Brugal seal in all their products.

Since Andrés was not satisfied with a full operating and successful company, he decided to establish the “Brugal Foundation”, a non-profit organization that, until today, has the objective of supporting the country’s economic development. Through different programs and activities, this foundationRum works hard in order to improve life conditions of people in need in Dominican Republic. From building schools or houses to educating Dominican children, the Brugal Foundation has always presented a strong commitment with the community. With this initiative, Andrés Brugal’s influence started reaching not only businessmen in Puerto Plata and Dominican Republic, but also philanthropists from all over Latin America.

Thanks to “Don” Andrés’ vision and hard work, Brugal is now at the top three most consumed rums in the world, and its Golden Rum is the most sold in the Caribbean. Also, Brugal & Co. is considered as the Dominican “country brand”, due to its role as an active partaker in Dominican Republic’s industrial development.

After an extensive business and influential life, Andrés Brugal died on December 5, 1931, in Puerto Plata, and his body rests in the family’s local sepulchral vault. Today, there are more than 1,500 Dominican people, scattered over seven generations, who descend from this Spanish immigrant who had come to Puerto Plata to start a revolution in Dominican Republic’s industry.

Undoubtedly, Andrés Brugal had a vast career as a businessman and his vision has been an inspiration to many company leaders and rum-making experts. That is why it is so complicated to describe his whole influence in the Dominican Republic without forgetting or passing by some aspects. We, at Inside PuBrugalerto Plata, will take a shot and summarize the influence and legacy of this Gamechanger, both in Dominican Republic and Puerto Plata, with the following list:

  • Through his family business, Brugal & Co., he kick-started the Dominican rum-making industry.
  • His company offered a lot of job positions and opportunities for families in Puerto Plata.
  • He established a whole new business management and leadership mindset in Dominican society, which other businessmen all over the world adopted as their new business and management philosophy and style.
  • He set a new quality standard in the rum-making industry, protecting the local production.
  • With the Brugal Foundation, he supported the economic development of the country by helping Dominicans in need and offering them opportunities and hope.
  • He led a family business into global recognition, from which all Dominicans feel proud of.
  • He was a centerpiece in Dominican Republic’s industrial development, making Brugal & Co. the Dominican country brand.

How To Find Affordable Airline Tickets To The Dominican Republic

Affordable airline tickets. These days that can sound a lot like an oxymoron. With the amount of vacationers that are traveling worldwide, it can be somewhat challenging when finding a flight for an affordable price, especially when traveling internationally. With so many website suggestions, travel deal sites, and airline competitors, we often receive messages from our readers expressing their frustration and asking which sites are legitimate or when the best time to travel is. However, one question we receive repeatedly is “How can I find affordable airline tickets to the Dominican Republic? ” Well, we are here to put your mind at ease and have compiled a list of tips for you so be prepared for some extra cushion of cash in your wallet. Let’s save you money so you can fully enjoy your next vacation to the Dominican Republic.

Booking your airline at the right time is extremely important when trying to find a desirable price. If you have researched pricing yourself there is a fairly good chance that you have also encountered plenty of variances from experts stating it is better to book one month in advance. Other experts will say to book two months in advance; and still others even stating up to six months in advance. Well, there have been quite a few recent studies and if you have the patience and commitment, the ideal booking date for travel to the Dominican Republic is 81 days ahead (between 11 and 12 weeks) of your travel date.

Booking your flight(s) too much in advance or too late could very well have you paying more than you should. The reason for the 81-day advance booking is quite simple: each flight needs to have a certain number of seats remaining on the flight in order to provide a low price and in the majority of cases this will happen at 81 days out and airlines will in turn offer a very attractive price. When traveling to the Dominican Republic or anywhere for that matter, there is an exception to this rule, and that is during holiday periods. If you must travel to the Dominican Republic for holidays such as New Year’s Eve/Day, Christmas, or Good Friday, you should strongly consider booking your flight as early as one year in advance to keep your flight costs as low as possible.

If booking 81 days ahead is out of the question because of a last minute trip to the Dominican Republic, purchasing your tickets a minimum of 2-4 weeks ahead of your travel date and on a Tuesday will make a significant difference as opposed to booking 1 week ahead of travel and on a Monday or Friday. But again, you will not save anywhere near what you would save booking 81 days out. There has been a great deal of conflicting information about the best day of the week to book, but hands down, Tuesday is the way to go. According to priceoftravel.com, at the end of 2014 there was an airfare report that booking airfare on Tuesdays was not as beneficial as originally thought. At the end of the day, this was debunked and the report was very misleading, which again led experts back to Tuesday being the best day of the week to book airline tickets, both domestic and internationally.

We are often asked about last minute fares. Yes, in years past last minute fares were popular and widely available. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case, especially when traveling to the Dominican Republic which is thriving with resort development and vacationers. Airlines realized that travelers were waiting until the last minute to book tickets for the last minute deal offerings and it no longer made financial sense for the airlines to accommodate this need. Like the aforementioned preferred booking dates and days, there are additional tips that can help you secure the best airfare rate(s) when traveling to the Dominican Republic.

Another option is being selective with the airport you fly into and out of. When trying to save on fares it is highly recommended that you select your airports very carefully. Often flying into or out of a large, centrally located airport that handles the majority of the country’s traffic will save you. For example, when running a comparison we quickly took note that flying into Santo Domingo (SDQ) as opposed to Puerto Plata (POP) at the beginning of August 2015 would save a whopping $600.00! Obviously, this is not always the case, however, flights in and out of different airports will produce different prices which can inevitably save you a small fortune if you are willing to sacrifice on this end. If you and your family can fly into and/or out of a different airport that may not be closest to your destination, you can save a large amount of money, and this is many times worth its weight in gold. Flying into an alternative airport can actually prove to be very fun and exciting, as it will allow you and your family to explore different areas of the Dominican Republic while you rent a car or take a bus to your destination. We can’t begin to tell you how many people we know that have explored the Dominican Republic due to flying into an alternative airport, and it ended up being one of the best experiences of their lives.

Low cost airline websites are an incredibly popular way to save but they can be incredibly frustrating. It is hard to know which sites are legitimate and which sites are offering the best deal. Reading reviews are extremely important when selecting a low cost or competitive airline pricing website. We understand this can be time consuming but doing your homework is key, especially when talking about hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in airline tickets. Try to avoid the lesser known websites and stick with the well known and even publicly traded companies as you will often have more recourse should anything go awry.

In our research, we came across desirable rates on kayak.com, expedia.com and orbitz.com. If you choose to proceed with booking through a low cost airline booking engine, make sure to read the fine print, understand the cancellation policy, and if possible, pay the additional fee in order to cancel if necessary.

Booking your flight(s) to the Dominican Republic can be done with very little stress and can even be fun if done right. We invite you to try our tips and wish you a very exciting vacation!

Bebop Bebop! The 2015 Dominican Republic Jazz Festival!

Once a year, music lovers that live both internationally and locally make their way to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and the immediate surrounding areas for the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival. This is by far one of the largest and most coveted cultural events in the Caribbean and has been running strong for eighteen years. This year from November 04 – November 08, 2015, the festival will take place as usual on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic and feature acclaimed artists, including GRAMMY award winners.

The Dominican Republic Jazz Festival is renowned for its many legendary performers, coupled with its tropical locations and beautiful climate. Puerto Plata in particular is the ideal destination for the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival; its beaches are beautiful, its history is rich, the resorts are thriving and there are tons of activities and excursions Jazz Festival goers can participate in when not listening to the wonderful music. It is a true music lovers paradise during this time of year.

Some of the many artists performing at the Jazz Festival this year include The Big Band Conservatory of Santo Domingo, The Student Loan Stringband, Roy Assaf, Manuel Tejada, Berklee Global Jazz Institute Student Group, David Sánchez, Josean Jacobo, John Patitucci, Mario Canonge, Pengbian Sang and Retro Jazz and Pedro Martinez Group. The full five-day Jazz Festival performer line up can be viewed here.

The festival will kick off on November 04, 2015 in Santiago, which is approximately 1 – 1.5 hours outside of Puerto Plata depending on traffic. Santiago is the second largest city in the Dominican Republic and there is plenty to see and do when not enjoying opening night Jazz music.

On November 05, 2015, the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival will make its way to Sosúa, which offers a fantastic beach, extensive history, beautiful architecture and provides an “alive” feeling. The people of Sosúa are kind, energetic and excited to make new friends, so this is a fantastic destination for the festival.

On November 06, 2015, the Jazz Festival will grace Puerto Plata with its presence and everyone from locals to the many visitors from around the world will be there! Puerto Plata is the perfect destination, as we mentioned, as there is so much to do, and the locals and expats are wonderful. While in Puerto Plata enjoying soulful Jazz, try to squeeze in some aquatic time at Ocean World Adventure Park and Big Lee’s Beach Bar for some fantastic drinks and bites before heading to the last leg of the Jazz Festival. There are countless fun times to be had so check out the Top 10 Things To Do In Puerto Plata!

Cabarete will host the last two days of the Jazz festival on November 07 and 08, 2015. When in Cabarete experience the flying trapeze, go windsurfing, horseback riding, indulge in a night on the town, and of course their beautiful beaches.

In addition to fantastic music and fun, this annual music festival offers complimentary workshops that help the musical motivation and cultural development of local children. If you live in the Dominican Republic or have a trip planned, there is no reason not to make attending the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival a top priority!

La Pelota: 15 Interesting Facts About Dominican Baseball

Some may say cash is king, but in the Dominican Republic, baseball is king! Similar to the United States, baseball is the Dominican Republic’s national pasttime.

The Ten Years War in Cuba forced many Cuban nationals to flee their country to find comfort and safety within the shores of the Dominican Republic.

FACT #1: In the late 1880s and early 1890s, the Cuban Nationals brought their passion for baseball with them to the Dominican Republic. Dominicans fell in love with the sport and soon organized games and tournaments began, much like you see today.

FACT #2: In 1921 the country’s professional baseball league was formed and consisted of four baseball teams called the Tigers, Eastern Stars, Lions of the Chosen One and the Eagles. The sport was so popular that President Rafael Leonidas Trujillo was brilliant enough to utilize the Dominican baseball league as a political tool.

FACT #3: During the 1937 baseball season, Trujillo merged the Tigers and the Lions into one team called the Ciudad Trujillo Dragons. Trujillo recruited baseball players from around the Caribbean including players from Cuban leagues.

FACT #4: Also in 1937, the newly formed Ciudad Trujillo Dragons won the championship. Many baseball enthusiasts consider the summer of 1937 as the summer that the best baseball was played in the world. Unfortunately, the costs from bringing in the best baseball players from other countries and their salaries caused the league to be hit hard financially. The baseball league was unable to recover from these losses even though they won the championship.

Although the hit to the professional baseball teams took a toll, it didn’t bury the passion and love that Dominicans had for the sport itself. Dominicans took to playing baseball all over again and formed their own amateur leagues.

FACT #5: Sadly in 1948, Dominican countrymen took a severe hit when a plane carrying half of the country’s baseball team crashed. The plane crash ended the season for the team but it didn’t end the league. The league came together to win the Mundiales in Managua, Nicaragua later that year.

FACT #6: The Dominican Republic’s history of baseball runs so deep that it also includes the Great Jackie Robinson. Robinson was even known to train with the Ciudad Trujillo Dragons, which created even more love and passion for the sport.

FACT #7: Another great stride for the Dominican Republic countrymen occurred in 1956 when Ozzie Virgil became the first Dominican baseball player to play in the major leagues.

People in the Dominican Republic are passionate about baseball, as you will see both young and old playing their nation’s favorite sport. If not playing, proud Dominicans spend their time listening or watching the game that they love so very much.

FACT #8: The Dominican Republic takes their favorite game a step further than other countries, including the American Majors, as they also showcase winter baseball, which is now owned by major league baseball.

FACT #9: The winter baseball league started in the early 1900s. The league played tournaments throughout the island and soon branched out to a Caribbean style of tournaments played throughout the winter. Named the Winter Cup Championship, this Championship offers some of the biggest major league stars the Dominican Republic has to offer, as well as notable up and comers to the game.

FACT #10: Proudly, for several years players from the Dominican Republic make up 11% or more of the Major League Baseball’s rosters, second only to the United States.FACT #11: Even more notable, the Dominican Republic’s national baseball team won the 2013 World Cup Championship at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

FACT #11: Even more notable, the Dominican Republic’s national baseball team won the 2013 World Cup Championship at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

FACT #12: The Dominican Republic has produced four MVP Award winners. These winners include:

  • Sammy Sosa (National League 1998)
  • Miguel Tejada (American League 2002)
  • Vladimir Guerrero (American League 2004)
  • Albert Pujols (National League 2005, 2008, 2009)

FACT #13: The Dominican Republic has produced two Cy Young award winners and seven Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year winners.

FACT #14: There are six Dominican pitchers ever to throw a no-hitter.

Major League scouts watch Dominican players very closely, as there is a very good chance that one of the next big baseball stars will come from the Dominican Republic.

FACT #15: A true baseball aficionado will be happy to explain that all 30 Major League Baseball clubs currently run their own camps in the Dominican Republic, testifying to the talent of players on the island. The clubs groom the players’ skills, along with improving their education by consistently working with them and housing them in on site dormitories.

Baseball is a significant economic force for the Dominican Republic, not only by employing many Dominicans but also via investing hundreds of millions into the Dominican Republic’s economy.

If you are a baseball fan and soon to be visiting the Dominican Republic, keep in mind that winter baseball begins in October and the Caribbean Championships usually take place in January or February. The atmosphere is electric and the camaraderie like none other. Take note of the many children playing a pickup game of baseball and the overall admiration and love for this country’s favorite sport.

5 Unusual Things To Do In The Dominican Republic

1 – Hospital San Nicolás de Bari

It is unknown to many that the very first hospital and hospital services in the Americas were in the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo to be exact. In 1503 Nicolás de Ovando, who was the second governor of Hispañiola, commissioned the construction of the hospital. The actual building of the hospital was performed in two stages: once in 1503 and again in 1552, both at the request of Nicolás de Ovando. The hospital was built in the Spanish colonial style, which included stone floors and thick walls to act as a fortress. The wards accomodated up to 70 patients, and it is said that the hospital was modeled after the Hospital of Sancto Spiritu in Rome. In 1586 a pirate attack left the hospital terribly damaged. During its heyday the hospital served wounded and ill soldiers and was renamed Hospital Militar (Military Hospital) for a brief time. After operating for 350 years, Hospital San Nicolás de Bari is now a preserved ruin that qualifies as one of the most unusual and visited landmarks in the Dominican Republic.

2 – El Meson De La Cava

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic is home to beauty, history, culture and a great deal of dining options. However, there is one place in particular which is just as unusual as it is spectacular, and has both local and international visitors flocking to it for a chance to view and indulge. El Meson De La Cava is a natural limestone cave that was formed by over one billion years of ocean waves. In 1965, the soldiers of the Organization of American States originally used the space for storage. Two years later, this beautiful cave became home to El Meson De La Cava restaurant. Known and respected as the most renowned restaurant in the area, El Meson De La Cava is also famous for some of the best cuisine that can be found in all of the Dominican Republic, with an emphasis on modern Spanish, local Caribbean and classic French cuisines. The restaurant is adorned with a spiral staircase that is 12.2 meters (40 feet) in height and takes diners down to the lobby. Guests can enjoy natural features within the cave, including stalagmites and stalactites all around, and viewing the belongings of the cave’s previous occupants. Diners will never find an experience like this anywhere else in the world.

3 – Corral de Los Indios

Located approximately 5 km north of the city of San Juan de la Maguana lies a circular ceremonial site, which has been compared to Stonehenge and the Ring of Brodgar. Named Corral de Los Indios, this pre-Columbian ceremonial site was once used by the Caonabo and Anacaona Indians and features a circular clearing 771 feet in diameter. Within the center of the clearing, visitors will find a vertical stone with the carving of a face, and it is speculated that astronomical phenomena could be observed from this ceremonial and astrological rock. In 1918 during an invasion by Americans, the ceremonial site was damaged when the center stone was moved. However, in the 1960s Emil Moya Boyra restored the center stone to its original condition and placement where visitors now see it today.


Faro a Colón, also known as Columbus Lighthouse is located in Santo Domingo Este, Dominican Republic, a municipality of Santo Domingo province. Faro a Colón is reinforced concrete constructed into a cross-shaped monument that reaches 210 meters (680 feet) in height and 59 meters (195 feet) in width. It represents the Christianization of America and is said to contain the remains of Christopher Columbus, a belief that continues to add to its mystery and generate many visitors to the monument annually. However, there has been a great deal of disagreement over this report.

Faro a Colón was constructed in 1986 and inaugurated in 1992. The project cost an estimated $70 million USD and was funded by Latin American states. The monument features 157 beams of light that project upward toward the sky; these beams of light can be seen as far away as Puerto Rico. The architect’s intent for the monument was for it to serve as a mausoleum, however former President Balaguer requested it be turned into an exhibit that showcases a permanent collection of exhibitions from America, European and Asian countries. Today, both local and international visitors flock to Faro a Colón for its beauty, mystery and history.


San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic is currently known for being the home to a large number of professional baseball players. However, it is also home to a great historic wonder, and that is Cuevas de las Maravillas. Taíno shamans used the cave for religious and funeral rites over 1000 years ago. In 1926, when this 800-meter cave was discovered, it was still decorated with hundreds upon hundreds of Taíno cave paintings, all of which were incredibly intact. In addition to the mesmerizing cave paintings, Cuevas de las Maravillas is home to beautiful stalagmites and stalactites that surround visitors during their tour, as well as a preserved bat inhabitant.

Cuevas de las Maravillas is west of La Romana, Dominican Republic and lies between the Soco and Cumayasa Rivers. The cave must be accessed by taxi or rental car, as tour companies are not yet offering excursion opportunities to the cave due to its private ownership. Once at Cuevas de las Maravillas, guided one-hour tours take visitors 25 meters (80 feet) deep underground and are offered Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The cost of each tour is $10.00 USD and reservations are recommended. Please keep in mind that photography is not permitted, but the memories you will have after visiting Cuevas de las Maravillas are worth their weight in gold.

What are some of the most unusual things you’ve done while traveling to the Dominican Republic? Share your experiences below!

Top 10 Things To Do In Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata, or simply referred to as Puerto Plata, is the eighth largest city in the Dominican Republic, and one of the most desired and popular for the many vacationers that visit annually.

Due to Puerto Plata’s rich history, thriving development and beautiful and picturesque backdrop of beaches, jungles, ocean and mountains, Puerto Plata is a highly desired destination with activities and excursions galore.

This Caribbean paradise offers many of the most exciting destinations one will find when traveling to the Caribbean, and we are thrilled to provide you with our top 10 list. Through personal experience, interviews and research, our list consists of the very best and most exciting things one must do when traveling to Puerto Plata.

10 – Horseback Riding

Horseback riding in Puerto Plata is an absolutely breathtaking and thrilling adventure that should be experienced by all when visiting this destination. If galloping along beaches, over mountains, through jungles, into villages and along the countryside sounds like perfection, we are here to tell you it is.

The horseback riding excursions in Puerto Plata are like none other and are enjoyed by many. We can confidently confirm that this is one of the most popular tours in Puerto Plata, and for obvious reasons. The beauty one experiences while riding these amazing creatures and at the same time taking in the surrounding beauty cannot be found easily anywhere else in the world. In addition to group tours, there are also private tours.

If you prefer, you and your loved one can request a private guided tour through the shallow ocean or up a Puerto Plata mountain. By far, this is one of the best things you can do while visiting beautiful Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

Underground Skateboarding in Puerto Plata

Cabarete, a town located in the province of Puerto Plata is known for its many attributes, including kiteboarding, fishing, nature trails and hiking. But did you know that there is an underground skateboarding scene in Cabarete as well? The underground skateboarding scene started in the early 1990s and some of the world’s best and most noteworthy skaters have made Cabarete a highly competitive skate scene.

One of the most attractive aspects for skaters visiting Cabarete is the first underground skate ramp! This skater’s oasis featured at the eXtreme Hotel on Kite Beach was built in 2004, and was the first underground skate ramp in the world. The underground skate scene mixed with all of the international skaters flocking to this gorgeous destination, makes for quite the paradise for die-hard skaters. Aside from this popular ramp, there is also an amazing skate park in Cabarete, which is concrete, equipped with ramps, rails and many other jumps that make this park a skaters dream. Factor in the gorgeous weather and scenic views, and you will have one of the most memorable skates of your life. If you prefer to show off your skills, head on over to the famous Maui and Son’s, which has a large skate presence on the island, providing half pipes for skaters to enjoy.

The locals in Cabarete are very welcoming of both local and international skaters where you can meet new skate friends and learn new tricks when visiting Cabarete. So on your next trip to Puerto Plata Dominican Republic, enjoy the surf, sand, dune buggies and nature trails, but bring your board for some once in a lifetime skating!


Swing Through Puerto Plata’s Monkey Jungle

On the outskirts of Puerto Plata city, centrally located between Sosúa and Cabarete, lies a very special place filled with exotic and adorable monkeys, incredible heart pumping action and loads of fun. This wonderful destination is Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic and it offers visitors of all ages a once in a lifetime experience. Animal lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, adventure lovers and even gun connoisseurs have a place to let loose and enjoy an entire day frolicking with furry monkeys, zip lining through caves, and practicing your shooting skills, all of which help to benefit a great cause.

Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic is not only a fun filled paradise, but also a charitable organization whose primary purpose is its remarkable free dental and medical center. Officially named the Leon-Laroche Clinics, the dental center was started in 2009 by Nashville, Tennessee pediatric dentist, Dr. David Snodgrass. Dr. Snodgrass’s ambitious start began with him literally pulling teeth out of the back of a pick-up truck. He soon joined forces with retired Canadian orthodontist, Dr. Gerry Pinsonneault whose expertise aided in seeing the clinic flourish. These two charitable doctors realized the great demand for dental and medical care in the area, and it was evident to Dr. Pinsonneault that due to the costs involved a commercial attraction would be needed in order to continue with the dental clinic.

The commercial attraction materialized and Monkey Jungle & Zip Line Adventures was born thanks to Dr. Pinsonneault’s divine suggestion of opening an oasis for monkeys that would include zip lines for revenue generation to fund the dental clinic. With donations received from visitors and expats, the Monkey Jungle Dental Clinic is a valued addition to the Dominican Republic and continues to change lives for the better on a weekly basis. To date over 21,000 patients have been treated free of charge by more than 45 teams of volunteers who have passed through helping locals and inevitably helping the Monkey Jungle Dental Clinic toward its continued success.

Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic offers three main activity sectors. First we will look at its namesake activity, the beautiful and plush botanical gardens, which is home to almost 50 monkeys, including free roaming squirrel monkeys. These gentle, sweet, and exotic monkeys are the most popular attraction at Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic, and are merely the size of a squirrel, hence their name, “squirrel monkey”. Aside from being tiny and cute, some of the monkeys are astronauts as well! Betsy, a resident squirrel monkey was sent on a trip into space by NASA, and returned safely after her exciting voyage. The guided tour will allow you to interact with the squirrel monkeys, who will often times sit upon your shoulder or head and allow you to feed them via a special plate. You will continue to encounter monkeys galore as you walk through the Botanical Gardens and have the opportunity to make your way through their ancient grotto. Within the grotto you will find rescued capuchin monkeys, who have been physically and/or nutritionally abused prior to coming to Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic. Thanks to Dr. Pinsonneault and Dr. Snodgrass, as well as the amazing Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic team, these precious capuchin monkeys are all now closely cared for by Monkey Jungle’s rescue team.

Should high adrenaline activities be more up your alley, then you will certainly enjoy the second activity sector consisting of seven heart pumping zip line courses totaling 4,500 feet! As the sport of zip lining continues to gain in popularity, Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic can proudly say that they have one of the most unique zip lining courses in all of the Caribbean. Monkey Jungle’s zip lining system is called a belay system and features two suspension bridges and multiple platforms for descending deep into caves. Just imagine zipping through bat caves, mountainous areas and a jungle canopy! Should you feel more comfortable with an instructor, Monkey Jungle offers a guided tour through the mountainous areas as well. All ages are welcome and safety should not be a concern as the zip line courses are ACCT certified and inspected by a Qualified Course Professional on a regular basis

The third and final activity sector Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic offers is its well-known, private gun range. Not for the faint of heart, there are two highly skilled firearms instructors on-site and if you feel up to it, you can take an extensive safety course taught by these well-trained instructors. Should you decide to move forward and partake in the firearm fun at one of their seven shooting stations, there are two types of guns you can choose from. The first type of gun is a 12 Gauge Mossberg shotgun. Mossberg shotguns stem from one of the oldest family-owned sport gun manufacturers in the United States and are considered to be one of the most well made shotguns in the world. The second and equally exciting gun in the Monkey Jungle arsenal is the 9mm Bersa. Nicknamed the “Thunder 9” the Bersa is the handgun of choice used by the Argentinian Army and is an extremely smooth shooting handgun. It will be a difficult choice, as both of these guns are great for target practice. You may just have to try your hand at both while learning proper technique from the on-site expert instructors.

Monkey Jungle is open seven days a week, 364 days a year and is rated #1 Top Adventure in the Dominican Republic by the Travel Channel. As versatile and exciting as Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic is, the fact that all of the proceeds go towards helping locals in need, while protecting our furry friends, makes it all the better. So the next time you are in Puerto Plata, make sure to carve out time to spend a day at Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic. Not only will you have a lot of fun, you will also be helping locals and animals too.

To donate directly to the Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic Dental and Medical Clinic, please use the link below.