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!

All About Puerto Plata’s Annual Cultural Festival

Do not miss the Puerto Plata Annual Cultural Festival! This weeklong event features concerts, dance performances, art and cultural exhibits. It may not be the busiest time of year for tourism but it is one of the most fun. For those lucky trip takers who vacation in Puerto Plata during this time, it means you will be able to experience Puerto Plata first hand and have more of an opportunity to learn, see and partake in all of the festival’s activities without it becoming overcrowded.

What a festival to experience! Because the Puerto Plata Annual Cultural Festival is most often held during the third week in June, it’s going to be downright hot. But do not worry; even though the heat index can reach into the mid 90s during the day, the weather at night is absolute perfection! It never falls below 70 degrees in the evening, so you will be cool and comfortable once the sun goes down.

Take this time to head to the festival and learn all about the rich Dominican culture. The foods that you’ll find will entice you to eat into the evening hours. There are so many great tasting Dominican dishes that you’ll need to try a little bit of everything to really feel the flavors of the island.

If you’re not a dancer this is a time when you will need to step outside of your comfort zone and get up out of your seat. Feel the music deep into your core and follow along with Dominican dancers who will share with you their cultural African tribal dances, local folk music, salsa dances and merengue.

Despite the many popular styles of dance showcased at the festival, there is one in particular most special to Dominicans and that is Merengue. This partner style dance is the national dance of the Dominican Republic. Most often accompanied by large band instruments, the beats guarantee you will get on your feet and dance the day or night away. Visitors wanting to learn or participate in merengue dance during their stay in Puerto Plata can attend this city’s festival to watch, learn and experience the dancing. The Festival is perfect for those who love to dance and live to dance. Visitors wanting to learn or experience merengue dance during their stay in Puerto Plata are guaranteed to benefit by attending the festival to watch, learn and experience the dance itself.

Once you have mastered your moves at the Cultural Festival, make sure to try them out at one of Puerto Plata’s many nightclubs, where there’s almost a guarantee Merengue will be the dance of choice. If you happen to fall in love with the dance, as so many of the people of the Dominican Republic do, head back to Puerto Plata in October for the annual Merengue Festival on the Malecón. You will find Merengue aficionados, professionals and novices from around the world performing their very best moves.

Although we talk a lot about Merengue (again, the National Dance) you can’t forget about salsa dancing. The Puerto Plata Annual Cultural Festival also allows you to experience everything about salsa, its culture and its unique heritage. Salsa dancing is almost as popular as Merengue and is just as energizing and sexy!

Traditional African tribal dances are important for Dominicans to share and remember, as it is a great and important part of their unique heritage. Due to the fact that many Dominicans descended from West and Central Africa, it means the world to them to be able to keep their culture alive by projecting their history during the Puerto Plata Annual Cultural Festival.

Your time will be well spent attending this amazing festival. If you like warm weather, the perfect evening temperatures and the ability to walk around less crowded streets, it’ll be perfect for you. Though there may be other festivals in Puerto Plata, the Annual Cultural Festival is one of the very best in the city. Through the food, the festivities, the local art, the local crafts and the national dance, Dominicans are opening up and sharing themselves with the world.

A Day Trip to Santiago, Dominican Republic

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic is packed full of exciting adventures, fun activities, rich history, delicious restaurants and beautiful beaches

However, if you are yearning for a day trip, Santiago, Dominican Republic is a choice that will not dissapoint.

Santiago

Fun Facts About Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic offers a plethora of festivals, activities, excursions, dining options and beautiful white sandy beaches. With an option for everyone, Puerto Plata or as many call it, “Bride of the Atlantic” is a destination that can’t be missed.

How to Plan Your Next Girlfriends Getaway to Puerto Plata

This getaway will be all about happiness. You have to let go of your daily life, good or bad, and jump in with both feet. Don’t feel guilty about leaving your family for this short time; you deserve a little time with yourself and your closest friends.

First, pick the correct group of friends. Choose your girlfriends who appreciate a little sun, fun and relaxation on the tropical island of the Dominican Republic. This also means that you will need to invite those friends who own a passport. Waiting 3 months for your besties to acquire passports is not in the cards, you need this getaway now!

Second, choose your villa size. Choosing the correct villa size will help with the process of selecting the number of girlfriends that you will ask to accompany you on your getaway. Check out www.puertoplataluxuryrentals.com when selecting a luxury villa for you and your girlfriends. Each and every villa is as fabulous as the next, offering complete and utter luxury with amenities galore! A general rule of thumb is that two can sleep in each spacious bedroom. Therefore, if you select a three bedroom villa, get ready for a fabulous action packed getaway with five of your closest girlfriends.

Third, find flights that suit all of your girlfriends’ schedules. You’ve selected the villa, chosen your girlfriends, settled on the dates and are now choosing your flights to complete the exciting planning phase of a soon to be spectacular girlfriends getaway. Should you hire a travel agent, he or she will have greater capability of narrowing down the arrival times for each of you. Working with a travel agent will also help to cut down on the amount of time that it would take researching and comparing flights. If you are the type of person that enjoys the entire planning process then start by comparing airfare on the web. Websites such as airfarewatchdog.com, seatguru.com and skyscanner.com are a fabulous option when seeking a discounted flight.

Fourth, gather information on activities and excursions that all of your girlfriends will enjoy, restaurants that each of you will love, beaches that offer activities your girls will expect and tours that will be of interest to you and your friends.

Fifth, once all of your planning is complete, bask in the glory of anticipation. Head out and shop for a few new swimsuits, a fabulous beach cover-up, warm weather sundresses, sandals and the perfect gear for the activities you and your girlfriends can’t wait to enjoy. A few new pieces of clothing, sunscreen, a big, floppy hat and a few great books/magazines will get you prepared for this exciting getaway.

Having your closest friends together, while recharging, refreshing friendships and basking in each other’s company is what true memories are made of. It’s a guarantee that your girlfriends will appreciate the time and effort you spent planning this getaway!

Merengue: Learn From The Very Best Dancers in Puerto Plata

MerengueMerengue is the national dance of the Dominican Republic and an extremely popular source of entertainment in island life. Merengue is a partner dance and is accompanied by big band instruments like the saxophone , conga drums, and diatonic accordion.

Merengue is said to be derived from the foot dragging movement of African slaves chained together at their ankles while working in sugarcane fields. The actual origin of merengue is unknown but experts agree that it dates back over two centuries. In the 1930s, Dictator Rafael Trujillo insisted merengue become the national music and dance for the island. With this lengthy history, it isn’t any wonder why Puerto Plata is home to some of the best merengue dancers in the world.

Festival BrugalMany locals and visitors alike consider dancing a high priority, with many visitors wanting to learn or experience merengue dance during their stay in Puerto Plata. Merengue can be enjoyed in almost every nightclub in the city and is so incredibly popular that Puerto Plata hosts an annual Merengue Festival each October on the Malecón. Entertaining enthusiasts from all over the world while showcasing their talent, during the festival you can watch expert merengue dance couples display their best moves and they are more than happy to show others how to dance.

Merengue2While in Puerto Plata reach out to your resort and they’ll assist you in coordinating merengue lessons. If you want to try out your merengue moves, hit any of the local Puerto Plata nightclubs. Two of our favorites are the Lighthouse Lounge and Disco on the Ocean World Adventure Park campus and Hemingway’s Café. Remember, when in Puerto Plata, do what Dominicans do – dance the night away!

Take A Cruise to Puerto Plata: Here’s How!

Take A CruisePuerto Plata will begin welcoming cruise ships to its new port, Amber Cove, in October 2015. Carnival Cruise Lines will send its Victory ship for its first visit to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic for a one day port of call.

Amber Cove, and this ‘first voyage’ of the Carnival Victory cruise ship in October, is very significant for the Puerto Plata region for a number of reasons. This 30-acre, waterfront property will include two berths and a cruise center and will accommodate up to 8,000 passengers and 2,000 crewmembers daily. The last cruise ship to call at Puerto Plata occurred over 30 years ago, making this $65 million project a catalyst that will propel Puerto Plata and the surrounding areas into a popular cruise destination. Amber Cove is expected to create over 400 jobs. Look for the following Carnival Cruise ships to make port in Puerto Plata from October 2015 to April 2016: Breeze, Conquest, Fantasy, Glory, Sunshine, Splendor, Valor and Victory.

CarnivalPuerto Plata means port of silver. It is said that the name originates from the fact that the port features gorgeous beaches and sparkling blue water. That’s what day tourists will experience when arriving. Carnival takes great pride in its ports and by sheer circumstance revitalizes even the most traveled cities.

CruiseThere is plenty to see and do in and around Puerto Plata as it is the first custom-built tourist area in the Dominican Republic. Upon docking, tourists can walk or take a brief taxi ride into downtown Puerto Plata. There are eco-friendly tours, golfing, surfing, sightseeing, cultural exploration and great dining experiences for all.

This is an incredibly appealing region with history that dates back to the 1500s. Cruise ship passengers have plenty of options for water, land, and air excursions to partake in. Tourists can experience spectacular views of Puerto Plata city and its vast shoreline by taking a cable car tour. It’s possible to see places that include Fort San Felipe, the first fort built by European settlers in the New World, Christ the Redeemer Statue on Mount Isabel de Torres and the ever popular Amber Museum. If you’re looking for kid-friendly activities and family adventure, Puerto Plata has it all.

Whichever mode of transportation you choose in order to get to Puerto Plata, whether it be by land, by air, or by sea, the experience in Puerto Plata is certain to be an amazing one!

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic is the Perfect Destination Wedding Location

Destination WeddingDestination weddings are known for making a lasting impression and creating a lifetime of memories. A destination wedding in Puerto Plata gives you a beautiful scenic backdrop for that special day and a honeymoon that dreams are made of.

A destination wedding in Puerto Plata offers guests an array of activities during their stay. The city offers beautiful, white sandy beaches, and a rich history steeped in unique Dominican culture. Guests can enjoy a variety of adventurous activities such as windsurfing, kiteboarding, diving, and water rafting. Visit the wondrous Damajaqua Cascades by tour, hiking or climbing. Enjoy a cable ride up Mount Isabel de Torres, an 800 meter high mountain, which boasts vast views of the city and coastline, a 7-acre botanical garden tour, and a replica of Christ the Redeemer, the famous Brazilian statue. See sugar cane plantations and flourishing island terrain by taking a Dominican Outback ATV tour. If it is tranquility guests want there are golden beaches to relax on and sparkling blue waters for swimming. If shopping is the pleasure peruse the collection of boutiques in the Central Park area of Puerto Plata city or luxury shopping at the Plaza Turisol Complex, which is the largest shopping center on the north coast. Guests will appreciate the rich, green golf courses that are located throughout the island. After a fun-filled day wedding guests can enjoy a lively dining and nightlife experience.

Wedding AnniversariesWith a destination wedding, group accommodations, such as renting a luxury villa, can be less expensive as villa rentals tend to be equivalent to booking a luxury hotel room. They are spacious, private and a perfect place for a wedding party to gather and prepare for the big day. Luxurious all-inclusive accommodations offer a wide range of amenities and impeccable service. Every need will be met including pampering throughout the stay.

Plan a destination wedding around one of the big events that occur annually on the island: go whale watching in January, February, and March; experience Carnival and the Procigar Festival in February; gain insight into Dominican culture at the Puerto Plata Annual Cultural Festival in June; dance the night away at the Merengue Festival in September; be there for the start of the winter season of professional baseball in October listen to the world’s best Jazz musicians at the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival in November. These events and more highlight the rich culture of the island and provide you with endless possibilities for fun and relaxation.

Whether there for tranquility, adventure, or love a destination wedding on Puerto Plata will build lasting memories for a bride, groom and cherished wedding guests.

A Spotlight on the 2015 Procigar Festival

Procigar Festival 2015The Dominican Republic IS Cigar Country! Come experience a combination of premium cigars, cigar education, entertainment, fun and casual activities at this year’s Procigar Festival. Cigar manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and consumers will gather together to share common interests, ideas and to partake in smoking premium cigars at the 2015 Procigar Festival. Held February 15-20, festivities will begin in La Romana, and then move to Santiago and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

Procigar, a coalition of the most traditional and experienced cigar manufacturers in the Dominican Republic, was formed in 1992 to defend, protect and divulge the good name of Cigar Country. Their mission is to ensure the Dominican Republic’s status as the world’s premier manufacturer of high quality cigars and to keep it at number one in exportation of premium cigars to the world.

Members of this coalition are committed to the highest standard of quality products. They have refined and perfected these cigars through their cigar making skills and by adhering to their passion of creating superior cigars for smokers around the world.

The Dominican Republic has the best soil in which to grow tobacco and is considered to be a major cigar exporter and one of the best. This festival is sponsored by world-renowned Procigar members such as General Cigar, Matasa, Tabacalera de García, La Aurora, Tabadom, Corporación Cigar Export, Tabaquisa, Tabacalera Fuente, Tabacalera La Alianza and La Flor Dominicana.

CigarsThe Procigar Festival will welcome over 400 guests from more than 20 countries.  Guests will enjoy marvelous gala dinners including top local cuisine, drinks, dancing and the world’s best cigars. A charity auction is held on the final evening where all proceeds will go to a non-profit organization for ill children and a senior retirement home for low-income elderly.

Cigar MakingGuests may attend cigar factory tours and tobacco field tours to learn cigar-making techniques, cigar rolling and smoking. A few of the tours will go to Davidoff Factory, Quesada Cigars, La Alianza and Tabacalera Palma Factory and Field Tour. Those in attendance may also enjoy horseback riding, tennis, non-motorized water sports and tropical tours. There are several planned activities for guests to partake of while in Puerto Plata. Among them are a tour of the Brugal Rum Factory on February 19, and the choice of a Puerto Plata Beach Day or Golf Tournament on February 20.

The Procigar Festival is an amazing and wonderful experience and is the place to be to enjoy, relax and experience the world’s best quality cigars.