Published on February 18th, 2013 | by Mark Chesnut
Music Festivals, Humpback Whales: What’s Up in the Dominican Republic
With a 5.9-percent increase in visitors in 2012, the Dominican Republic — which welcomed more than 4.5 million visitors last year — appears to be in growth mode, especially in Punta Cana, the nation’s most-visited destination.
Among the latest news from this Caribbean vacation hotspot:
AirTran Airways Announces Nonstop Flights to Punta Cana
AirTran Airways will launch new nonstop service from Chicago Midway International Airport to Punta Cana International Airport on April 14. The service will operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays and, as of May 19, flights will operate on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Club Med Punta Cana Opens the Caribbean’s First L’OCCITANE Spa
As part of a $1.5-million upgrade, Club Med Punta Cana has opened the Caribbean’s first L’OCCITANE Spa, branded in partnership with the beauty products retailer. The facility, located within the 74-acre resort, features ten indoor treatment rooms, four oceanfront palapas, a manicure and pedicure area, a Zen Lounge, an infinity pool and a boutique with more than 80 products.
Whale Watching Season Underway in Samaná
Annual whale watching season is well underway in the Dominican Republic. On its northeast coast, the primary location for whale watching operations is on the Samaná Peninsula, at the Marine Mammals Sanctuary, which has what is billed as the world’s largest mating, courting and calving grounds for humpback whales. The Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources said that a portion of the season’s profits will go toward improving the sanctuary; more than 30,000 tourists come each year for whale watching season. Mid-January through the end of March is the usual whale-watching season in Samana Bay.
Santo Domingo Music Festival Kicks Off
The Biannual Festival Musical de Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo Music Festival), which began February 7, reconvenes March 6-16, with a variety of musicians in attendance. The Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de la Juventud Venezolana Simón Bolívar (Simón Bolívar National Symphony Orchestra of Venezuelan Youth) was the opening act at the Carlos Piantini Hall of the National Theater. Upcoming performances include the official Orquesta del Festival (Festival Orchestra), including a choral performance on March 9. The closing night performance, on March 16, features Spanish director Ramón Tebar and French cellist Gautier Capuçon.
For general information about travel to the Dominican Republic, visit the Ministry of Tourism’s Website.
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