Published on July 15th, 2013 | by Mark Chesnut
New Hotels, Monkey Tours & Golf Apps: What’s New in the Dominican Republic
One of the largest countries in the the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is always creating new reasons to visit. Here’s the most recent travel news, as well as some helpful travel tips for that next Dominican Republic beach vacation.
Santo Domingo Metro Adds New Line
The Santo Domingo Metro opened its second line in the northern part of the city this year, which connects 14 stations to the first line’s 16 stations that travel south. The new line starts at Luperón Avenue and continues to the Padre Castellanos stop near the Ozama River, and connects with the first line at the Maximo Gomez stop. It makes Santo Domingo’s attractions more accessible because it travels under John F. Kennedy Avenue and stops at commercial centers, including the Agora and Sambil malls, as well as the nearby Plaza de la Cultura, the National Theatre and the Malecón. (Check out LatinFlyer’s video ride aboard the Santo Domingo Metro!)
New Flights to the Dominican Republic
• JetBlue Airways announced it will soon fly out of Massachusetts’ Worcester Regional Airport (ORH) to Santo Domingo’s Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) and become ORH’s first commercial airline since Direct Air cancelled its flights last year.
• AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of Southwest Airlines, on May 19 added a direct flight from Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) to Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) that has four weekly frequencies – Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
• Frontier Airlines announced its first nonstop winter flights from Lansing’s Capital Region International Airport (LAW) to PUJ, which will begin Jan. 24, 2014 and continue through April. The Frontier flights, as part of travel packages offered by Apple Vacations, will depart on Sundays.
Dominican Republic Hotel News
• The former InterContinental V Centenario Santo Domingo is now the Dominican Republic’s first Crowne Plaza hotel.
• Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide’ s largest brand, will debut in the Dominican Republic’s capital city in December with the opening of its Sheraton Santo Domingo Hotel. The 245-room property, previously known as the Meliá Santo Domingo Hotel, is undergoing a $6-million renovation and will be Dominican Republic’s second Sheraton property to open within the last two years (the first was the Four Points by Sheraton Punta Cana Village, which opened last October).
• The Blue Diamond Hotels & Resorts chain, a Sunwing Travel Group division, will open two five-star facilities, Royalton Splash and Royalton Punta Cana Resort & Casino, in Punta Cana this November. The 525-room Royalton Splash will feature a water park, and ten restaurants and bars. The 470-room Royalton Punta Cana Resort & Casino will have ten restaurants and bars.
Dominican Republic Tour News
• The tour operator called Runners Adventures is now offering a half-day excursion from Punta Cana to Monkeyland, providing participants with an up-close look at squirrel monkeys at a farm in the Anamuya Mountains. The tour starts with a walk through botanical gardens, and visitors can also experience guided interactions with the people-friendly monkeys.
• Gray Line is expanding its services to the Dominican Republic, with a local base in Punta Cana. The company offers single- and multiple-day tours, an airport transfer service and sightseeing activities that include beachside horseback riding, hot-air balloon rides and romantic boat trips.
Dominican Republic Hotel Awards & Recognition
• Meliá Hotels International has received the EarthCheck Sustainable Tourism Certificate for its three hotels in Dominican Republic: Paradisus Palma Real, Paradisus Punta Cana and Meliá Caribe Tropical.
• Iberostar Hotels & Resorts received the Green Key Environmental Certification for its environmental and sustainable tourism efforts, which was granted by the Foundation for Environmental Education.
New Dominican Republic Golf App
A new app designed by Golf Digest, Golf World Magazine and Casa de Campo gives users a virtual tour of one of the Dominican Republic’s most famous golf courses, Teeth of the Dog. The tour stops at each hole, tee boxes, fairways and greens, golf cart roads, landscapes and the nearby Caribbean Sea. The app also includes information about La Romana’s Casa de Campo and tee times, which connect directly with the resort’s reservations desk.
MORE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC TRAVEL TIPS & INSPIRATION:
• HOTEL REVIEW & VIDEO: Holiday Inn Santo Domingo
• VIDEO: A Ride on the Santo Domingo Metro
• Music Festivals and Humpback Whale-watching Season in the Dominican Republic