Before you first come to the North Coast of the Dominican Republic, you may wonder about the life and culture in this part of the country. As it is a coast region, the answer seems obvious. It’s all about the sun, beach, magnificent palm trees and endless summer. It’s a paradise for enthusiasts of water sports where they can practice surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, etc all year round.
But is it all? There is no cultural life beyond the beach? You may easily jump into the conclusion that the life on the North Coast is boring then. Honestly, that is what happens not only to people unfamiliar with the life on Hispaniola but also to many expats that already live here. It’s not uncommon to hear that if you need any decent cultural entertainment, you should head to Santiago or Santo Domingo. Whereas there is certainly a cultural life on the North Coast. And this article will show you a diversity of different activities organized in the region to keep the population entertained.
Dominicans are very musical people. They have an innate sense of rhythm and art of graceful body movements. That’s why there are so many different kinds of music and dances: bachata, merengue, tipico, salsa, palo, reggaeton, dembow, etc. To watch Dominicans dance with their natural facility and artfulness is a lavish entertainment. The relatively newly opened Amphitheatre in Puerto Plata’s Malecon is one of the places where you can enjoy this spectacular show. Outstanding Dominican artists are invited almost every weekend to give a performance to a big audience that warmly welcomes them with lively dances.
Besides, if you want to learn to move your body like a Dominican, there are several dance studios that will be happy to help you. First of all, there is Fred Astaire studio in Sosua that offers free initiation classes on Saturdays. Furthermore, they collaborate with local restaurants like Hispaniola Diners Club for special events. Secondly, there is Alma Libre Dance School in Cabarete that also gives free classes every Sunday in Waves Cabarete. Thirdly, you can always ask you Dominican friend to teach you at least the three simplest steps of bachata. Dominicans are always very helpful when it comes to sharing their culture.
If you prefer just to listen to quiet music and meditate, there can be also found events to your taste. You will most likely appreciate the talent of many local artists such as Justin James, Van Avakian, Aaron Mathew, Juan Jose Stabilito, Anthony Jefferson, Alison Sade. They perform at special events organized by restaurants, cafes and other venues of the North Coast. For example, Vagamundo, a famous Cabarete based waffle and coffee bar, has a live music session every Sunday morning. Make sure you follow our Facebook page to get timely information about any similar event being planned. Moreover, every year in October the cultural life of the North Coast starts to shine even brighter with the Jazz Festival. Many internationally acclaimed artists including prestigious GRAMMY Award winners have come to sing to the North Coast during the event’s eighteen years of history.
Those who are particularly passionate about fashion find their treat in the yearly event Cabarete Fashion Show. This year they even grew into North Coast Fashion Weekend as they keep expanding the geography of their venues. The Dominican Republic can boast a number of outstanding designers including Oscar de La Renta and Arcadio Diaz. Though the Caribbean style may seem odd to someone, you can enjoy its best examples at North Coast Fashion event. Additionally, there is always a group of talented Djs who make sure it is a lively and joyful occasion.
We all know how important gastronomy and culinary art have become in the recent years. Nowadays people are very conscious about food they consume. Moreover, eating is no longer a mechanical process. People look for a cultural ingredient, some entertainment to accompany their meals. The North Coast follows the trend. Saborea Puerto Plata and Puerto Plata Food Fest are a great proof of that. Visitors can taste the best gastronomic delights of the region, enjoy live music and shop unique handmade artisan goods. Furthermore, you can always enjoy a delicious meal in one of the many restaurants of Sosua, Puerto Plata or Cabarete. For example, they have recently opened Margot California Restaurant to join the gastronomic portfolio of the region.
We normally associate carnivals with Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. But the truth is carnivals are common to the Caribbean region too. Bright colorful celebrations take place in the Dominican Republic throughout February and first half of March. Each town adds its own twist to the event. Thus, Cabarete carnival is known as the only one in the country that is held on a beach. Puerto Plata Carnival has probably the longest procession as its venue is the city’s Malecon. Attending these festivities will ensure you an unforgettable experience and initiation to the popular Dominican carnival traditions.
Casa de Arte
Probably Sosua doesn’t have its Tate Gallery or the Louvre with million dollar painting collections, but it has its Art House. The small building includes a small museum, exhibition hall and even space for dancing, music and painting classes. You can be sure to meet the most prominent Dominican painters there as well as activists, journalists and cultural agents.
The Dominican Republic is a big tobacco producer and consumer. Its cigars are almost as famous as cigars from the neighboring island. One of the most popular souvenirs that all tourists take back home from the Dominican vacations are again cigars. The North Coats offers a splendid yearly event for all fans of cigar smoking. It’s called Caribbean Cigar Night and organized by talented Jose Maria Espart from Blue Jack Tarr. You can have a great time in company of all the country’s top tobacco companies, wine and rum-tasting activities, live music, art exhibits and excellent food. Besides, there is a nice place in Sosua called Tabaqueria 1844 where you can pamper yourself with cigar puffing at daily basis.
Another popular sport activity on the North Coast is golf. Playa Dorada is famous for its professional 18 holes-par 72 golf course extending some 6.990 yards. The versatile terrain is an ideal place to play and enjoy the lush tropical garden of coconut and palm trees. The proximity of Playa Dorada Resort Complex makes it easy to find a decent accommodation for a weekend. More than 100 world famous golf players come every year to participate in Puerto Plata DR Open professional golf tournament currently hosted by PGA Tour Latinoamerica. Moreover, Dream City will also have modern oceanfront golf courses.
The next activity you may want to engage in is marathons. Both Sosua and Puerto Plata hold yearly events where whole families are welcome to participate. You don’t need to be a well-trained athlete to get enrolled. It’s more a social event to bring people together and run or even just walk to support a good cause. For example, Sosua 10K is organized by a non-governmental non-profit organization Association for Sustainable Development of Sosua.
If you are not a big fan of any sport activities and dances, you may find gratifying to work for the community. Helping other people does not necessarily mean donating money. You can share your knowledge, for example, or even attention and care. There is the Dream project that provides more than 800 000 hours of quality education to more than 7 500 children through 14 different programs. Furthermore, the Mariposa Foundation has the mission to educate and empower girls to create sustainable solutions to end generational poverty.
As you can see, the cultural life on the North Cast of the Dominican Republic is not less rich than in major cities. You will never feel bored here if you stay open and inquisitive. We will be happy to help you with that and we will select the most interesting weekend events to be held in the area. You will find these weekly updates on our Facebook page.