Sie sind auf Seite 1von 12

THE ORIGIN OF THE AMERICAS : C ULTURAL HISTORY OF THE

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
12-16 guests Arriving Punta Cana (PUJ)
Departing Santiago de los Caballeros (STI) or
Puerto Plata (POP)
12 days and 11 nights

Sample Itinerary: (finalized, detailed itinerary available Dec. 2015)


Day 1
Day 2

Arrival Punta Cana Airport (PUJ): Transfer to Altos de Chavon

The People Who Greeted Columbus: an Introduction to Taino Culture


Visit
the
brilliantly
curated
Regional
Archeological Museum at Altos de Chavon,
with your hostess, Arlene Alvarez,

Museum Director and Curator.


This museum
documents the important indigenous heritage of the
island of Quisqueya, the Taino name for the island of
Hispaniola which means Mother of all Lands. Ritual
and utilitarian objects show the evolution of indigenous
societies from the pre-agricultural era until the time of the Taino, the prevailing culture on the island at
the time of the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. Most importantly, the museum gives life to the
Taino culture, which is still connected with the language and traditions you will observe during your
travels in the Dominican Republic.
In the afternoon, we will visit the spectacular Cave
of Wonders
to see the drawings left there
centuries ago by the early indigenous peoples.
Caves are important in Taino origin mythology.
Distinctive petroglyphs made by early Taino are
etched on rocks and in caves across the island.
Today we will explore some 200 meters on lighted
footpaths that wind through these caverns. Although
this cave has come under some criticism for the
design of the footpaths which undoubtedly altered

some geological formations, it was also awarded the


2003 Gold Prize in the International Landscape Biennial
Award.

Day 3

Impact of Spanish Colonization &


Importation of African Slaves

When Columbus arrived on Quisqueya, it is estimated that there was an indigenous population of
more than a million inhabitants. Due to the cruel exploitation of the Tainos by the Spanish
conquerors and the introduction of European
diseases they brought with them, within 25 years
the Taino population was decimated and their
society was destroyed. Needing slaves to continue
the inhumane work -- first in the gold mines and
later in the sugar cane fields -- the Spanish
imported African captives.
Todays visit to the Royal Houses is a journey back
to the 16th century when these two adjoining
buildings housed the administrative offices of the
Spanish colonies in America and provided the first
official home for successive Viceroys. The museum
documents the history of the period from 1492 to 1821, complete with original old maps, artifacts and
coins from ancient shipwrecks and authentic articles
associated with slavery.
We will walk through the Royal Palace built in 1510
by Christopher Columbus son, Diego, while he
served as Viceroy to Hispaniola and the Indies. The
mansion was Diegos idea of a suitable family home
and as we explore it, we will experience remnants of
early colonial life on the banks of the Ozama River
and see the Caribbeans most important collection of
European late Medieval and Renaissance art,
including a notable tapestry collection.

Day 4

Cultural Fusion: Understanding the Dominican Culture

Historic Catholic Church records show that 42% of the Spanish men claimed marriage with Taino
women and African slaves paired with Taino survivors as well. Today the Dominican population can
trace a significant portion of their DNA back to their Taino ancestors and remnants of the Taino
culture still survive in the language, agricultural practices and crops as well as the warm nature of the
Dominicans themselves. While the African slaves brought no physical remnants of their former
culture, it remained alive in their memories and
emerged again as a vital cultural force clearly
expressed in music, dress and religion. Modern
Dominican culture is a rich fusion of Taino,
Spanish Colonial and African cultures.

Our visit to the Leon Cultural Center in the


second largest city in the republic, Santiago
de Los Caballeros, provides us with an
excellent portrayal of the evolution of the
Dominican culture as viewed from a uniquely
Dominican perspective. With a foundation of understanding of the evolution of this fusion, we are
ready to immerse ourselves in the actual daily life of Dominicans.

Day 5

Puerto Plata: Bride of the Atlantic

The natural harbor of Puerto Plata was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Columbus
drew up plans for the port which was later founded in 1496 as San Felipe de Puerto Plata. The
Spanish Crown saw the advantage of a port on the Atlantic and a city quickly developed around the
harbor. It is said that sailors could identify the port from far at sea by the afternoon veil of clouds
covering the mountain which rises high above the city. Thus, San Felipe de Puerto Plata became
known as the Bride of the Atlantic. Due to its distance from the eventual center of power in Santo
Domingo, Puerto Plata was a haven for buccaneers and pirates as well as foreigners from every
nation, the entry of whom Spain tried in vain to control.
This is the fascinating history which you will explore in San Felipe de Puerto Plata, a city whose coat
of arms was authorized by and includes the symbols of Ferdinand and Isabela; where bays are
named after famous pirates; where the only cable car in the Caribbean lifts you to breathtaking vistas
from the mountain top behind the city; where charming Victorian buildings are painted in candy
colors. Puerto Plata is a city that boasts a splendid boulevard and park along the Atlantic ocean,
where you can enjoy the beaches, take a long walk or relax at a Puerto Plata landmark beach bar
while listening to tropical music and enjoying a bit of the Verde the Dominican Republics favorite
Presidente beer.

Day 6 Origin of the Americas: The Encounter Between Two Cultures at La Isabela

On his second voyage to Quisqueya, Columbus


returned to La Navidad (in what is now Haiti) to find
the small fort, constructed from the ruins of the
shipwrecked Santa Maria, destroyed and the 39
men left behind to guard it, dead. Columbus sailed
east along the Atlantic coast, hoping to put some
distance between the scene of the disaster and a
secure place where he could establish his first
permanent settlement. He intended to head for
Puerto Plata, having already taken note on his first
voyage of the ideal harbor, but was forced by
storms to take refuge in a small bay which seemed
to be an excellent location for his settlement, with
rivers for fresh water, fertile lands, stone to be quarried
for construction of buildings upon a bluff which could be
defended.
The history of the first European settlement in the
New World is a tragedy: beginning with hope,
optimism and energy and ending with sickness,
hurricanes, starvation and mutiny. Visiting this
abandoned site today, one can still feel the
presence of both the Spanish who tried to eke out
an existence at this first settlement and the Tainos
who met them. Their mute voices are part of the
great silence one experiences at the site where
today nothing but the wind from the sea sighs in
the trees.
La Isabela has a small museum where the history of
the first settlement is illustrated with maps and models of the buildings, including Columbus only
home in the new world. Taino and Spanish artifacts excavated on site are also exhibited.

Day 7

Cacao - The Secret of Happiness

& The Origin of Merengue

Experience the tranquil life


in the mountain village of
Guananico, where families,
whose
lush
cacao
plantations
have
been
lovingly
tended
for
generations, reveal their
secret for happiness and
where the rhythm of rushing
rivers accompany the music
of merengue typica.
We begin by visiting the 3rd generation cacao plantation,
Hacienda Cufa, where each cacao tree is known as an
old friend and the family has maintained the traditional
way of planting, pruning, harvesting and turning cacao
beans into artisanal chocolate. Your delightful hosts are
ecologically-minded family members who will walk you
over their land, sharing all of
the lore regarding growing
and using cacao.
Try your hand at
pounding the cacao
beans into chocolate
accompanied
by
songs sung to the
rhythm of the mortar
and pestle.

hospitality

make

Hacienda Cufa is a
nature-lovers
paradise
which
abounds
with
fascinating botanical
species, where the beauty,
you wish to stay forever.

tranquility

and

The town of Guananico is a cradle of the famous Dominican music known as Merengue
Typica. The Pena family has for generations devoted itself to making the instruments and
playing the music, which had its origins in mountain villages like this. During our afternoon visit
to this family, you will learn about the history of the merengue typica, see how the instruments
are made and learn how these merengue accordions are different from any you have seen
before. Take this opportunity to see if you can keep the rhythm on the guira or the tambora.
And then, its time to DANCE!!!

Day 8

Magical Colors of Amber: Coffee, Amber & Sugar

From the mountains of the Septentrional down to the Amber Coast, todays journey takes us back in
time to visit a government coffee plantation in the lovely mountains of the Septentrional.
The finest coffee available in the Dominican Republic grows at this altitude, where old plantations of
Arabica still thrive.

The coffee farm we will visit


was appropriated by the
ruthless dictator, Rafael Trujillo,
during his 31 year grip on the
country. The plantations overgrown gardens and slightly eerie house still reverberate with the voices
of those who suffered there at the hands of El Jefe.

The three Mirabal Sisters are beloved Dominican heroines who defied the dictator and were possibly
held in this house on the night of their assassination. Nearby is a hauntingly beautiful memorial to
these brave women at the site where their car and bodies were found at the bottom of a steep incline
off a lonely road.

The Dominican Republics Septentrional mountain range is also rich in amber and famous for the only
blue amber in the world. We will visit a mine and learn about Dominican ambers ancient past and its
future from local miners, middlemen and artisans who work it.

Working our way down the scenic mountain highway, we will lunch in the lodge at Tubagua EcoPlantation, while enjoying a spectacular view of the entire Atlantic
coast spread out below us.
Trujillo also appropriated the entire sugar industry, including
the plantations and the mills. We will see the sugar cane
fields and the old mill in Villa Montellano on the Amber Coast,
so named for the pieces of amber which wash down from the
mountains in the rivers and are deposited along the beaches
in this area.

Day 9 Sosua & Cabarete: An Historical Refuge and World Class Beaches
It could be said that the only good thing about the Trujillo dictatorship was his 1938 offer of a refuge
for German and Austrian Jews who were fleeing from the Nazis. Beginning in 1940 some 800 Jewish
refugees received Dominican visas and settled on land given to them by Trujillo, formerly the site of a
United Fruit Company banana plantation. There they began to farm, organizing a cooperative dairy
and meat production with the resources provided them by the government. Famous for its cheeses,
Productos Sosua is still managed by the descendants of the original settlers. The Jewish Museum in
town will illuminate this unique history for us.
Driving east along the Atlantic Ocean, we reach the home of the World Cup Kite Surfing and Master
of the Ocean competitions at the bustling seaside village of Cabarete. Drawing avid surfers from all
over the world, the beach is lined with restaurants, shops and hotels and is a lovely place to relax and
watch the acrobatic kite surfers leap up into the air as we dine al fresco on the beach under the
palms.

Day 10

Dominican Dream: Altamira - Green Diamond

Dominican boys dream of becoming a baseball player in major leagues of the USA. It is like winning
the lottery -- an escape from the poverty so prevalent in the Dominican Republic. Altamira is the
home of Bartolo Colon, a beloved local son, who has lived that dream as a major league pitcher.
Learn why Bartolo is a hero in the eyes of his hometown and a true inspiration for boys still pitching
balls on the playing fields of every Dominican town.

Altamira is not only known as the Green Diamond because of baseball, but also because it is an
ecological treasure with verdant mountains and rushing rivers. We visit one small, traditional
community on the banks of the Bajabonico River, where we are invited for a delicious Dominican
lunch in a most picturesque and traditional rural home, followed by the unforgettable African-inspired
music of Guayumbo, complete with unforgettable, tree-trunk drums called Atabales.

Day 11

Manatees & a Puerto Plata Tradition - Bombones de Melao

Fall in love with the gentle creatures once known as sea cows indeed, these pacific vegetarians
graze on marine grasses which grow on the bottom of the lagoon, Estero Hondo. Once an important
source of food and bone for the Taino people, this group of some 40 manatees is now protected by
the Dominican government in a large ocean sanctuary. The lagoon of Estero Hondo is included in the
sanctuary and is a tranquil place of true tropical beauty. We will learn about the abundant marine life
and birds, the different kinds of mangroves and with luck, see the manatees in their native setting.

Weather permitting, we will go back in time, fording a river, to


visit the site of a 100 year old family business, Bombones de
Melao.

The
artisanal
process begins with
pressing
the

sugarcane, collecting its


juice and then boiling it
down into syrup in an
enormous cauldron over an
open fire. The syrup, called
melao, is then baked into
delicious little breads in a
huge wood-fired oven.

Satisfied with the relatively small distribution of their


bombones, this family has chosen to continue their production in the labor-intensive, time-honored
manner of three generations and the resulting sweet breads are a famous tradition, unique to Puerto
Plata. Be sure to take some home to enjoy with your morning coffee!

Day 12 Departure from Santiago de los Caballeros (STI) or Puerto Plata (POP)