March 18, 2003 - 12,900+ subscribers and growing!
  • The Pan Am opening show
  • Coral by Hilton 
  • Easter Week dates
  • Traffic to Santiago Airport 
The Pan Am opening show
TV producer Freddy Beras Goico will be in charge of the extravaganza planned for the opening of the Santo Domingo Pan American Games, as he leads a dream team of producers, including Guillermo Cordero, Chiqui Haddad and Jose Antonio Rodriguez.
Big names on the list of entertainers considered for the show are Juan Luis Guerra, Michel Camilo, Charytin Goico, Angela Carrasco, Maridalia Hernandez, Fefita la Grande, Eddy Herrera, Wilfrido Vargas, Sonia Silvestre, Xiomara Fortuna, Carlos Piantini and Sergio Vargas.
Listin Diario reports that the production will showcase Dominican customs, roots and music. The 50-minute show will be integrated into the opening ceremonies of the 2003 Pan American Games on 1 August 2003, where some 3,000 members of the press are expected.
Coral by Hilton
Howard Friedman, president of the Americas, Hilton International was in Santo Domingo over the weekend for the official inauguration of the new Coral by Hilton all-inclusive brandname resort. The first hotels to operate under the new division are the Coral Resorts’ Marien (Puerto Plata), Hamaca (Boca Chica), Coral (Bayahibe) and Costa Caribe (Juan Dolio). 
Julio Llibre, executive president of Coral Hotels & Resorts in the Dominican Republic, said that the alliance translates into an upgrade in quality standards, as the hotels expand their distribution channels into non-traditional markets. He highlighted the new brand as international recognition that the all-inclusive travel modality has been supremely honed in the Dominican Republic.
Easter Week dates
As Easter Week approaches, hotels are gearing up to manage 100-percent occupancy rates. During this peak vacation period for Dominicans, travelers may expect some lines for dinner, but no different than what can be expected in the month of August, another prime season for domestic travel on weekends in the Dominican Republic. 
Schools will close on Monday, 14 April through Good Friday, 18 April. Contrary to what may be the custom in other Roman Catholic countries, Easter Week has become a time for revelers and partygoers in the DR, but still holds something for everyone. 
Over the years, thousands have decided to avoid the big crowds of the vacation areas, with substantial numbers of people remaining in the larger cities. Consequently, Santo Domingo and Santiago are not as quiet as in previous years, with movie houses and restaurants remaining open. Hundreds also participate in the religious processions and ceremonies of private worship in the Colonial City’s churches. 
The main events, however, will take place on the beaches, leading the government in recent years to ban the use of motorized boats for the period. The use of jet skis, for instance, is a nationwide no-no for the week, simply to reduce the risk of injury in the crowded waters. For the same reasons, there are also restrictions on horseback riding on certain beaches. 
For the most part, though, instead of decreasing, the number and diversity of beach activities increase, with beach volleyball championships and kite-flying events taking place. 
If you must take to the roads during Easter Week, the secret is to avoid the peak travel times. Avoid driving on the afternoon of Thursday, 17 April, and plan on being home before 3pm on Easter Sunday, 20 April. 
The government also closes some beaches and other swimming areas that are considered especially risky when visited by large crowds, although most of these are not frequented by foreign tourists. These areas will have people posted there to explain the off-limits to visitors from Thursday, 17 April to Monday, 21 April. The restricted areas are:
  • Santo Domingo: Guibia, Manresa, Playa de Juancho, La Playita, and Los Gringos beaches
  • San Cristobal: Los Cañones de Nigua, Puente de Nigua, Boca de Nigua, and Los Cuadritos
  • San Pedro de Macoris: Playa del Muerto, Las Saldinas, Hawaii, Morota, Villa del Mar, and El Muelle
  • Samana: Playa de los Mesias, Boca del Limon, Playa del Valle, Playa Frances, Chiguela, and Gran Estero
  • Barahona: Los Patos, Saladilla, Palito Seco, Del Caño, and San Rafael
  • La Romana: Chavon and Tres Colitas
  • Puerto Plata: El Canal, Sand Castle, Encuentro, La Bombita, and La Bonita
  • Nagua: Independencia

The better-known river vacation spots that will be closed include the El Salto de Jimenoa in Jarabacoa, Boca de Chavon in La Romana, and Hatillo Dam.

Traffic to Santiago Airport beyond expectations
Santiago’s Cibao airport has seen traffic volumes beyond its expectations for the first year. El Caribe newspaper reports that during its first 10 months in operation, 260,352 passengers have used the terminal, which is 18.3 percent more than the forecast for the period. The project took off gradually, until American Airlines booked its first flight into the terminal. Passengers heading to the inner Cibao provinces benefit from the terminal best, finding their land journeys greatly reduced once having landed. Whereas the Cibao airport is located approximately half an hour away from most local destinations, passengers previously faced trips of an hour or more from the larger Puerto Plata airport located on the North Coast.

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