July 13, 2004
  • Merengue Festival program
  • Jack Nicklaus at Cap Cana
  • Summer Break at Azzurro Clubs in Cabarete
  • Narco bad boy to neighborhood hero
Merengue Festival program
Merengue Festival 2004 is set to begin on 16 July on the main stage of the Pueblito Merengue, Plaza Juan Baron, along Santo Domingo’s Malecon. The activities, as organized by the Ministry of Tourism and assisted by the artistic promotion company of Luis Medrano, call for cultural and folkloric performances to take the stage as of 7pm. The evening will also include a presentation of leading orchestras at the Plaza Eugenio Maria de Hostos, near the Malecon, as of 9pm. More activities are planned for hotels in Santo Domingo, Juan Dolio, Bayahibe and Bavaro.
See http://www.dr1.com/travelnews/archive/2004/MerengueFestival2004.doc for a list of artistic presentations program sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism.
Jack Nicklaus at Cap Cana
Golf legend Jack Nicklaus was recently in Cap Cana, the US$3-billion, 30,000-square acre resort and residential community on the East Coast, to examine the progress being made on his first Dominican golf course, scheduled to open in April 2005. Properties there are selling from US$480,000 to US$1.2 million, and Nicklaus’s visit coincided with the closing of deals for several Puerto Rican purchasers. For the Puerto Ricans, Cap Cana is very attractive. John Collins, who writes for Caribbean Business, highlights that the Puerto Ricans value the short flight (about 20 minutes from San Juan), overall security, the improved situation in the DR with regard to property titles, and, most importantly, the involvement and endorsement of golf legend Jack Nicklaus. Commenting on Cap Cana, Nicklaus said: “Cap Cana is a very ambitious project. I have been involved with several projects and this one is a very ambitious one and ambitious projects are good ones.” Referring to the construction of the Cap Cana course he said that he had been given assurances that the course would be ready by April or May 2005. “My name and my credibility are involved and I want to make sure it’s done well,” he said. The highlight of Cap Cana will surely be the Golden Bear Lodge, named after Nicklaus himself. With plans for two other golf courses to follow, Nicklaus said, “I want to make sure this course is finished before I go on to other things. This is going to be the first Golden Bear Lodge outside the US and I want to make sure everything is OK.
“What makes Cap Cana so different from the other courses I know is the ocean and the variety of things around it,” said Nicklaus. “Of course, Pebble Beach is on the ocean as well, but what makes Cap Cana so special is [that] the climate is better.”
A frequent visitor to the DR, Nicklaus commented: “I’ve always been fascinated with the DR, not only because its people are so friendly but because they are so athletic. Just look at all of the Dominican baseball players we have in the US. They are a very outdoor kind of people and just love sports.”
Nicklaus also says that Cap Cana will spur more development of the area and result in the emergence of new businesses. He said that people who play golf spend their money on lots of other things. “You’ve hot a leg up here because you’ve got more than 40 flights a day coming into Punta Cana and a big variety of hotels nearby. Other golf courses nearby are an added attraction because golfers like to try other courses.”
See http://www.capcana.com
Summer Break at Azzurro Clubs in Cabarete
Azzurro Club Cabarete and Azzurro Club Estrella, both in the northern beach town of Cabarete, are hosting an event called Summer Break ’04 to take place this Saturday, 17 July. These hotels, catering to those aged 15 to 35 who seek a fun vacation with time for adventure and water sports, will feature a lively and entertaining program. As of 3pm on Saturday, there will be music on the strip of beach in front of the Azzurro Club hotels featuring DJ Plex, and contests will be held. From 9-10 pm that evening, a live concert with “Los Potros” merengue band follows. As of 11pm, the group “Krispy” will perform to close the live music entertainment centered around the Azzurro Clubs. But the fun won’t end there: a “foam beach party” is scheduled for 12:30am.
Xiomara Desimone, the coordinator of sales and events for Starz Resorts, explained: “Each weekend this summer, we will have contests, concerts, beach fogatas, kiteboarding classes, and lots of fun, with packages designed for people young of heart.” For more information, see http://www.starzresorts.com
Narco bad boy to neighborhood hero
Juan Rodriguez is an actor seen by millions upon millions of people in his role as a very nasty hitman in the movie Crocodile Dundee II, as well as in many other movies in which he plays the “bad guy,” like A Man Apart or The Savage. But, Rodriguez is also a man from the heart of Santo Domingo who has become a Hollywood star, and for the first time he is making a movie in his native land, in which he is playing the role of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista in the movie “The Lost City” by Andy Garcia. Sipping a red soda, reminiscing on how good the “mabi” and cane juice are, Fernandez told El Caribe reporter Alicia Ortega that this is the first time in five years he has visited the city. The reporter noted how the people around the corner of Padre Bellini and La Estrelleta stopped to exchange abrazos with their former neighbor and to hear him tell of his “adventures” as a young man. Rodriguez, who worked for many years in Italy before making it to Hollywood, certainly has some strong opinions on the stereotyping that has attended his career as antagonist. He told Ortega that it was “a part of the racism that accompanies the business, which exists in Santo Domingo and in the entire world.” Amelia Vega, the Dominican Miss Universe 2003, also has a short role in the film.
For more on "The Lost City," see

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