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October 3, 2006
  • Get those passports
  • Zoe Saldana honored in People Magazine
  • Damajagua made easier
  • Baby dolphin born at Ocean World
Get those passports
Air travel re-entries to the United States will require passports as from next January. While the US Congress approved a last minute postponement of the passport rule for land and sea until 1 June 2009, this will not apply to travel to the Caribbean by air. The last-minute revision, which was inserted into a Homeland Security Dept. appropriations bill, only delays the implementation of the requirement for passports for land crossings at the Canadian and Mexican borders and for cruise passengers returning to the US from Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada or Bermuda. The Caribbean Tourism Organization had lobbied for a deadline extension for both air and sea travel.
All US citizens, however, will need passports for travel by air starting on 8 January 2007, as previously proposed under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.
The measure is expected to affect travel to the Caribbean next year, as the majority of US travelers that travel by air to the Caribbean do not have passports. Caribbean countries, the Dominican Republic included, only require an original birth certificate and photo ID for entry.
Zoe Saldana honored in People Magazine
Zoe Saldana, daughter of Dominicans, and who grew up in the US and Santo Domingo, was honored with a Best Dressed 2006 distinction in People Magazine this week. In the Style Watch section, she was praised for wearing a Greek revival dress. "Zoe Saldana looks like a modern-day goddess in her velvet-belted J. Mendel column at a People en Espanol gala". The Style Watch section honored the Best Dresses of the Year, describing these as head-turning gowns in unusual colors, sexy shapes or with intricate detailing that made the stars stand out on the red carpet.
Damajagua made easier
The visitor's center at the Natural Monument of Damajagua, an adventure tourism site that features 27 levels of natural pools and waterfalls, was inaugurated last week. Damajagua (Los 27 Charcos) is located three kilometers south of Imbert, Puerto Plata. Damajagua is co-managed by the Association of Guides of Damajagua and the Ministry of Environment.
A popular tour with those visiting the north coast, Damajagua tourists can carry out a 20-minute walk through lush forests to the top of the hill and then climb and swim down each level of waterfalls and through channels carved out by the river. There is also the option to climb up to the 7th, 12th or 27th waterfall and then return the same way by jumping, sliding and swimming.
The new facilities enhance service, safety and the experience at the site. To enhance the safety, each visitor is now equipped with a life jacket and helmet and every guide is certified in CPR and First Aid. The trail has been improved with better water drainage, handrails, stairs, and trash bags along the path for a cleaner park. A higher guide to tourist ratio has been established along with new uniforms for a more professional appearance. In addition, many of the guides are enrolled in weekly foreign language classes to improve the service to international visitors.
The Visitor Center includes a large reception area, gift shop, ticket office, beverage bar, bathrooms and changing area, showers, and a kitchen. In addition to the newly completed landscaped center, a small wooden suspension bridge was built from the Center to the first river crossing.
The Asociation is in the process of obtaining the Green Globe Certification, an international certification for socially and environmentally sustainable eco-tourism.
The website is www.27charcos.com.
Baby dolphin born at Ocean World
A baby dolphin was born to mother "Serena" on 21 August 2006 at Ocean World Adventure Park in Puerto Plata. This is the first recorded and confirmed successful (live) baby dolphin born in captivity in the DR. The marine park director, Stefan Meister is optimistic that there will be many more to come. He explains that the park's female dolphins are just reaching breeding age now. Meister says that ten dolphins have already been born in the park's sister dolphin facility in the Bahamas. He expects the DR to catch up with this number.
Meister says that a name has not been chosen as the baby is too small and its gender has not yet been determined. "We are thinking of holding a naming contest for local schools with the winning kid getting a free day for their class at Ocean World," he added.
See photo at http://www.dr1.com/forums/north-coast/54730-new-baby-ocean-world.html

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