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May 24, 2011
  • JetBlue's new La Romana flight
  • Living Museum of the Sea
  • The highest waterfall in the Caribbean
  • Cruise ship season was successful
  • National Choir honors mothers
JetBlue's new La Romana flight
Deputy Minister of Tourism Magaly Toribio has highlighted the importance of the new JetBlue flight from New York's JFK International into La Romana Casa de Campo International Airport starting 16 November. JetBlue is the largest carrier in the Dominican Republic and this is its latest announcement of a flight. The airline is offering one-way sale fares as low as US$99 each way (plus taxes) through Wednesday, 1 June at their website for travel between 16 November and 14 December 2011.
"The new JetBlue flights put the beautiful and romantic La Romana area within a few hours of a major US city," said Magaly Toribio, the DR Ministry of Tourism's Deputy Minister of International Promotion. "The Dominican Republic's long-term commitment to innovative marketing has firmly established our culturally rich paradise in the hearts and minds of global travelers who seek sensational sun, azure blue seas and sumptuous and affordable world-class hotels. Our country's increasing popularity with US visitors allows our airline partners to increase their flights to meet the growing demand for our warm and welcoming island nation," she said.
The Wednesday and Saturday flights depart at 8:36am, arriving LRM at 1:31pm. They depart LRM at 2:26pm, arriving JFK at 5:26pm.
In the Dominican Republic, JetBlue also serves Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Santiago and Santo Domingo with services to New York, Boston, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and San Juan. JetBlue's service to La Romana will be operated with the airline's fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft.
Living Museum of the Sea
Research teams from Indiana University and the Dominican Republic Ministries of Culture and Tourism attended the formal opening of La Romana's Living Museum of the Sea on Monday, 23 May. The site showcases items from the 1699 Captain Kidd shipwreck found 70 feet off the coast of Catalina Island in the waters off La Romana. The opening of the underwater site with items from the shipwreck Quedagh Merchant abandoned off the shore of Catalina Island marks the 310th anniversary of the scandalous 17th century pirate Captain William Kidd's hanging in London for his 'crimes of piracy.' Kidd had captured the Armenian ship off the west coast of India.
Underwater plaques help guide divers around the Kidd site as well as relics and rare corals at two other shipwreck sites.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded IU US$200,000 to turn the Captain Kidd shipwreck site and two nearby existing underwater preserves into no-take, no-anchor "Living Museums of the Sea," where cultural discoveries will protect precious corals and other threatened biodiversity in the surrounding reef systems, under the supervision and support of the Dominican Republic's National Underwater Cultural Heritage Office (ONPCS). USAID has since extended its support by a year, increasing the funding award to $300,000.
The Underwater Science team from the IU School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER), led by researcher and archeologist Charles Beeker, has been working to preserve, analyze and document the Kidd shipwreck since its surprising discovery, which made headlines around the world. This unique museum, resting in less than 10 feet of water just 70 feet from the shore, gives divers the opportunity to see the 17th century ship remains, including several anchors, along with dozens of cannons, which rest on the ocean's floor and serve as home to coral and sea creatures. Above water, several more traditional museums will benefit from artifacts that are on loan to IU by the Dominican Republic government for the purpose of study and research.
Historians differ on whether Kidd was actually a pirate or a privateer - someone who captured pirates. After his conviction for piracy and murder charges in a sensational London trial, he was left to hang over the River Thames for two years as a warning to other pirates.
According to historians, Kidd captured the Quedagh Merchant, loaded with valuable satins and silks, gold, silver and other East Indian merchandise, but left the ship in the Caribbean as he sailed to New York on a less conspicuous sloop to clear his name of the criminal charges.
The highest waterfall in the Caribbean
While for years it has been said that Aguas Blancas in Constanza is the highest waterfall in the Caribbean, but researchers now say the claim should go to La Jalda, the waterfall originating from Magua River off Miches in eastern province of El Seibo. A report in Listin Diario say there are 11 different points from which the fall can be accessed. A governmental decree on 22 October 2009 created the Parque Nacional Saltos de la Jalda in the municipality of Miches, declaring it a protected area. Venezuelan businessman Gustavo Cisneros, who is a major property owner in the Miches area, has built a helicopter to landing pad for visitors to the waterfall. There are also routes accessible to hikers, or horseback riders.
Listin Diario reports that vehicles need to be left in the community of La Lisa, Magua, in Sabana de la Mar. From there, the trail needs to be followed on foot or by horseback. On the way, 100-year old trees make up the dense forest of the Eastern Mountain Range. Reporting on the waterfall, Manuel Vega says that the forest is so dense that the sunrays can hardly be seen until the waterfall clearing is reached.
Reportedly, the Ministry of Environment has prepared two trails, one with wooden safety handrails. A forest ranger house is under construction.
Cruise ship season was successful
The 100,000-ton mega Grand Princess cruise ship was among the ships that docked in Santo Domingo this past cruise ship season. Other ships that called on the Don Diego and Sans Souci terminals were Aida Luna, Braemar, Club Med II, Sea Cloud II, Maasdam, Princess Danae, Saga Pearl II and Discovery. Visitors stopping off at these ports are just a short walk away from Colonial Santo Domingo, a Unesco World Heritage Site.
National Choir honors mothers
If you're in Santo Domingo this week, try not to miss the Mother's Day concerts by the National Choir at the Palacio de Bellas Artes . This is their fifth gala concert dedicated to mothers. Mother's Day in the Dominican Republic is celebrated on the last Sunday in May. The National Dominican Choir is directed by Jose Enrique Espin Santiago. The concerts will take place on Tuesday, 24 May and Wednesday, 25 May at 8pm and admission is free.
For more on upcoming and ongoing events, see

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