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January 17, 2012
  • Whale season starts 15 January
  • Club Med Punta Cana leads family resorts list
  • Celebrating the Lady of High Grace
  • Casa de Campo wins World Travel Awards
Whale season starts 15 January
It's time to head to Samana to watch the humpback whales as they migrate from the North Atlantic to the warm waters of the Dominican Republic's northeastern coast to mate and give birth.
Their most popular winter rendezvous is Silver Bank, the 3,000-square-kilometer reef system approximately 70 miles north east of Puerto Plata. Whale expert, Ken De Pree explains: "Their most popular winter rendezvous is Silver Bank, the 3,000-square-kilometer reef system approximately 70 miles north east of Puerto Plata.
But from out at sea at the Silver Bank many circulate to other popular areas like humans do at singles bars! One of these gathering places is conveniently accessible Samana Bay. More than 1,500 humpbacks visit the bay, with as many as 300 present at any given time during mating season."
The World Wildlife Fund considers Samana Bay one of the best places in the world to watch whales. It offers something for everyone - the outer bay is where you might find aggressive males competing for the favors of willing females, and the sheltered inner bay is one of the world's leading humpback nurseries.
Whale-watching ships depart from Samana piers until the end of March. The popular excursions can be arranged at the Port of Samana or from hotels in the province and travel agencies.
Club Med Punta Cana leads family resorts list
The Dominican Republic's Club Med Punta Cana is first in the list of top 10 all-inclusive resorts of the website Family Vacation Critic, as reported in the Chicago Tribune. The Dominican hotel leads the Club Med Sandpiper in Florida, Mexico's Grand Velas Resort, Michigan's Grand Hotel at Mackinac Island, New York's Mohonk Mountain House, Pennsylvania's Woodloch Pines, Turk & Caicos's Beaches, Vermont's Tyler Place, Wyoming's Paradise Guest Ranch, the other resorts on the list.
The website says that fixed-price resorts make for great family vacations. The reason given is that nobody has to be the bad guy saying no to just one more round of kayaking, sailing, tennis or mini-golf.
The website describes Club Med Punta Cana as "a pioneer in all-inclusive vacations, employs its decades of experience to create an exceptional family club. Spread out on 70 acres with 2,000 feet of white sand beach, the property, despite 553 rooms, almost never feels crowded. At the comprehensive program for ages four to five, six to seven, and eight to ten, kids learn to fly on a trapeze, play tennis, create science experiments, shoot hoops, and snorkel as well as romp through the waterpark's sprays and pools. At Passworld, teens hang out, go rollerblading and take scratch DJ lessons. Updated rooms feature new fabrics, furnishings and flat-screen televisions plus the resort offers two-bedroom, 720-square foot family suites that come with room service. Care for ages four months to 23 months and tots two to three costs extra.",0,226287.story
Celebrating the Lady of High Grace
Every year, a day honoring the spiritual protector of the Dominican people, Our Lady of Altagracia, is celebrated on 21 January, a national holiday. On the previous Wednesday, 17 January, the commemorative National Symphony Concert will take place at the Basilica Nuestra Senora de la Altagracia in Higuey, the largest in the Caribbean. During his second trip to the country on 12 October 1992, Pope John Paul II himself crowned the Virgin with a golden-plated silver crown, blessed the church and the people of the Dominican Republic and said mass there. The Basilica was inaugurated by President Joaquin Balaguer on 21 January 1971, at the start of his second term in government. Off the altar of the church is an early 16th century jewel-encrusted portrait of the Virgin Mary. Dominican soldiers appealed to the Virgin to help them win a strategic victory over the French in a 1691 battle in La Limonade, near Cap-Haitien in northern Haiti.
Casa de Campo wins World Travel Awards
For the fifth year running, Casa de Campo, the most complete Caribbean resort, has walked away with the coveted title of World's Leading Golf Resort at the VIP World Travel Awards (WTA) ceremony held in Qatar on 11 January 2012. The event acknowledged the world's leading travel brands. It was held in Doha, in partnership with the Qatar Tourism Authority.
A distinguished line-up of travel industry professionals, senior executives from leading travel companies, and hoteliers attend this prestigious ceremony, regarded as the Oscars ceremony of the travel industry.
For a list of the World Travel Awards 2011 winners, see
The resort also won the organization's Regional World Travel Awards for the Caribbean and the Americas winning the "The Dominican Republic's Leading Resort 2011", the "Caribbean's Leading Golf Resort 2011" (for the sixth time).
Casa de Campo is known for as a golfers' Mecca, with its three world-class golf courses - Teeth of the Dog, Dye Fore and the Links open to the golfing public. A fourth course is a private membership course.
Covering an area of around 25km2, the residential community has 1,700 private villas, a permanent resident population of more than 2,000 and a community of more than 10,000, including hundreds of capital city dwellers with vacation homes there. The resort is also known for its Altos de Chavon amphitheater, with greats from around the world performing all throughout the year, and has its own airport and a cruise ship terminal. See

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