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January 29, 2013
  • Work advances on La Romana bypass
  • Punta Cana International is leading airport
  • ProCigar Festival in February
  • Colonial City carnival
Work advances on La Romana bypass
Costasur/Casa de Campo News reports that construction of the La Romana Bypass is progressing and should be completed by November 2013. The bypass will link to the new Coral Highway, reducing the time it takes to travel eastwards from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana by another half an hour. It currently takes about two hours to get from Santo Domingo to La Romana's Casa de Campo Resort with another half an hour for tourists heading for Bayahibe's hotels. From there to Punta Cana's international airport, add on another 40 minutes of easy driving through sugar cane fields.
The La Romana bypass will be a reprieve from the city traffic in La Romana. The four-lane 14km highway is being built by Odebrecht for the Ministry of Public Works.
Costasur/Casa de Campo News reports that when completed, travelers will be able to cross La Romana in 8 to 10 minutes compared to the average driving time of about 25 to 40 minutes during rush hour.
In addition to the La Romana bypass, the project includes the completion of the San Pedro de Macoris to La Romana stretch, another 34 kilometers. As reported, the San Pedro de Macoris Bypass will include an overpass over the Hato Mayor crossing, an open tunnel at the Pedro Santana intersection and an exchange at the end of the beltway.
"Once it is finished, drivers from the capital will be able to reach the entrance to Casa de Campo in just over an hour," reported Costasur/Casa de Campo News. A new entrance closer to Altos de Chavon is due to open once the bypass is completed. The publication comments that although many people are already commuting to the capital from Casa de Campo on a daily basis, the new bypass and completion of the Santo Domingo-La Romana Corridor will make living in Casa de Campo while working in Santo Domingo an appealing option for hundreds more families.
Punta Cana International is leading airport
Central Bank statistics show that the Punta Cana International Airport was the country's main port of entry in 2012. Some 61.34% of all air arrivals chose to fly into Punta Cana (PUJ). Of the total 4,562,606 non-resident arrivals in 2012, 2,406,709 flew in to Punta Cana.
Las Americas in Santo Domingo was second with 21.07%, Puerto Plata received 8.96%, and Santiago's Cibao International received 4.21%. La Romana received 2.69% of non-resident travelers and El Catey in Samana and La Isabela in Santo Domingo received 1.73%. Puerto Plata International recovered in number of arrivals in 2012, with 4,688 more travelers. But fewer travelers arrived using the La Romana and Samana airports. JetBlue's new flights from New York to Samana, nevertheless, will be reflected in the northeastern region's airport's statistics for 2013.
The Central Bank reports increases in arrivals from the United States (123,282), Russia (41,723), Venezuela (16,166), Chile (13,829), Peru (12,134), Puerto Rico (6,647) and Colombia (5,252).
ProCigar Festival in February
Cigar aficionados from the world over are already booking their participation in the Sixth ProCigar Festival that will take place 17-22 February in La Romana and Santiago. The program starts with events scheduled for 17-19 February in La Romana, with tours of the Tabacalera de Garcia cigar factory and a Teeth of the Dog golf tournament. There will also be time for relaxing on the beach.
Cigar aficionados will then head three hours to the north for a stay in Santiago (staying at the Hotel Gran Almirante) on 19 February for tours to cigar factories in that tobacco-producing region, including General Cigar, Davidoff, Matasa and La Aurora and Corporacion Cigar Export.
ProCigar's distinct advantage is it is a fully rounded experience for the cigar aficionado. Where else can a devotee of the leaf spend time touring some of the world's best cigar factories, hiking through tobacco fields and spending time one-on-one with the leading cigar makers while eating, drinking, and most importantly, smoking great and new unreleased cigars? The package includes time to visit a rum factory, workshops, sailing on a catamaran along the north coast, extreme sports and more.
For booking, see www.procigar.org
Colonial City carnival
The Tourism Cluster of Santo Domingo is coordinating this year's celebration of the Colonial City Carnival. The event kicks off on Saturday, 2 February at 5pm with a parade featuring traditional carnival character Lolito Flochon from the Palacio Consistorial (Calle Arz. Merino at the corner of El Conde). On that same Saturday, at 7pm, outside the Alcazar in Plaza de Espana, the Fiesta of the Carnestolendas begins. Don a costume and join the Carnival in the Colonial City. Many bars and restaurants are offering special discounts for customers dressed in Carnival attire.
Bonye dresses up for Carnival on Sunday, 3 February at the Ruins of San Francisco Monastery site as of 5pm. The Sunday Carnivals will take place throughout February.
There will be an arts and crafts show at the Columbus Park on Friday 8 February, starting at 5pm. Lively drama performances will take place with Teatro Guloya groups at the Callejon Macoris.
On Saturday, 9 February, the Children's Carnival will parade from the Puerta del Conde to the Plaza Maria de Toledo (Calle las Damas) at 10am.
That same day, the first carnival parade warms up with a stroll at 5pm from Calle Mercedes to Las Damas. The parade will then be held every Sunday in February.
Casa de Teatro will be celebrating its own Carnival of the Dominican Artist, with performers booked for the auditorium.

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