American Council on International Studies Dominican Republic Adventure

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Highlights

  • Travel coast to coast from the Caribbean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean!
  • Stay in the Historic Colonial Zone!
  • Historical Walking Tour of all the firsts including the First Cathedral of the "New" World!
  • Unique shopping opportunities at local markets!
  • Caving at the Cuevas de Pomier Anthropological Reserve!
  • Swim in a natural water park!
  • Guided Cultural Museum and Cigar Factory Tour!
  • Cascading in the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua!
  • Exploring, hiking and caving in the El Choco National Park!
  • Yásica River Trip and Remote Beach Bonfire Dinner!
  • Mountain Horseback Riding and River Tubing!
  • Farewell Dinner 30 meters under ground in a cave!
  • Most meals included!
  • All accommodating and ground transportation included!
  • Full time professional 4T guide included!

About ACIS

ACIS Educational Tours are built on the passionate belief that travel changes lives. Since 1978, we’ve guided teachers and students on over a half million unforgettable educational trips. By traveling on an ACIS tour, students gain insight not just from seeing famous places, but also from observing life in and around them.

The AIFS Advantage
ACIS is the educational travel division of AIFS, Inc., the American Institute for Foreign Study. Founded in 1964, AIFS is a leading worldwide sponsor of educational programs for more than 50,000 students a year.


Trip Descriptive Itinerary

Day 1:

  • Arrival Santo Domingo Las Americas Airport (SDQ).
  • Airport transfer to Zona Colonial (45 minutes).
  • Orientation.
  • Dinner at La Atarazana, historic restaurant/authentic Dominican.
  • Accommodations in Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo.

Day 2:

  • Breakfast in hotel.
  • Historical Walking Tour through the Zona Colonial, designated a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. Rather than list dates and events, our guides prefer to recreate the past and bring life to the old ruins by means of story telling, anecdotes and legends. From Las Atarazanas, the shipyard, to the Count's Gate at the Fortaleza de la Concepción, our tour will visit the most important historical points of interest, including the First Cathedral, Casa de Colón, the Museum of the Royal House, Calle de las Damas, Chapel of Remedies, Residence of Governor Nicolas Ovando, National Pantheon, Fortaleza del Ozama, the ruins of the Franciscan Monastery and the Hospital of San Nicolás de Bari.
  • Break for Lunch (not included)
  • Visit to Mercado Modelo. After lunch we will take a short walk to the Mercado Modelo on the northern end of the Zona Colonial. This public market is similar to a miniature Bazaar, Caribbean-style, full of Dominican and Haitian handicrafts, paintings, music, instruments, and fruits and vegetables. At one of the botánicos, religious and spiritual supply shops, we can also pick up a good luck perfume or a potion to ward off the menacing spirit of your neighbor's great grandmother!
  • Dinner at Meson de Daniel, authentic Dominican.
  • Accommodations in Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo

Day 3:

  • Breakfast in hotel.
  • Transfer to San Cristobal (45 min.)
  • Exploration & Caving in the Reserva Anthropológica Cuevas de Pomier. The Reserve, located about an hour's drive west of Santo Domingo on the outskirts of San Cristobal, is the only region in the country specifically designated for the protection of a subterranean ecosystem and it is the single most important pre-Columbian site in the Caribbean. With more than 6000 recorded pictographs and around 500 petroglyphs pertaining to several distinct indigenous populations, the Cuevas de Pomier are, in terms of anthropological importance, for the Caribbean what the Pyramids of Giza are for Egypt and the Altamira and Lascaux Caves are for Europe. Cave Number One has 590 pictographs; more than are found in all other locations in the Minor Antilles put together. We spend the morning exploring this cave which provides insights into the Pre-Columbian origins of humans in the Caribbean with Dominican environmental activist, journalist and Espeleogrupo Santo Domingo President, Domingo Abreu.
  • Swimming at El Fuente Natural Swimming Hole & Park. Cool off Dominican Style!
  • Break for lunch (not included)
  • Transfer to Santiago (3 hours).
  • Dinner in the City's central Monument Area at Puerto de Sol, authentic Dominican and International Cuisine.
  • Accommodations in Santiago.

Day 4:

  • Breakfast in hotel.
  • Guided tour and presentation at the Leon Jimenez Cultural Center and Cigar Factory . Seeking to develop the collective creativity through the investigation, protection and exhibition of artistic and cultural works, the Cultural Center is quickly on its way to becoming the single most important institution towards these means in the Caribbean. Housing not only the winning works of the Eduardo Leon Jimenez Art Contest since 1964, the Center is the Dominican Republic's premier facility dedicated to cultural anthropology and history with modern multimedia and interactive exhibits. The Cultural Center is hailed as containing the best of the Nation's five national museums under one roof.
  • Transfer to Damajagua (2 hours).
  • Cascading in the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua. Join us on a true adventure hiking up to the top of the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua tasting tropical fruit from the trees and learning about this amazing natural phenomenon along the way. Hold your breath! After a short rest, we jump and slide the entire 27 waterfalls back down from heights of 1 to 10 meters! Includes round-trip transportation, morning snack, drinking water, and professional 4T guides.
  • Break for lunch (not included)
  • Transfer to Cabarete (1 hour).
  • Dinner at Claro, international Cuisine.
  • Accommodations in Cabarete on the beach.

Day 5:

  • Breakfast in hotel.
  • National Park El Choco Hike & The Caves of BUMBA with 4T
    Join us on a true walking-adventure into the past in discovery of the real Dominican Republic. Following red-earth paths walked by the Arawak Indians winding through small Dominican communities and tropical rain forest we hike up to our own hidden spot for a fresh fruit snack and an incredible view of the 8 kilometer long Cabarete lagoon. Enjoy authentic, locally grown Dominican coffee while learning about the 36 species of birds and 862 species of plants thriving around you. Formed as long as 25 million years ago in the Miocene Period, the ancient rock formations are unique to the North Coast of the DR and hold many secrets for us to explore. Subterranean rivers and caves abound throughout the park home to plants and animals that have become completely accustomed to life in the dark. Venture with us down into the mysterious Caves of BUMBA for a cool swim in truly pristine water and glimpses into prehistory. 12 of the 18 species of bats found in the DR are living within the boundaries of the park, and, if we are lucky, we might catch a few sleeping!
  • Break for lunch (not included).
  • Free time on Cabarete Beach.
  • Yásica River Trip and Remote Beach Bonfire Dinner. A short distance from the Laguna Cabarete & Goleta park office, on the banks of the Islabon River, Wilson Zapeta has a small ranch of wildlife in temporary captivity. Here we have the opportunity to see some of the Dominican Republic's more elusive wilderness creatures, such as the Carey Turtle, Boa Serpent, Tarantula, Rhinoceros Iguana, North American Crocodile, Turkey Vulture, Sparrow Hawk, and Mongoose. From there we board a boat for a leisurely float down the Islabon and Yasica Rivers to their mouth at the Atlantic Ocean. Your dinner this evening is served on the beach, amongst the sand dunes and a roaring bonfire.
  • Accommodations in Cabarete on the beach

 

Day 6:

  • Breakfast in hotel.
  • Horseback Riding & Tubing with Rancho Norte. Enjoy your day in the foothills of the northern most mountain range in the Dominican Republic while on horseback, along with tubing in the Yásica River. This ride starts way out in the back county, and includes refreshments, guides, and round-trip transportation.
  • Lunch at the ranch.
  • Break for dinner (not included).
  • Accommodations in Cabarete on the beach.

Day 7:

  • Breakfast in hotel.
  • Free time on Cabarete Beach
  • Break for lunch (not included).
  • Transfer to Santo Domingo (3.5 hours)
  • Farewell Dinner at Meson de la Cava 30 meters underground in a cave!
  • Accommodations in Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo.

Day 8:

  • Breakfast in hotel.
  • Transfer to Santo Domingo International Airport (SDQ)(45 minutes)
  • Departure

Accommodations

Hotel Mercure Comercial, Santo Domingo
Nights 1, 2 and 7.
Located in the heart of the historic and picturesque Colonial Zone, the Mercure Comercial is only two blocks from the famed "First Cathedral" and surrounded by cafes, shops, ancient ruins, and modern convenience. This building was completely refurbished in 2000 and is the best starting point for a visit of all historical monuments of the old town center. 30 km from the airport. Rooms are clean and comfortable with a/c, cable television, telephone, room safe, and private bathrooms. A full service bar and restaurant on located off the lobby on the Conde pedestrian walkway.

Hotel Centro Plaza, Santiago de Los Caballeros
Night 3.
The Hodelpa Centro Plaza is located directly in the Center of the beautiful City Santiago in the Dominican Republic. Whether business or pleasure, Hodelpa Centro Plaza offers unparalleled service, comfort and the attention to detail necessary to make your stay truly memorable. Our hotel is fresh and cheerful, with 86 comfortable, spacious guest accommodations, each featuring carpets, Air-Conditioner, telephone, Cable TV with remote control, mini-bar, in-room security box, radio clock, among others. In our "Alta Vista Restaurant, you can enjoy your food and beverages while having a panoramic view over the city and mountains of Santiago.

Hotel Villa Taina, Cabarete
Nights 4 through 6.
Nestled in the very heart of Cabarete, an intimate tourist destination and windsurfers' paradise, you find Hotel Villa Taina, an exclusive, modern hotel right on the golden beach of Cabarete Bay. Comfort rooms are spacious and beautifully decorated with an aura that says "welcome home!" The unit offers two queen-size beds. From the spacious balcony, you gaze can scan a panorama of views, ranging from a marvelous ocean view or the lush tropical garden to the coconut trees whose branches wave hypnotically.


CONTACT ACIS FOR MORE INFORMATION

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Most photos credited to "Open Shirt' Mike Gussak at unkmonk@hotmail.com