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North Carolina Central University's African Roots of the DR Tour



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Playa Preciosa

North Carolina Central University in Dominican Republic

Rhinocerous Iguana

NCCU 2007 Menu
Professor Contact at NCCU

Vaca CrossingTrip Highlights

  • Lectures and presentations by individuals internationally respected and at the top of their fields!
  • Travel from the Caribbean Sea on the South Coast to the Atlantic Ocean on the North Coast!
  • Overnights in Santo Domingo, Santiago, San Jose de las Matas and Cabarete Beach!
  • Stay in the historic Colonial Zone!
  • Dominican girlVisit to the National Anthropological Museum and the Folklore Museum!
  • Visit to the ruins of the Engombe Sugar Mill!
  • Exploration of the Pomier Caves Anthropological Reserve!
  • Visit to the Centro Leon Cultural Center and the Leon Jimenez Cigar Factory!
  • Remote Beach Bonfire Dinner!
  • Witness a Vudu Ceremony!
  • Full Day Giant Catamaran Sail with Snorkeling!
  • Most meals included!

Trip Descriptive Itinerary

Fortaleza Ozoma in the Colonial ZoneDay 1: July 4, 2007 (Wednesday)

  • Group Airport pickup at Las Americas Airport (SDQ).
  • Orientation.
  • Dinner at La Atarazana.
  • Accommodations: Santo Domingo (3-star).

Day 2: July 5, 2007 (Thursday)

  • Music of the CaribbeanBreakfast.
  • Workshop/Presentation with Bernardo Matías, Socio-cultural Anthropologist and specialist in Dominican-Haitian Relations and Afro-Caribbean and Latin American Cultures, and Brotherhood of the Congos of the Holy Spirit of Villa Mella, drumming and oral folklore organization declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage for Humanity.
    "Music, Dance & Song in the Caribbean" 
  • Taino Burial at Museum of Dominican ManIndependent Lunch.
  • Visit to Anthropological Museo del Hombre Dominicano.
    Founded in 1973, the Museo del Hombre Dominicano serves as a center for continuous anthropological, archeological, ethnographical and folkloric investigation of pre-Columbian heritage.  The Museum features excellent collections and displays of Taino, African and Carnival artifacts. Welcome by Juan Rodriguez, Deputy Director of the Museo del Hombre Dominicano.
  • Independent Walking Tour of the Colonial Zone.
    The Zona Colonial was designated a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. Rather than a guide listing dates and events, recreate the past and bring life to the old ruins independently with a special walking tour designed by one of our Trip Leaders. 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, Gate to the First Cathedral in the Colonial ZoneCalle 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.

  • Dinner at Meson de Luis.
  • Accommodations: Santo Domingo (3-star).

Day 3: July 6, 2007 (Friday)

  • Ruins of the Engombe Sugar MillBreakfast.
  • Visit to Engombe Sugar Cane Mill Restoration/Ruins, 16th Century.
    Dating back to the 16th century, the Engombe Sugar Mill was one of the firsts on the island of Hispaniola. Located on the banks of the River Haina, within the boundaries of Santo Domingo, the mill grounds are magnificent and currently maintained by the agricultural division of the U.A.S.D. (Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo). Although little remains of the mill, known as a trapiche-powered by oxen-the church has been restored and the owners mansion, while roofless, is in relatively good shape.
  • Pomier Caves Anthropological ReserveVisit to Pomier Caves Anthropological Reserve.
    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.

  • Street VendorsIndependent Lunch.
  • Free time on Najayo beach.
  • Dinner
  • Accommodations: Santo Domingo (3-star).

Day 4: July 7, 2007 (Saturday)

  • Breakfast in the hotel.
  • Workshop/Presentation with Martha Ellen Davis, anthropologist, ethnomusicologist and advisor and researcher in oral history for the Dominican National Archives. She also maintains an honorary faculty appointment at the University of Florida.
    "Sacred Songs and Pilgrimages and their African Roots"
  • Religion and the Dominican RepublicIndependent Lunch.
  • Workshop/Presentation with Irka Mateo, Artist an Indigenous Peoples Specialist.
    "Messiahnism and San Juan de la Maguana: The Cult of Liborio Mateo"
  • Dinner.
  • Accommodations: Santo Domingo (3-star).

Vudu CeremonyDay 5: July 8, 2007 (Sunday)

  • Breakfast in the hotel.
  • Transfer to Santiago (3 hours)
  • Independent Lunch.
  • Workshop/Presentation with Luis Felipe Rodgriguez, Outreach and Communications Manager of the Centro Leon Cultural Center.
    "The Roots of Regatton"
  • Dinner in the Monument Area.
  • Hang-out at the Monument.
  • Face of the backcountryAccommodations: Santiago (3-star).

Day 6: July 9, 2007 (Monday)

  • Breakfast in the hotel.
  • Workshop/Presentation with Kimberly Simmons, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies at University of South Carolina Columbia.
    "Afro-Dominican Culture and the Cultural Construction and Performance of Identities"
  • Independent Lunch.
  • Public Market in SantiagoVisit to Folklore Museum.
  • Visit to Hospedaje Public Market.
  • Dinner.
  • Latin Jazz at 27 Tablas.
  • Accommodations: Santiago (3-star).

Day 7: July 10, 2007 (Tuesday)

  • HandicraftsBreakfast in the hotel.
  • Visit/Tour of Centro Leon Cultural Center.
    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.

  • Independent Lunch.
  • Presentation/Lecture with Carlos Andujar, Director of Anthropology, Centro Leon.
    "The African Presence in Dominican Society: Findings and Fiction"
  • Dinner.
  • Accommodations: Santiago (3-star).

Central Mountain RangeDay 8:  July 11, 2007 (Wednesday)

  • Breakfast in hotel.
  • Morning Free to Explore Santiago.
  • Lunch.
  • Transfer to San José de las Matas (1.5 hours)
  • Workshop/Presentation with Ricardo Torribio, Artist-in-Life.
    Ricardo Toribio is one of the Dominican's most important young artists having won first place in the distinguished Leon Jimenez Paint Contest in 1996 among other honors. His principle medium is paint on large canvas, and his work served as the backdrop at the 2005 Dominican Republic Jazz Home of Ricardo TorribioFestival. It seems a strange way to start out a description of a workshop leader, but Ricardo is also an accomplished poet and singer. The man knows music because he feels it…the same way he feels art and is able to produce it. Ricardo will serve as more of a workshop coordinator than leader as he bridges us to music, art and life in the remote countryside of the Central Mountain range: the birthplace of Bachata. Ricardo's studio and home are located in the mountain town of San Jose de Las Matas where he offers art and music classes to the back country poor. He also has a music and dance group, "La Parcelita" with whom he occasionally performs. We will gather at Ricardo's home for a unique and intimate glimpse of his life and the music and art he loves.

  • Dinner at Centro Los Montones de Plan Sierra.
  • Accommodations: Centro Los Motones de Plan Sierra (bunkhouse/retreat).

Day 9: July 12, 2007 (Thursday)

  • Plan Sierra Centro los MotonesBreakfast in the retreat.
  • Agriculture Tour of Plan Sierra Facility.
    Plan Sierra's facility at Los Montones, funded in part by the Kellogg Foundation, serves as an agricultural training camp for poor backcountry farmers. Farmers are instructed in sustainable and organic farming methods. Los Montones is truly a place where nature and humanity have found peace.
  • Transfer to Cabarete (3 hours).
  • Independent Lunch.
  • La Boca BeachRemote 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 Yásica 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: Cabarete (3-star).

Work in the Sugar Cane fieldsDay 10: July 13, 2007 (Friday)

  • Breakfast in the hotel.
  • Morning Free on Cabarete Beach.
  • Independent Lunch.
  • Early Dinner at Cafécito.
  • Vudú Ceremony in Batey Caraballo.
    It is no secret that Haitians embrace their African heritage with greater enthusiasm than their Dominican neighbors.  We need not speak of “roots” when observing many Haitian spiritual customs as much of what we see appears to be blatantly and Vudu Ceremony in Batey Caraballodirectly African.  The destitute community of Caraballo, home to the Haitian migrant workers laboring in the adjacent sugar cane fields, is as close as one can come to finding popular Haitian culture without crossing the border.  Community Leader--or as he introduces himself: “Leader of Music”—Ramoncito invites us as observing-guests to an evening community celebration of life and death.

  • Accommodations: Cabarete (3-star).

Day 11: July 14, 2007 (Saturday)

  • Tip Top CatamaranBreakfast in the hotel.
  • Giant Catamaran Sail with Snorkeling.
    Join us for a day of smooth downwind sailing exploring the remote coastal areas between Maimon Bay and Luperon. "Peace and Tranquility Rule" aboard the luxurious and spacious 24-meter Tip Top with 180m2 of roomy deck space. Start the day off right with a refreshing welcome drink and Caribbean rhythms soaking up the sun and magnificent landscapes on our way to an amazing coral head for snorkeling. An authentic Dominican feast awaits a little farther west on Cambiaso Beach. We'll have plenty of time to explore the serene community living in isolated tropical paradise, relax and swim before boarding the Tip Top for our final downwinder to the Luperon Yacht Club nestled among the mangroves in the naturally-formed harbor.

  • Lunch on-board.
  • Farewell Dinner at Pomodoro.
  • Come back soon!Accommodations: Cabarete (3-star).

Day 12: July 15, 2007 (Sunday)

  • Breakfast in the hotel.
  • Independent Lunch.
  • Group Airport drop-off (POP).  Hotel departure at 1:00 p.m.

Boutique Hotel PalacioAccommodations

Boutique Hotel Palacio
Colonial Zone, Santo Domingo

Nights 1 through 4

Located only two blocks from the Cathedral Primada of America and right in the center of all historical and cultural attractions of the first city ever built in the New World. The monuments, museums, classical and modern art exhibits and concerts will add interest to your stay in this magical city bathed in tradition that today welcomes visitors with open smiles. Hotel Palacio was a property of Buenaventura Beaz, who was President of the Dominican Republic several times during the 20th century. This ex-palace now features 40 luxurious rooms that have been rebuilt and tastefully decorated featuring one or two queen size beds, sofa bed, Air conditioning, Cable TV, telephones in the room and bathroom, mini bar, Security box, high speed internet connection, and key card room locks that offer you easy access and high security.

Hotel Aloha SolHotel Aloha Sol
de los Caballeros
Nights 5 through 7

Centrally located on Santiago's principal shopping avenue, Calle del Sol, the Aloha Sol has the comfort of a city hotel with all of the charm and warmth for which the Cibao Valley is known. After all, Santiago is called the "Ciudad Corazon". The Aloha Sol Hotel has 66 rooms in 5 categories well appointed with mahogany furniture, air conditioning, cable tv, private bathrooms with hot water and mini bar.

Plan Sierra Centro Los MotonesPlan Sierra's Centro de Motones
San Jos
é de las Matas
Night 8

Plan Sierra's facility at Los Montones, funded in part by the Kellogg Foundation, serves as an agricultural training camp for poor backcountry farmers. Farmers are instructed in sustainable, cooperative and organic farming methods. Accommodations are modest, yet clean and comfortable, in single-sex bunkhouses with single-sex communal facilities. Los Montones is truly a place where nature and humanity have found peace.

Hotel Villa TainaHotel Villa Taina
Nights 9 through 11

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.



July 4, 2007 (Wednesday) to July 15, 2007 (Tuesday)



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