the original home of the town’s founder
and the first Spanish governor, Nicolas de
The hotel offers seven meeting rooms
for events, including the Salon Restaurante
for up to 56 and the Patio Bartolome de la
Casas for up to 250, among others.
For something truly unique, El Meson de
la Cava, which opened in 1967, is located in
a natural limestone cavern that once sheltered Taino Indians. During the construction of the restaurant the caves revealed
artifacts, including the weapons guerrillas
used during the occupation of 1930. Today,
these artifacts are on exhibit for visitors.
The Cave’s Terrace of the Inn, an outdoor
space lush with exotic and tropical vegetation, is a remarkable venue to host events
of up to 180 guests.
Another Santo Domingo highlight is the
Dr. Rafael M. Moscoso National Botanical
Garden, which visitors can experience
on foot or by tram. Founded in 1976 and
named for the famed Dominican botanist,
the gardens span more than 400 acres of
vegetation and flowers, including 300 types
of orchids. The gardens remain a perfect
spot to view native birds (some very rare)
and there’s also a traditional Japanese
garden on-property that should stir the
creative juices of event planners.
“The garden, which has been used in
commercials and films, has several rooms,
outdoor areas and gazebos that are wonderful for meeting events for 50 to 2,500
people,” said Karen Jhonson Castillo, business and planning executive, IVI DMC2
Dominican Republic, based in Punta Cana.
The ultra-luxurious Casa de Campo
Resort & Villas (in the La Romana area)
tennis center gardens is popular for private
dinners and receptions, and the hotel’s
private Minitas Beach hosts groups of up
to 600 people who can sip cocktails while
waves crash to the shore at their feet.
Casa de Campo’s Altos de Chavon, the
resort’s own 16th century replica of a Mediterranean village, has several remarkable
venues, including the Chavon Terrace, La
Piazzetta Restaurant and Chavon Plaza.
Active studios for artists of every medi-
um—from pottery to weaving and silk
screening—line the cobblestone streets
alongside shops and boutiques showcasing
their unique creations.
Other sites include an archaeological
museum offering a glimpse into the history
of the area, the St. Stanislaus Church, a
5,000-seat amphitheater with sweeping
views of the Chavon River and the Caribbean Sea.
Punta Cana is widely known for its stunning beaches, upscale hotels, breathtaking
golf courses and a variety of water-sports
For Ramon Rijo, regional managing
director of Punta Cana’s IVI DMC2 Dominican Republic, it’s not too difficult to plan
meeting events in the area because they are
spoiled for choice.
“I am proud of being Dominican and
not only because we are a friendly, fun
and hard-working people, but because we
also have amazing beaches, modern hotel
infrastructure, convention centers and
spectacular venues that surpass the expec-
tations of our visitors and lend themselves
to meetings and events,” Rijo said. “We are
the island in the middle of the Caribbean
that has it all.”
Like Santo Domingo, there are plenty
of historical sites to visit in Punta Cana,
including the Casa Ponce de Leon, just
outside the city near Boca de Yuma. Once
a working farm and sugar plantation, the
building now houses period furniture and
a suit of armor once worn by the explorer.
The Basilica Nuestra Senora de La Altagra-cia, located in Higuey near Punta Cana,
is a Catholic cathedral with stained glass
windows to commemorate the orange
grove where a vision of Virgin Mary was
witnessed; locals still make the yearly pilgrimage on Jan. 21.
Some of the area’s best-known hotels
have interesting venues of their own for
events, including the Hard Rock Hotel &
Casino Punta Cana. Its Fillmore Ballroom,
with 37,500 square feet of space, can hold
close to 4,000 guests and has hosted some
of the most elaborate events in the Caribbean, including concerts starring Andrea
Bocelli and Enrique Iglesias.
The hotel’s Oro Night Club, modeled
to rival Las Vegas and Miami nightclubs,
is considered one of the hottest in the
Dominican Republic and accommodates
60 for dinner and 200 for a reception. Oro
offers more than 14,000 square feet of
space across two levels and features elaborate lighting that includes an LED wall with
more than 300 individual LED screens.
At the Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro
Punta Cana, an all-inclusive hotel catering
to meeting groups, the Grand Bavaro’s
sailing ship in the lagoon can accommodate up to 190 guests for cocktails. The
pool area accommodates up to 200 and up
to 250 can be accommodated for spectacular beach events.
Between the Atlantic Ocean and the
majestic mountain range of the Pico Isabel
de Torres (Mount Isabel) is Puerto Plata.
The 16th century Fortaleza San Felipe,
which houses Museo de la Fortaleza San
Felipe, is one of the top attractions, as is the
4,000-seat seaside Puerto Plata Amphitheater near the fort. The 22,200-square-foot
Amphitheater, available for corporate
events, includes a 3,300-square-foot stage
and boasts sweeping views of the Atlantic
Ocean and the country’s north coast.
The Brugal Rum Distillery, which produces about a million and a half liters of
white and dark rum per year, offers free
tours and a fun place to buy some liquid
Puerto Plata is also home to the Amber
Museum, widely considered a superb example of Neoclassical architecture. Visitors
can view pieces taken from the amber
mines in the northern mountains and explore an extensive collection of Dominican
amber, reputed to be the most transparent
in the world. Don’t miss the gift shop that
sells genuine Dominican amber jewelry.
And finally, a must-see while in Puerto
Plata is the Teleferico, the only cable car in
the Caribbean, which takes visitors to the
top of Mount Isabel ( 2,555 feet above sea
level) for a panoramic view of the city. m
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