Hello loves! Hope you enjoyed my last post of two of the stops on my 7-day cruise with Carnival. If you haven’t click here to see the beauty of Grand Turk and Curacao. Our third stop was to an up and coming tourist stop in the Dominican Republic. The city La Romana. We only had about 7 hours to do any kind of exploring or choose to go to popular beaches about an hour away.
We decided to go for the exploring. Why? Well for one the day was kind of gloomy and not really amazing for tanning and beaching. Secondly, we didn’t want to drive an hour away and take up more time. We got an excursion to explore the sights La Romana and the nearby city has to offer, the best part, we had air conditioning the whole time. A motor coach bus took about thirty of us around the city.
La Romana Sights:
The first sight was of an Obelisk, modeled after the George Washington monument here in D.C. It’s a much smaller version but the beauty of it is that on all four sides there are paintings of contemporary and historical depictions of Dominican history and life. Next was their version of Central Park, here is where all the people would come to celebrate any national holidays and party all into the night. Right across the park was St. Rosa Lima Church, this was the first church to be built-in La Romana to honor Santa Rosa de Lima, the first patron saint of Peru. (Cool little fact since my heritage is Peruvian)
Next, was my groups favorite stop! We’re all from New Jersey and in Jersey, when you’re born you’re automatically a baseball fan. Why? The New York Yankees! As a kid, our families would get together and go to games, grill out at the stadium, or get everyone to go over someone’s house and watch the game. Being in the Dominican Republic, we got to see first-hand where many of the greats once played before making it big in the MLB.
Los Toros del Este is one of the top teams in La Romana and they took us around their whole stadium and to where many contracts were signed and showed us many items that could easily be found in Cooperstown. We were standing on the field where Robinson Cano, Gary Sanchez, Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez all played for or against the home team. There were obviously many more players and seeing the city youth playing and training across the street was amazing. They start playing at a young age to hopefully get the chance to one-day leave for the MLB and provide a better life for their families.
Our next stop was Fundacion Corazon, here is where many of the children and people come to better themselves, get educated or help work to create some kind of profit for their families. The children would be in the school learning all day long. The adults would be found making jewelry, food, paintings, anything able to sell to help bring in a profit. The good thing about this foundation is whatever the families made and sold they got to keep all of the profits. The foundation itself runs on some small government funding but mostly by public donations directly to the foundation.
This next stop was actually pretty cool; we went to a huge cigar company in the Caribbean. We got to see exactly how the Vegafina cigars were made and how the whole process happens. None of us, actually tried the cigars but a couple we became friends with said they were almost as good as a Cuban cigar. Here, we were able to shop around and got some snacks and did a little gift shopping as well.
Altos de Chavon:
This stop was my favorite hands down! The city was said to be built as a gift from the ruling father to his daughter for her 15th birthday. (I just got a house party, not even a car. Haha!) He styled it after a Mediterranean European Village with a famous Italian architect and Dominican engineer working on the construction. A popular attraction because inside the city it holds a cultural center, an archeological museum, an amphitheater, St. Stanislaus Church and so much more. Nearby is the famous Casa de Campo resort, where stars like Alex Rodriguez, Marc Anthony and others have summer homes and many other stars like the great Michael Jackson have visited. The amphitheater had many star performances, the most popular being Frank Sinatra, Santana and Julio Iglesias. There’s so much to see and explore here it truly does take your breath away. The nature is breath taking, the little shops adorable and even the weather couldn’t make it ugly.
I was extremely happy we choose to explore the beauty of La Romana instead of just heading to another beach. I’ll be back to visit la Casa de Campo. I got to learned a lot about the people and culture of the Dominican Republic. Most importantly, it made me appreciate the sacrifices my parents made for me by coming to the United States. You get to see a different form of living and poverty at another level. The people, however, smile and believe in one another and their way of life. We were all extremely grateful to experience this and it made us realize how great we truly have it in our everyday lives. A part of me will always be with La Romana and here’s until next time.
Stay tuned soon for my final stop on my summer cruise with Carnival.