Arajet Takes Open Jaw on a Whirlwind Tour of Old and New DR

Altos de Chavon
Altos de Chavon

Courtesy of Arajet, the new low-cost carrier based in the Dominican Republic, Open Jaw's Natasha McKenty had the opportunity to visit some of the DR’s historic towns.

Arajet is currently flying from Toronto and Montreal to Santo Domingo and with connections to 18 destinations across the Americas as of DEC.

Santo Domingo, the capital, is one of the Caribbean's oldest cities. Its walled, cobblestoned historic core, the Zona Colonial, has buildings that date to the 1500s, including the cathedral, which was the first built in the New World.

Locations such as Boca Chica and Juan Dolio are a mere 20-minute journey from the capital, while Bayahibe is easily accessible in 45 minutes.

Juan Dolio, Dominican
Coral Costa Caribe, Juan Dolio

Mi Casa es tu Casa

Arajet representative Mariet Espinal

Escorted by Arajet representative Mariet Espinal, Open Jaw was treated to an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Casa de Campo Resort and Villas in La Romana, Dominican Republic.

Espinal shared Arajet's mission of showcasing the country's lesser-known treasures, emphasizing the Dominican Republic's cultural richness beyond its famous beaches. "We are more than just beach and sun. We are a country full of culture and history," she explained. "Santo Domingo, as the first city of the Americas, holds a special place in our narrative, and our warm hospitality is a testament to our identity."

She continued, "[Arajet] has a good relationship with all the hotels and the [Domincan Tourism Board] - when we knock on their door, they always open for us."

Giovanni Saliba, our Casa de Campo guide, revealed the origin of the resort's cobblestone architecture, a unique feature harking back to the construction of La Romana.

Giovanni Saliba, Casa de Campo

Explaining that the stones were unearthed during the city's construction, our guide shared that TNT explosions were needed to dig out the cobblestones used to reconstruct Altos de Chavon.

Casa de Campo, Domincan Republic
Casa de Campo, La Romana, DR

Located on the grounds of Casa de Campo, Altos de Chavón is a meticulous recreation of a 16th-century Mediterranean-style village atop the Chavón River. It features a cultural center, an archaeological museum, art schools, restaurants, panoramic views, and an open-air amphitheatre.

Chavón River

Saliba shared the story of Altos de Chavón's creation, stating, "The engineer, Charles Bluhdorn, had the idea of using the rocks to make this place. It's said to be a gift to his daughter." This open venue welcomes Campo guests, owners, and outside visitors, hosting concerts featuring prominent artists, a tradition dating back to its inaugural event with Frank Sinatra in 1982.

Altos de Chavón amphitheater.

The amphitheatre, designed in the style of a Grecian theatre and with a seating capacity of 5,000, stands as a testament to the harmonious blend of heritage and entertainment. Since its debut with Frank Sinatra, it has showcased performances by renowned artists such as Juan Luis Guerra, Shakira, Sting, and Elton John.

Algo para Todos: Premier lodging and private villas

Casa de Campo, Dominican

Open Jaw continued the exploration with a Premier lodging and private villas tour guided by Sabina. The luxury rooms, adorned with Caribbean charm, overlook the Caribbean Sea, golf courses, and tropical gardens. Guests enjoy personalized services, including dedicated staff, chefs, and concierge assistance.

Giovanni Saliba highlighted the origin of the Premier lodging concept, stating, "Our president had the idea to start the Premier [lodging]. They have their own reception and their own concierge."

Casa de Campo, private villa, Dominican
Casa de Campo private villa

Casa de Campo, private villa, Dominican

Espinal emphasized "Campo is more than just gold for rich people. It is a mini city, tight-knit and organized”.

(Speaking of gold, the roots of the Dominican Republic's history delve deeply into the gold and mining industry. According to the Gold Quest Corporation, a thriving community of explorers, alongside three prominent mining companies, contributes to the continued growth of the mining and exploration sector.)

The tour ended with lunch at the on-site Lago Restaurant, where Open Jaw over-indulged in a sampling of Dominican dishes, including fresh seafood, tropical drinks, and a dessert "to die for."

Casa de Campo, Dominican
Lago Restaurant

Lago Restaurant offers views of the renowned "Teeth of the Dog" 18-hole golf course and the Caribbean Sea.

Casa de Campo has eight restaurants, a Minitas Beach Club, a marina, an equestrian center, a shooting center, shopping, and three white sand beaches.

Open Jaw will continue reporting on location in the DR until 23NOV.

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