Punta Rucia, Sense of Place
In the north coast of the Dominican Republic, there is an idyllic enclave that has been the inspiration to write a popular song, has attracted thousands of local and foreign tourists, and has been an important source of incomes in this area.
The story has it that this cape together with its beach, located between the two provinces, Puerto Plata and Monte Cristi, was baptized by Christopher Columbus with this name due to the brown color of animals he found in this place.
Punta Rucia, still a virgin zone, has 31 miles of golden sand along La Isabela Bay, which according to its location, is characterized by a low density of visitors. The seaside resort is about 310 miles away from Punta Cana and 155 miles from Santo Domingo.
“Voy pa' Cayo Arena / A cantar de vela / Con la güira en mambo en un bote vela”, is how the popular song of Juan Luis Guerra begins, launched in 2010, and whose title is equal to the name of one of the main attractions close to Punta Rucia. Cayo Arena, also known as Paradise Cay, is a mound placed 20 minutes away from the coast that can be accessed by motorboats at the service of visitors. Any prior reservation is not required (though in high season to guarantee a place in the boat is recommended) because there will always be a boat available to take you to the islet.
Upon arrival, you will be deeply impressed by the coral reef landscape full of a marine fauna living in these clear shallow waters. It is very safe for snorkelling and if you are lucky, colorful fishes will be seen with naked eye.
The cay dimension is determined by the sea currents. Sometimes the mound is totally under waters but when it is uncovered, some big tents with cane ceilings are installed to offer food, drinks and equipment for practicing water sports; definitely a small well-appointed paradise.
Monte Cristi National Park
Punta Rucia is right beside Monte Cristi National Park that covers an area of 341 square miles and has the country’s second largest mangrove forest down the length of 57 miles. This represents the 40 percent of mangroves all over the national territory. For this reason, it has an incalculable environmental value for all Dominicans.
Likewise, it includes coastal lagoons and a limestone plateau known as El Morro de Monte Cristi, a provincial icon at an altitude of 787 feet, perfect for the most adventurous people can reach the top and be compensated when they gaze at the landscape. As a notable fact, one of its purposes is the preservation and conservation of manatee, an endangered marine mammal. Moreover, it is the habitat of a diverse and attractive fauna for those who practice bird watching.
Hotels and restaurants
Near Punta Rucia, many hotels and restaurants have been built to support the influx of tourists that has revitalized the economy of this remote town.
The hotel offers are aimed to ecotourism integrating facilities and nature. Among which Punta Rucia Lodge, Cayo Arena Beach Ecohotel, Corales Punta Rucia and Paraíso Ecolodge stand out.
In terms of gastronomy, the dishes are based on fish and different seafood resulting from the daily catch. In this sense, the ocean has become the main source of employment for dozens of people.
Driving from Bávaro-Punta Cana resort, take the Coral Highway to Santo Domingo and then the Duarte Highway to Santiago province, the center of the northern region.
Leaving Santiago behind, it is the perpendicular road, Navarrete-Puerto Plata, and 13 miles away meet the crossroads of Guayacanes and then take the main road that cuts all the way across the municipalities El Mamey, La Isabela and finally Estero Hondo, whose limits harbour the beach.
TEXTO: Geizel Torres; IMÁGENES: Suresh / Archivo