Beyond the All-inclusive: Experience the Best of the Dominican Republic

first_img All 21 Six Flags Parks in the U.S., Ranked The McMenamins Effect: How 2 Brothers Helped Start Beervana Desert Wing’s Sharp Angles Bring Drama to the Desert For many Americans, the Dominican Republic is synonymous with the endless, nameless resorts of Punta Cana. But the country offers so much more than most tourists will ever experience. Here’s a crash course in some of its best hotels, restaurants, and experiences that you’ve (probably) never heard of.PlayThe tourists have gotten wind of Playa Rincon, but this stunning stretch of beach in Samana is still somehow quiet almost every day of the week. Every local will tell you that it’s the best beach in the entire country and it is indeed routinely ranked among the best beaches in the world.Playa RinconFor something more active, head inland to Pico Duarte. This 10,000-plus foot mountain is the tallest point in the Caribbean. It’s still well under the tourist radar, even for hikers. Informal two- and three-day guided trips are available from the nearby town of La Ciénega, near Jarabacoa. The best guides will even offer mule assistance to carry your essentials. Plan a winter visit when the park service claims less than twenty hikers attempt the summit each month.Eat & DrinkDominican locals know about Las Galeras – a quiet seaside community with one of the most laid back vibes in the country. If you need just one reason to go, it’s to visit El Cabito. This tiny, Spanish-owned eco lodge cum restaurant serves fantastic, authentic Spanish food amid breathtaking views of the Atlantic. They even have a legitimate treehouse available to rent with a stunning vantage point over Rincon Bay.Desert Island, Dominican RepublicSamana may not be known for fine dining, which is perhaps why Cafe del Mar stands out even more. This modern, upscale eatery sits squarely on a small peninsula in Puerto Bahia marina, with panoramic ocean views. By day, the restaurant’s oceanfront infinity pool is an ideal spot to relax with a mojito. After dark, the glass-enclosed dining room offers some of the best seafood dishes in the area. Go with their catch of the day or simply opt for the area favorite — a light fish filet in tomato and coconut sauce.StayMost accommodations in the Dominican Republic center on the typical all-inclusive resort model. However, the country is starting to see slow, steady growth in the number of upscale boutique hotels.In Santo Domingo, the Billini Hotel offers five-star luxury in the city’s most beautiful and historic district — the Colonial Zone. The former 17th-century nunnery retains much of its original architecture and charm, while blending cutting edge, contemporary design elements. While unassuming from the outside, in-room amenities include bedside tablets, all-glass bathrooms, and a slick LCD touchscreen that replaces the staid Do Not Disturb door hanger. It rivals any boutique hotel in Manhattan and may well be the country’s chicest accommodations.Casa La NoubaMuch farther afield in the bustling seaside town of Las Terrenas, Casa La Nouba is a hilltop luxury bed and breakfast unlike any we’ve ever seen. Perched atop the town’s highest point, the property’s four bedrooms overlook an ultra-modern infinity pool. This literal million-dollar-view provides a sweeping panoramic vista of the Atlantic Ocean and the community below. 10 Destination-Worthy Food Halls Throughout the U.S. Deep Sleep: The World’s Most Incredible Underwater Hotel Rooms Editors’ Recommendations last_img read more

Sri Lanka and EU discuss repeal of the PTA land issue

The parties welcomed the recent lifting of the EU ban on export of fish from Sri Lanka. This was achieved due to the extensive improvements made by the Government of Sri Lanka in fisheries management and control, consistent with its international obligations. It was agreed that the close relationship established on fisheries between the two parties will continue.The Joint Commission welcomed Sri Lanka’s application for access to the trade concessions under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) as a sign of Sri Lanka’s renewed commitment to meeting its wider international obligations. The parties discussed the procedure for assessing the application, which was presented to the EU at the end of June, in line with the GSP Regulation. The EU drew attention to the importance of continued positive progress in fulfilling Sri Lanka’s stated commitments which need to proceed in parallel. The Joint Commission also agreed to resume the EU-Sri Lanka investment dialogue.The European Investment Bank announced that it was currently negotiating a €50 million (LKR 8.2 billion) concessional loan with the Government of Sri Lanka for Greater Colombo Wastewater Project. The EU reiterated its plans to widen its 2014-2020 development programme (€210 million (LKR 34.4 billion) beyond rural development to provide grants for reconciliation and good governance. Discussions on the specific needs will continue with the Government of Sri Lanka in the coming months. The parties agreed on a series of actions for follow-up before the next Joint Commission meeting in Colombo in 2017. (Colombo Gazette) Sri Lanka and the European Union (EU) have had talks on the progress with regard to the release of land and the normalisation of the life in the North and East of the country, the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the release or prosecution of detainees held under the PTA, and the establishment of the transitional mechanisms for truth, reconciliation, justice and reparations were also discussed. Sri Lanka provided updates on the process of drawing up the new Constitution.The Foreign Ministry said that the meeting provided an opportunity to exchange views on the state of implementation of the UN Human Rights Council resolution of 1 October 2015, which was co-sponsored by a number of UN Member States and Sri Lanka. The parties noted the progress made and indicated that further measures would be pursued and progress would continue for the implementation of the resolution. The EU welcomed the participation of Sri Lankan students, scholars and universities in EU higher education and research cooperation programmes and encouraged more applications from Sri Lanka, given the wealth of available opportunities. The Joint Commission, which oversees the 1995 EU-Sri Lanka Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development, deals with a broad range of bilateral and multilateral issues of mutual interest. Its tasks are to: ensure the proper functioning and implementation of the Agreement; set priorities; and make recommendations. The matters were discussed at the 20th meeting of the EU – Sri Lanka Joint Commission which took place in Brussels yesterday. The meeting was co-chaired by Mrs Chitranganee Wagiswara, Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, and Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific at the European External Action Service. All three Working Groups established under the terms of the Joint Commission reported back from their respective meetings held in January (the Working Group on Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights) and in May (the Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation Issues, and the Working Group on Development Cooperation).The meeting was held in an open and constructive spirit. The EU extended condolences to the many victims of the damaging floods and landslides in Sri Lanka in May and their bereaved families. The Sri Lankan side expressed their appreciation for the EU’s swift response to this disaster. The EU gave €700,000 (LKR 114.5 million) to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to the worst affected communities. read more