RELIGIONThe population is about 95% Christian, mainly Roman Catholic, however, a lot of other religions are practiced and tolerated (Anglican, Baptist, Evangelic, Mormon, Jehova's Witness, Sevenths Day Adventist). READ MORE
GEOGRAPHYWith 48.198 km2 (29.948 square miles) Dominican Republic is the second largest country in the Caribbean and it occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles, with Haiti occupying the western portion. READ MORE...
BRIEF HISTORYWhen Christopher Columbus arrived the island in 1492 he named it Hispaniola. At that time it was inhabited by some 400.000 Taino Indians. Old World diseases, slavery and cruel treatment by the Spaniards erased this population. READ MORE...
At the very far west end of the cove lies the island of Las Arenitas. This island is larger and has plenty of firm land. Unfortunately it is somewhat polluted along the edges from all the visitors who deposit trash onto the ground but few venture beyond the first 20 yards once landing on this island. This is partly because Hurricane Georges uprooted many trees and bushes making navigation across the property difficult. Another reason is because most people arrive with bare feet and swimsuit. An exploration of this little island requires sturdy shoes and mosquito repellent.”
Boca Chica Beach is not only the biggest natural lagoon of the Caribbean, it is also home to many important historical events for the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean. For example the name Boca Chica, despite popular belief, is an ancient name. Earlier than the first European settlers that landed and named these lands the Americas. This name goes as far back as to the Tainos, the biggest and more organized aborigine tribe on la Hispanola, (island which is shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti.) The Taino Tribe that habited the area of Boca Chica were called: Chiquenses. Their artesian handwork is considered to be the most beautiful out of all the other tribes, which lived on the island. They were the only tribe that incorporated colors into their sculptures, through the usage of paint.
To this day there are still traces of the Chiquense Tainos. On Las Americas highway, before the entrance to the International Airport of Las Americas, there is an ancient semi abandoned Taino Cemetery, which the Dominican Republic Municipal and Center government have forgotten about.
It is rumored that in 1959, when Fulgencio Batista Y Zaldívar (the ex Cuban President) was ran out of Cuba by Fidel Castro’s guerilla army, Batista exiled in Boca Chica for a few days before continuing his journey. It is also rumored that Batista paid Rafael Trujillo Molina, the Dominican dictator, a substantial sum of money in order to exile in Boca Chica. The Hamaca, the first Hotel of Boca Chica, was the Hotel where Batista stayed.
Rafael Molina Trujillo, the Dominican dictator who controlled the Dominican Republic from 1930-1961, built Las Arenitas (one of the two islands on the beach of Boca Chica). Las Maticas on the other hand, according to the wise old Boca Chica men is a Natural Island. Las Maticas was the backyard view from Trujillo’s house: currently the Dominican Bay Beach House. On this island Trujillo had build a small zoo, rumors have it that there was an Alligator, a Panther, many types of different birds, monkeys, and some other type of wild animals. Till this day, one can see the traces of the ceramic and tile troughs built into the floor, which were used to feed the animals.
Later on, throughout the 70 and 80’s Las Maticas became the main attraction to Boca Chica. Locals would climb on the trees and branches and dive into the crystal clear water. Las Maticas became so popular at one point that Dominican Merengue artists have made reference to the island when speaking of Boca Chica. People knew more about Las Maticas than the actual Boca Chica.
Boca Chica is where beach tourism began in the Dominican Republic Resorts Industry. One of the reasons is due to the location of Boca Chica: some 25 minutes from Santo Domingo and only 10 minutes away from Las Americas, (the first International Airport of Dominican Republic). Another reason why Boca Chica became the first, was due to the beautiful crystal clear blue water and white sandy beach. This beautiful beach was/is so close to Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, a sector of the Dominican elite began to build Beach Houses on Boca Chica Beach. Most of these houses remain intact on the East side of the Boca Chica Beach, next to the current all inclusive resort: Hamaca.
When three large all inclusive resorts entered the market during the 80’s and early 90’s, the Dominican Republic Resorts industry clientele in Boca Chica was predominantly European (Italian & German) and French Canadian. Later, benefiting from Internet publicity in the mid 90’s, more tourists from the United States began to visit Boca Chica.
Boca Chica’s development has, to a large extent, been influenced by the first tourists who visited the area. Even today, the town has a fair number of Italian residents. Also, there are numerous Italian Restaurants as well as hotels and condominiums owned by Italians. The German presence is apparent as well. Not, as much as the Italians, but there are still a number of German owned businesses as well, particularly dive shops, coffee shops, and bars.
This situation to some degree has influenced the local of Boca Chica. This explains why Boca Chica locas tend to be more liberal than other Dominican areas or sectors. Today, Boca Chica Beach has become a multicultural town, composed of diverse nationalities and ethnics, from Dominicans, Italian, Americans, Britons, Germans, Haitians etc.
Directly across from Las Arenitas towards the main shore, is an old and now obsolete sugar factory, which use to be the key source of employment for the town of Andrés, often called "Andrés de Boca Chica". Andres started off as a Batey, the name given to towns constructed for the proletarians who worked the sugarcane fields and factories. This area is also home to the local fish market. Here is where all the fishermen land their catch to sell.
Also across the shore is a marina, home to many large yachts as well as a Dominican Customs facility for use by the large freighters that arrive at the port of Andrés. There is a good stretch of beach called Playa Andrés that covers the distance between the marina and Boca Chica Beach.··It is seldom crowded and is lined with natural palm-leaf beach umbrellas and wooden slat chairs.”
NEW!!! Looks like Boca Chica is going to become the next SURFING destination. To the west of the island, Las Arenitas, local Dominicans are beginning to catch waves. According to the surfers the waves are increasing in size in this area! Surfing in Boca Chica will be the next water activity & sport.
Within Boca Chica’s cove there are two small islands. More or less in the center is a mangrove isle named Las Maticas, There is very little firm ground on this mangrove but it is home to thousands of birds called "garzas" (herons). Many visitors enjoy wading out to the shore of the mangrove and just hanging out, as the water off-shore is only a couple feet deep and it recedes gently up along a soft and smooth sand bar. A narrow waterway cuts through the center of the mangrove and curious visitors like to float through in a boat, just to see where it goes.
The Dominican Republic’s Boca Chica Beach is truly unique.·Lined with hotels, all-inclusive resorts, shops, restaurants, bars and cafeterias, its waters form a cove approximately 1 mile wide.· About 1/4 mile out, is a reef in the shape of a giant semi-circle that extends from end to end and just protrudes beyond the water's surface. The reef completely surrounds the cove, forming a giant natural salt-water swimming pool with depths averaging 3-4 feet.· Nevertheless, the reef has two openings: on the East side is the Boca (mouth) of Boca Chica where the cove waters meet the deep blue sea. This is where the water enters. The current flows from East to West. The west side is where the two yacht Clubs are located, also where the reef parts to enter the Caribbean Sea. The reef acts as a natural water break to the Caribbean Sea, so the cove is usually glass calm.· Inside the reef, the water is crystal clear, continuously filtered and fed by a series of natural underground springs.··It is this "swimming pool in the sea" that provides some very beautiful and distinct views because you have the deep azure blue of the Caribbean beyond the reef, contrasting with the shallow bay, which varies between a deep sky-blue and an intense blue-green, depending on the angle of the sun.”
The water starts at the beach about ankle deep and reaches a depth of just few feet about 100 yards out, with nothing but smooth clean sand underfoot.· As one approaches the middle of the cove, there may be a short distance of 10 yards or so where the water depth reaches 6 feet but it quickly returns to just a few feet in depth and slowly shallows again until it is again ankle deep as one approaches the natural reef.
This naturally calm, clear, and shallow water makes it ideal for all sorts of water sports and swimming.· It is great for paddle boats, kayaks, water skiing and banana boat rides. Jet skis are restricted to the far end of the beach, away from the hotels and swimmers.· It is especially good and safe for small children.· The sand along the shore varies in appearance from a light colored tan to white, depending on the angle of the sun.· It is flat for easy walking and the beach varies from 40 to 100 yards wide.· One can easily find room on the beach to throw a Frisbee around any day of the week, any time of the day. There is lots of open space.
On Sundays, the Boca Chica is busier, as many Dominican families come from Santo Domingo to enjoy the beach, but by Monday morning the beach is empty and cleaned of any debris left from the Sunday crowds.· The rest of the week is generally quiet until Saturday, when the beach does see more visitors.
Hotel Zapata is internationally renowned for being a Hotel where one can learn and interact with the Dominican Culture. "It is in a great location if you are interested in experiencing the local community and I will continue to have it as my home base when I return."
(Oct, 2010,Wayfayer, Tripadvisor.com) Hotel Zapata is the first non all inclusive hotel Dominican owned and operated on the beach of Boca Chica. "I highly recommend this hotel for those who are looking for something more intimate than the larger all inclusive resorts where you will get the full flavor of the culture while being close to everything." (Oct, 2010,Wayfayer, Tripadvisor.com)Currently Hotel Zapata is working on taking this Dominican emerging cultural experience to the next level, by designing and creating authentic Dominican cultural activities and excursions that cannot be offered in any other establishment on the island. Also, for those interested in travelling and doing social work, Hotel Zapata is also working on making strategic alliances with distant organizations that offer different social service activities.