Our blog will now travel across the Atlantic to the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean, through César Herrera, CEO of the property company Provaltur International who specialise in the country’s luxury real estate sector as exclusive affiliates of Christie’s International Real Estate. César’s comments will not only provide us with more insight on the different aspects of private and professional life associated with the real estate sector, but will also reveal some of the most enchanting spots of the country, which forms part of the spectacular island of Hispaniola.
-What is your role within Provaltur?
President and CEO
-How long have you lived in the Dominican Republic?
I was born in Santo Domingo and left when I was 3 to Switzerland. I came back in 1976 when I was 15, and since then, the Dominican Republic has been both my home and work place.
-What do you love most about the Dominican Republic?
I must say the people and the culture is what make us so different from the rest of the Caribbean. Of course we have the best beaches, the highest mountains and many destinations to choose from. But it’s our people that make us different from the rest; perhaps it has something to do with our Spanish roots and Latin blood.
-Favorite weekend activity?
Photography has become a real hobby of mine, taking me to many remote, unspoiled and unique places on the island, such as villages with native people where the tourists usually don’t venture. Of course, I enjoy golf; we have almost 30 golf courses on the island and some of the best in the Caribbean such as the Teeth of the Dog at Casa de Campo and Punta Espada at Juanillo. I enjoy windsurfing and have dabbled in kite surfing, but when I’m in shape, I go back to surfing. The town of Cabarete is a real hotspot for surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing.
-And what about Dominican cuisine?
Dominican cuisine is actually very international. Some of my favorite places to eat are Don Pepe (Spanish restaurant), Francesca, Locanda and Vesuvio (Italian) and Chez Lorenz (French), who all serve fusion dishes, incorporating local flavours and ingredients from the island. I love “arroz y habichuelas” (rice and beans) and “sancocho’ for rainy days. Also, outside of Santo Domingo you can find Le Cirque in Casa de Campo, La Yola in Punta Cana and many first-class European chefs in the area of Las Terrenas.
-What would be your top 5 tips for those travelling to the Dominican Republic?
I would advise to land at the airport closest to your final destination (we have 7 international airports). Depending on the type of holiday you are looking for, choose the destination to suit your needs (Casa de Campo, Samana, Punta Cana, Santo Domingo, Cabrera or Jarabacoa), as each provides a different experience. Try to avoid driving as roads can be congested at times, and come ready to learn to dance and listen to Meringue. It’s also a good idea to bring any sports equipment with you to enjoy your favourite activities.
-What advice do you have for someone relocating to the Dominican Republic?
Anyone thinking of moving to the island should make the most of the many benefits laws in place for property investors, buyers or those in retirement. They should also contact trustworthy advisors to put them in touch with key professionals who can help with the move or the transition to becoming the owner of a magnificent property. Provaltur has the best team to help you choose among the finest properties available for sale on the island.
-What are the island’s biggest attractions?
The beaches, Dominican food, Meringue music and sports, but I don’t mean just baseball; there’s also golf, polo, water sports, fishing and extreme sports in the mountains. And of course our people in general.
-Tell us a local secret!
It’s a real advantage to have a good Dominican friend who will take you to the less touristy places. You have to venture beyond the holiday resorts to see the real Dominican Republic, but make sure you have a good local friend to guide you.
-Which property would you highlight from Provaltur’s portfolio?
Casa Palapa at: www.provaltur.com/punta-minitas-11