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Further east along the coast are the adjacent beach towns of Juan Dolio and Guayacanes. More tranquil and residential than busy Boca Chica, they lure us with a lovely, if less energetic, setting.
Juan Dolio has just the right amount of nightlife for a leisurely Caribbean vacation. Those seeking more action can head for the area's casinos. A reputation for excellent cuisine has also taken hold here and sophisticated palates can choose from a variety of fine restaurants and cafés, ranging from informal to casually elegant.
Juan Dolio is a 30-minute drive from the nightlife of Santo Domingo, 15 minutes from Boca Chica or 40 minutes east to La Romana, thus offering tourists a four-for-the-price-of-one destination.
For the sports-minded, there is even a pizzeria with its giant satellite dish so tourists don't have to miss seeing that important soccer, baseball, basketball or hockey game if not already available at your hotel. Or take time off from beach going and hotel water sports programs to play a round of golf. Juan Dolio is a golfer's mecca as it features two prime golf coureses and their residential communities. Visit Los Marlines and the Guavaberry Golf Course, a Gary Player design, and check out the possibility of spending more time in this southeastern town. Both feature fine restaurants catering to the gourmet tastes of visiting golfers.
Juan Dolio is only 10 minutes from the industrial port and university city of San Pedro de Macorís. The nation's third largest metropolis is celebrated for endowing the U.S. Major Leagues with many illustrious baseball stars. The San Pedro baseball stadium hosts games during the October-February professional baseball season, featuring many baseball heroes. San Pedro is the hometown of Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa, Yankees star Alfonso Soriano and Vladimir Guerrero who has played played for the home team, the Estrellas Orientales.
On the way to La Romana by way of San Pedro de Macorís, between Soco and Cumayasa rivers, visit the Cueva de las Maravillas, a natural wonder with over 500 pre-Columbian pictographs. of the Taino Indians. The Ministry of Environment painstakingly habilitated this Cumayasa cave so that persons of all ages - including those with special needs - can delight in this underground spectacle of nearly 900 yards (840 metres) of labyrinths that show off the legacy of the Taino Indians.
Instead of continuing east on to La Romana, a memorable side trip is in store for you. Take the entire family to visit one of the largest horticultural centers in the Caribbean. Tropical Plantation displays scores of exotic species - bromeliads, anthuriums, orchids and others along challenging labyrinthian paths. Complementing their intense colors, fragrance and beauty is an aviary with the island's native birds. It is an entertaining cross between a botanical garden, an amusement park and a working plant nursery that will captivate everyone for an entire morning or afternoon. You may book a tour through your hotel excursion desk.
Also in Hato Mayor, adventure lovers may book an underground excursion to the Rancho Capote and its Cueva Fun Fun, one of the largest caves in the world. Experience the darkness down under, the giant corridors, the cave art, and a magical swim in the seven kilometer-long subterranean river. This thrilling excursion begins with a ride on horseback, then a walk through "the jungle", the cave adventure, and ends with a well-deserved lunch with lots of fresh orange juice.
Just half an hour to the north, visit the town of Sabana de la Mar for excursions to Los Haitises National Park. Excursions can be arranged at the inland Cano Hondo small hotel and restaurant that serves a memorable and delicious Dominican food lunch amid the tranquil sounds of waterfalls and tropical jungle.
Information provided by the National Hotel & Restaurant Association Tourism Promotion Council.