Summertime and it’s hot as…  but DRVisitor’s curated list of events is here for June and July 2018, and it’s even hotter—in a good way. From seafood to rum festivals, and lots of live music, here’s where to have fun and take your mind off the uncomfortable weather.

JUNE 2018

1. Juanes in concert — Puerto Plata City, June 16 at 8pm

Colombian pop and rock star Juanes is performing live at Puerto Plata’s outdoor amphitheater, as part of his latest albun tour.  Something to do while you’re in town. Tickets are on sale online at UEPA TICKETS, or at Jumbo, Supermercado José Luis (27 de febrero street), and Blue JackTar Hotel in Playa Dorada.

2. Fiesta de la Musica by Alliance Française of Santo Domingo — Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone, Friday June 22 from 5pm + Saturday June 23 from 4:30pm 

This is one of the best, most organized music festivals in the DR. We had a ton of fun last year enjoying various live bands of various genres and from around the world. I remember the awesome international vibe, and the crowd jamming to Haitian band Bookman Eksperyans, live on Plaza España. There are various shows scheduled throughout the day and night at various venues across the Colonial Zone. Look out for the full line up this year on their Facebook, and GO. It’s free. (Hashtag: #FDM_RD2018)

Schedule for Friday + Saturday below, courtesy of Alianza Francesa:

3. Annual Seafood Festival (Festival Marisco Ripiao) – Sanchez, Samaná, June 30 (6pm-9pm) + July 1 (10am-9pm)

This year’s fifth edition, taking place in the small fishing town of Sanchez. Ask anyone to direct you to the waterfront (hard to miss). From Samaná Town, if you’re carless, it’s an easy half-hour guagua (bus) ride, and you get off just as short walk from the waterfront. Events on the main day of the festival include chef cooking shows, plays, an arts and crafts shopping area, and of course, a seafood buffet lunch. Entrance is free, but meals and drinks are of course, sold on site (bring cash).

4. Dream Wimbash Summer Jam — Cabarete Beach, Puerto Plata Province, June 23 6pm-8pm 

I’ve never experienced this particular event, but I’m including it because a good friend and longtime DR resident recommended it, and it’s also for a good cause. Hosted by The Dream Project, an educational non-profit based in Cabarete. Free concert on Cabarete beach, in front of Onno’s.

5. Annual Expo Mango or Mango Festival — Bani, southwest of Santo Domingo, June 27 to July 1

The annual mango festival is a great time to sample the DR’s numerous mango species, from sweet to sour. Bani is just an hour (or less) outside of the capital of Santo Domingo, and can easily be reached by rental car or by guagua (bus). The event takes place at the town’s central square or Plazoleta del Ayuntamiento (can’t miss it, but ask anyone and they will direct you). Sunday is usually the best day to attend, when there are lots of fun games and music.

JULY 2018

6. Dominican Rum Festival — Puerto Plata City’s Amphiteathre Grounds, Saturday July 6-7

The Dominican Republic’s very first rum festival is here and it’s taking place over two days at the outdoor waterfront amphiteatre grounds. Concerts, food, and of course, plenty of rum scheduled. It’s a paid event, and you can find out more here.

7. 13th Annual Cabarete Classic — Cabarete Beach, July 18-21

Water sports lovers alert! This 13th edition will feature various activities, from paddleboarding to a kitesurfing and windsurfing race. One of the great things about it is that funds go to support the area’s kids in learning to kitesurf, including funding their equipment. The event info says more details are to come so look for those on Facebook.

8. Just announced today: Santo Domingo’s Restaurant Week 2018 — July 2-8 

It’s a great time to try out Santo Domingo’s restaurants, going back to favorites or to new ones, for a one-time, set-menu deal — lunch or dinner — that usually costs under 1,000 pesos. I’ll link to the list of participating restaurants here when I get it.

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Lebawit Lily Girma

A former corporate attorney, Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning travel writer, photographer, and author of several Caribbean guidebooks for US-publisher Moon Travel Guides, including Moon Belize and Moon Dominican Republic. Originally from Ethiopia, Lily calls herself a “culture-holic”–fluent in four languages, she has lived in eight countries besides the U.S., including Belize, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. Her articles and photography focusing on culture, adventure, and sustainable travel in the Caribbean region have been published in AFAR Magazine, CNN, BBC, Delta Sky, The Guardian, and others. She is the recipient of the 2016 Marcia Vickery Wallace Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism from the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

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