Dominican Heritage Tour by Gerry Isabelle

About Gerry Isabelle

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Gerry Isabelle is a Dominican-American traveler, writer, artist and tourism entrepreneur from the Bronx, New York. Her childhood dream of traveling has taken her all over the world, cultivating a particularly strong love and connection for the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Her writing and photography on travel, society and multicultural identity can be found on her platform: Dominican Abroad (website and Instagram).

About Dominican Abroad:

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Dominican Abroad is a digital media platform and provider of immersive travel services. On the digital side, that means articles, videos, and photography, related to travel and society. The content includes how-to travel guides and cultural insights through the lens of a multicultural, multilingual, and remote millennial from NYC.

The travel services provided include trips around the world with a focus on Cuba and the Dominican Republic, including a Dominican Heritage Tour that launched in February 2019 and was featured in the New York Times. Dominican Abroad values sustainable and ethical tourism, and strives to lead tourism business into the hands of local small business owners (including local women of color). 

About the Dominican Heritage Tour:

The Dominican Heritage Tour is a culturally immersive and holistic travel experience into different corners of the island. Rather than staying in a gated resort, we are taking you to experience an in-depth side of the country, from countryside rural living… to local hot spots in the country’s capital… to the island’s natural wonders. We’ll get a taste of everything DR has to offer.

untitled (6 of 38)-2This curated experience aims for travelers to more deeply understand and connect with the multicultural influences (African, Taino, and European) that make up much of the rich Dominican heritage. Travelers will learn about more about the complex history of the island while culturally immersing themselves through experiences like cooking lessons in Monte Plata and honoring our Afro-heritage with a Fiesta de Palo or los Congos in Villa Mella. Along the way, we will also meet local Dominican activists and community leaders who we can connect and share with.

For 6 days and 5 nights we’ll explore the following: 

Santo Domingo, Monte Plata & Villa Mella: 

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  • Take cooking lessons in the campos of Monte Plata
  • Afro-influenced Fiesta de palo dance ceremony or los Congos in Villa Mella (UNESCO)
  • Walking tours and visits to historic sights
  • Learn a less colonized version of Dominican history
  • Discuss topics in today’s Dominican society with local social activists, community leaders and researchersuntitled (4 of 5)
  • Engage in sustainable travel as we collaborate and work with local entrepreneurs, including WOC
  • Explore Monte Plata’s Socoa Waterfall

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  • Discover the Dominican southwest
  • Road Trip through the Dominican Riviera
  • Making stops along the way in Barahona for the best mangos in the world, larimar shopping (unique gemstone only found in Barahona, Dominican Republic), and epic views of the Dominican Riviera
  • Los Patos beach & river
  • Boat tour through Laguna de Oviedo + Isla Iguana + natural mud spa
  • Crystal clear Arroyo Salado natural pool
  • Private boat to visit Bahia de las Aguilas — ranked as one of the best beaches in the world

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Price & Payments

Cost: $900 – Everything included except flights, alcohol, travel insurance, and two meals.

2020 Dates: February 15 to February 20.

The non-refundable deposit is $200 in order to reserve your spot. 

A note on payments and Installments: Dominican Abroad accepts payments by installments, so pay the trip off as you go – the deadline to pay the full amount is January 15, 2020.

Optional Add-On: Wellness Retreat in the Dominican Alps

created by dji cameraSince the tour runs from Saturday (2/15) through Thursday (2/20), travelers will have the weekend to: fly back home, spend time with their families in DR, solo travel on their own, and/or join our long weekend wellness retreat in Jarabacoa. After the Heritage Tour, from Thursday to Sunday, we will be in the quaint Jarabacoa mountain town in the Dominican Alps; staying in a gorgeous hotel by the Jimenoa river. We will embrace wellness by: relaxing, getting massages, checking out the local gastronomy (including gorgeous mountain restaurants) and embracing the Dominican mountainous outdoors. 

Activities include: meditating, yoga, relaxing, horseback riding, hiking, visiting the many nearby waterfalls, paragliding or water rafting, and/or massages.

Early Bird Special

If you book before November 2019, you save $50 off using the code: TRAVELLATINA

Return Policy: The deposit is non-refundable. The rest of the payments are refundable up to 50% if you cancel before January 15, 2020.

For full tour details email isabelle@dominicanabroad.com for the booklet brochure. 

 

Introducing: Sam Cartagena

Sam Cartagena is a writer, blogger and publicist based in Jersey City, NJ. She’s the founder of Ambition + Mischief, a space that celebrates personal growth and mindful productivity for badass women. She grew up in Washington Heights, NY and is a proud Afro-Dominicana. She’s traveled to over 15 countries (and counting), where she’s always reminded that growth and comfort do not coexist. Follow Sam’s journey as she shares stories about work, life and travel on AmbitionandMischief.com and on Instagram @Ambition.Mischief.

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Yoga & Wellness Retreats by Brenda & Argentina

Brenda and Argentina are both Latina yoga instructors based in New York City. They met while practicing and teaching at a studio in Harlem, NY. Their mission in partnering together and leading yoga retreats is to build a broader yoga community, one that is more inclusive and welcoming.  

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Argentina Rosado
Argentina was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, and moved to the U.S. at the age of 15, along with her mom and three siblings. She began practicing yoga and meditation as a way to cope with the changes of moving to a different country, learning a new language, and fitting in with the culture.

After graduating college and then working in the pharmaceutical drug industry for years, she decided that she wanted to contribute to people’s health and wellbeing in a more holistic way. Argentina is now a full-time yoga instructor and has been studying and practicing holistic healing practices such as Reiki, Yoga Nidra, and various meditation techniques. Her classes are breath-centered, challenging yet accessible and never competitive. Off the mat, she loves to spend time with her dog Rocky and volunteering back home in the Dominican Republic.

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Argentina in the Dominican Republic, her motherland

Brenda Umana, MPH
Brenda stumbled upon yoga in a corporate wellness class while working in the Financial District in San Francisco, CA. At the time she didn’t realize the amount of emotional distress she carried with her, which yoga somehow slowly began to relieve. After many attempts at different corporate jobs, Brenda is now a full-time yoga instructor and committed to making yoga accessible to everyone.  When she’s not doing yoga, she’s enjoying some wine, curled up reading a book, or out and about in the city.

Brenda’s family is originally from El Salvador, and she was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Throughout her childhood she spent many summers travelling back to El Salvador to visit her extended family.

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Brenda in El Salvador, her motherland

Both Argentina and Brenda have been traveling from an early age because of their family and historical roots. They have a passion for culture, food, and community.

August 2018 Yoga Retreat in Santa Marta, Colombia
Together, Argentina and Brenda set out to co-lead their first yoga retreat in 2018. They started the year with organizing and teaching at the Spring Awakening Yoga Retreat in Nicaragua which was a huge success with a group of 12 people taking on the adventure. Check out the hashtag #SpringAwakeningYogaRetreat for some colorful photos, like:

 

Brenda and Argentina are now hosting their second international yoga retreat on the beautiful Caribbean Coast of Santa Marta, Colombia on August 15-20, 2018. The retreat will include an unforgettable six days and five nights of yoga and meditation at an eco-chic beachfront resort. There are plenty of self-care activities planned including themed workshops to deepen your practice and journaling activities for self-awareness and discovery. There will be two day trips scheduled (natural parks, coffee farms, local markets, nature hikes, sacred pools, waterfalls, river tubing, etc). Oh, and tons of free time to take for your sweet self. The Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta is the world’s tallest coastal mountain range. This area is referred to as the Heart of the World for its geographical location but most importantly because every single ecosystem exists and thrives in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The adventures in Santa Marta will allow some time to learn about the Indigenous cultures protecting the Heart of the World. The four existing indigenous tribes (Kogi, Wiwa, Arhuaco and Kankuamo people) are ancestors of the pre-Hispanic Civilization, known as the Tayrona. They still practice and follow the Tayrona belief of “Aluna”, which is the belief that all reality is created by thought.

 

Without a doubt, you’ll be making memorable connections, and so much more, we can’t describe it all here! Click on this link to see the full itinerary, to place a deposit down and list of what’s included

A Note About Instalment Payments
Brenda & Argentina realize that although these experiences are once in a lifetime, there are budget realities. Many people that attended the past Spring Awakening Yoga Retreat in Nicaragua decided to take a payment plan option after the initial deposit. They sent in payments of $50s here and $100s there until they completed their final balance before the trip. Paying a large lump sum of money at once can be challenging, but for this reason Brenda & Argentina are offering a payment plan option where anyone can submit small amounts towards the total balance. The total balance is required to be paid by August 1, 2018.

As yoga teachers, Brenda & Argentina don’t exactly teach to make the big bucks. Once they both decided to turn the corner away from the corporate world, their income drastically decreased and they found themselves planning out their budgets more often, goal-setting, and saving money over time to do the things they are passionate about. They are striving to really make this inclusive. We are all deserving of these experiences.

Pricing
Initial non-refundable deposit $300
Standard Triple Bungalow – $1,874 Early Bird (Expires May 13, 2018)
Standard Triple Bungalow – $1,974 Regular Price (After May 13, 2018)
Double Bungalow Suites- $1,974 Early Bird (Expires May 13, 2018)
Double Bungalow Suites- $2,074 Early Bird (Expires May 13, 2018)

10 Best Travel Beauty Tips For Latinas

It is no surprise for many of us that Latin women dominate the world of beauty pageants especially the beauty contest called Miss Universe. Latinas take lots of pride in their beauty regiment from spending rigorous time at the gym, to following their favorite beauty blogger for never ending beauty tips. Latinas simply enjoy looking presentable and stylish. You will catch a Latina red handed watching their favorite novelas and scanning their favorite actress for beauty tips. According to statistics, there is a growing population of Hispanic women spending more money in the beauty industry, and companies targeting Latina consumers. Allow me to shed some light on another industry which Latinas are warming up to: the Travel Industry. Not at a large scale yet, but Latinas are baby stepping themselves to earn more sky miles, which brings me to the reasons why I want to cluster a few tips regarding Beauty and travel for the latin beauty.

1. Beauty Rest

It may sound obvious, but us Latinas are known for running around like a greyhound trying to shop for our travel outfits, make-up, hair salon, and our “do not get on that plane without a pedicure/manicure” regiment while forgetting to get some rest so we arrive at our destination looking and feeling fresh. So mija, start a new routine. Start packing and planning for your trip ahead of time so on the final days before your vacation, you can just schedule a massage instead.

2. Yelp is Your New Bestie

There are times our high demanding schedule doesn’t allow us to conquer all of our beauty regiments before a trip. So what do we do? Visit Yelp (website) and enter your destination to search where is the nearest beauty store, salon, or spa, so if you happen to need it, it is at your disposal.

3. Don’t Forget Your Accessories

Yes, there are times we tend to forget the little details. But these small details are what can make a big difference in our beauty kit. So make sure you pack pins aka “pinchos” so you can use them to wrap your hair or playfully create different updos abroad. Also, it is important to bring a small amount of cotton wipes, toiletries, and Q-Tips.

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Check this beautiful pins  from Amazon www.amazon.com

4. Flats Are Your New Pumps

I know you can spot a Latina canvassing a mall with high heels or stopping at their corner store  with stilettos. But times have changed and comfort is the new black. Which is why it is essential to make room inside your maleta to insert flats, sandals, or comfortable sneakers. Why? Because when you feel like conquering the streets of Rome, you want to do it in comfort. Trust me on this one!

5. Do Not Wear Make-Up On Board

Please do not board a plane with applied make-up and leave it on so when you land your face looks like The Joker. You don’t want to deal with that. Instead, remove your makeup and 15 minutes before you land, just re-apply it.

6. Silk Pillow

Instead of planting your head on those standard airplane pillows and having your hair look like it had a battle with static, just purchase a silky travel pillow.

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Click to find out more about the pillow www.amazon.com

7. Keep Germs At Bay

Germs are a global concern and they are not planning to disappear from this planet anytime soon. So pack that scented sanitizer inside you cosmetic bag and squeeze when needed.

8. Polish Your Skin

Want to know the secret behind soft shiny skin? If so, start exfoliating often especially when your getaway involves sun and beach.

Exfoliator

This is one of my favorite exfoliator purchased at Amazon  click on this link –100% Natural Scrub

9. Bring Some Workout Gear

I know we spend months on preparing for that trip by working out rigorously before our departure day. But why not keep your fitness routine abroad? By working out at your destined place, you can interact with the locals, check out the neighborhood, and relax your mind.

10.  Don’t Check In Your Toothbrush

Last but not least, do not leave your toothbrush or toothpaste inside your check-in bag. Instead bring it with you and place it inside your purse. Why? After a long flight or during any baggage delays, you want to make sure you have a toothbrush and toothpaste at your disposal. You don’t want to negotiate any flight delays with bad breath. Bonus: stash some undies in your purse while you are at it.

There chicas! This is just a short list to get your traveling happening on a good start. It is always good to be prepared than not. And why not look fabulous when strolling down that airport runaway….

I know you have some beauty tips! Don’t be shy and share below.

 

Introducing: Danica Liriano

Danica is a 29 years old Dominican-Salvadorian, born and raised outside of New York City. Her love for travel began when she studied abroad in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Now as a NYC history teacher, she encourages her own students to go out of their comfort zones and explore other cultures as well. She taught Global History in New York City for four years before serving in Peace Corps Nicaragua for two years as a TEFL teacher trainer. Besides being passionate about education and travel, Danica also enjoys dance, photography, and FOOD! She loves food.

Read, Book, and Explore Machu Picchu!

I didn’t know that booking a ticket to explore Machu Picchu will enable my eyes to see the revealing beauty and indigenous mystery that lies within this great wonder of our world. So many people describe Machu Picchu as a philosophical voyage that serenades you with so much history and breathtaking views like no other. Many regard this destination so major that once checked off their bucket list, other must do’s are just accessory items on their travel wish list. I’m sure all this hype must tickle a nerve within you and makes you wonder, what is all the fuss about? Why is Machu Picchu a travel stamp high in demand for every passport holder? I had to book a flight to Peru and go on this expedition to discover this South American jewel. The Travel 101 experience was the only way to answer these questions and reason why the world is so in love with Picchu!

Behind the Mystery of Machu Pichu:
A masterpiece dating back to 1450’s, this mountain burghal was once the home of the Powerhouse Inca Empire. Upon researching the origin of its discovery, I concluded the facts with the explanation of many urban legends of who, when, why Machu Picchu exists? But there is one story which stood out the most: the voyage of American historian and lecturer, Hiram Bingman. It is recorded that his actual experience to Machu Picchu led him to collect many artifacts of the Incas Empire, which led to its cultural explanation and one of the reasons why Machu Picchu is one of the most visited places in the world. I just wanted to delight you with some history treats, but let us move on to the fun part of making this visit come true.

 

Getting you there:
There are hundreds of tours, website, and airlines which take you to Peru, where the historical site is located. But one website where flight deals are thrown at you like confetti is Skyscanner. This site offers you many options as to where and which airlines accommodates your budget. The most popular airlines flying to Peru are Avianca, Lan, and Taca. One way to beat the price boogie man is flying to Lima, Peru and then take a local flight to Cusco. Some people stay in Cusco then take a Railroad to Machu Picchu and some fly direct to Cusco, which tends to be more expensive. I flew into Lima then took another flight to Cusco for under $600. Once in Cusco, you have the option to reach the mountain via Railroad which is a 3-hour scenic ride of nature’s treasures or a challenging hike which takes a few days. My favorite website of booking the train ride is called, Perurail. Their service is royalty and the picturesque glass view strokes your every emotion. You must book the Vistadome ride so your eyes are taken hostage by the scenery surprise.


Where to rest?
Well, the good news is that you have many options whether to stay in Cusco or Aguas Caliente. If you want a local feel and witness the colorful life of the people in the warm town of Cusco, then book your stay there. For the budget traveler, one good place to stay is Pariwana Hostel (website). It’s clean, friendly, and has a close proximity to main attractions. Also, they host nightly events for their guests. For a more luxurious stay in Cusco, there are places like Belmond Hotel Monasterio (website) and Aranwa Boutique Hotel (website). Websites like http://www.bookings.com, http://www.hotels.com, & http://www.jetsetter.com offer lots of choices to rest those exploring bones.


Visiting the site:
Don’t let Machu Picchu be one of those places you wish you would have visited, because quite frankly, you are going to regret it! One of the most enchanting and curiosity booster is when you hop on the bus, which takes 15 minutes to the entrance of the site. The ride is a slow-motion slideshow of the Peruvian Andes. You witness how each layer of the hills unveil photo worthy landscape features, which brings you to agree that this path to the mountaintop is a beautiful way to greet its guests. The average cost for the bus ride is $20 USD. Things you need to know when planning your visit: book your tickets ahead of time, wear appropriate clothes for hiking, drink plenty of water, and wear sunscreen during the hot season. Also, you have different options as to which level of the mountain top you will like to visit: Picchu or Wayna. I chose Wayna, the most challenging route but the view from the top is heavenly. Once you reach the top, the experience feels like the most intimate moment you will ever have with nature. Please note** not recommend for the elderly, children, and physically disabled. For more information please visit Machu Picchu’s (website) and please note, you can book the ticket with confidence on their site.

 

Best time to visit
While I personally believe Machu Picchu is always a good idea, you must know its weather seasons in order to plan wisely. Rainy season is usually between October & April, and Dry season is usually May & September. If you don’t mind the crowd, then you know you have to visit Machu Picchu during the dry season as it is peak time for tourism. Want to skip the crowd? Then visit the site during the rainy season. FYI Cusco tends to be a bit on the cooler side in comparison to Lima due to its high elevation.

Want to add more flavors to this post? If so, share any questions or travel tips regarding Machu Picchu below.

 

Introducing: Fredelinda Pena

The indelible Fredelinda Pena is on assignment discovering her true life’s passion. Along the way, she has implemented her aspirations to travel the far corners of our global community, discovering the cultural diversities of its inhabitants and cuisines, while advancing her culinary skills and irresistible affection for photography.

The ruminations of her journey, led Fredelinda to the Blogosphere, creating her sanctuary, ModernMuza — a weblog of thoughts of the modern explorer. Reading the blog, you’ll get a true and honest perspective of the many countries she has visited. You’ll also discover a compilation of her multiple experiences on travel, a variety of cooking ideas from a global angle, and her creative approach to photography. Through her blog, she connects with her audience by exploring different cultures and travel adventures, allowing her experiences to inspire her culinary skills and photography.

Being an entrepreneur is an opportunity we seek to grasp firmly on to our life’s work which can be described as a series of actions, memories, experiences, thoughts and emotions. Fredelinda Pena is on high pursuit to captivate an attentive audience of travelers, cooks, and culture enthusiasts, to which will serve as a stepping stone to climb her entrepreneurial ambitions. She currently resides in New York City and is passionate about her Dominican Heritage. Follow her adventures at www.modernmuza.com and Instagram @modernmuza.

Introducing: Bianca Guerrero

Yet another blog contributor has joined us! Here is what Bianca Guerrero has to say:

“I’m a New York native but my family has roots in the Dominican Republic. I’m currently in my junior year of college, studying political science and maybe sociology or Hispanic Studies. Things about graduation are very uncertain, but hopefully I’ll spend my days researching education policy in and outside of the United States. My opportunities to travel arose while in college: I’ve been able to take funded trips to Spain, England, and Japan in my first two years at Columbia University. I spent one month in Barcelona researching the Catalan independence movement one year ago.  I fell so hard for the city that I decided to apply to study abroad there next spring. This past summer, I spent ten days on an incredible study tour of Japan. I got to see three cities and one village, and learned so much about Japanese culture, people, and history. After that, I spent a whole month in England as an intern at Manchester City FC’s community foundation.

I don’t know where life will lead me next, but hopefully it’ll involve a new passport stamp! Traveling is the ultimate hands-on learning experience. I learn most when I’m on the edge of or completely outside of my comfort zone and traveling pushes me to those points. My habits of taking calculated risks and detailed plans for the future are rendered useless when abroad, which I love. I hope to depict the places I’ve been to in an honest, realistic light, rather than an idealized fairytale experience. That way, other Latinas can read and relate to my stories and think of travel as well within their reach!”

Look for Bianca’s post about her trip to Japan coming soon! In the meantime check out her own blogTwitter, Instagram, and VSCO.