Friday, January 26, 2018

2017 Airport Arrivals: Dominican Republic and Puerto Plata

With the recent release of December 2017 airport arrivals in the Dominican republic we have now a complete picture for 2017: it was yet another year of solid growth: no residents (basically torists) arriving in the Dominican airports were 6,187,542 up 3.83% from 2016. The Dominican Republic keep growing as preferred Caribbean touristic destination.

Total Non Residents Arrivals in the Dominican Airports per year

The number of non residents arrivals at the airport of Puerto Plata, a very good proxy for the trend of tourism for Sosua, for the whole 2017 was 472,705 up a solid 7.7% from 2016, below a breakdown of these arrivals by month for 2017 vs. 2016


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Sosua fishermen

If you are looking to buy fresh seafood in Sosua...why not to go straight to the source? Sosua fishermen are joined in an association called "Asociacion de Pescadores Sosua" (Association of Sosua Fishermen) and they sell with no intermediaries their catch of the day on the beach at the mouth of Sosua river.
If you arrive at the beach early in the morning around 8:00a.m. sometimes you can see their boats coming home to unload their catch. It is a wonderful opportunity to buy fresh seafood and to see a traditional and non touristic part of Sosua!




Saturday, January 20, 2018

Sosua River

Sosua River is a small river of the Puerto Plata hydrographic region and drainage system: its source is South of Sosua from a  280 mts (918 feet) high hill, it flows for approximately 11 km (6,8 miles) crossing Susua Abajo first then Los Charamicos before reaching its mouth in the beach Playa de la Boca of the Sosua Bay. Its watershed is strongly seasonal, it dries up almost completely during the summer dry season and it runs full in the rainyseason with its maximum watershed between December and Janauary.

Sosua River from Google Earth

Dominican Republic hydrographic regions

The Sosua River feeds the ocean in the beautiful Sosua Bay creating a very important reproductive ecosystem inside the Sosua Marine Park.
Unfortunately during its passage through Sosua Abajo and Los Charamicos the river receives significant quantities of untreated seawage water which makes the river highly polluted, indiscriminate garbage dumping into its bed make its pollution problem even worse and despite periodical cleaning campaigns organized by the Sosua Marine Park authority and by volunteers the situation has not been resolved and the damage is felt through all the ecosystems chain of the Marine Park.

Sosua river mouth

The place name Sosua is originated from the river name: Sosua is not a word with Spanish roots, its etymology has to be researched in pre-Colombian languages.
There is a word "SOSUA" in the Chibcha language spoken by the Muisca people in Colombia: it means "worm" and it can figuratively describe a convoluted river, however it must be pointed out that the Tainos of the Dominican Republic spoken a Arawak type of language and there  is no trace of a word Sosua in what we know of the language spoken by the Tainos. It could be suggested that the word Sosua arrived in the island of Hispaniola before the Tainos during early immigrations of some people of the Ortoiroid culture but further study is obviously needed to verify this hypotesys. It would be interesting to have some expert of linguistics and some archeologists discussing the origin of the name Sosua.



Lombriz=Sosua from a rare manuscripted chibchan dictionary of the Biblioteca National de Colombia

Monday, January 15, 2018

New website section about Sosua

We have created a new website section about Sosua, it is accessible from the right column and it is called "Sosua Resources" :  we will publish there information about Sosua climate, history, services and price levels. The first article published in this new section is Sosua Climate. More to come!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Playa Sosua: Sosua Marine Park

Not all the visitors of Sosua beach (Playa Sosua) know that it is inside a National Park called "Parque Tematico de Atracciones Submarinas de Sosua" or "Santuario Marino de Sosua".
The Park was created  with the Decree of Law n. 634-05 of November 22, 2005 and it is managed by an authority called "Patronato del Parque Tematico de Atracciones Submarinas de Sosua" . The park created a protected area around Playa Sosua for conservation porpuses: to protect the exceptional marine fauna and flora of Sosua Bay from pollution, intensive fishing and excessive touristic exploitation causing habitat losse, disturbing marine recreational activities and extraction of coastal and marine resources.
Many ecosystems are found within Sosua Marine Park including sandy beaches, rocky shores, coral reefs, sea grass beds, estuaries and mangroves: these habitats host a large marine and terrestrial biodiversity ehich needs protection!
The Sosua Marine Park covers the whole Sosua Bay from Punta Sosua (West) to Arroyo la Punta (East) including Sosua Beach, and Sosua River Bay.


The most visited area pof the park is of course Playa Sosua: its white sand is composed mainly by coral reef originated materials, its westward position protects it from predominant North East winds and currents.
White sand and crystalline waters of Playa Sosua


The Sosua Bay ecosystems include Sea Grass  Bed rich of Halodule, Syringodium and Thalassia which are used as feed by large vertebrates such as  sea turtles and Manati, loss of these beds cause sand erosion and damage the whole ecosystems depriving herbivores of their feed and carnivores of their prey.
Another amazing ecosystem of Sosua Bay is the Coral Reef:  it is located at a depth from 2 to 30 meters and its most accessible part is right in front of Playa Sosua and it hosts wonderful corals such as  Acropora palmata, Agaricia  agaracites, Agaricia lamarckiana, Madracis mirabilis, Diploria stingosa, Porites porites,  Porites divaricata and others.

Acropora Palamata coral reef of Playa Sosua

Diploria Stingosa coral reef of Playa Sosua

It is important to remember that visitors of the most accessible part of the reef in front of Playa Sosua should not feed the fishes  and should not damage the corals and should not remove anything from the reef. Likewise all visitors of the beach should at least do their best to keep the beach clean without living trash in the sand which would eventually end up in the sea polluting the ecosystem.

Some of the fishes that can be seen in the coral reef are: sargentos (Abudefduf saxatilis), labridos
(Thalassoma & Halichoeres), bocayates,  (Haemulon flavolineatum), cabrillas (Cephalopholis
fulvus), pargos (Lutjanus apodes) and some species of sharks icluding Carcharhinus,and Ginglymostoma cirratum, (Nurse Shark). Usually sharks stay far from the coast hunting in deep waters (the Sosua bay is as deep as 280 meters at the north border of the park, however once and exceptionally I could see a small Nurse Shark by the beach of Playa Sosua:

Nurse Shark close to Playa Sosua

 Abudefduf Sectalis (sargentos) coral reef of Playa Sosua

 Acanthurus coeruleus (surgeon fish) coral reef of Playa Sosua


Video of the coral reef in front of Playa Sosua




Another special ecosystem of Sosua Marine Park is Sosua River mouth: a very important  reproductive habitat for many species which is unfortunately very polluted because of  indiscriminate dumping of polluted waters and of waste waters in its bed.I have recently visited the mouth of the Sosua river (December 2017) and its waters are indeed dirty as you can see from the picture below, I believe that this issue needs to be addressed soon and in a more decisive manner for the heath of the Marine Park of Sosua.

 Sosua River: mouth of the river with waters entering Sosua Bay


The Sosua River bay and its beach are wonderful, they need to be cleaned and soon this could become another  woderful place to visit in Sosua.

 Sosua River: mouth of the river with waters entering Sosua Bay


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Casa de Arte: new initiative for young Sosua residents

Casa de Arte, the cultural center of Sosua organizes an interesting course of Video Production and Video Direction. Subscriptions are open with the course starting on Tuesday January 16. For more information it is possible to call 809-571-2442


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Playa Sosua: now and then

I have often wondered how Playa Sosua looked like in the late thirties and early forties back in the time of the early modern Sosua....we all know that the old village of Sosua has changed a lot: from few wooden houses to a town of more than forty thousands residents, but what about Playa Sosua? How did it look back then? I needed to find some historical pictures of Playa Sosua to answer that question so I started to search: eventually I landed on Sosua Virtual Museum website and there I browsed  a collection of Sosua pictures in the early forties donated by Steve Walter to the Sosua virtual Museum, among them I found what I was looking for a beautiful picture of Playa Sosua in the early 40's:


As you can say from this picture Playa Sosua has not changed a lot in the last 80 years ago: the main difference from today are more trees close to the beach and on the hills behind the beach and of course 80 years ago you could not find toda's characteristic bars, shops and restaurants behind the beach but being hiden by the trees this is not an eye cathcing difference. 
To make it easier the comparison I have taken a picture of Playa Sosua today from the same position, I have colorized the old pictures by manually filling all color channels in the most realistic way (a long procedure but very important to make a good comparison) and this is the result:

Playa Sosua: still as beautiful as in the old days of early Sosua....possibly more!


I want to thank Mr Steve Walter for sharing his old picture of Playa Sosua making it possible for us to learn more about Sosua and its history ( I recommend visiting the Sosua Virtual Museum to learn about Sosua in the late thirties and early forties).

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Playa Sosua Coral Reef

Video of the coral reef standing right infront of Playa Sosua: ideal for snorkeling with a sunny day and high tide!

 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Playa Sosua Tides

Playa Sosua has a tidal range averaging approximately slightly less than 1 meter (3.28f) and it has a large effect on size of the beach area. Ideal conditions for snorkeling on Playa Sosua coral reef is with high tides and sunny sky. Exact tidal measures can be easily checked online 

Tide data from worldtides.info


This is a video of Playa Sosua in the morning with a 40 centimeters high tide filmed around mid December 2017:

Playa Sosua : some high tides in the morning

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A small Nurse Shark in Playa Sosua

A small Nurse Shark (Tiburon Gata in Spanish) got lost and ended up swimming among the tourists of Playa Sosua! Only in Sosua!!!! By the way the Nurse shark is not aggressive and it is not dangerous, it is a peacefull animal and it can bite only when provoked.... The Nurse Sharks are typically solitary nocturnal animals, rifling through bottom sediments in search of food at night....how this little one ended up swimming in Playa Sosua is really a very rare nad weird thing!

The little shark of Playa Sosua

Exclusive Video of the sighting:

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Sosua by bus: Caribe Tours

One of the most convinient way to move inside the Dominican Republic between one town to another is to use local bus companies such as Caribe Tours. Sosua has a Caribe Tours bus stop right in front of the Los Charramicos traffic light, there the ticket office can also be found. Tickets can be bought on the same day and they are cheap: a Sosua - Santo Domingo one way ride costs 350 Pesos (approximately 7 US$) much cheaper than the taxi fare of 200 US$ considering that the bus takes approximately 5 hours to reach Santo Domingo and a taxi 4 hours or more.
These Caribe Tour buses are clea, air conditioned and with free wi-fi: a relaxing way to travel inside the Dominican Republic. 
There is a very early bus from Sosua to Santo Domingo at 4:50 in the morning (with the ticket office  opening at 4:30) which arrives in the capital approximately at 9:30....it is ideal for those who need to visit the capital and return to Sosua in the same day!

A Caribe Tours bus arriving at Los Charramicos in Sosua