"Sosúa - Hot Spot on the Dominican Amber Coast" Top 5 Page for this destination Sosúa by schurlif

Sosúa Travel Guide: 107 reviews and 318 photos

Sosúa Metamorphosis

Sosúa on the popular north (Amber) coast of the Dominican Republic used to be a very nice and serene place with important historical impact. When we (my ex-wife and I) discovered it exactly 22 years ago ( in Jan 1985 ) the town had just begun to boom and in the next 13 years or so mass tourism would explode, buildings pop up like mushrooms, one fully loaded jumbo from Europe and North America after the other land at the nearby newly opened Gregorio Luperon Puerto Plata Airport and with the masses of pale and sun-hungry gringos came a wild and uncontrolled hectic infrastructure building, real estate wheeling and dealing ( one notorious realtor is still there after 25 years of cheating his clients , frauds, falsification of documents etc. waiting like a shark for his prey – see my Warning and Danger and Tourist Trap Tips ) , prostitution and crime ..…

Just for the Intro, here’s a picture taken from the restaurant of my hotel (Sosua by the Sea – excellent, see tips) towards the west to Puerto Plata, some 20 km away with the Isabella de Torres mountain towering over the city…
The mountain is right next to the city but you can see it best from Sosúa…

A small Sosúa history lesson.....

But , as I said , I know Sosúa since a long time and there’s a lot of nice things to see and to do…..Sosúas history is really interesting. In the beginning there was nothing there, just fertile land. Then the West Indies Fruit Company came along (sometime in the second half of the 19th century) and grew bananas and other tropical fruits until Black Friday hit the world markets and the Great Depression hit the USA, which meant the end for the W. I. Fruit Companies activities in the DR. Not too much later the Dominican Government, mainly in the person of dictator Rafael Trujillo supposedly acquired giant stretches of former West Indies Fruit Co. land on the Dominican North Coast east of Puerto Plata. Parts of this land were given away to Jewish refugees from nazi terror as of the beginning of the early 1940’s after Trujillo had pledged at the Conference of Evian in 1938 that his country would welcome Jewish settlers with open arms. This was indeed the case (and kow-tow to the DR, it was the ONLY country in the world ready to take in thousands of refugees) even though the US and Dominican governments had their own reasons to make this come true.

On the left, the house of Mr. Arturo Kirchheimer, who was my friend for many years and with whom I had many chats over the course of 16 years in this house. He passed away two years ago in his nineties, last time I saw him was in January 2001 when he personally drove me from Sosúa to the airport. He was one of the earliest and “original” Jewish settlers. He was a department store clerk in Hamburg as a young man when he had to flee. He told me about the beginnings, how many people died in the first winter of malaria, how all these city people became farmers and many anecdotes , tragedies and funny stories of their early years in Sosúa.

Albeit, only about 600 – 700 Jews made it to Sosúa-El Batey where they soon installed the successful “Productos Sosúa Company”, later to become the principal provider of meat and dairy products for the whole region, maybe even of the whole Republic. After the war many more Jewish settlers came to Sosúa and it would stay a tranquil and pleasant little European town for another 35 - 40 years or so until it was discovered as a tourist destination.

From then on “all hell broke loose” and it’s still very busy today except that overbuilding, traffic and other infrastructure facilities flaws (electric plant, i.e.) plus a few more factors led to a reverse reaction about in 1998 and when I was in Sosúa just days ago I saw how desperate businesses, restaurants, shops, even the moto conchos (motorcycle “taxis”) and the parade of lightly clad, sometimes very beautiful but buyable girls are looking for the few tourists that may have the will and the money….. So….. When I walked on the street (and I wanted to walk since I do everything by car here in Brazil) I was running the gauntlet…. Money changers, prostitutes, shop keepers, masseuses, moto conchos , even a transvestite offering me his special services for six U$ were after me, pestering me every 20 steps I made….

Of thieves and the dangers for your property

And…. worst of all, I was not even a tourist, I had to go there for business reasons. 22 years ago, when many of the pesters were either not born yet or very young kids, my ex wife and I entered some kind of manic euphoria, we had “discovered” our paradise and I “plundered” all my accounts to buy land and apartments as investment. So, now, after all this time I’ve had it and I want to sell off all my properties. And guess what happened just 4 years ago…? New neighbors thought they were very smart and they tried to grab a big chunk (to be precise: 2.631 sq.meters ) of my land by building a tall wall around it. The fact of the wall (see also my Warning and Danger and Tourist Trap Tips) made it necessary for me to fly to the DR to clear up the doubts and show my real estate agents where exactly the boundaries of my land were. I’m waiting now for the results of the land surveyor and a statement of a potential client before I make my move. The neighbors are trying to wiggle themselves out of the situation without having to bear any legal, financial or moral and ethic consequences but they’re also not ready to make a friendly accord with me. They think it’s OK that I had to spend for the trip alone (airfare, hotel, food et.) some U$ 3.200 but I’m not ready to let them get away so easy. There’s probably going to be a law suit and that will cost them more than the costs of building the wall ( see picture on the right ) and my friendly suggestion on how to get our differences behind us together. Some people just want to learn it the hard way.....

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lush, sensual tropical spot for fun
  • Cons:Beware the fraudsters, conmen, scammers
  • In a nutshell:Ideal place for holidays as long as you avoid tourist traps
  • Last visit to Sosúa: Jan 2007
  • Intro Updated Feb 18, 2007
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Reviews (57)

Comments (4)

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Jun 22, 2007 at 12:36 PM

    Palatschinken, ja das gibt es nicht im sonnigen Brasilien ;~) Real problems mit real estates, da sind sicher schon viele Aussteiger aufgelaufen... eine Menge interessanter updates !

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    May 8, 2007 at 12:33 AM

    Hey, Du bist ja richtig am "schuften" auf Deinen Seiten :-) Da kriegt man echt Appetit!

  • craic's Profile Photo
    May 1, 2007 at 10:53 AM

    amazing

  • Confucius's Profile Photo
    Feb 23, 2007 at 12:49 PM

    I'm surprised to see my name mentioned in your restaurant tips! Lucky for me there are no photos of Confucius in your nightlife tips! Maybe Chinese restaurant entrepreneurs are afraid of Sosua real estate sharks.

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