The Faro San Souci at Punta Torrecilla is located near the entrance to the port of Santo Domingo at Rio Ozama on the South Coast of Dominican Republic. The yellow and black lighthouse stands at the tip of the park Punta Torrecilla on the coral cliffs of the Caribbean Sea. The lighthouse can be seen from many points around the city.
The original lighthouse in this location was built around 1853. It was deactivated and demolished in 1967. The present Black and Yellow Faro located on the point was built in 1986. It is very similar in appearance to the Survivors Lighthouse on the North Coast in Puerta Plata.
The pyramid-like concrete tower is 125 feet tall. The entire height, including the light, is 135 feet tall. Faro Sans Souci sends out a blinking white light beacon with a view range of 13 nautical miles. The lighthouse is used as a navigational aid for entrance into the Port of Santo Domingo. The Faro San Souci sits on a terrain about 7 meters above sea level.
Punta Torrecilla Park and Beach
From the vantage point of the park at Punta Torrecilla, there is a beautiful view of the city of Santo Domingo and Avenida George Washington also known as the Malecon. There are usually people fishing off the coral cliffs. Sit, relax and watch the many ships bringing and leaving with their loads. Many Cruise Ships and the Ferry from Puerto Rico come and go from the Puerto Santo Domingo. The ports include Puerto San Souci and Puerto Don Diego.
The park was at one time had beautiful walkways along the coral cliffs where the waves of the turquoise Caribbean Sea broke. Now the paths are broken and most lay in rubble. The park is usually littered with trash from people picnicking under the palm trees and there are no facilities.
At the so-called beach local youths like to swim off the cliffs which can be dangerous. Swimming is prohibited here during popular Dominican holidays because of the hazards. It is visited by police and military off and on, trying to keep the area safe. It is OK to visit during the daylight but I would highly advise against visiting after dark. It is a lonely and quiet place where derelicts and bad humans frequent.
The Park of Punta Torrecilla, where the Faro sits, is located at Dominican Republic’s South East coast in Los Mameyes, Santo Domingo Este along Avenida España on the property of the Naval Base 27 de Febrero. Academia Naval / Naval Academy is located across the street and the Club De Oficiales De La Marina De Guerra / Navy Officers Club is next door. Coming into Santo Domingo from the airport the park sits on the left before you enter the city.
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is a very important time here in Dominican Republic. Religious Holidays are recognized countrywide since the countries main population is Catholic. Christmas, Epiphany and other religious holidays are very important but Semana Santa is the most important of all these religious holidays.
The long weekend for the Easter holiday is usually used to go away, usually with family. The churches are full as people respect the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus or El Senor. Most people go home, wherever this may be, just to hang with family and friends or just to visit the old hometown. Others flock to the beaches, rivers and other tourist areas to take advantage of the 3 days free from working. The city of Santo Domingo turns into a ghost town. Most businesses and stores are closed. Highways and streets are almost empty except for the main roads leading out of the cities. Sunday evening the roads fill. There are traffic jams galore. All is congested once again with all the people returning to their homes and get back to real life once again.
Be aware! If you plan on visiting Dominican Republic during this time, especially heading to beach and recreation areas I highly suggest that you make your reservations in hotels far in advance. Most hotels are full and it will be very difficult to find a bed to lay your weary head if you procrastinate.
There are Police, Military, Red Cross and many volunteers along the roads and at all the main intersections making sure people are obeying the traffic laws. They are also stationed on the beaches and at the popular rivers to ensure that people have fun and are safe.
The Dominican Civil Defense will be stationed throughout the country with the participation of around six thousand workers and more than eight thousand volunteers in over 1400 strategic locations. They will be watching beaches, rivers and highways to make sure the big weekend runs smoothly.
As per the Catholic tradition first comes Ash Wednesday / Miércoles de Ceniza. Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday / Domingo de Ramos. On Holy Thursday / Jueves Santo morning is the Chrism Mass / Misa Crismal and in the evening is the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, accompanied by the washing of feet and a procession. At noon on Good Friday / Viernes Santo is the Sermon on the Seven Words. Holy Saturday/ Sabado Santo an Easter Vigil is held from around 11pm until dawn. Then on Easter Sunday / Domingo de Resurrección or Domingo de Pascua there is an Easter Mass at noon.
A beautiful tradition on Saturday is kite flying. From the ground or from the rooftops you will see the skies full of all types of kites, known in Dominican Republic as chichiguas. Kites made of paper and plastic bags. It does not matter. They are flown as a sign of hope for all.
Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes
The church of Las Mercedes (on Calle Mercedes and Jose Reyes in Zona Colonial) is the place to be in Santo Domingo for the religious ceremony. After the service, around 5PM, there is a procession to the first cathedral in the Americas, Cathedral Santa Maria. Here is held a special Mass called Eucharist.
are held in many areas of the country, especially areas with large Haitian settlements and communities with strong African roots. Here in Santo Domingo in the city of Villa Mella one can see and hear these gaga drum celebrations with music and dancing. Gaga ceremonies have both magical and religious parts. The spirits are invoked including Luaces (lights in Creole) along with other mysterious, holy and powerful beings. There is usually lots of music, dancing and drinking. (A little information about GaGa)
Other celebrations include the Guloyas in San Pedro de Macoris. They are known for their colorful outfits and lively dances and characters that walk the streets.
The last Cardinal of Dominican Republic, Nicolas de Jesús López Rodriguez, and the Bishops walking across Calle Isabel la Catolica to the Sunday Easter Mass at the Cathedral Santa Maria, the first Cathedral in the Americas, in Ciudad Colonial.
they prepare for Holy Week. Since many people do not eat meat during this time fish and seafood are very popular. Potato Salad Dominican style is a favorite. The most popular dish is called habichuelas con dulce / Sweet Beans and usually can be found in every home throughout the country. It is a mix of red beans, condensed milk, spices and other ingredients served cold pudding style. Usually, these dishes are made in large quantities to serve all who might visit and to share with the neighbors. Here is the recipe for habichuelas con dulce in case you want to give this traditional dessert a try.
The Semana Santa Procession
on the corners of Calle Padre Billini and Isabel la Catolica in Ciudad Colonial 2012. It is not very clear. I am sorry. It was getting dark. I tried to lighten it some.
Operation Holy Week/ Operativo Semana Santa
During the holiday weekend there are many restrictions according to Resolution No. 96/2012.
*Jet Skis and Wave Runners, Motorized Boats, Horses, Motorbikes, and Motorized Vehicles are NOT permitted on the beaches in the entire country from Thursday to Sunday.
*There will be NO boats used in
-Laguna Gri Gri in Rio San Juan
-The Sanoa Island
-Cayo Levantado Island
*Heavy equipment vehicles are prohibited to be on highways from 6AM Thursday until 6AM Monday.
*There is usually a curfew of 5:45PM for swimmers to get out of the water daily on busy public beaches.
*Many places have a ban on loud music for the weekend. Inside businesses it is OK but the noise is not permitted to weft outside. This is not enforced like it used to be but it still happens in many locations. It is especially quiet on Good Friday around noon until midnight.
*Many beach areas have a “No Glass” rule in force. You cannot enter the beach area with any alcoholic beverage in glass bottles.
*Many of the more dangerous beaches and rivers are closed (some closed beaches include San Soucí, Manresa, Güibia, the coastline of Avenidas España and Las Américas, the beach of San Andrés, banks of the Ozama River, Río Isabela Norte, la Poza in Hato Nuevo, San Rafael, Los Patos, River Yaque del Norte. Also the Damns of Bao, Taveras, El Pinalito, López Angostura, El Papayo, Sabana Yegua, de Yuboa and de Chacuey) at this time to ensure public safety. Also, water motor sports are prohibited close to beach areas during the holiday. There is usually a complete listing of the closed areas on the Civil Defense web site http://www.defensacivil.gov.do. I will also post any special events and happenings in the area on the Colonial Zone News Blog.
All You Want To Know About The Oldest City In The Americas