Original article by Al Smith
The weather Dominican Republic normally experiences most of the year, and indeed most years all round, is sunny, hot and tropical! It's undoubtedly one of the great attractions of the place for many visitors. In fact for a detailed explanation of how it varies through the regions see our main Dominican Weather Page when you have a minute!
But this page, as far as weather in the Dominican Republic goes, is dedicated to rather an unusual occurrence that happened last winter (that's 2006/2007 as of writing this!). In fact it is such a rare freak weather condition that it bought Dominicans out from far and wide to visit the mountain City of Constanza, or more particularly the surrounding forests.
Constanza sits high up on the Caribbean's highest mountain, Pico Duarte, where it commands a spectacular position. Pico Duarte has an elevation of some 3,098 meters (10,164 feet) and is the tallest peak of the five mountain ranges found in the Dominican Republic, which lend the country one of its unique geographical aspects. Constanza sits over a third of the way up the mountainside at over 1220 meters (4000 feet).
The City of Constanza is the third largest in La Vega province and is home to an unusual combination of ethnic groups, having been an area settled by numerous Japanese migrant workers encouraged to come to the DR during Trujillo's infamous dictatorial presidency. Now some two or three generations on their presence is still substantial in the area and provides the City. They were attracted by the cooler climes that tend not to suffer the summer's frequently rather claustrophobic heat.
Constanza is set amidst some stunning afforestation and well worth a visit for the slightly more adventurous traveler, who has maybe tired of endless 'all inclusive' cocktails at the pool bar!
This page, however, has been "commandeered" to display a gallery of superb photographs taken in the winter time, which while it can normally be quite cold, rarely sees the frosty conditions that arose for a short period early in 2007.
The photographs were taken by Ruth's brother Isaac who was inspired to take the trip up to Constanza whilst the unusual conditions persisted. As was remarked at the time, these kind of scenes created by weather in the Dominican Republic are almost rare enough to be a once in a lifetime occurrence. Certainly, for many Dominicans they had never before seen the frosty, almost 'snowy winter', settings that met their eyes in Constanza at this time.
Stunning though these views are, it is perhaps appropriate to consider that along with the hurricane problems in US, fast-melting polar ice-caps, flooding in England, mudslides in Haiti, and other natural disasters of recent times, this is once again evidence of a strange shift in weather patterns that seems to be indicative of unprecedentedly rapid global warming!
More Great Shots of the effects of freak weather Dominican Republic style: