San José de las Matas (Sajoma) is a municipality that belongs to the beautiful province of Santiago; a paradise where you can tour beautiful mountains, rivers and meet wonderful people that will make you feel at home.
It is a perfect destination for those who love to have a direct and unique contact with nature. From the moment the tourist arrives to the municipality, he/she can see the cleanliness of its streets and its beautiful natural spaces.
One of the most visited attractions in Sajoma -especially by believers- is the sacred La Milagrosa Chapel, which has a Victorian architecture. Located in the Damajagua community of Los Montones, it is one of the most impressive works of art when contemplating it, being surrounded by trees, one feels a true connection with God and nature.
Inside you can see images of different saints and a village floor with some touches of tree trunks and guano chairs, which makes it very characteristic of the place.
In addition to nature, this municipality has important cultural resources. One of its main attractions is the fresh and dry climate that provides pleasure to those who visit it.
And precisely because of these climatic conditions many people go there in search of health, especially for their respiratory ailments. Such is the case of the dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, according to the history of the municipality, he stayed for health vacations for more than six months in 1932 at the hotel La Mansion. We could say that Trujillo did health tourism in San José de las Matas.
In 2006 the French Agency for Development proposed general guidelines for the development of ecotourism in SAJOMA. A few years later, the German Cooperation made a survey of 18 resources with tourism potential in the municipality.
In 2014, at the request of Plan Sierra, the City Council, the San José Cooperative and the Pro-Development Association of San José de las Matas, an approach was made to the Dominican State to support some of these initiatives. This request was positively received resulting in funding from the central government for the remodeling and/or reconstruction of three of the already identified natural and historical attractions. In January 2015, three tourist parks were inaugurated: Parque Acuático La Ventana, Parque Temático Arroyo Hondo (La Hidroeléctrica) and Parque Natural Termas de Aguas Calientes.
Since the inauguration until June 2015, more than 70 thousand visitors have been registered, being obviously successful projects due to the reception they have received.
By force of will
According to a review published on the Ministry of Tourism’s website, regarding the management of their tourism activities, from the beginning it was emphasized the need for them to be administered by the inhabitants of each area, for which a community association was formed in each park, who are in charge of operations, maintenance, security and general administration. The success of their operations has relied not only on leadership but also on strategic alliances in various sectors.
The direct intervention of these communities has become the key element for the multiplication of ideas and the acceleration of success within the communities, since it allows the leadership to stop having only a community vision and instead focus on the exploitation of all the community’s resources, both human and natural.
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