Sosua is a small ocean side town west of Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic. This small beach town started as a Jewish settlement back in 1938 when Adolf Hitler was attacking Jews in Europe and Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo accepted to allow up to 100,000 Jewish refugees to be settled in the lands up North, what is now called Sosua. The Jewish settlers were arriving to the island between 1940 and 1945 due to logistics issues related to war planes not being available as planned due to war demands. The Dominican government gave the refugees land and resources, which allowed them to set up farming and dairy operations that lead to the creation of a successful business that is still in place today. Although nowadays Sosua is more a villa rental tourist destination with expats from all over the world, still there are signs of the old times when Jewish settlers were living here. Several families still own property and live in Sosua, descendants of the original settlers. A synagogue, a museum and several other landmarks are still part of life in Sosua.
Before the advent of tourism in the mid 1980`s, Sosua was little known in the international scenario. With the creation of Playa Dorada, things quickly changed for this little farming and fishing village, and soon large developers started to notice the potential of its beaches, proximity to Puerto Plata and the neighboring beach town of Cabarete. Divided in thee main areas, El Batey is the main shopping and commercial center, where all the bars, villas for rent, restaurants and hotels are found. Mostly populated by foreigner expats from European and American countries such as Germany, Austria, Canada, United States, Italy, France and Switzerland among others. There`s also Sosua abajo ( lower Sosua ) where most Dominican employees live, and Charamicos. Sosua beach is a crescent shaped cove between El Batey and Charamicos, lined up with small bars and gift shops. The water in the bay is very clear, making it an ideal place for snorkelers and divers alike. On the right side of Sosua there`s the Sosua Bay Hotel and Victorian House, two landmark resorts with amazing views of the bay.
A new casino in the Bay plaza opened a year ago, and a now famous gym and spa center. Every season, Sosua sees the rise and fall of new bars, restaurants and stores, and only the ones that know how to deal with such a multicultural society can prevail long term. Many hotels in town are now closed, and a large percentage of tourists are now renting private condos and villas instead of booking hotel rooms. This has driven the market for new condo and villa development in Sosua, with an amazing increase in real estate investments in the past 10 years. Sosua also became famous as a single guy`s paradise, because tourism attracted many women ( called Chicas in local Spanish ) and soon a new market emerged that created friction between those opposed and the ones profiting from the activity. Almost all bars in Sosua have several girls that would become mistresses for the night, and a recent crackdown on the sex trade by the new major tightened the rules against the chicas to keep them inside the bars and off the streets.
Jewish influence in the island was first introduced by Christopher Columbus in October 12, 1492, who brought in a Hebrew companion, Mr. Luis de Torres. The land that Columbus first called “the new world” he called La Isabela, which is about one hour west of Sosua, in Puerto Plata. Still the remnants of the old settlement ( first in the new world ) can be seen in the area.