Boca Chica is a municipality of the Santa Domingo province as well as the name given to the capital city of the municipality; both of which are part of the nation of the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic itself is set on a Caribbean island, of which it occupies the eastern part. The western side of the island (the island itself is called Hispaniola) is occupied by Haiti. The island itself sits in the Atlantic Ocean and has shores on the Caribbean sea; it is also one of the most enduringly popular tourist destinations in the world today.
There are numerous municipalities throughout the provinces of the Dominican Republic, of which Boca Chica is one. A municipality is essentially as area of third level administrative powers, behind the laws of the province and then the nation of the Dominican Republic itself. This formation is similar to the United States system of districts, with the Dominican provinces taking the state role and the municipalities taking the district role.
Boca Chica is a large municipality in one of the largest provinces. The 2002 census revealed that there are around 99,000 inhabitants of Boca Chica itself, with slightly more people – around 54,000 – living in rural areas, compared to 46,000 in the city of Boca Chica itself. The name is used to refer to both the municipality and the city of Boca Chica, with the municipality reference used more as an administrative guide. Mostly, if a hotel or resort is listed as being in Boca Chica, they will be referring to the city.
The popularity of Boca Chica is due to its beach, which is a hugely popular destination for both locals and tourists alike. While there has been a settlement where the city sits today, it was not until the 1950s that the real boom of Boca Chica began in earnest. Then dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo invested in the construction of a hotel on the site, which was to be named Hotel Hamaca.
The hotel which spawned the popularity of Boca Chica has something of a difficult past, most infamously due to its connection with Cuban military officer Fulgencio Batista. During the Cuban Revolution of the last 1950s, Batista was offered political asylum by the Dominican Republic and took up residence at Hotel Hamaca initially.
Almost unbelievably, this connection with dark political powers did not phase tourists, and they soon began to arrive at the chicly constructed Hotel Hamaca. It was not until the death of the patron of the hotel – and also dictator – Rafael Leonidas Trujillo was killed that the hotel closed, this taking place in 1961.
However, when the hotel was eventually reopened in the 1990s, it opened to a very different Boca Chica. The city had undergone extensive regeneration, as well as lending itself to the boom in tourism to the Dominican Republic. The nearby Boca Chica beach had also received many favorable reports in the foreign travel press, and it soon became the place to see and be seen. The popularity of Boca Chica and its famous beach is still high today, though few mention its somewhat spurious connections to military oppression.