Moca is the Taíno word meaning “tree that grows at the edge of rivers.” Lying just west of Salcedo , Moca is the capital of the Espaillat province located 16 kilometers east of Santiago . It has been an important agricultural base in the country since it was founded in 1780. Coffee, cocoa, and tobacco are produced here in abundance. It has been said that the best yucca in the country is grown here.
Moca has played an important role in two periods in Dominican history. First, it was the birthplace of the short-lived Moca Constitution of 1842 that set democratic standards for government. Secondly, it was the site of the assassination of Ulises Heureaux, the tyrannical Dominican president who led his people into great economic decline.
Although there is no monument to commemorate the Moca Constitution, there is a monument dedicated to the men who assassinated Heureaux in downtown Moca, in a small park where Heureaux died on Calle Vásquez.
La Sacrada Corazón de Jesús (Calle Sánchez and Calle Corazón) has a pretty array of stained glass windows, a remarkable clock tower, and an impressive pipe organ.
There are very few choices for accommodations in Moca, but one decent one is Hotel Oasis (Calle Córdova 121, tel. 8095/578-5994, US$30), with comfortable rooms featuring air-conditioning, TV in each.
Try not to miss El Caffeto Bar & Restaurant (Carretera Moca–Jamao, La Cumbre, tel. 809/471-0015, caffeto [at] hotmail [dot] com) on your way into town. They have live jazz music on the fourth Friday of every month (possibly more nights in the works). More importantly, the magnificent view of the Cibao from this restaurant is spellbinding and the food is good too. In town, try D’Gala de la Maza Café and Restaurant (Av. De La Maza 7, tel. 809/578-2756, US$8–15) specializing in seafood and comida criolla.