According to Wholevehicles, the Dominican Republic has both cultural and natural attractions worthy of a separate excursion program. For architectural wonders, it is definitely worth going to the capital, Santo Domingo. Its central streets, elegant and solemn, are rightfully included in the list of UNESCO treasures. The symbol of the city is Santa Maria la Menor, America’s oldest cathedral. It is built of golden coral limestone and combines baroque and gothic elements in its appearance.
The remains of Christopher Columbus rest in a monumental museum called the Lighthouse.
Osama Fortress is the oldest surviving military fort in America, built in 1508 in the style of a medieval castle. The Alcazar de Colon Palace was created for the son of Columbus, Diego, and for a long time served as the residence of viceroys, but was plundered by Francis Drake. And the remains of the legendary discoverer rest in the Columbus Lighthouse, which is not a lighthouse at all, but a monumental museum with a collection of ancient artifacts.
The key attraction of La Romana is Altos de Chavon, the city of artists. This is a carefully recreated copy of a medieval village with limestone houses, the Church of St. Stanislaus, the “Greek” amphitheater and the Archaeological Museum. In Puerto Plata, you can visit the fortress of San Felipe, the cathedral and the lighthouse of Fortaleza, as well as the Amber Museum and local production: a rum factory and a chocolate factory. In Santiago, it is interesting to watch the production of cigars and coffee processing. The town of La Vega is famous for its archaeological excavations and the building of the Church of Our Lady of Las Mercedes, flaunting at the foot of the sacred mountain of Santo Cerro.
But the Dominican nature invariably makes the most striking impression on travelers. Local national parks are an endless series of amazing landscapes. “Armando Bermudez” in the province of Santiago is famous for its picturesque gorges, lawns, rivers, a variety of tropical plants and outlandish birds. Most tourists come here to climb Duarte Peak, the highest point in the Caribbean.
Giant flowers of incredible colors grow in the Natural Eyes Ecopark.
“Los Aitises” – endless expanses on the Samana Peninsula. Mangrove swamps, caves with rock paintings, thickets of palms and cotton – a paradise for lovers of ecotourism. The territory of Jaragua is the picturesque islands of Alto Velo and Beata, the De Oviedo lagoon, virgin beaches, palm groves and arid zones with thorns of all stripes. And the highlight of the El Choco National Park is the Caribbean Karst complex of underground caves and pools.
10 things to do in the Dominican Republic
- Admire the colonial architecture in the old center of Santo Domingo.
- Relax on the picturesque beaches of the Costa del Ambar or Bavaro: everyone seems to have come off a postcard.
- Get to know the underwater beauties of the Caribbean Sea: in the Dominican Republic there are dive sites for divers with any level of experience.
- Swim with humpback whales in the Puerto Plata area.
- Climb up to the highest peak in the Caribbean, Duarte, in Armando Bermudez National Park.
- Watch the skillful work of artisans in the workshops of Altos de Chavon.
- Have fun at the carnival or dance at the Merengue Festival.
- Get to know the customs of the indigenous tribes in the historic village of Taino, in Punta Cana.
- Appreciate the variety of flavors of Dominican cuisine in comedores family restaurants.
- Grab home a bottle of local rum or a much more authentic mamajuana liqueur.
Every month, the Fresh Market agricultural fair takes place in the Constanta Valley, selling seasonal products grown in the region (of course, organic and organic, non-GMO). In addition, at the fair, you can taste local cuisine and take part in folklore, musical and theatrical events.
Soon in Constanta they promise to open a new excursion route “Return to the Valley”: it will give tourists the opportunity to learn more about the fascinating process of producing agricultural products.
Finally, travelers who are hungry for everything natural can go on the “Chocolate Tour” in order to see with their own eyes all the features of growing and producing cocoa in the Eastern Dominican Republic.
Pirates of the Caribbean
The already intense tourist interest in the countries of the Caribbean was thoroughly fueled by the now multi-episode and rather confusing saga of Jack Sparrow… sorry, Captain Jack Sparrow. A handsome man with frowning eyes and an unsteady gait firmly nestled in our minds images of tropical nature with lianas (and a lousy monkey jumping over them), rocks overgrown with emerald forests, wild beaches and coconut palms leaning over the azure surface. By the way, the real Jack, that is, the actor Johnny Depp, got used to the role so much that he bought one of the many islands of the archipelago. Stanislavsky would be pleased.
Holidays and events
The Dominican Republic is a country of colorful festivals lasting weeks, if not months. The most spectacular carnival starts in Santo Domingo on February 27, Independence Day, and continues throughout the country until Easter itself.
In each region, special costumes are sewn for the carnival, but the main character is the lame devil, hitting passers-by on the back with a bull bladder “for good luck”.
In winter, it is also interesting in Cabarete, where competitions are held every February weekend in various fields: maybe you can mark knives, or maybe build a sand sculpture. In March-April, Catholic Easter is celebrated with warm family feasts. In June, Puerto Plata thunders: the Caribbean Culture Festival is a series of vibrant dance shows and concerts: from jazz and blues to folklore.
The end of July and the beginning of August is the time of the Merengue Festival, the favorite music of the Dominicans. Guests and residents of Santo Domingo dance to frivolous folk songs and have fun at street fairs, and in October – for those who are late to the festival – the festival returns, but already in Puerto Plata. On August 16, Restoration Day is celebrated, marking the beginning of the war with Spain, and the cities once again bloom with elegant processions. On September 24, Our Lady of Mercedes is honored with solemn services, and on December 25-26, Christmas is celebrated together with the entire Catholic world. Read more about all the significant events in the country on the page ” Holidays and events in the Dominican Republic “.
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