Caribbean Tourism

Dominican Republic

North of Santo Domingo

The Autopista Duarte runs north from Santo Domingo, now a four-lane highway all the way to Santiago de los Caballeros. Around Bonao are rice paddies. To the east is the Falconbridge ferronickel mine. The town is also known as Villa de las Hortensias. There are cheap hotels near the market and on the highway are many paradas, posadas and plazas turísticas....

San Cristóbal

San Cristóbal in the interior, 25 kilometres from the capital, was the birthplace of the dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Trujillo’s home, the Casa de Caoba (now rapidly disintegrating, but open 0900-1700) may be reached by público from behind the market, or by motorcycle taxi (US$0.35), though you may have to walk the last kilometre, uphill. You can also...

Barahona

On the square in Barahona is the Sede Principal de la República of 1913 (remodelled). The province of Barahona produces coffee (excursions can be made to Platón or Santa Elena), sugar, grapes, salt, bananas and other fruits, also gypsum and seafood. Barahona’s domestic airport has been upgraded to international (Aeropuerto María Montés) and the area is...

West of Santo Domingo

The far southwest of the Republic is a dry zone with typical dry-forest vegetation. A new highway has been built from the capital, cutting journey times to half what they used to be. Tourist development is proceeding apace with a number of resorts operating. For the time being, exploring by car is the best way to enjoy this relatively untouched area. To the...

La Romana

East of San Pedro is La Romana. (pop: 101,350) The city has a large Parque Central. The church of Santa Rosa de Lima is on a little rise, fronted by a small park, close to Parque Central. On the Parque are Codetel, Ayuntamiento Municipal and Colón cinema. Buses leave from here. One block behind the church is the Mercado Modelo. The central commercial area...

Juan Dolio

The Guayacanes, Embassy and Juan Dolio beaches, east of Boca Chica, are also popular, especially at weekends when they can be littered and plagued with hawkers (much cleaner and very quiet out of season). The whole area is being developed in a long ribbon of holiday homes, hotels and resorts, and a new highway is improving access. Los Guayacanes has a nice...

Higüey

Higüey has the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia (patroness of the Republic), a very impressive modern building to which every year there is a pilgrimage on 21 January; the statue of the virgin and a silver crown are in a glass case on the altar. People wearing shorts are not allowed to enter. Avoid the photographer who charges US$30 for a poor...

Bayahibe

About 25 kilometres east of La Romana is Bayahibe, a fishing village on a small bay. It is reached by a road which turns off the highway to Higüey (carro público La Romana-Bayahibe US$2.50, or take a Higüey bus to the turnoff and take a motoconcho, US$1). The fishing village is now accommodating tourism, with excursions, lodgings and cafés. Small wooden...

East of Santo Domingo

A new autopista is being built all along the coast from Santo Domingo to La Romana. Much of it is already open, cutting journey times considerably. However, avoid driving at night, traffic is fast and many drivers do not dip their headlights. About 25 kilometres east of Santo Domingo is the beach of Boca Chica, the principal resort for the capital. It is a...

The South Coast: Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo (pop: 4 million), the capital and chief seaport, was founded on 5 August 1498 (although the first houses were built in 1496) by Columbus’ brother Bartolomé on the eastern bank of the Río Ozama and hence was the first capital in Spanish America. For years the city was the base for the Spaniards’ exploration and conquest of the continent: from...

Shopping – Santiago de Los Caballeros

The Mercado Modelo Turístico is at Calle Del Sol and Avenida España. Cheap amber at Calle El Sol 60, recommended. Outside town, on the main road north and south, are many potteries where ceramics can be bought very cheaply (how you get them home is another matter).

Shopping

The native amber is sold throughout the country. Do not buy amber on the street, it will as likely as not be plastic. Real amber fluoresces under ultra violet light (the shop in the Amber Museum in Puerto Plata has a UV light); it floats in saltwater; if rubbed it produces static electricity; except for the very best pieces it is not absolutely pure,...

History

See also History - Haiti for more on Columbus’ early colonisation of Hispaniola. The colony Although the Spanish launched much of their westward expansion from Santo Domingo, their efforts at colonizing the rest of the island were desultory. Drake sacked Santo Domingo in 1586, the French gained control of the western part of the island in 1697 and, by the...

Government & Economy

The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy, with legislative power resting in a bicameral Congress: a 30-seat Senate and a 149-seat Chamber of Deputies. Senators and deputies are elected for a four-year term, as is the President, in whom is vested executive power. Structure of Production There are six main agricultural regions: the north, the...

Places to Eat – Sosúa

On the Waterfront, excellent food and a spectacular sunset overlooking the sea, all-you-can-eat barbecue on Friday night, pleasant entertainment nightly in Charlie’s Cabañas Hotel, on the lookout point, down from the Codetel offices, T5713024. The Spaghetti House, Main St. Terrific pasta meals (especially for garlic lovers), reasonable prices, no...