The Dominican Republic is more than just beautiful sandy white beaches, crystal clear waters, fun water activities and astonishing landscapes. On your next trip to this Caribbean island, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about its impressive cultural background and historical attractions.
Discover the top 5 most visited historical attractions near Punta Cana.
A good starting point is Punta Cana. If you are planning to book your stay in one exclusive all-inclusive hotel, you will not regret it. Punta Cana is also famous for its proximity to other cities, world-famous beaches, and historical sites.
ALTOS DE CHAVÓN
Just 1 hour and a half from Punta Cana’s downtown, you’ll get to Altos de Chavón. A small village founded in 1976 which architecture resembles a Mediterranean style European village. It is said that it recreates an Italian town due to the architecture responsible for this project, the Italian architect Roberto Copa and the industrialist Charles Bluhdorn.
It is one of the most visited places in Punta Cana. The city hosts a cultural center, a museum, a Grecian Amphitheater used as a concert venue, the St. Stanislaus Church, which houses the ashes of Poland’s patron saint, which were sent by Pope John II, and various stores featuring many mediums of art.
After enjoying time in this unique location, you can sail along the Chavón River in one of the tours offered there.
Continue your journey 50 minutes away from Altos de Chavón. Located in Higüey, you’ll find one of the most important religious buildings in the Dominican Republic, the Virgin of Altagracia Cathedral. The architecture is famous for its 225 feet high arch, with a bronze and gold entrance, its 45 bells, and its altar, which holds a framed painting of the Virgin Mary dating back to the 16th century.
Built in 1976 and considered one of the most visited religious sanctuaries in the Caribbean. During August, the cathedral is the reunion point for pilgrims who travel from different parts of the Dominican Republic to worship the Virgin Mary.
Known as “The city of Firsts,” as it was the first European colonial city in America. Colorful walls, colonial architecture, and cobblestone streets surround the Colonial City of Santo Domingo.
Don’t forget to put in your itinerary the visit to Christopher Columbus. In addition, you can visit the house, the first hospital, university, cathedral, monastery, and even the first modern streets in the Americas.
Santo Domingo is a place you would love to share Instagram pictures or stories with your friends. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, as it maintains the cultural heritage creating a balanced harmony between the old and the present.
THE “MONUMENT” OF SANTIAGO
Considered the second largest city in the Dominican Republic as it is a modern, cosmopolitan, financial, and educational destination.
The city icon is the Monument to the Heroes Restoration, called by the locals’ El Monumento. It is a 230 feet tall structure that recognizes men and women who fought in the War of Restoration, also known as the Second Independence, to free the country from the Spaniels.
On certain months tourists and locals accessed the top of the monument to appreciate the view of Santiago but not anymore. The local government took this measure in order to preserve the historical heritage. But you don’t have to worry. There is a ground floor exhibition of murals, statues, and paintings that describe the armed conflict between locals and Spanish crown followers.
Entertainment, nightlife, bars are widespread in Santiago due to its millennial and professional population. Baseball culture and peaceful sights of the mountains complement this city.
SAN FELIPE FORTRESS IN PUERTO PLATA
You can’t miss on your trip a key point in the history of the Dominican Republic. One of the first places you need to visit in Puerto Plata is the Fortress of San Felipe. Considered one of the most important colonial military structures in the Caribbean. A fortress built by the Spaniards in the 16th century to defend the north coast from Dutch, British, and French invaders, who were in search of gold and silver. During the 19th century, the fortress served as a prison and nowadays it is a museum. The museum exhibits ancient weapons, canons, and old chambers.
After you finish your visit to the fortress, you can choose between vast activities in Puerto Plata. Look for a panoramic view of the city 2600 feet high. Cable car tours are top-rated. Ascend to the top of the Isabel Torres Mountain. You should stop at the botanic garden and a Christ statue on the top of the mountain to take photos.
While you are at home, take advantage of the cultural and historical heritage of the Dominican Republic. You should add one of these historical attractions near Punta Cana to your itinerary next time you visit the island. Learn about the important events, places, and characters that built the identity of this Caribbean destination.