Historic Places in the Dominican Republic

May 23, 2022Ben Adams

From ancient ruins to locations rich in culture, come with us on a journey through time as we uncover historic places in the Dominican Republic you need to know about.

Altos de Chavón
Altos de Chavón

Historic Places in the Dominican Republic

  1. ALTOS DE CHAVÓN
  2. ALCAZAR DE COLÓN
  3. LA ISABEL
  4. FORTALEZA SAN FELIPE
  5. MONASTERIO DE SAN FRANCISCO
  6. FARO A COLÓN
  7. MONUMENTO DE SANTIAGO

ALTOS DE CHAVÓN

A re-creation of a 16th-century Mediterranean-style village, discover this historical setting of Altos de Chavón. Located in proximity to La Romana, take a trip and wander through the cobbled streets to visit the impressive amphitheatre and more.

The Roman-style amphitheatre is a bastion for music and art, previously hosting acclaimed musical acts such as Sting, The Pet Shop Boys, and Frank Sinatra.

In addition, St. Stanislaus Church, located at the site, continues to be a popular wedding venue to this day. The church pays homage to Saint Stanislaus of Szczepanów and Pope John Paul II, making it a favoured tourist attraction and place to tie the knot.

Referred to as the jewel of La Romana, the site of Altos de Chavón also sits 300 feet above the Chavón River. So you can be sure of panoramic views from this historic landmark. During your visit. Why not arrange a catamaran cruise downstream to soak in the gorgeous waterside ambience? By doing so. You’ll get a real sense of this magical location via the waterways.

If that’s not all, there are splendid restaurants and cafes and a few art galleries at Altos de Chavón – making it a great day out for all ages and avid explorers alike.


ALCAZAR DE COLÓN

Next up, we are going on a voyage to discover one of the earliest built structures of the new world. Constructed by Christopher Columbus’ son, Alcázar de Colón is the first palace built in the Americas, located in the colonial area of Santo Domingo city.

The museum is the staple attraction as part of the Ciudad Colonial UNESCO World Heritage Tour and presents Renaissance-style architecture, Caribbean tapestries, and medieval art from the era.

Moreover, a trip to Alcázar de Colón puts you in great stead to enjoy a spot of lunch at the Plaza de España. An area that provides an abundance of cafes and is famous for art shows and exhibitions.

The bustling capital of Santo Domingo provides metropolitan cityscapes and authentic experiences. There is generally less tourism here, but that’s not to say it’s not worth the visit. Just ensure to plan before you go.


LA ISABEL

Next on our list is La Isabel, located on the north coast and a short drive from Puerto Plata. The ruins provide what remains of the first European settlement in the new world built by Columbus. Here you can find a small museum and artefacts more than 500 years old. The signage from the museum is all in Spanish, but the staff will be able to tell you the tale of the old village built in 1493.

Historic places in the Dominican Republic
Ruins of La Isabel

Named for the Spanish queen that funded Columbus’ expedition, the historical park of La Isabel is lined with boutique stalls and hidden beaches.

If that’s not all, the scenery and roads surrounding this part of the Dominican Republic make it well worth the visit.


FORTALEZA SAN FELIPE

For the next historic places in the Dominican Republic, we’re staying in the north as we explore the Spanish fortress of Fortaleza San Felipe. Playing a crucial role in the history of Puerto Plata, the stronghold protected the city from pirates and corsairs. Arrgh!

Now, the museum houses historical and military artefacts, and the fascinating fort provides fabulous views overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Furthermore, the area is known for its warm hospitality, holiday resorts, and an 18-hole championship golf course. There are also impressive stretches of coastlines to visit in Puerto Plata. Including the blue flag Dorada Beach. Here, the manicured oceanfront covers over 13-miles and presents crystal-clear waters where you can observe coral reefs and varied marine fauna.


MONASTERIO DE SAN FRANCISCO

Monasterio de San Francisco, located in Santo Domingo, is recognised by UNESCO as one of the oldest monasteries in the Americas today. Situated on a small hill, you can experience fantastic views of the surrounding neighbourhood.

An uncanny area to wander through, the site provides unique photo opportunities. Expect to see towering columns offset by luscious palms, the remains of the chapel and church hall, and Renaissance-style stone architecture.

After withstanding numerous hurricanes and other natural disasters, in 1930, another sizeable part of the world heritage site was destroyed. In 1940 the bell towers relocated to the Church of Santa Bárbara, and the site transformed to form a leprosy hospital and asylum.

Easy to get to and one of the highlights of the colonial zone of Santo Domingo. Monasterio de San Francisco is another historical attraction close to the favoured Plaza de España, providing numerous bars and cafes.


FARO A COLON

Staying in the capital, Faro a Colón, otherwise known as the Columbus Lighthouse, is another favoured historical attraction. As part of the recently built concrete memorial. Here you can find a mausoleum deemed to contain the remains of the world-famous explorer. The old lighthouse facilitated navigation for vessels coming to the Dominican Republic and is now known as an iconic historical landmark of the city.

Built in 1992 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus, the grand construction provides an abundance of antique artefacts and impressive architecture. Surrounded by manicured gardens, the colossal attraction presents an encyclopaedia of the new world.


MONUMENTO DE SANTIAGO

The last stop on our tour of historic places in the Dominican Republic takes us to the northern city of Santiago De Los Caballeros, which pays homage to the Monumento de Santiago – dedicated to heroes of the Dominican Restoration War between 1863 and 1865. The monument is also the tallest building in the city.

Heading to the city, you’ll also be able to peruse Dominican art at the Centro León cultural centre. The centre also runs exhibits about local ecology and presents an auditorium, luscious gardens and more.

To complete your visit to Santiago De Los Caballeros. Fortaleza San Luis Museum, located near the Yaque del Norte river is also well worth the visit.


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