Coconut palms on popular Canto de la Playa in Saona Island
There is so much to do in Cotubanamá National Park, you’ll be hard-pressed to fit it all into one day. There are caves to explore, hiking trails dotted with freshwater springs, swaths of beautiful white beach, and great snorkeling along the coast. Keep an eye on the sky — the whole park is home to more than 300 types of birds.
Amphitheatre in Altos de Chavon, Casa de Campo
Tucked away in the green hills of the Dominican countryside, is Altos de Chavon. This must-visit marvel was built to resemble a sixteenth-century Mediterranean village. Wander along its idyllic cobblestone streets, peek at its beautiful terraced villas, and pose for a picture at its sprawling, 5,000-seat Grecian-style amphitheater, which has hosted performances by Andrea Bocelli, Juan Luis Guerra, Marc Anthony and more.
Surrounded by crystal clear waters just a mile-and-a-half off the mainland, Catalina Island is a favorite destination among snorkelers and divers. Most come here by catamaran to float above the colorful reefs, sandbars, and a seventeenth-century shipwreck teeming with sea life. Onshore you can explore mangroves and lots of beautiful beaches.
Dominican cuisine blends influences from Spain, Africa and the Middle East, just to name a few. If you’re visiting on a cruise to La Romana, don’t miss out on local specialties like sancocho, a fish stew said to have originated in the Spanish Canary Islands, and habichuelas con dulce, a creamy dessert made of sweet beans.
La Romana is home to all kinds of artists and artisans. Drop into any gallery and you’ll find beautiful works by local masters specializing in sculpting, painting, metalworking and more. And in Altos de Chavón, you can shop clothing by famed local designers and stunning jewelry made with amber and larimar, a rare blue stone found only in the Dominican Republic.
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