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3 Dominican Republic


ways to see the


The Dominican Republic is famed for its spectacular white sandy beaches. A less-known fact is that it is a large Caribbean destination, second only to Cuba in area and population with plenty of options for exploration. Josh Dean looks at three perfect locations to spend a day.


Playa Coson in Samaná


Santo Domingo T


he Dominican Republic’s buzzing beehive of a capital is the oldest


city in the Americas, founded in 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus, brother of the famed Italian who discovered the Dominican Republic four years after discovering the Americas. Santo Domingo is a sprawling


city and its cultural heart, the Cuidad Colonial or Zona Colonial as it is known locally, is a warren of cobbled streets and 400-year-old stone buildings. Home to the oldest cathedral in the Western hemisphere, the city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Activity centres around Parque Colón. This fronts the Cathedral of Santa Maria and is bisected by the pedestrian-only Calle El Conde. This is one of the city’s oldest streets and is lined with shops, restaurants and bars, many of which are hidden in courtyards. For lunch, stop at Mesón


40 HOLIDAY www.rci.com


de Bari at 302 Calle Hostos, where they serve excellent stewed crab, doused in Creole spices and served up with rice and plantains to tame the heat. As you wander the old city,


you’re likely to be besieged by affable men offering to guide you. The approximate £15 charge for a half-day tour is a good investment, as it includes a free pass to most sites, but remember to ask to see their government badge before you sign on.


Insider Tips: Santo Domingo is a 3.5 hour drive from Punta Cana on good roads. It’s only 1.5 hours by major highway from La Romana and Bayahibe. Not renting a car? Ask your resort to arrange a taxi or direct you to a bus service. Once in Santo Domingo, you won’t need a car as you can comfortably walk around the old city.


Trekking in Jarabacoa


Mesón de Bari


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