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DESTINATIONS CITIES | CARIBBEAN


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santo domingo, dominican republic The country is praised for its astonishing beaches and luxury-for-less hotels, yet its capital city, Santo Domingo, is just as legendary. Established in 1498 by the Spanish, it was the first European city in the New World. Astonishingly, many of the original buildings remain and you can wander between them in the pedestrianised Zona Colonial. But it’s not just the old that’s amazing here – the new developments are pretty impressive too. Take a ride on the Caribbean’s only underground rail system, which opened in 2008, and check out the Columbus Lighthouse monument, completed in 1992 with a weirdly wonderful design in honour of the intrepid explorer. Book it: Urban Adventures’ three-hour tour, Santo Domingo: City of Firsts, starts at £39. urbanadventures.com


soufriere, saint lucia Soufrière, former capital of the island, still has all the bustle of a city but with a village feel. Nestling in a valley and dwarfed by the Piton peaks, clapboard houses with gingerbread fretwork and wraparound verandas form a grid of streets where you can browse the shops and pick up authentic souvenirs. If you can smell a whiff of sulphur in the air, follow your nose uphill to the island’s collapsed volcanic crater, where geysers bubble and puffs of steam rise out of the earth like miniature clouds. It’s hot up there, but back down in Soufrière you can cool off at the palm-fringed beach. Book it: Clients can arrive and depart by catamaran if you sign them up for Tui’s Tout Bagay tour, adults from £90 and kids £43. gotui.com


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willemstad, curacao Amsterdam meets the Caribbean, with pavement cafes along the Sint Anna channel, which divides Willemstad in two. On one side the chic cruise ship port is a destination in itself – think international restaurants and fashion chains, a park and cinema, all tucked behind fortress walls. Cross the swing bridge and you’ll find brightly painted Dutch townhouses and narrow streets leading to leafy squares. The floating market brims with produce, plus there’s Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue to visit. Finish your exploring on the Pietermaai waterfront – this up-and-coming district with boutique shops, hotels and lounge bars faces the ocean. Book it: Viator offers a Curacao Tuk Tuk City Tour, from £20 per person. travelagents.viator.com


travelweekly.co.uk 6 JUNE 2019 41


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