Territory

Wonders of Dominican Republic

The blue amber from the Dominican Republic
The blue amber from the Dominican Republic / Vassil, / public domain

WorldBlue  Highlights

The Dominican Republic is rich both with man-made and natural landmarks. The highlights are:

  • Santo Domingo with its historical buildings – the oldest continuously inhabited European city in Americas with some of the few true Late Gothic buildings in this part of the world.
  • Petroglyphs and sacrifice caves – thousands of drawings, etchings and bas-reliefs created by Taíno people and lesser-known earlier cultures.
  • Finds of amber and larimar – some of the richest and most interesting finds of fossil resin in the world, as well as the only find of the amazing blue stone – larimar.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Dominican Republic

Geological wonders

Los Haitises

Samaná

Interesting karst region, covered with tropical forest. Consists of hundreds of conical, 200 – 300 m tall, steep hills. Numerous caves, underground rivers, rare species of animals, and plants.

Los Haitises limestone hills from the sea, Dominican Republic
Los Tres Ojos

Santo Domingo

Partly collapsed limestone cave, show cave. Contains three lakes – one contains sulfurous water, another – saltwater, and the largest – freshwater.

Salto Limon

Samaná

Gorgeous, 52 m tall waterfall that falls over tufa formations.

Lago de Oviedo

Pedernales

Hypersaline lake with unusual green-yellow water, the color is caused by limestone particles. Saltwater enters from the ocean through caves. Numerous rare animals and plants.

Fun Fun Cave (La Cueva del Diablo)

Hato Mayor

The longest cave in the Dominican Republic, more than 7 km long. Spectacular cave formations, prehistoric petroglyphs.

Cueva de Tibisi

Samaná

Giant, collapsed cave – natural arch, leading to a sinkhole.

Baiguate Falls near Jarabacoa

La Vega

Approximately 61 m tall waterfall.

Salto Jimenoa Uno and Salto Jimenoa Dos near Jarabacoa

La Vega

Spectacular, 60 and 40 m tall falls.

Salto Jimenoa Dos, Dominican Republic
Aguas Blancas near Jarabacoa

La Vega

87 m tall waterfall, reportedly the tallest in the Dominican Republic.

Archaeological wonders

Pomier Caves

San Cristóbal

Series of 55 caves that contain the largest collection of ancient rock art in the Caribbean. This art was created 2,000 years ago by Taíno, Carib, Igneri people. Approximately 6,000 charcoal drawings and etchings.

Pictograph in Pomier Cave No.2., Dominican Republic
Manantial de la Aleta

La Altagracia

Cave with several small holes in the ceiling – almost sinkhole, 89 m deep. Contains 73 m deep pool. In the center is 39 m high heap of rubble that contains numerous artifacts left by sacrifice rituals of Taíno. Found many whole vessels, many have very interesting ornamentation.

Padre Nuestro Caves

La Altagracia

Group of four underwater caves – sinkholes with stalactites and stalagmites – that formed when caves were above the water. Human remains and stone artifacts have been found next to the bones of extinct animals (e.g. skull of monkey Antillothrix bernensis, sloths Acratocnus and Parocnus). Cueca de Chicho provided a rich collection of whole Taíno vessels.

José Maria Cave

La Altagracia

Cave with more than 1200 Taíno charcoal paintings. One panel supposedly depicts the terms of the agreement between Spaniards and Taíno in 1503.

San Gabriel Cave and two other caves in Los Haitises

Samaná

The limestone caves at the sea here are adorned with prehistoric petroglyphs and pictographs. Supposedly created by Taíno people and, presumably, older cultures.

Cueva de las Maravillas

San Pedro de Macorís

Approximately 0.8 km long caves with numerous stalactites and stalagmites. Some 500 ancient drawings by Taíno.

Architecture wonders

Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo

Distrito Nacional

The oldest continuously inhabited European city in the Americas, settled since 1496, the city established in 1498. Partly preserved the defensive walls and the original grid pattern. Contains many valuable and ornate buildings in the late Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque styles.

Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Alcázar de Colón

Distrito Nacional

The oldest European palace in the Americas, constructed in 1510 – 1512 in Renaissance style. Residence of the Viceroy of the Indies. This site of important historical events contains a rich collection of furniture and artworks of the period, now – museum.

Catedral de Santa María la Menor (Catedral de Santa Mariá de la Encarnación Primada de America)

Distrito Nacional

The oldest cathedral in the Americas, constructed in 1512 – 1540 in Gothic and Renaissance styles. The altar is chiseled of silver. Contains a collection of valuable art.

Fortaleza Ozama

Distrito Nacional

The oldest European fortification in the Americas, constructed in 1502 – 1505 by the Spanish. A representative of late Medieval architecture. Served as a prison until the 1960ies.

Amber Museum on Calle Duarte 61

Puerto Plata

One of the best collections of amber in the world, with unique specimens.

Museo de las Casas Reales

Distrito Nacional

Palace, former administrative offices of the Spanish colonies in the Americas, constructed in 1511. Consists of two buildings – one is the Palace of Governors, another – Roal Audiencia of Santo Domingo. Now serves as a museum of history.

National Pantheon in Santo Domingo

Distrito Nacional

Jesuit church, constructed in 1714 – 1746 in Neo-Classic style. Now serves as the final resting place of outstanding citizens of the Dominican Republic.

Puerto Plata, La Zona Colonial

Puerto Plata

Beautiful city center: here some 150 houses are built in Victorian style. This part developed in 1857 although the city is much older.

National Palace in Santo Domingo

Distrito Nacional

Magnificent government building in Neo-Classical style, constructed in 1944 and used mostly for higher-ranked officials, government meetings, and representation purposes.

El Faro, Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata

Cast-iron lighthouse, constructed in 1879. This 42 m tall lighthouse has very unusual architecture.

WorldYellow Recommended books

Dominican Republic – Culture Smart!


Occupying the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic has something for almost everyone – except perhaps obsessive perfectionists. If you can relax and go with the flow you will experience a land of great environmental diversity with a rich and varied culture, a turbulent history, some infuriating idiosyncrasies, and a people whose friendliness is legendary.

The Rough Guide to the Dominican Republic


Escape the all-inclusive resorts and find the real Dominican Republic – surfboarding resorts and eco-lodges in remote pueblos, the Caribbean’s highest mountain, and the sites of the Americas’ first European settlements. You’ll find detailed practical advice on how to get the best from your trip, too, with color-coded maps, listings and information personally checked out by our intrepid writers.


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