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Punta Cana, in the province of Altagracia, is the region located furthest east in the Dominican Republic, a coastal region mainly notable for its beautiful Caribbean beaches and which receives the greatest number of visitors in the country.
At first, this territory was no more than unspoiled beaches and vegetation, purchased with the objective of exploiting the natural resources. However, in Punta Cana, investors saw an ideal place for developing the tourism of the country, and therefore the project took on a new direction to offer infrastructure that would allow this part of the Dominican Republic to be visited. This occurred in the 1970s, but over the years, Punta Cana has become a point of reference for Caribbean tourism, and the airport of the region has become much more notable than that of the capital.
The charms of this region stand out, with kilometers of idyllic beaches, luxury resorts which accommodate the thousands of tourists who seek relaxation in this region, and everything surrounded by the tropical greenery of the vegetation that covers the east of this island. Punta Cana is, in short, the region of the Dominican Republic that perfectly encapsulates the natural beauty of this country and which offers the best services so that it can be enjoyed
Salvaleón de Higüey, better known as Higüey, is the capital city of the province of Altagracia, very near to the tourist region of Punta Cana. This city has experienced major growth thanks to the tourism development of the region, which has increased immigration to this city.
Higüey has the typical character of Dominican cities, with simple streets and low buildings, filled with shops and restaurants ideal for taking a break along the way. One of the main tourist attractions is the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Altagracia, an original architectural structure made up of an enormous Latin cross with striking windows which give a special brightness. This building was designed to replace the former basilica which dates from the 16th century and was considered the first church in America dedicated to Mary.
Another emblematic place worthy of visiting is the Church of San Dionisio, dating to the 16th century. Inside it contains important treasures from the colonial period, of great historical and material value, made of gold and silver. Among them are a golden crown and precious stones made from donations from the town at the start of the 20th century. It is a must-visit for those who wish to discover part of the colonial history of this country.
Altos de Chavón
In the highest part of the Chavón River we find a town which was built in the 70s, following the Mediterranean style of the 16th century. This place is known as “the city of the artists” and it is no surprise that it is home to various institutions that have the objective of promoting art and culture.
Taking a walk through Altos de Chavón is possible for a modest entrance fee which is worth paying, as you will be immersed in the charm of medieval Italy in the middle of the Caribbean landscape. Visits on the river are also worthwhile, as in addition to the welcoming streets, it is also surrounded by nature.
Altos de Chavón has the honour of containing the National Archaeological Museum, a cultural centre, and is known for having been the setting for various film shoots. We also find an important design and fine art school which is renowned at an international level; however probably the star piece of this small town is its amphitheatre, where world famous artists such as Frank Sinatra, Julio Iglesias and Gloria Estefan have given concerts. There are certainly few places which contain so many surprises.
Bávaro, one of the most important tourist areas of the Dominican Republic, is a town which was first conceived of as a home for workers from Punta Cana. However, the constant economic growth of the area has made Bávaro into another tourist attraction, especially thanks to its proximity to the legendary Playa Bávaro beach. Currently, in addition to being the home of many hotel employees in the region, residential complexes have also been constructed for visitors, making it easy to find all kinds of services.
Bávaro is found in the north region of Punta Cana, being the point of entry to several of the most important beaches in the country on the renowned Costa del Coco. Being frequented by so much tourism, in Bávaro we find hotels, restaurants, a shopping centre, and above all, nightclubs for enjoying the Dominican nights, notably Imagine, Mangú and the renowned Pacha nightclub, present around the world. Another place of interest is the Manatí Park, an incredible waterpark which allows you to discover the marine and land fauna of the region and enjoy its exotic gardens.
Boca de Yuma
Boca de Yuma is a charming town belonging to the province of Altagracia, very near to Punta Cana, and whose port is one of the main attractions of the area. It is located in the outlet of the Yuma River, just in the bay at the east of the National Park of the East. The first inhabitants settled here in the middle of the 19th century, mainly dedicating themselves to fishing and the exportation of wood.
Thanks to its great location, one of the main activities carried out is fishing, in which visitors can participate by contacting an excursion for this sport. It is also highly recommended for boat trips and traveling up the river to the Yuma waterfall.
This coast also has several caves, including the Cueva de Bernard, a very interesting place to visit, although a simple trip along the coast to contemplate the whole landscape of the bay, which could easily pass as the fantastic setting of a pirate island, will be sufficient to make a visit worthwhile.
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