Santiago or Santiago de los Caballeros is the second-largest city in the Dominican Republic and also is the fourth-largest city in the Caribbean. If a vacation to you means a rendezvous with history and a lot of art and culture – Santiago, Dominican Republic checks off all the boxes. The city, being a pioneer exporter of rum, cigars, and textile, is the country’s financial center. Starting from its foundation in the year 1495 by Christopher Columbus’s elder brother, the city has witnessed a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs. The 1912 DR civil war broke Santiago, Dominican Republic terribly but a worldwide scarcity of raw materials due to the devastating WWI helped grow the city’s economy as the city grew those raw materials abundantly. Long history, lip-smacking Latin, Peruvian food, loud nightlife, and more – these are the best things to do in Santiago for a very happening vacation experience.
Santiago, Dominican Republic is an off-the-track destination in DR unlike the big cities like the capital Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata. Puerto Plata is also a happening beach destination. But Santiago de los Caballeros holds on to its small-school feel and presents before you a lot of outdoor adventure options and art-n-cultural sights. An inland city in northern DR and the capital of Santiago Province, the city with its classic Caribbean-Spanish style homes and more welcomes you to its charming beauty and attractions galore.
Best And Top-rated Things To Do In Santiago, Dominican Republic:
Get To The Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración de la República:
Sitting atop a hill in the middle of the city, Monumento de Santiago is the highest building in Santiago, Dominican Republic. This wonderful eight-story monument was built by dictator Rafael Trujillo in the year 1944 to honor himself. But later on, after his homicide, the monument was devoted to the soldiers who fought against the Spanish soldiers in the Dominican War of Independence. The large bronze Angel de La Paz statue at the top of the edifice is note-worthy and the beauty of this white monument is impeccable. And you ought to visit the museum that is housed on the upper floors of the museum if you are interested in Dominican history. To take in the beautiful view of the city surroundings and also to enjoy some relaxing time in the afternoon at the nearby park – you have to come to this stunning monument.
Check Out The Impressive Collection Of Paintings At Centro León:
To learn about the Dominican culture and to know in-depth about the art and culture of El Cibao, a quick visit to the Centro León or Eduardo León Jimenes Cultural Centre is a must. The museum is large and was built to honor the business tycoon León Jimenes with the money of his own family wealth. Inside the museum, there are three permanent exhibition halls and a temporary one all promoting the art and culture of the Dominican Republic. A great collection of Dominican art and paintings exhibits focusing on the history, cultural diversity, and biodiversity of the island – you get to see everything in this modern museum. There is also another exhibition room namely, the Trace and Memory Room where visitors can learn about the history and family of León Jimenes, the founder of the Aurora tobacco factory which is the oldest tobacco factory in the Dominican Republic. The center also offers many audio-visual presentations and presents local and international fairs yearlong.
Take Part In The City’s Carnival Celebrations:
Santiago, Dominican Republic transforms into a carnival hotspot every weekend in the month of February. If you want to soak in the authentic glitz and glamour of a Dominican carnival, make it a point to visit Santiago during this time. During the carnival period, the avenue Las Carreras turns into a party place. Parades are organized along the avenue toward the Monument and it is such a vibrant and colorful event to take part in. Locals get dressed in colorful clothes and wear Diablos Cojuelos masks which are traditional Dominican carnival masks. The city turns into a land of happiness and you also get to try affordable alcohol, food, and it is so rejoicing to see everybody dancing and celebrating together rinsing off all the worries of day-to-day life. If you want to have a closer look at the cultural extravaganza of the city, taking part in this carnival celebration is one of the best things to do in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
Learn About The History Of Cigars At La Aurora Cigar Factory:
A premium cigar factory that gives you a tour around everything from growing the seed, curing, hand-rolling to the packaging of cigars– visitors have to come to this one of the best cigar factories in the world to have a deep understanding of how the process of making cigars take place. La Aurora is the original cigar factory in the Dominican Republic that was opened in the year 1903. La Aurora is a globally recognized cigar brand and the factory was founded by business tycoon Eduardo León Jimenes.
Get to see how a hand-rolled cigar is finely crafted and sets its journey to the market. Interested to learn cigar-making? You can also enroll in a cigar-rolling course that is offered at the campus of the La Aurora Cigar Institute. Touring through this most prestigious cigar factory of the country is obviously one of the finest touristy things to do in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
Visit Don Tomás Morel Folk Museum:
One of the most important museums of the country, Don Tomás Morel Folk Museum is a hidden treasure. Established by the poet Tomás Morel, this museum showcases wonderful folk art pieces. Especially, this museum is the best place to see some of the best carnival masks that were worn during the February Carnival of Santiago. Merengue which is a very famous musical style rooted in Africa got its full glory in Santiago and this museum also has exhibits that focus on the history and evolution of Merengue in the Dominican Republic.
Also Visit Catedral De Santiago Apóstol:
Secure some time to set a visit to Catedral de Santiago Apóstol and admire the beauty of this old building. Built between 1868 and 1894, the church is one of the finest examples of Gothic and neoclassical-colonial architectural style. The most fascinating architectural feature of this building is an array of stained glass windows which were done by Dominican artist Rincón Mora. You would love the mural paintings and the short guided tour of the cathedral that will enlighten you with historical information about many parts of this old building. The cathedral also houses the marble tomb of former president Ulises Heureaux.
Eat Best Sandwiches At La Campagna:
Craving healthy eating in between your extensive sightseeing tours in Santiago, Dominican Republic? Head to La Campagna. A healthy spread of menu offers you everything from a wide array of sandwiches, soups, bread to pasta and pizza. The interior is nicely decorated and they are aimed at maintaining proper hygiene standards and quality of their food which is great. A great place to dig in International cuisine and spend some nice time, you have to come to La Campagna for food, comfort, and more.