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a large white building with a clock tower

Known as La Ciudad Corazón (The Heart City), Santiago de Los Caballeros is the second biggest city in the Dominican Republic, located in the heart of the north, in between mountains and beautiful beaches. Originally the capital of the country, this city is a must-visit. Only a 4 hour drive from Punta Cana!

Things to do in Santiago de Los Caballeros

Santiago de Los Caballeros is situated in a wonderfully hilly environment, which makes for very fertile ground and lush greenery. What else comes with fertile ground? Rum & cigars, that is. Santiago is the biggest export city when it’s about these goods. With a tropical wet climate, this city can be rainy but is mostly hot, due to the tropical trade winds regulating the temperature. Located in the Cibao valley, Santiago de Los Caballeros is a bit more sheltered against hurricanes.

Apart from rum and cigars, this city hosts some beautiful ancient architectural structures and building, such as the old bridge between north and south, the Hermanos Patino. Furthermore, a high marble monument can be found on a hill overlooking Santiago. This monument has an interesting history and has been renamed a few times – it now acts in remembrance of the Independence Restoration War, in which the Dominican Republic became independent from Spain.

Santiago activities

It’s always hard to sum up cities, but what we CAN do is name a few fun activities. Literally so many things to do in Santiago de Los Caballeros. You can either walk around or visit a few nice museums, and even a water park! Another outing? Go to La Aurora Cigar Factory, where you will experience how cigars are made, from start to finish. An interesting process, even for non-smokers! Or explore the art, history and culture of the Dominican Republic at Centre Leon, which hosts many different exhibits and is free on Tuesdays! For a bit of a walk, visit the nice Duarte Park, which is a small park & historic sight all in one. Here, you will see the old cathedral and many colonial buildings, plus: you can sit for a while and enjoy the scenery.

Enough of cultural city life? Mundo Aquatico is a waterpark a bit out of the centre of Santiago de Los Caballeros that will keep you busy for an entire day! Think: pools and fun slides, shallow and deeper ones. The staff are super friendly – just a fun place to splash around, really!

A trip to the mountains

Next to wandering the old city of Santiago de Los Caballeros, this beautiful city is located in the exact right spot to explore natural spots and parks. The town of San Jose de las Matas is only an hour drive away and acts as the gateway to mountains and natural springs. Dive into thermal spring Aguas Calientes and relax your stressed muscles in the fresh water. Or visit the mountains of Jose Armando Bermudez National Park, an ecological gem where you can do a 3-day trekking tour climbing the mountain Pico Duarte – with a guide for safety. This area is stunning and you could even spot a hummingbird if you’re a good, silent observer.

Another hour away, to the north of Santiago de Los Caballeros? More mountains! Mount Isabel de Torres to be precise, a panoramic fan favorite. You can use a fun cable car to get to the top and take those beautiful scenic pictures. Mountains aplenty in this area!

Be sure to visit Santiago de Los Caballeros while you’re here and tell us about your faves!

Photo: Pawareport