The gems of Higuey city
We’ve been chatting the most beautiful Dominican areas up to you – deserts, mountains, waterfalls.. all lovely. But this one’s about culture: we’re talking the town of Higuey! Bring your camera and snap some fine shots as we walk you through the sights of this city.
We’ve mentioned Higuey (a native Taíno name) before – you can take the Guagua there! The city is not huge, but still a good size to wander around in. It’s the capital of La Altagracia Province, and the municipality reaches as far as Punta Cana. Higuey is not that far – about a 40-min drive, depends on where you stay in Punta Cana. It’s one of the Dominican Republic’s fastest developing cities, hosting many cool sights. Sure, there’s no beach, but soak up on some Dominican culture instead!
Basilica of La Altagracia
One of Higuey’s biggest attractions is the Basilica of La Altagracia. The church looks like a combination of a Roman Catholic basilisk and cathedral. The static building has many blue windows and… well, go see for yourself! On the 31st of March, people are queueing in front of the church, because of the last day of Semana Santa everyone wants to touch the shrine of Mary.
The original church was made of wood, unfortunately it was destroyed by a fire, which resulted in the construction of the Stone Sanctuary that’s been in use so far. In 1881, the Basilica was ruined by an earthquake, but, again, found itself rebuilt by the Higüeyans.
When you arrive at the church and go through the gate, there’s a huge field of palm trees, lined up neatly and perfect for a good shot of the great Basilica. The trees are also a good place to lounge between and have a lil picnic in the grass. On the pathway to the church, you can find guides eager to show you around the center of Higuey. A cool way to see the city through the eyes of a local! Or, if you want to do it yourself, you can read up on Higuey online too.
The old church of Higuey
A bit of a lesser known attraction is the old church in Higuey. The official name? Iglesia de San Dionisio. This church is completely different from the Basilica – and a beautiful, authentic building. Locals come here to spend time in the park around the church, which they call the park of the Palomas. It’s officially called Parque Central, but these white birds come in such great numbers that the park’s all about these palomas. You can even buy bird food, often corn, to feed them! Don’t forget to see the cute pavilion. Enjoy your surroundings, this park is lovely!
The Higuey rivers
As we mentioned, Higuey doesn’t have a beach. However – it has rivers! Sometimes, fresh water can feel like a totally different swimming experience. It’s definitely colder, but you feel much more immersed in nature, too. One of Higuey’s rivers is the Anamuya, a nice green river full of rocks to climb around on (be careful, though). At this river, Dominicans often gather 4 stones to build a little pot holder over a fire. Then, they make a soup called Tirado. This soup is filled with Tocinas (pork meat), green plantain and lots of vegetables. If you’re lucky, they’ll share it with you. Dominicans are welcoming people who love to be social and make new friends! Try. To go to this river, you can take a motoconcho in front of the Basilica. Enjoy your time!
Delicious dining & sleeping
After your swim, you could also check out Parque infantile. Correct, it’s a kid’s park! If you’re here with your kids anyway, why not show them a good time in Higuey? Parque infantil has clowns, face painting, cotton candy and crazy balloons. All you need when you’re a tiny human, really. The park is open from 5pm til 9 at night. For kids under the age of 10, it’s free! Parque infantil is located on the avenida Hermanos Trejo.
Then, after they’re bouncing around, you can try to make them sit down for dinner. At La Delicia Seafood , for example. Delicious seafood AND meat! Try the Surf & Turf. Yum. Then there’s D’Yira , a restaurant made out of canas (palm trees). Super fun setting, and ooo that grilled beef filet. Or try the prawns. Oof.
When you’re not done with Higuey yet, why not stay the night? Banana Ranch Villages is the cutest village, full of wooden cabins with private balconies. And if you really want to be one with nature, try Campito Loving! Don’t let the bugs bite… Kidding.