Sitting above the Chavon River in the La Romana area of the Dominican Republic is the Altos de Chavon. A recreation of a Mediterranean village of the 16th century era, it is a popular destination for those enjoying a luxury vacation in the Dominican Republic. Close to gorgeous Casa de Campo area, it is a place that deserves a full day of attention, and it is sure to please and delight.

Part of Your Dominican Republic Luxury Vacation

Whether you have a villa rental in Casa de Campo, or are staying in another of the villas for rent in the eastern end of the Dominican Republic such as Punta Cana, you will want to head out early one morning to spend a day in the unforgettable Altos de Chavon. Though it may seem odd to find a 16th century Mediterranean-style village here, it makes perfect sense. After all, the historic center of the island is Santo Domingo, which was founded during the 16th century. Some of the original architecture in the city is precisely what you see during a visit to Altos de Chavon.

It features working artisanal studios selling everything from pottery to weaving and it is also home to an archaeological museum.

Your Altos de Chavon Itinerary

Any itinerary has to start in the early morning hours, and guests must make a point of visiting Le Boulanger. This is a classic bakery offering fantastic coffee and breakfast pastries, but it is a good choice for desserts and even lunches as it makes excellent sandwiches, salads and more.

Once you are charged up with caffeine and baked goods, it is time to see the stunning St. Stanislaus church. Built of stone, it stands as the heart of the village and was visited by the Pope in 1979. It has a patron saint (Stanislaus) and statues that commemorate him. It is a popular place for weddings, and you can even enjoy a Sunday morning mass here.

Before you leave the church area, make a point of finding out if Margarito is nearby. He is the resident donkey who arrived in the village in 1987 and who has not left ever since. He is usually found by the El Sombrero restaurant. After saying your hellos, spend some time exploring this part of the village as it is home to some of the amazing artisan shops.

You can find many different items to take home, including hand rolled cigars, handmade jewelry, unique garments and fancy linens for your dining room or bedroom. Be sure you find out where the students from the Altos de Chavon School of Design are selling their wares as these are a great way to support young artists.

If you are interested in Mexican food for lunch, head back to El Sombrero, but keep in mind that this small village is home to roughly ten different restaurants, cafes or pubs. You may even want to enjoy your meal in one spot and your coffee and dessert in another.

After enjoying your lunch, head to the Archaeological Regional Museum and the stunning Amphitheater. It is modeled after the Greek design and can seat 5,000 people. The museum is a treat place to learn all about the history of the native peoples and the country. You will also be able to explore the Gallery belonging to the school of design.

If you time it right, you can reach the Plaza Chavon in the afternoon. This is a must because it is when local artisan come to sell wares in a unique open market. This offers you a chance to watch goods being made and purchase your favorites.

If you are hungry, you will definitely want to enjoy dinner in the village. The most scenic place to enjoy this meal is La Piazzetta that has views over the entire village and specializes in Italian fusion food.

A day at Altos de Chavon is cultural, educational and delicious. It is a great way to get all of your souvenir shopping done while enjoying a truly unique experience.

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