once in dominican republic punta cana one must see activity tip is obviously a touristic tour to altos de chavon. not looking at all like a south american vilage. see my pg about chavon arriba and see for yurself. great experience.
We spent only 45 minutes here on the way to Isla Saona and many trips do not include this side stop; I wouldn't say that you'd be missing anything terribly special. Part of the experience was ruined by the fact that our guide told us honestly that the entire village was built in the 1990s, so even the historical charm is feigned...
If enjoying the resort the whole period of your stay is not your type of “activity” there are several alternatives available:
. book a daytrip at the resort. Usually there are several companies there trying to “sell” their packages to guests. We booked a few, some to discover other places and some to simply enjoy the beach and have a nice day outside the resort.
. discover other places by yourself. We only did this once, and it was ok. We visited Higuey by our own, using public transportation, and it was safe and cheap.
Our daytrips outside the resort consisted of:
1. Isla Saona + Altos de Chávon
2. Boat, snorkeling and deserted island
3. Inner island, local customs and sugar cane plantation
I will describe these daytrips and activities in the next tips.
As referred on the previous tip, the major main sees of this village are:
. the amphitheatre: it has a capacity of 5.000 seats and reproduces a typical 16th century Mediterranean one. It was inaugurated in 1982 with a concert that featured Frank Sinatra and Carlos Santana. Some events take place here regularly such as concerts, symphonies, theatrical events, and festivals. Some renowned artists as Julio Iglesias, Gloria Estefan, Sergio Mendes, Dizzy Gillespie, Air Supply, Pilobulos, and the Dance Theater of Harlem, are referred as to having performed there.
. the River Chavón: this River named the village. It is famous for having been the scenario for filming some scenes for "Apocalypse Now" and "Rambo". It is possible to make some boat travels along the river. From the village you get fabulous views over the river.
. the Regional Museum of Archaeology: this museum shows the country's history from the pre-ceramic era to Taino Indians (main civilization when the Spanish conquerors arrived) and hosts more than 3.000 pieces discovered in the place where the village was built as well as in River Chavón. Some of their more important artefacts have already been exposed in New York, Paris and Seville.
. the Art Gallery: the gallery has an important role on local life since any artist who gets to expose in this gallery has the privilege of showing his work to visitors from all over the world. It is also frequent to find international artists' exhibits here.
. the S. Estanislao Church: the church was named as a honour to Pope João Paulo II, since S. Estanislao is Poland's patron (Poland was Pope's homeland). As other buildings, it is made of stone and is a reproduction of a 16th century Mediterranean style. It is situated in front of a very nice square with a fountain, from which you can enjoy outstanding views.
The village itself it's a must see activity. There are numerous opportunities for visiting this place from major hotels and resorts. In brief, this village began being built in 1976 and reproduces a 16th century Mediterranean village. It was a birthday gift from Charles Bluhdorn to his daughter and uses materials such as coral block and terracotta.
Today it hosts an important arts school and the entire village has a student's/ artists feeling. Very nice to visit, you will feel in a different place that has nothing in common to what you usually come across in the DR.
. the amphitheatre
. the River Chávon
. the Regional Museum of Archaeology
. the Art Gallery
. the S. Estanislao Church
This beautiful place was started constructing in 1976. Charles Bludhorn, president of Golf and Western Corporation was the one that had the idea of constructing this Mediterranean village of the 16th century as gift of birthday his daughter in the high places of the river Chavón. Altos del Chavon has a Church, restaurants, galleries of art, museum taino, shops, discotheque, artists' studies, school of design and an amphitheatre.
San Estanislao's Church is in the center of the village. His name is in honor to S.S Juan Paul II, since San Estanislao is the boss of Poland, native land of the Supreme Pontiff.
It is a very beautiful tour
The Excursion includes lunch, transport from the hotel, accompaniment of an expert multilingual guide.