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Altos de Chavon – Disappointment in the Dominican Republic

Beach, sand and sun (and a few cocktails) – are all you need for a relaxing all-inclusive vacation in the Caribbean. The white-powdered beaches and turquoise waters of Punta Cana attract thousands of tourists every year including myself.

Prior to going to the Dominican Republic, I had been to Mexico and Cuba also staying in all-inclusive resorts and, in comparison, I can’t say the D.R. was my favorite Caribbean destination. Truth be told, I found it lacked quite a bit of charm and culture.

Although I enjoy wasting spending time lazying all day on a beach longue chaise with people-watching being the only activity I choose to engage in, I also need to get away from the predictability of resort life at least once during my vacation. I thought there weren’t any interesting historical sites on this half of Hispaniola (island comprised of the D.R. and Haiti) so I was delighted when I came upon an excursion to Altos de Chavon in La Romana. 

As described by Wikipedia:

“Altos de Chavón is a re-creation of a mediterranean style European village located atop the Chavon River in La Romana. It is the most popular attraction in the city and hosts a cultural center, an archeological museum, and an amphitheater. The project was conceived by the Italian architect Roberto Copa, and the industrialist Charles Bluhdorn.” 


Okay – so there was nothing authentic about it and it didn’t even have a cultural or historical attachment to the Caribbean nation of the Dominican Republic but it was an outing away from the oil-lathered-bare-belly-beer-drinking patrons at the hotel. And for what it was worth – Frank Sinatra, Julio Iglesias and The Pet Shop Boys (throwback to the 80’s anyone?) had previously performed in the roman-style amphitheater. I’m not sure if that makes Altos de Chavon better or worse – I guess it depends on your musical tastes.



For lack of authenticity, I’ll admit the setting with the Chavon River flowing through the valley below was very nice and the “recreation of a mediterranean style European village” was very well done and, to some extent, believable. But that didn’t lessen my disappointment so apparent in these pictures.


After my disappointment with this lackluster excursion subsided, I came to the conclusion that I might as well just take advantage of the endless stretch of the palm-lined beach and the warm Caribbean Sea – after all, some places exist solely to cater to some much-deserved self-indulgent farniente.

Who was I to argue?



A happier me with my feet in the sea!

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Has anyone else been to Altos de Chavon? Does anybody remember The Pet Shop Boys?

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Altos de Chavon – Disappointment in the Dominican Republic


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