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Maravillas Cave and Altos de Chavón Day Trip from Santo Domingo After hotel pickup in Santo Domingo, head east along the southern coast of the Dominican Republic to Maravillas Cave (Cueva de las Maravillas, meaning the Cave of Wonders), a 1.5-hour drive from the city.
When you arrive at the cave with your guide, head inside to see and learn about the cave paintings left by the Taino Indians, who lived on the island before the arrival of the Spanish explorers. The 82-foot-deep (25-meter) cave features an 800-foot (244-meter) walking trail along which you can admire the geological formations and 400-plus Taino drawings and engravings.
Next, return to your coach for the 30-minute drive further east to Altos de Chavón, a recreated medieval European village perched above the Chavón River in the city of La Romana. The brainchild of a Paramount movie set designer, the village opened in the early 1980s with a concert by Frank Sinatra in the amphitheater.
Tour the village with your guide to admire the unique architecture and browse the many craft shops and ateliers where local artisans produce ceramics, textiles and other artsy items. Art and design are a big part of the community due to the renowned Altos de Chavón School of Design, an affiliate of New York’s prestigious Parsons School of Design.
Explore boutiques, check out the 5,000-person amphitheater and have lunch at a local restaurant, where you can enjoy typical Dominican cuisine like fish croquettes, fried yucca, rice and beans, pork and potatoes, plus dessert and coffee. Your day trip ends with the drive back to Santo Domingo for hotel drop-off.
Take a day out from Santo Domingo to soak in the nearby wonders of Maravillas Cave and Altos de Chavón. Begin with a visit to the 82-foot-deep (25-meter) cave, marveling at the hundreds of artworks left here by native Taino people. Learn more about them as you explore. Then pay a visit to Altos de Chavón, a replica medieval-style European village that opened in the 1980s and is now known for its local artisan scene. Peruse its boutique shops, admire its unique architecture and purchase an original souvenir.