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Higuey

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Carr. Aeropuerto, Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

RD 10

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Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit the Basilica Cathedral of Our Lady of La Altagracia in Higuey early in the morning to avoid the crowds and fully experience the serenity of this sacred place. As a local tip, stop by one of the family-owned eateries nearby for a breakfast of 'Mangú', a traditional Dominican dish, to start your day like a true Dominican."

What is Higuey?

Higuey, formally known as Salvaleón de Higüey, is a bustling city rich in cultural significance located in the Altagracia province of the Dominican Republic. It stands as the economic hub of the eastern region of the country, and serves as a pilgrimage destination with religious and historical relevance. Notably, Higuey is renowned for its awe-inspiring basilica, which magnetizes tourists and devout followers alike. This city seamlessly weaves together the threads of tradition and modernity, making it an essential experience for those exploring the Dominican landscape.

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Higuey's proximity to the renowned resorts of Punta Cana means that it often plays host to visitors looking to delve deeper into Dominican culture. The basilica's modern architecture, against the backdrop of the city's more traditional Dominican lifestyle, provides a striking contrast that stimulates the senses of its visitors.

Aside from the basilica, Higuey offers vibrant markets, local eateries, and the chance to observe day-to-day life in a Dominican city that has retained its soul amid the country's tourism boom.

History of Higuey

The history of Higuey is entwined with the indigenous Taino people, the arrival of the Spanish, and the spread of Christianity in the New World. It's believed that Higuey was one of the chiefdoms existing on the island of Hispaniola prior to the Spanish colonization. The storied past of struggle and eventual conquest has left an indelible mark on the city and its heritage. After the Spanish arrival, the city saw the building of one of the first Christian churches in the Americas, symbolizing a new era.

The Basilica Cathedral of La Altagracia, the most illustrious landmark in Higuey, was built much later, with its cornerstone laid in 1954 and the structure completed in 1971. It's dedicated to Our Lady of La Altagracia, revered as the protector of the people of the Dominican Republic, with her veneration dating back to the early 16th century.

Why is Higuey Important?

Higuey's significance primarily stems from its religious and cultural importance. The Basilica of La Altagracia, in particular, is a pilgrimage site for many Catholics, especially on January 21st, the Day of Our Lady of Altagracia, which is a public holiday in the Dominican Republic. This day sees throngs of devotees visiting the Basilica to pay homage to the Virgin Mary. The importance of Higuey, however, extends beyond just religious grounds—it is a microcosm of Dominican life, where one can experience the tangible essence of the nation's spirit and identity.

Moreover, Higuey offers a connection to the past through its street patterns, remnants of colonial architecture, and the important role it played in the early stages of Spanish settlement and the spread of Christianity across Latin America. It's a part of the Dominican Republic where past and present converge, offering insights into the development of the Caribbean as we know it today.

Things to Do & See at Higuey

Visiting Higuey, you can't miss the chance to see the Basilica Cathedral of La Altagracia in its full glory. Its soaring arches and modern design make it stand out in the Dominican landscape, and its interior holds the revered painting of Our Lady of La Altagracia, an object of profound devotion.

Walking through the city streets, one can browse through the bustling local markets where you can find everything from fresh produce to artisanal crafts. These markets provide an immersive glimpse into the daily lives of Higuey's residents. For a meaningful cultural experience, try the local food; dishes like Mangu, Sancocho, or the delectable Pescado con Coco at spots where locals eat, how they eat—this is the true flavor of the Dominican Republic.

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Not to be overlooked are the city's smaller churches and historical buildings that echo the past. Engage with the friendly locals and learn about their traditions and stories that may not be found in history books. And if you venture just a bit outside the city, you'll find the verdant countryside and sugarcane fields that tell another side of the Dominican story—the agricultural life that has sustained this land for generations.

  • Experience the spirit of Higuey at the Basilica Cathedral of La Altagracia
  • Immerse yourself in culture and taste at the local markets
  • Relish authentic Dominican cuisine at traditional eateries
  • Discover lesser-known historical sites and local stories
  • Explore the surrounding countryside and its agricultural heritage

Frequently asked questions

What is Higuey in Punta Cana known for?

Higuey, also known as Salvaleón de Higüey, is known for its religious significance as the site of the Basílica Catedral Nuestra Señora de La Altagracia, a major pilgrimage center for Dominican Catholics. It's also recognized for its rich history, local culture, and proximity to some of the best beaches and resorts in Punta Cana.

How far is Higuey from the Punta Cana resort area?

Higuey is approximately 45 kilometers inland from the resort area of Punta Cana. It usually takes around an hour to drive there, depending on traffic and the specific location of your resort.

What are the best things to do in Higuey?

Visitors to Higuey can explore the Basílica Catedral Nuestra Señora de La Altagracia, visit the local markets for shopping, learn about the city's history at the Museo de la Altagracia, and enjoy authentic Dominican cuisine at the city's restaurants.

Are there any guided tours available from Punta Cana to Higuey?

Yes, there are several guided tours available that offer transport from Punta Cana to Higuey. These tours often include visits to the basilica, cultural experiences, and sometimes stop at local markets or other points of interest.

What is the best time of year to visit Higuey?

The best time to visit Higuey is during the dry season from December to April, when the weather is more comfortable for exploring the city and attending outdoor events like the annual festival for La Altagracia in January.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Carr. Aeropuerto, Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

RD 10

Find it on google maps