Churches

A majority of the population is Roman Catholic, as well as other Christian denominations. As a result, Dominican churches play an important role in the culture and history of the country, dating back to the days of the Spanish colonialists. Tour the most significant church in the Colonial City: the Catedral Primada de América, the oldest in the Americas, where official national celebrations take place. The Colonial City is filled with many more breathtaking, important religious sites you can reach on foot, such as Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Las Mercedes, one of two representations of the country’s patron saint. Dominicans make a pilgrimage to Higüey every January 21, to the Basílica Catedral Nuestra Señora de La Altagracia, the country’s most important shrine dedicated to the DR’s patron saint, the Virgin Mary, and often included on tours from Punta Cana. Off the beaten track, a visit of the Holy Hill of Santo Cerro and adjoining church is worthwhile to see the third holiest site in the DR, just outside of La Vega, where Dominicans make a pilgrimage on September 24, Day of the Señora de Las Mercedes.

To ensure entry, dress appropriately when visiting any of these symbolic churches.

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CHURCHES IN
Dominican Republic

Churches are a symbol of Dominicans’ solid faith, revealing centuries of history and architecture.

 
 
Located in nearby Higüey, this cathedral ranks among the top most important religious sites in the DR. Honoring the Virgin of La Altagracia, patron saint of Dominicans, it’s a standout for its 69-meter (225 feet) high arch, with a bronze and gold entrance.
Higüey, Punta Cana
Originally built in the 16th century by the Dávila family, the 500-year old Gothic chapel was intended as a private religious shrine, where prominent Spanish families would congregate for prayers.
Santo Domingo
This modern Roman Catholic Church took 15 years to build, and was completed in 1992. The cathedral is one of the few in the world where the statue of Christ is portrayed as already having resurrected and not dying on the cross.
Constanza, Jarabacoa, La Vega
Built between 1510 and 1540, the first cathedral of the Americas continues to stand tall in all of its glory over the heart of the Colonial City. The remains of Christopher Columbus were found here in the 19th century.
Santo Domingo
This all-white Catholic cathedral, designed in Gothic and neoclassical style, dates back to the 19th century. Tour the beautiful interior–which holds the remains of former Dominican leader Ulises Heureaux, as well as other notable personalities of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Santiago
The striking coral and white stone baroque façade—with ceramic designs—was built in the 16th century. It was home to 15 friars sent here from Spain, who also established the adjacent first university in the Americas.
Santo Domingo
Once occupied by nuns, this imposing, former 16th century convent hosts numerous weddings. Renowned Dominican poet Salomé Ureña later turned it into an educational institute for women, before it went back to being a convent.
Santo Domingo
One of Santo Domingo’s most historic churches was built by the Spanish to spread Catholicism in the New World. Despite earthquakes and pirate invasions led by Sir Francis Drake, the building has preserved its original design.
Santo Domingo
Emulating Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, this historic Catholic church stands on one end of the town square, attracting visitors with its 19th century neoclassical-gothic design, striking stained glass windows, and a belfry surrounding an ornate mahogany altar.
Montecristi
The oldest building in Santa Bárbara de Samaná and a cultural heritage site, this 18th century wooden church was built by freed African-Americans. To this day, La Churcha practices the African Methodist Episcopal faith, and its attendees are descendants of African Americans.
Samaná

#romanceDR

Is there a better way to start the day? Breathe, stretch, focus on the good, repeat! 🧘‍♂️  A calming beach-front yoga session in Cabarete will recharge you and get you ready for a day filled with adventures hitting the waves. In Cabatete relaxation, adventure and fun make a perfect blend. 🌊  📸: @hotelvillataina 
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Experience priceless moments in Santo Domingo. This lovely city is not only ideal for history buffs and business travelers. Families can also enjoy many fun activities. 💓😎  You can visit the playground areas and amusement park with go karts at the Malecón. In the Colonial City, children can learn in a fun way at Museo Trampolín, make their own chocolate bars and eat artisanal ice cream.  What’s your ideal activity to do with your family?  📸: @trailingtravelers 
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Fact: After a day relaxing on the white sand beaches and swimming and snorkeling in the pristine blue waters, you won’t want to leave the gorgeous Cayo Arena. 🌞🏝  Located in Montecristi, just two hours west of Puerto Plata, this small but mighty sandbar is one of the best places in Dominican Republic to see exotic fish and coral reefs while swimming in the crystal-clear, warm waters.  📸: @vanespinal 
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There are hidden gems all around Dominican Republic. A multitude of beaches allows for blissful moments of solitude to relax and enjoy the beauty of the DR. 🌴🌊  The pristine beaches and palm-soaring palm trees of Playa Esmeralda, Miches are waiting for you.  What are some places you’d like to explore in Dominican Republic?  📸: @thegoodlifemiches 
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1,000-miles of coastline bliss. Looking to unwind? Start planning your trip to Cap Cana today! 🌴🌞  From boutique villas to all-inclusive resorts with suites big enough for the family, or private hideouts for a romantic getaway with swim-up rooms and private plunge pools, there is room for all.  📸 @carloshorton.a
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The Peravia province has a unique geography with beaches, sand dunes, salt mines, mangroves, and mountainous landscapes, making it a tropical paradise and a nature lover's dream. 🌞🌄  Playa Punta Salinas is perfect for wind water sports and snorkeling. It has crystal-clear water, phenomenal food and is perfect to watch the sunset. Visit the sea salt pools nearby to take awesome pictures.  Without looking up the name, tell us how long it took you to spot it in a map.  📸 @jo.hero 
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The Espaillat province is filled with astonishing natural attractions that are perfect for the adventurous types. You can explore mountains, go swimming in water canyons and jump off cliffs.  Salto de los Bueyes is located in Villa Trina, Espaillat and it’s formed by the Arroyo Grande River. Its crystalline waters beckon you to dive into them and be enticed by its impressive beauty. 🌿🌊  Tag someone who would love this!👯‍♀️  📸: @arielfermin 
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Enjoy relaxing moments in the cosmopolitan side of Santo Domingo. The capital of the Dominican Republic is an ideal “Bleisure” destination since it combines work and pleasure in a perfect balance. 🌿🌞
 
The central side of Santo Domingo is filled with chic restaurants where you can try a different Dominican and international cuisine every day of your vacation. As the sun goes down, you can go bar hopping to experience the most exciting nightlife. 🎉  📸: @jwmarriottsdq 
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Walk back in time and feel the Taíno presence at the “Cave of Wonders”. Located between San Pedro de Macorís and La Romana, Cueva de las Maravillas is a 2,624-feet cave system that houses hundreds of well-preserved Taíno pictographs and petroglyphs dating back thousands of years. 🪨🌿
 
This is one of the most accessible caverns in the DR. Stroll amid impressive samples of rock art, stalactites, and stalagmites.🗿🌞
 
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