The Dominican Republic is known for two major precious and semi-precious stones you will see polished and sold in jewelry stores around the country: amber and larimar. Dominican amber—which was first offered to Columbus on his arrival in 1492, and later made famous in Jurassic Park—is mined on the north coast, in the hills of La Cumbre, the only place where blue amber is found.
The hills of Bahoruco produce the larimar stone—a blue-colored, semi-precious stone found only in the southwest of the DR and nowhere else in the world. Hiking excursions to mining regions are offered year round. Explore the grounds while the men are at work, as they enter and exit the underground with raw stones they’ve just extracted. While on tour, you can purchase unpolished stones directly from one of the recommended miners.
For more history, visit the amber museums in Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, and La Romana.