A Day in Higüey

Higüey, República Dominicana

Fruit vendor in Higüey

Recently I posted about my time in Punta Cana, República Dominicana. On my last day, I left the beach to venture into a local city called Higüey. Although it is a city, it is nothing like New York or Chicago. In Higüey, it is rare to see a building with two floors. Our tour bus didn’t have windows, so local children would run up to us, smiling immensely and handing us flowers.

Basilica Catedral Nuestra Senora de la Altagracia

Our first stop was a local ranch just outside the city. I absolutely loved the first half of this stop, which consisted of a trail ride on the horses. However, I lost interest during the second half, a cigar-making demonstration. The other participants enjoyed it because the Caribbean cigars were superior to that of the U.S., but I had no interest in trying one.

RD1Next we toured a historic church called Basilica Catedral Nuestra Senora de la Altagracia. This was my favorite part of the day. The church was huge, and although it was built in a modern fashion, it contained antique treasures, including a beautiful painting of the Virgin Mary. Upon entering, I was given a white skirt to wear because my shorts exposed my knees. I would have been perfectly content just staring in awe at the beautiful cathedral, but I also loved learning its history, such as the fact that Pope Francis has visited twice!

Crushing cacao beans

After a lunch of rice, beans, chicken, and local coffee, we hiked through a canopy of cacao and coffee trees to a lagoon, then headed to the house of a local family. They gave us a tour of their home, which was smaller than a typical American home but well-furnished. In their backyard, they kept animals and grew a myriad of plants, including cacao and fruits. They gave us samples of hot chocolate, cacao butter, and coconut oil.

This excursion was the most interesting part of my trip, and I felt like I saw more of the Dominican in Higüey than I could in weeks at the beach resort. If you ever find yourself soaking up some sun in a foreign land, I highly recommend exploring a local city. I guarantee you will meet people and see places that are impossible to forget!


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