If you’re looking for a snapshot into an area’s arts, culture, or historical scene, museums are always the best places to do that. In the Dominican Republic, however, there’s more than your typical arts and natural science museum; from amber to rum to revolutionaries, there are museums dedicated to the lesser known aspects of Dominican culture as well.
Here are some of the coolest museums on the island that should be on every curious mind’s bucket list, which you can read more about in the Tripio app.
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Amber is one of the most unique natural substances in the world. In addition to its one-of-a-kind viscosity and color, it’s well known as a preservative of ancient and prehistoric creatures. Amber forms when tree sap fossilizes, and collects whatever unlucky (lucky for us, though!) animal or plant remains that happen to be in the vicinity.
These remains are perfectly preserved, offering us a glimpse into what life looked like in ancient times!
The Amber Museum in Puerto Plata is one of the best places in the world to travel if you want to view the gooey stuff and whatever critters it preserved. The main event is arguably the 17-inch lizard. With a cheap admission price and a gift shop filled with unique amber jewelry and other goodies, this is a great museum for science-nuts and those looking for a family friendly museum experience alike.
Rolf Schulz’s brainchild is likely one of the most unique places in all of the Caribbean. The unusual Castillo Mundo King he designed is now a museum with the same name, but don’t be fooled by the title: the art you’ll find here makes Dali look slightly normal.
Whether you believe in aliens or not, you’ll fall head over heels for the otherworldly collection of works here. From extraterrestrial communications to spaceship replicas, there’s no shortage of things to look at and just say “huh?” In addition to the alien artwork, you’ll find another collection with Dominican and Haitian art that is only slightly less intergalactic, but no less strange.
Once you’ve made it all the way to the 5th floor, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view of the Bay of Puerto Plata. I definitely recommend!
Typically, when you have to go to the hospital while on vacation, it’s because something has gone pretty wrong. Maybe you ate something, or got stung by some kind of sea urchin.
Hospital San Nicolás de Bari is one hospital you might actually want to visit. This 600 year-old site is believed to be one of the first hospitals built in the New World, where it was initially built to serve early Spanish colonists in the 1500’s. The hospital has quite the checkered history, having witnessed countless revolutions, pirate attacks, and even served occupying militaries.
One of the best preserved colonial sites in the Caribbean, the Hospital is now a reminder of what the New World looked like in its earliest, colonial days. It’s also a great stop for photographs. Entry is free, and parking is conveniently located nearby.
Rum is as Caribbean as baseball and beautiful beaches. Every country in this region puts its own spin on the stuff, and that’s especially true for the Dominican Republic.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the process of making rum, and the culture surrounding it, the Museum of Rum in Santo Domingo needs to be on your list. Every exhibit, from the old casks to the sugar cane growing in the courtyard, is authentic, explained in great detail, and worth a few photos.
The experience might make you thirsty, but don’t worry; there’s both a bar and a nightclub on site, where you can order some of the island’s best rum. Knowing how the stuff is made will definitely make this nightlife adventure even more exhilarating!
At first glance, this might be one of the strangest lighthouses you’ve ever seen. That’s not the only thing strange about the Columbus Lighthouse, though…
The site bearing his name is believed to contain his remains…or does it? Here’s the sitch: Columbus’ son Diego traveled to the island to begin construction on the site of a cathedral where Christopher’s remains would be buried. Diego, however, passed before construction could be completed. Both Diego and Christophers remains would end up here after Diego’s widow sent them there, where they would remain until 1795.
The Spaniards allegedly brought Christophers remains to Cuba, but that narrative was tossed up in the air when a box bearing the words “The illustrious and excellent man, Don Colon, Admiral of the Ocean Sea” was found by men doing renovations to the site. Although Diego and Christophers brother Bartholomew had been described the same way in life, a healthy debate now exists as to whether the remains really belong to the discoverer of the New World.
Maybe you can find some answers at the Lighthouse bearing his name…or just visit for some good pictures and some unique architecture. Either way, this Lighthouse belongs on any Dominican adventurer’s itinerary.
Use Tripio to plan your next cultural excursion
There are many unique museums and more cultural sites in the Dominican Republic, more than can be fit into a single blog post!
You can also use the Tripio app to add to your trip, either before travel or while you travel. Using the app, select the plus icon at the bottom of the screen titled “Create.” This will take you to the trip creator, which can create custom top 10 lists and a custom itinerary in under 60 seconds! It’s never been so easy to plan a great adventure or vacation.
Most museums listed in the app are under the Arts, History, and Culture category; make sure to give it a 5 for trip importance, to ensure your custom top 10 itinerary has a focus on these sites. To really round out your top 10 itinerary, give some value to Good Eats for when you get hungry!
Stop waiting to take that bucket list trip; get Tripio today!
Interested in more history, check out: Travel The Puerto Rican Timeline
-Joshua Faulks, Tripio Guru
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