One very unusual and interesting attraction in the south of the Dominican Republic is Altos de Chavon or the city of artists. This beautiful place is often visited as part of an excursion and it leaves a double impression. Below I will talk about everything in order. And you decide to visit this place or not.
Table of contents:
- History of Altos de Chavon
- How to get there?
- What is the City of Artists today
- General information: opening hours, price
History of Altos de Chavon
There is a lot of information, but I will try structurally and most importantly. Altos de Chavon is a village that was built in the style of the 15th century and completely recreated the atmosphere, architecture and life of that time. And here’s what you need to know about this place:
- The city of artists is a modern new building.
- Charles Bluhdorn is an American multimillionaire of the mid-20th century. He owned golf fields in the United States and the film company Paramount Pictures. He was a member of the president’s office and knew all the influential and famous of that time.
- In 1967, when there was no tourism at all in the Dominican Republic. He bought a sugar plantation and a tobacco factory here. And he planned to make rum and cigars here, better than Cuban ones in quality, and deliver them home to the USA. About cigars, you can read a large article on the link, there will be information about prices, how to choose, what are the differences and much more.
Perhaps the story would have ended there if the Dominican Republic had not been such a fabulously beautiful country.
American millionaire fell in love with the Dominican Republic. And he decided to build himself a residence here for recreation in the country of eternal summer. And most importantly, he wanted to show this country to his friends from the American beau monde. And as you know, such people will not go to a third world country. They need the necessary luxurious conditions to which they are accustomed at home.
This is how the idea of building a closed luxury complex Casa de Campo was born:
- Today this elite complex includes:
- 4 luxury hotels
- And over 500 private villas.
- The owners of villas in Casa de Campo are both just rich people and world stars, their family politicians and so on.
It is important to know:The territory of Casa de Campo is closed, tourists cannot get here. And now about the City of Artists.
Construction of Altos de Chavon (City of Artists)
The city of artists became part of the Casa de Campo. And its main task is to create a recreation and entertainment center for the wealthy residents of the complex. A little later, it became the center of various social events, art schools and a venue for performances by world stars.
Altos de Chavon is a classic new building. Years of construction from 1976 to 1992. But when you get here, you feel how well and efficiently they recreated the atmosphere and architecture of the time of Columbus.
- There are no sham scenery, as in Hollywood venues. Where just plywood shields are hidden behind a beautiful cover.
- Altos de Chavon was built by hand from coral blocks. Just like the Zone Colonial in Santo Domingo in the 16th century. Each block was cut and customized individually.
- They also tried to take construction technologies and buildings and decorative elements from that time.
Good to know:For the construction, it was Altos de Chavon who chose an amazingly beautiful place. At the mouth of the Chavon River at an altitude of 50 m above the river. A city of artists was built right on the cliff. The views that open from the square to the river and the jungle, as well as the magnificent architecture, amaze many. I will write about the cons below.
How to get there?
As you already understood, the Casa de Campo complex is closed to tourists. But Altos de Chavon is open. Yes, not free, but in general this place resembles an ethno open-air museum in the colonial style. There, the culture and life of completely different nationalities are recreated – the Spanish village of the 15th-16th centuries.
You can see the map where the city of artists is located, and the rest of the sights of the Dominican Republic on the map, in the article: TOP 30 best places to visit in the Dominican Republic.
There are four ways to get to this place, I’ll tell you about all of them:
- Public transport
- Car rental
It is important to know:Altos de Chavon is located between two famous resorts, Boca Chica on one side and Punta Cana and Bavaro on the other. By car to get from both resorts a little less than an hour.
You can take a taxi, but it’s very expensive. Public transport is not convenient, since nothing goes to the sights themselves. We need transfers and walk a few more kilometers.
The most convenient and affordable options for getting there is a rental car. 40 minutes and you are in the Altos de Chavon. It is also convenient to come here as part of a tour.
Altos de Chavon: Tours
As part of the tour, I would say this is perhaps the most popular option. And that’s why:
- No need to think about the transfer, you will be brought and returned back to the hotel
- Altos de Chavon – attraction for 1-2 hours. This place is not very big. Therefore, the city of artists is often combined with other cool sights of the region:
- with the island of Saona
- or Catalina Island
- This is the most convenient option: in the morning you were brought to the island and paradise beaches. You rested, bathed, have lunch. After that you were brought to Altos de Chavon for an hour or two and then to the hotel. You won’t be able to do it on your own in a day.
- Here is a very cool programs, ideal for those tourists who stay in Bavaro or Punta Cana and those who do not have a rental car.
- Best Tours to Altos de Chavon
- Important: always check whether entrance tickets to Altos de Chavon are included in the price of the tour. It is not cheap, and there are excursions where tickets are not included and you will buy them yourself on the spot. And there are tours where all inclusive. And you will find the prices below.
Read all about excursions in the Dominican Republic here.
City of Artists today
Now let’s talk about what you will see when you get to the Сity of Artists. As I wrote above, the area of this place is not so large, if you wish, you can get around everything in 15 minutes. But at the same time, there are a huge number of cool photo sites. Today in Altos de Chavon there are:
- A design school where famous and creative people of the world teach students from all over the world. This prestigious school teaches: fashion, painting, photography, design, interior design, culture and much more. It is because of this school that Altos de Chavon is called the City of Artists.
- Graduates of this school occupy top positions in many well-known world companies, for example: Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret, Reebok, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and many others.
- Main square with a fountain. Take coins with you!
- The archaeological museum is quite large. About 4000 exhibits.
- Church of St. Stanislaus
- The observation deck over the cliff on the Chavon River is one of the most beautiful places.
- Several art galleries
- And of course, the amphitheater for 5,000 people, where world stars perform.
- The amphitheater was built at his own expense by Frank Sinatra
- Sponsoring the construction, he had only one condition: that the performance of the stars here would be free.
- The amphitheater turned out one to one like ancient Greece.
As a tourist, all zones and streets of Altos de Chavon will be open to you and you can walk everywhere.
I recommend reading the article about Mount Redonda. Often tourists who visit the city of artists go here too.
And also, if you visit Altos de Chavon and then go to Santo Domingo, then you must visit the Los Tres Ojos Cave.
General information: opening hours, price, facts
- Coordinates: 18.422963, -68.891512
- Official website: https://www.casadecampo.com.do/experiences/altos-de-chavon/
- Opening hours: from 8am to 5pm. It is best to come here towards the end of the day at sunset. Then the rays of the sun turn the whole village yellow, adding a certain charm.
- Ticket price: for 2023 – $ 25 per person.
- I recommend to allocate time about 2 hours.
- This is the most visited attraction in the country, but 80% of all visitors are from the United States. And 20% are citizens of the rest of the world.
- Here you can organize a wedding ceremony at a price of $ 5,000. There is even a specialized company on the territory of the Altos de Chavon.
And how to buy cheap tickets to the Dominican Republic, read this article.
In conclusion: Altos de Chavon or the City of Artists is a great attraction, where the life of the 15th century Spanish village is very coolly recreated. Here you do not feel that this is all a newly built attraction. In this village, you are completely immersed in the created atmosphere. And the views around and a well-chosen place complete the picture. Yes, a little pricey, and yes, the size of the village is not huge – but in any case, you will not be disappointed.