There are a lot of places in the Dominican Republic that get a lot of attention for all the right reasons. But there’s something to be said for finding the hidden gems of the island. And Montecristi is one of those spots.
Located about a three hours’ drive from Puerto Plata, Montecristi is situated along the untouched north coast of the Dominican Republic. It’s an off-the-beaten path eco-destination that’s ripe for adventure. Regarded as the jewel of the northwest, here intrepid visitors will be rewarded with the part desert, part Mediterranean-like scenery the region has to offer.
Let’s take a look at five ‘can’t miss’ spots that make travel to Montecristi a must when visiting the DR.
PLAYA EL MORRO
This is the iconic view you get when you google Montecristi. In reality, it’s even more stunning than its pictures suggest. Tall limestone cliffs surround the golden shores of El Morro beach. Take a hike for beautiful views or walk along the sandy beach, both are remarkable photo-ops. Venture into the Atlantic Ocean for kite surfing or to go exploring under the sea along the colourful barrier reef. This is regarded as one of the best snorkeling and diving areas in the country.
Also known as Cayo Paraiso, accessible only by boat, this secluded white sandbar sits in the middle of the brilliant blue ocean. It’s the very definition of paradise. Sit back, relax, and soak up the sun. Or, take a refreshing swim in this natural swimming pool. It’s teeming with tropical fish and is ideal for snorkelers of any level.
RELOJ DE MONTECRISTI
Head to town to discover one of the most famous man-made landmarks in the region, the Reloj De Montecristi. This clock tower has proudly occupied a place of prominence in Montecristi’s town square for generations. Shaped like a mini-version of the Eiffel Tower, it was designed by French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower-fame) and built by the famous clockmaker Jean-Paul Garnier. It was shipped to Montecristi during the city’s glory days in the late 19th century, and continues to function today with its original mechanisms. Be sure to save time to tour past the beautiful historic homes that surround the town square.
MUSEUM OF MAXIMO GOMEZ
Gain a deeper insight not only into the history of the Dominican Republic but the Caribbean with a tour through the intimate and informative Museum Of Maximo Gomez. Here you’ll uncover the life story of Maximo Gomez, who helped Cuba’s Jose Marti in gaining Cuban independence from Spain. It was once the 19th century home of the Dominican General, and is now a museum replete with historical documents, artifacts, and personal objects related to Cuba’s independence.
Montecristi is home to more than 15,000 acres of vital mangrove forests. Few tourists have seen them however as tourism is not nearly as developed as elsewhere in the country. The best way to explore this natural, ecological wonder is through a guided kayak tour. Glide along the shore of Laguna Saladilla or navigate down the Yaque river to experience the majestic coastal estuaries and wildlife habitats up close and personal.
COME VISIT MONTECRISTI
Tune in to Come Visit My Dominican Republic and tour the region through the eyes of those who know it best, the locals. Find out why lifelong resident and tour guide Carlos de la Cruz says, “people who visit Montecristi can be sure of a few things. They will discover great food, beautiful beaches, rich history but most of all, lots of friendly people they can have a good time with!”