Hiking in the Dominican Mountains and Experiencing Cultural Immersion in Santiago, Dominican Republic

airtransat By airtransat / 04 January 2018

Hiking in the Dominican Mountains and Experiencing Cultural Immersion in Santiago, Dominican Republic

airtransat By airtransat

Why do we travel? For us, travelling is synonymous with wonder, it’s the gateway to the world. At Transat, our employees are travel enthusiasts who live this love for travel each day. Always on the lookout for authentic experiences, we accompanied Christopher, our Public Affairs Coordinator at Transat, to the Dominican Republic to discover his second home, as he lived there for two years. Returning for the first time in four years, he revisits his favourite places and happily shares them with us.

Christopher guided us away from the idyllic beaches bathed in turquoise waters to explore the city of Santiago de los Caballeros and its surroundings. Located in the north of the country and bounded by Cordillera Septentrional and Cordillera Central, this city is the ideal place for discovering the authentic Dominican way of life.

Climbing Diego de Ocampo’s summit

Here’s a confusing statement: the Dominican Republic is a mountainous country! Its range of lush mountains evoke the Alps, hence its nickname, the Dominican Alps. At 3,087 metres above sea level, the Pico Duarte is the highest mountain in the Caribbean. It attracts numerous hikers from around the world, but the ascent requires some preparation and a guide.

Apart from the Pico Duarte trek, the region offers many more accessible treks that can be completed in half a day. Christopher recommends climbing to the top Diego de Ocampo, located one hour away from Santiago by car. At 1,249 metres high, this summit is the highest point in the Cordillera Septentrional and offers breathtaking views of the Cibao Valley. Once at the top, chances are you’ll be greeted by applauding Dominicans who have also just climbed the mountain and are celebrating their ascent with a small glass of rum and a few merengue steps.


  • The climb takes about an hour and the descent takes around 45 minutes.
  • Stop on the way to admire the vegetation, observe exotic birds or eat some mangos or guavas that grow in the middle of the jungle.
  • Be sure to pack good hiking shoes, as the trails are very narrow and steep and the ground often turns into mud when it rains.
  • At the top, you’ll find a rustic lookout perfect for taking panoramic photos. However, you won’t find any bars or restaurants so we recommend bringing along a water bottle and energy bars for the road.

View form the top of: Diego Ocampo, Santiago, Dominican Republic

Admire the city of Santiago from the top of the Monument to the Heroes

Santiago, the second-largest city in the country, deserves the attention it garners. For a spectacular panoramic view of Santiago and its surrounding mountains, head to the city centre to see the Monument to the Heroes of the Restoration of the Republic. This monument, covered in white marble, is dedicated to the Dominican soldiers who fought during the last War of Independence against Spain. Christopher enjoys climbing to the top of this 70-metre high tower, which has a terrace that offers a 360-degree view of the city.

View of Santiago for the top of heroes monument, Dominican Republic


  • Access to the tower costs US $2 per foreign visitor.
  • Stroll around the Monument, where you will find several typical restaurants where you can enjoy classic Dominican dishes.

Having a popular lunch, the "pica pollo" in Dominican Republic

Experience baseball fever at the Cibao stadium

According to Christopher, a visit to Santiago would not be complete without attending a beisbol dominicano game! In the Dominican Republic, baseball reigns – it’s more than just a national sport; it’s a shared passion! Even if you’re not a fan of the sport, the experience is worth it. Head to the Cibao stadium, located in downtown Santiago, to watch a game of Aguilas Cibaeñas (the Cibao Eagles), Santiago’s baseball team.

Accommodating up to 18,000 spectators, the stadium’s atmosphere is supercharged: people sing, dance, drink and eat while watching the game! Watching Dominicans cheer their players on is just as entertaining as the game.


  • It’s better to buy tickets in advance (starting at RD $150).
  • In the Dominican Republic, baseball games usually start at 7:30 pm, while on Saturdays and Sundays, they start at 5:00 pm. The match calendar is available here: www.lidom.com/home/index.php/calendario
  • The Cibao stadium is about an hour’s drive from Puerto Plata.

Watching a baseball game at the Cibao stadium, Santiago, Dominican Republic

Follow Christopher, Public Affairs Coordinator at Transat, on his adventures in the Dominican Republic! He shares his travel tips for discovering its culture, lush nature and friendly people in Puerto Plata here and in Cabarete here.

Book your flight for the Dominican Republic with Air Transat.

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

You might also like

What’s It Like to Travel With Air Transat in 2021?

Well, there it is, at last: travel restrictions around the world are slowly easing, the idea of traveling in 2021 is not so crazy anymore...



Planning a Family Vacation in Fort Myers? Here’s What to See & Do

As perhaps one of the most underrated destinations on Florida’s west coast, Fort Myers has plenty to attract families. Far from the sometimes massive...

#Activities, #Discoveries, #UnitedStates


From Tofino to Banff: a 14-Day Itinerary in Western Canada

Think you can't possibly put together an itinerary for Western Canada encompassing the most significant sights in just two weeks? Think again. We have...

#Activities, #Canada, #Discoveries, #Trucsetastuces

Discoveries Trending

5 Travel Trends to Dive Into This Summer

Every year, new travel trends emerge and influence the destinations, strategies, plans and activities that inspire our holidays. And contrary to what one might think...

#Discoveries, #Trending

Activities Discoveries Tips and tricks

Lexie Alford on Completing a Round-the-World Trip at 21

By Lexie Alford

Three years ago, I had just graduated college, had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and couldn’t shake this crazy...

#Activities, #CostaRica, #Discoveries, #Europe, #Mexico, #South, #Switzerland, #TipsandTricks


Vancouver: Top 5 Under $50

By Jim Byers

With great food, trendy neighbourhoods and natural beauty to spare, there are lots of cool things to do in Vancouver that won't break the...

#Activities, #Canada