Basilica of Our Lady of Altagracia in Higüey, Dominican Republic

Family Trip to Higüey from Punta Cana: What to See and Do


Family Trip to Higüey from Punta Cana: What to See and Do

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Higüey is an authentic and energetic city located a few kilometres from Punta Cana. Taking a trip to explore it from your hotel is a day-long activity that can be enjoyed on a family holiday in Punta Cana and provides a more comprehensive outlook on Dominican culture and society.

Although it seems that there is no better plan than enjoying the endless white sandy beaches of the Caribbean, visiting Salvaleón de Higüey will allow you to “take a break from resting” and immerse the little ones in the country’s local life and culture.

Let’s look at some recommendations on what to see in Higüey and what to keep in mind when planning your visit to this vital city that is so close to Punta Cana.


Salvaleón de Higüey is a small city located in the province of La Altagracia, possibly the most important city in the east of the Dominican Republic. Dating back 500 years, its name comes from Taíno and means “Land of the Rising Sun”, being the first place on the island where the sun rises due to its location on the most easterly point of the island.

It is located 60 km from Playa Bávaro, the main beach on the Costa del Coco, which is another name for Punta Cana. Being able to travel there in less than an hour makes it a very attractive and accessible destination.

If, on the other hand, you are in the La Romana area near Playa Bayahibe, the distance is also manageable for a day trip. You can get there in 40 minutes on the motorway.


The Basilica of Our Lady of Altagracia was built in 1949, symbolising the hands of Our Lady of Altagracia in the form of prayer. It is internationally renowned for its exterior façade, where a large grey sculpture in the shape of a Latin cross stands out.

This cathedral is one of the most important religious buildings in the Dominican Republic and is a place of pilgrimage for thousands of believers on the island, as well as visitors looking for spiritual and cultural attractions with which to enrich their visit and their holidays.

Visiting the inside will also impress the whole family. We recommend going through the entrance door, which is bronze-plated in gold, visiting the bell tower with 45 bronze bells and contemplating the painting of Our Lady of Altagracia, patroness of the city, which was brought by the Spanish missionaries and blessed by Pope John Paul II in Rome.

You can visit the Altagracia Museum, the first Marian devotion in America. In its six rooms, the history and essence of the religiousness of the Dominican Republic are put on display.

The beautiful interior of the Basilica of Our Lady of Altagracia, in Higüey, Dominican Republic

It is one of the most popular churches in Latin America and thousands of pilgrims visit it every year to ask and give thanks for favours to the patroness of the Dominican people.


Located in the heart of the city, this small sanctuary was built in 1569 and is considered the most important religious monument in the country by many Dominicans.

Visited by both tourists and locals alike, the Church still holds mass and offers a place to rest to all those who wish to enter and enjoy a moment of peace and reflection while in the presence of a national monument. It is located in the city’s Central Park, a place that is also great for families who would like to take a break.

If you are planning any outings to the main attractions in the Dominican Republic, don’t forget to include this day trip that will be the best immersion into the history and culture of the Dominican Republic.

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