Duarte is a province of the Dominican Republic, which honors Juan Pablo Duarte, who is considered the father of the country’s homeland. Its capital is San Francisco de Macorís, and it is one of the most important tourist axes in the region.
Why visit the Duarte province?
If there is something that characterizes the provinces of the Dominican Republic, it is the wide range of adventures and outdoor activities to do. And the Duarte province is no exception. In fact, many tourists and travelers explore the city through day trips or a little more (which is the most recommended when there is so much to see).
Did you know that the Duarte province is known as the “Organic Cocoa Capital of the World”? The region has large extensions of cocoa plantations, the main producers of a large part of the cocoa exported abroad, making it a highly valued product internationally.
In addition, it not only plays an important role in this sector, but also maintains an attractive economic development with other plantations, such as bananas, coffee, rice, and a large number of cattle for milk production. All these foods are mostly consumed in the country, and with which the best traditional dishes are prepared.
As a curious fact, Duarte was founded in 1896. At that time, it had the name of Distrito Pacificador in honor of President Ulises Hereaux (1845-1899). But it was not until 1925, when it received its current name.
Its capital is San Francisco de Macoris. Its name of Macorís is due to the aborigines (it is said that the Ciguayos or Macoriges Indians) who inhabited the area before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers, who gave their community that name.
Now, the Duarte province is an excellent tourist destination for a family getaway, or if you are interested in rural and eco-sustainable tourism. Likewise, no matter your objective, in Duarte you will find excellent options and magnificent experiences to learn more about the culture of this wonderful Caribbean country.
Take your partner, children or friends and enjoy relaxing and interesting visits to the most emblematic and enriching places in the city. So, pack your bags and let’s get to it!
What is the best time to visit Duarte?
The best time to visit the province of Duarte in the Dominican Republic is between the months of October to December. During these months, the weather is pleasant with an average temperature of 25.6°C and, in addition, there is less influx of tourists.
On the other hand, if you are in January, especially at the end of January in this province, be sure to attend and be part of the great party that is celebrated in the city, in honor of the birth of Juan Pablo Duarte.
In this large-scale celebration, Dominicans hold a parade for thousands of people who gather to share and celebrate the birth of one of their most important national heroes.
Top 4: Best things to do in the Duarte province in the Dominican Republic
Now, without further ado, let’s see what are the best things to do in the province of Duarte:
- Visit a cocoa plantation and delight yourself with its unique flavor in the world
As we mentioned in previous lines, in the Duarte province we find several cocoa plantations, managed by family groups and small farmers. Did you know that the Dominican Republic is one of the main organic cocoa producers in the world?
Some family farms offer travelers the chance to learn from scratch how organic cacao is harvested and processed to the final product. As it is 100% organic cocoa, its flavor is not altered by chemical substances or flavorings, so you will enjoy a rich, pure and natural chocolate.
If you are a lover of this delicious and coveted food, you cannot miss it! Your cacao taste will not be the same after trying Dominican cacao. One of the most famous routes is the “Camino del Cacao en San Francisco de Macorís”, which offers a fun and educational walk through Dominican cocoa.
In fact, 3 types of excursions are offered in the capital: the classic, chocolate lovers, and chocolate and culture.
These tours are organized by the farm “La Esmeralda”, which is located in Las Pajas in the field of San Francisco de Macorís, specifically 56 km from Santiago de los Caballeros, 100 from Puerto Plata and 140 from Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.
So, on the tour you will learn about all the stages of the process for the production of the rich Dominican chocolate, and discover the many secrets that are applied in the transformation of the cocoa bean into a delicious chocolate.
In addition, you will also get to know closely the agricultural techniques that allow the harvest of cocoa, but in a sustainable and ecological way.
In fact, the plantations in the Dominican Republic carry out this work respecting the environment, through the planting of trees, thus contributing to preserve biodiversity and repopulate forests. Also, some small farmers grow their cocoa in agroforestry systems to preserve fauna and flora.
- Get to know the Cathedral of Santa Ana
Another place that you cannot miss is the Cathedral of Santa Ana, located in the municipality of San Francisco de Macorís. It is one of the oldest churches in the country, in fact, this amazing Cathedral was built in 1808. Its architectural style combines the modern with the Gothic.
Although it is a simple Cathedral, it is one of the most important spaces for the residents of the city. Various styles linked to the culture and history of San Francisco de Macorís are connected to it, covering an entire block of the town, since it is a large temple.
On the façade of the church, you will see some stained glass windows whose motifs represent and tell the history of humanity, also using fauna and flora from the region. Upon entering the temple, you will be struck by its marble-built altar, as well as the baptismal font.
The structure of the temple is a story in itself, with a traditional architectural style. Finally, in the Cathedral of Santa Ana, Dominicans gather to pay respect and admiration to the Virgin Santa Ana, highly appreciated by the locals.
- Connect with nature in the Loma Quita Espuela Scientific Reserve and delve into its trails full of surprises
The Duarte province is a town with great potential to become a high-level and popular tourist area like Punta Cana or the capital of Santo Domingo, since the Loma Quita Espuela Scientific Reserve is located here.
It is an ecological zone of great importance and protected by the Dominican State, which covers up to 72 km2 of the country and houses the highest peak of the Northern Cordillera known as Loma Quita Espuela.
This protected area has a cloud forest full of exuberant vegetation, and a great biodiversity of endemic flora and fauna. This Scientific Reserve is part of the Northern Cordillera and is located about 15 km northwest of San Francisco de Macorís, between the Duarte and María Trinidad Sánchez provinces.
In addition, another reason why it is so important is that more than 60 rivers that run through the island are born from it. If we add the 985-meter-high Loma Quita Espuela summit, we immediately notice that it is a natural jewel that we cannot miss.
The Reserve has a very lush cloudy tropical forest, almost always enveloped by a translucent mist, with trees hundreds of years old, covered with moss and lichens. These unique characteristics give them a wild and pure look, but tropical, as is the natural hallmark of the Caribbean.
The best thing about this experience is that you will be able to do different activities in the open air, in the midst of this pure and wild natural environment. From the observation of the flora and fauna of unique species in this part of the world, to enjoying a delicious typical meal of the region.
In fact, these are some of the favorite activities of travelers, since in the Reserve there is a great biodiversity of species whose development is only possible in this natural space. In addition, it has a restaurant inside, where you can delight your palate with Creole dishes.
Another important fact that you will like to know is that you can stay in the Reserve, since it has the popular Don Lulú ranch, which is a small farm managed by a family that lives in the area, and that offers lodging to travelers who want to stay longer.
If, in addition, you are a person who wants to enjoy a moment of rest and tranquility, you will surely like to walk the couple of trails in the Park, which will allow you to enter without complications in all the spaces and corners of the site.
Each of the trails has a name, which defines the destination that particular path will lead you to. The first of these is called “the trail of the Clouds”, and it will take you to the top of Loma Quita Espuela, where you can enjoy an amazing view of the Cibao valley.
The second path is known as “Montecito Don Sorón”, and following it will take you through the lush forest and you can take a dip in the crystalline waters at the sources of the rivers, as well as in the natural pools that form in the surroundings.
Do not miss doing both tours if you want to disconnect from the noise of the city and merge with nature in an environment of dreams and life!
- Visit the Julián Javier Stadium in San Francisco de Macorís
To finish this list of the best things to do in the Duarte province, you cannot miss a visit to the famous Julián Javier Stadium located in San Francisco de Macorís. It is a baseball stadium that will surely enchant lovers of this sport so highly valued by Dominicans.
This stadium was built in 1975, ranking number four among the baseball stadiums in the Dominican Republic. The complex has a capacity to receive up to 12 thousand people. It was selected as the Stadium to honor former Dominican Major League Baseball player Julián Javier.
The reason is very simple, because this famous player was born in this region. In addition, he was a popular baseball player, reaching former second base for the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds.
Another curious fact is that this stadium is the headquarters of the Los Gigantes del Cibao baseball team, belonging to the Dominican Baseball League (LIDOM). That is why some of the games are currently held there when the winter baseball season arrives in the country.
Until a few years ago, the stadium facilities were in poor condition to hold the matches, so it was not possible to use it to host the competitions during this winter season.
However, after the battle won by the residents, they managed to recondition it by the government at that time, whose president was Leonel Fernández. Thus, it was remodeled in 2010 with great success.
As we can see, although Duarte is a province with few tourist attractions, each one of them offers a unique experience of its kind. If you have little time to visit it, or you want to take a day trip, be sure to visit the Reserve and climb the Hill or take a dip in some of its spas with crystal clear and clean waters.
Your body and mind will thank you! In addition, it is a perfect destination if you are traveling with children, family, friends or a partner, and want to enjoy a different vacation away from the hustle and bustle of tourists. Without a doubt, only Duarte will be able to offer you such a special and exciting day!