- Where to Go
- The Best of the Dominican Republic
- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
If you can choose only one thing to do in Santiago, make this it. The Centro León (Av. 27 de Febrero 146, Villa Progreso, tel. 809/582-2315, fax 809/724-7644, www.centroleon.org.do, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Tues.–Sun., US$2, free Tues.) is the country’s finest museum, housing art, anthropological, and cultural exhibitions. It also hosts artistic seminars, workshops, film festivals, and music performances.
Centro León has an impressive collection devoted to the anthropology and ethnological collections of the Dominican peoples over 5,000 years, from pre-Columbian times to contemporary days. Another section is devoted to visual art and the evolution of Dominican art (and its influences) that is filled with paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and installation art by both national and international artists.
Section three is devoted to the folklore of the Dominican Republic and the rest of Latin America. It often has film screenings, concerts, or temporary exhibits.
Centro León was founded by the León Jimenes family, one of the most successful families in the Dominican Republic. They built their fortune in the tobacco, beer, and banking industries, and their story is told in the fourth exhibit, on the second floor of a stand-alone building on the well-manicured grounds of the center.
On the first floor of the same small museum is a small mock-cigar workshop where you can watch the talented cigar rollers work their magic and a store where you can purchase the highly ranked Aurora cigars. Tours require reservations two days in advance and are given in English, German, French (US$5.50), and Spanish (US$3.50), lasting 1–2 hours.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition