The most visited tourist spot in the Southeast  is undoubtedly Altos de Chavón (Casa de Campo, tel. 809/523-8011, fax 809/523-8312, US$5). High above the Río Chavón sits this beautifully crafted mock 16th-century Mediterranean village. In the 1970s it was built to give guests of Casa de Campo  and other tourists something to do, and it is now also home to an art school affiliated with the Parsons School of Design in New York.
Cobbled passages, plazas constructed of black river pebbles and sun-drenched coral, azalea-dripping stone archways, and wooden shutters on terra-cotta-roofed buildings create a time-warp sensation as you weave your way from café to boutique, shopping for original student artwork, jewelry, or souvenirs.
Attractions include top-notch restaurants, the Church of St. Stanislaus, and a 5,000-seat open-air amphitheater where big-name concerts are regularly held. The Altos de Chavón Regional Museum of Archaeology (tel. 809/523-8554) houses more than 3,000 artifacts that document the island’s pre-Columbian heritage from the pre-ceramic era to the Taíno people. In the three art galleries (call 809/523-8470 for more information), you can stroll among the showcased art of Dominican and international established and emerging artists.
Any amount of time spent at Altos de Chavón is a treat. Even though it seems a bit odd to have built a replica of a 16th-century Mediterranean village in the Caribbean and greatly removed from modern Dominican life, it is a rich addition to your island getaway vacation.
To drive to Altos de Chavón from La Romana , pass the Casa de Campo gates. Veer right at the fork in the road; it is marked with an Altos de Chavón sign.
A cab from La Romana should cost under US$10 each way. Ask for the taxi driver’s card so that you can call for a return trip. A motoconcho would cost significantly less but they are not allowed inside the gates.