East of Santo Domingo is La Romana, an area that has become world famous for being the location of the massive Casa de Campo Caribbean resort, which sprawls across 2,833 hectares (7,000 acres). The town of La Romana was a small sugar port until the 1970s when Gulf and Western developed the major resort.
The area has some excellent beaches, including the tiny Minitas beach and lagoon, and the scenic palm-lined beach of Bayahibe where visitors can enjoy the Dominican people's rythm of life despite the recent tourist development. La Romana also boasts an unusual medieval cliff-top village, reminiscent of the south of France, built overlooking the Chavon River.
Quaint buildings of rusty rock line cobbled alleyways; the village also boasts an ancient-looking amphitheatre.
The village of Altos de Chavon gives the impression of age and atmosphere. The town is, however, a modern creation designed and sculpted in 1978 by Roberto Coppa, an Italian movie set designer. It does include an archaeological museum of Taino artefacts, some good restaurants and is home to a colony of artists.
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