Unfortunately, Santiago has no visitor information center, and attractions often lack telephone numbers and readily available information about opening and closing times.
A rather hideous pile, Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración de la República, reached along Avenida Monumental in the east end of Santiago, was constructed by Trujillo as a memorial to himself. After his assassination, the monument was turned into a memorial dedicated to the heroes who lost their lives in the War of Independence with Spain. A statue of Victory tops the 70m (230-ft.) pillar constructed on a marble base. The real reason we recommend it is because of its interior, decorated with murals by the painter Vela Zanetti. Take the staircase of 365 steps to the top of the monument for one of the most panoramic views of the D.R. Open Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 6pm, the monument costs RD$70 to enter.
In the center of town, dominating Parque Duarte, Catedral de Santiago Apóstol is open daily 7am to 9pm (Sunday only till 8pm). Constructed between 1868 and 1895. Its most impressive treasure is a series of stained-glass windows by contemporary Dominican artist Dincón Mora. The cathedral also contains the marble tomb of the late-19th-century dictator Ulises Heureaux.
The major attraction of town, Centro León, lies in the Villa Progreso at Avenida 27 de Febrero 146 (tel. 809/582-2315). It is a showcase to the wealth and ego of the Jimenez dynasty, a family that made its fortune in tobacco, beer, and banking. A trio of display rooms in the main building focuses on the history and ecosystem of the D.R., with exhibitions on Dominican art and photography. In another building are displays related to the glory of the Jimenez family, including their accomplishments in launching the tobacco industry. On-site is a cigar factory where you can see "rollers" at work making Aurora Preferidos. Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 7pm. The museum charges an admission of RD$80.
A showcase for folk art of the D.R., Museo Folklórico Don Tomás Morel, Avenida Restauración 174 (tel. 809/582-6787), was founded by the poet Tomás Morel. It is a museum devoted to the famous February Carnival of Santiago, containing the best caretas (masks) the celebration has ever enjoyed. The museum also has other limited exhibits devoted to the history of merengue along with some Taíno artifacts. Admission is free; it is open Monday to Friday 9am to noon and 3:30 to 6pm.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.