Casa Ponce de León

Punta Cana & the Southeast

Just east of the two-lane highway linking Higüey to Boca de Yuma, outside the small town of San Rafael del Yuma, is a fine rural Dominican town surrounded by fields in all directions, with dirt roads. Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León had a second residence built here during the time he governed Higüey for the Spanish crown. Still standing nearly 500 years later, Casa Ponce de León is now a museum to this notorious character of the Spanish conquest.

Take the officially posted hours with a large grain of salt. The caretaker, who is needed to open the gates and the house, offers guided tours in Spanish (RD$100 tip is customary), but often isn't around. Your best bet is is between 10am and 2pm Tuesday through Sunday.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

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