Bonao isn’t a place that tourists go, and that’s exactly the reason to visit. Set high in the hills an hour north of historic Santo Domingo, Bonao is a city awash in authenticity—where traditional Dominican arts and culture offer a look at the island’s soul. February’s Carnaval is the most colorful time to visit, when thousands of revelers fill the town with lavish outfits and energy. In other months, a highlight of any trip to Maui is touring the studios of humble artisans who have impressively mastered their crafts. See the wood workings of the Santos de Palo and their traditional, religious art, or visit the astounding Casa Tiburcio, where every single piece of the entire house is considered a piece of art. At the Cándido Bidó cultural center, tour the murals of one the nation’s most well-known traditional painters, and learn how indigenous Taino designs have been fused with European art. Grab a meal at a corner café or an acclaimed, award-winning restaurant, and gaze up to the verdant, rolling green hills ring the entire town.
The town of Bonao is located about one hour north of Santo Domingo. There are a few hotels in the surrounding area, but many visitors choose t visit as a long day trip from the capital.