Outside the south coast city of La Romana, one of the Caribbean's most unusual attractions is well worth a day trip.

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Altos de Chavón

An extraordinary cultural/shopping/dining complex built to look like an old European village.

Heading farther east along the coast, right outside the city of La Romana perched above the Chavón River, is one of the Caribbean's more unusual attractions. Conceived in the 1970s by the head of the Paramount Pictures studio and now part of the reknowned Casa de Campo resort, this pastiche of a mediaeval southern European town is full of shops and restaurants, and also boasts an archaeology museum and an outdoor amphitheatre where performances are regularly held (sometimes by international stars, such as Elton John and Andrea Bocelli). The overlook provides an impressive view out over the river and exuberant vegetation - a landscape so evocative it has been used repeatedly as a movie location (for Apocalypse Now, Rambo, and Jurassic Park, for example).

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