My most recent trip was to the Dominican Republic for a destination wedding. The Dominican Republic isn’t on my list of must visit destinations, but I made the most of stay and saw as much as I can. Whenever I think of the Caribbean, I think endless beaches, but turns out there’s plenty of museums and other sites too. I visited plenty in the Dominican Republic, so I figured I’ll alternate between the Seattle and Dominican Republic adventures to mix things up. First up in the Dominican Republic is…
Admission to the Larimar museum is free. I didn’t find the hours of operation listed anywhere in the museum, but according to the website, the museum is open daily from 10am to 5:45pm. (I find it quite strange that the hours of operations aren’t posted on the doors like most place in the US or maybe that’s the norm for the rest of the world, and we’re the strange ones?) The Larimar museum is located in the Ciudad Colonial aka Zona Colonial or Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo, which is where I stayed, so I was able to walk to most of the places I wanted to visit. The area is rather easy to navigate, so it’s not hard to find the museum. ( I speak no more Spanish than ‘hola’ and ‘gracias’, but I managed to see a majority of the places on my list, so don’t let language be a barrier. Get a good map and put on good shoes and explore. Just remember to be safe and polite, nobody likes the rude touristy types.) The privately-owned museum is cleverly located on the floor above the larimar jewelry store, so visitors must pass through the store to enter or exit, thereby encouraging them to look around and potentially buy some jewelry.
Since my main goal was to see the museum, I easily bypassed the larimar store and headed straight up the stairs to the museum. For those who are not sure what larimar is (I didn’t know before visiting), it is a rare blue variety of pectolite that is found only in the Dominican Republic. Although the museum is small, occupying the same amount of space as the store, it is well organized. The museum is actually rather thorough on educating visitors about larimar by providing information on how the minerals are formed, what causes the blue color, where the mineral is found, and the details about the mines and the miners. In addition, visitors are treated to a variety of larimar specimens, from the raw, unrefined minerals to finished jewelry and display pieces. Descriptions of the exhibits are provided in both English and Spanish.
I spent about 10 minutes at the museum, which is a really short amount of time, but in my defense, the museum is quite small. One can probably spend a little more time at the museum, but I think 30 minutes is the maximum amount of time one can spend before repeating the exhibits. The museum will probably be most interesting for those who have a fondness for minerals and stones, and museums in general, but not really for families with children. (I didn’t visit the store, but anyone who likes jewelry will probably want to take a look.) The Larimar museum is a small museum that manages to educate on what larimar is and is situated in an easy to locate area, so if you happen to be in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic sometime, stop by and take a look, and maybe even buy some larimar to bring home with you.