Well off the beaten path, the pleasant cattle town of EL SEIBO, smack in the middle of the Cordillera Oriental and a bumpy 40km drive south of Miches, was once the stomping ground of nineteenth-century caudillo Pedro Santana, who ruled the Dominican Republic off and on during the period of internecine strife that followed independence from Haiti and continued until annexation by Spain. Whenever Santana was booted out of office by his rival Buenaventura Báez, Santana would retreat here until the next Haitian invasion, when he would be called back to lead the nation’s military defence.

The only feature that might count as a sight is the squat Iglesia Santa Cruz – which stands beside the Parque Central along the winding main road that bisects El Seibo – a preserved piece of colonial architecture that’s still used as the local parish. Occasional renovations have kept its red-brick dome and partially whitewashed limestone facade in good shape, though one of these “improvements” also resulted in the unfortunate plaster Victorian top to the bell tower. North of the city a predominantly paved but potholed road winds through the most scenic part of the unspoilt Cordillera Oriental mountain range to Miches; the peaks here are shaped into surreal spires and cones draped with a thick canopy of greenery.

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