La Altagracia Province

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La Altagracia (Spanish pronunciation: [la altaˈɣɾasja]) is the easternmost province of the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana is located on the eastern shores of this province. The province was part of the old La Altagracia Province, which split into 2, La Altagracia Province and La Romana Province on February 27, 1961.

La Altagracia
Playa Macao in La Altagracia province, Dominican Republic
Playa Macao in La Altagracia province, Dominican Republic
Coat of arms of La Altagracia
Coat of arms
Location of the La Altagracia Province
Location of the La Altagracia Province
Country Dominican Republic
Province since1944
 • TypeSubdivisions
 • Body2 municipalities
5 municipal districts
 • Congresspersons1 Senator
4 Deputies
 • Total3,010.34 km2 (1,162.30 sq mi)
 • Total372,289
 • Density120/km2 (320/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-4 (EST)
Area code1-809 1-829 1-849
ISO 3166-2DO-11
Postal Code23000

The name "La Altagracia"' meaning the "High Grace" commemorates a painting, Our Lady of La Altagracia, which was brought to this area from Spain in the early 16th century. Numerous miracles are attributed to the image.

Currently it is the leading province of the country in terms of tourism, this province has the luxury of having the Punta Cana International Airport which is the most important airport on the island.


By 1505, Juan de Esquivel conquered the Taino chiefdom of Higuey and founded a fortress which he converted in 1506 by order of Ovando into a town, calling it Salvaleón de Higuey.

Years later, by Royal Privilege dispatched from Seville on December 7, 1508, this town was awarded the Coat of Arms. During the Spanish colonial period, Higüey remained as the Parish of the Seibo party. When the Republic was proclaimed in 1844, the Central Government Board designated it as a common part of the Department of El Seibo.

Cathedral of Higuey.

It was not until 1959, during the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, that the province of La Altagracia was officially created, occupying the eastern part of what belonged to the province of La Romana, which at that time was called Altagracia already for in 1945 when Higüey was elevated to a province under the name of Altagracia.

The Basílica Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia is located in Higüey and is one of the most important religious monuments in the Dominican Republic. It is the place of invocation of the Virgen de la Altagracia. The basilica was inaugurated on January 21, 1971 to replace the old sanctuary built in 1572. On October 12, 1970 it was declared a national monument. This basilica is a large structure in the shape of a Latin cross. The entrance door is made of gold-plated bronze and was blessed by Pope John Paul II in Rome. It has a bell tower with 45 bronze bells.[1][2]


Hoyo Azul in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

La Altagracia is the second largest province in the country with an extension of 3,010.34 km². This province limits to the north with the Atlantic Ocean, to the south with the Caribbean Sea, to the east with the Mona channel and to the west with the provinces of La Romana and El Seibo.

The most important river in the province is the Yuma, other rivers of consideration are in Duey, Maimon, Chavon, Anamuya, Sanate and Yonu. La Altagracia is part of the coastal plains of the Caribbean, so the southern part of the province presents a relatively flat relief in contrast to other regions of the country. Towards the north are the foothills of the Eastern Cordillera, where the Old Hill rises, which with its 736 meters high is the highest in the province.

Zipline in Bavaro Park.

In the province there are three protected areas: the Eastern National Park, the Bávaro lagoon, and the Maimón lagoon. The National Park of the East is the habitat of a varied terrestrial, marine and bird biodiversity. Among the most outstanding marine species in this park are the dolphin and the manatee. The Bávaro lagoon is the habitat of the cyprinodon nichollsi, a fish that is in danger of extinction, and is a temporary refuge for migratory ducks fleeing from the cold north.


Punta Cana Marina.

Tourism is one of the main economic activities in the province. It has first-class international hotel complexes, which places it in one of the main tourist destinations in the Caribbean and the entire Latin America region, which represent a very important source of income for the province, the destinations of Bávaro and Punta Cana being especially well known.

The province also has a notable economic activity based on extensive cattle ranching and agriculture. It is estimated that it has around 775,000 hectares of the province are dedicated to cattle rancing, which places it as the second province in the largest number of cattle. Agricultural activity comes hand in hand with the production of sugar cane and rice, as well as the production of corn, beans, and different foods such as cassava, plantain, yams and sweet potato. Fishing is also common on the coastal areas, not only as a traditional economic activity, but also as a tourist and sports activity.


In the 2010 census, La Altagracia had a population of 273,210 inhabitants, of which 143,010 were men and 130,200 women. Of the total population, 77.8% of the people corresponded to the urban population and 22.2% to the rural population. The most populated city is Higüey with an urban population of 147,978 inhabitants, which represents 54.2% of the total in the province.3

This province had an average annual growth rate in the 2002-2010 period of 5.1%, being the province with the highest growth in the country and being above the national growth rate, which was 1.2%. In the previous period (1993-2002), La Altagracia also had the highest population growth in the country.

Municipalities and municipal districtsEdit

Saona Island in the Province of La Altagracia.

The province as of June 20, 2006 is divided into the following municipalities (municipios) and municipal districts (distrito municipal - M.D.) within them:[3]

The following is a sortable table of the municipalities and municipal districts with population figures as of the 2014 estimate. Urban population are those living in the seats (cabeceras literally heads) of municipalities or of municipal districts. Rural population are those living in the districts (Secciones literally sections) and neighborhoods (Parajes literally places) outside them. The population figures are from the 2014 population estimate.[4] For comparison with the municipalities and municipal districts of other provinces see the list of municipalities and municipal districts of the Dominican Republic.

Name Total population Urban population Rural population
Higüey 322,266 281,061 41,205
San Rafael del Yuma 50,023 31,482 18,541
La Altagracia province 372,289 312,543 59,746

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Diocese of Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia en Higüey, Dominican Republic". Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  2. ^ "Lady of Altagracia in Dominican Republic in 2021". Office Holidays. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  3. ^ Oficina Nacional de Estadistica, Departamento de Cartografia, Division de Limites y Linderos. "Listado de Codigos de Provincias, Municipio y Distritos Municipales, Actualizada a Junio 20 del 2006" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2007-03-14. Retrieved 2007-01-24.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Consejo Nacional de Población y Familia. "Estamaciones y Proyecciones de la Población Dominicana por Regiones, Provincias, Municipios y Distritos Municipales, 2014" (in Spanish). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2014-02-02.

External linksEdit