Capital City DR: Santo Domingo Guide

Santo Domingo is the Capital of Dominican Republic. People may also see it named Santo Domingo de Guzman. With almost a million residents, Sant Domingo is far from the resort town on the coast. Located on the southern portion of the country, it is the largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean.

Founded by Bartholomew Columbus in 1496, then later moved by Nicolas De Ovando, Santo Domingo is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas. This accounts for the first seat of the Spanish colonial rule in the New World. Also, among the New World was the first university, cathedral, castle, monastery and fortress.

How to get there

  • Santo Domingo’s International airport is popular spot for tourists to fly into
  • Punta Cana Airport is another possibility, with a 2 and a half car ride to Santo Domingo’s city center
  • People can take day tours as well from any hotel in Dominican Republic

When to Go

March to May: Spring breakers are just leaving, creating less crowds.

June to August: European and America summer vacation, means more tourists and hot weather.

September to November: Wet season, (aka) Hurricanes. But it does mean, less tourists.

December to March: Peak season due to winter break and spring break. Avoid if able.

Language

Spanish is the spoken language of Santo Domingo. A lot of people knew English and spoke it well.

Currency

The Dominican Peso is used, 1 peso is equal to $0.020 USD. Throughout the city, USDs are accepted and so are credit cards.

Safety

Santo Domingo is a safe place to go as a group, couple or solo. Therefore, just know the neighborhood that you’re in and don’t travel alone late at night.

Dress

Santo Domingo is a very conservative city, women are encouraged to cover shoulders and wear shorts/skirts to cover knees. This wear is not mandatory unless walking into a church. In that case, they will provide you with a skirt and shawl. In conclusion, if tourists choose to wear a skinny tank or very short shorts, be prepared to get stares by the locals.

Eat

African, Spanish and Middle Eastern flavors make up the cuisine of Dominican Republic.

  • Breakfast side: Mangu, which is mashed plantains topped with red onions.
  • Dominican OJ: Passion fruit juice
  • Soup: Stews of many kinds are very popular for any meal
  • Biggest staple of Santo Domingo: La Bandera: Rice, Beans and any kind of Meat
  • Side for La Bandera: Tostones, again plantains but commonly fried for dinner.
  • White Starch used: Yuca Encebollada, can be boiled, fried or mashed.
  • Finger Food: Quipes, deep fried bulger rolls brought by the Middle Easter Immigrants
  • Late night dessert: Dulce de coco, a creamy, coconut milk dessert.
  • And so much more

To See

  • Colonial Zone
    • Santo Domingo’s colonial zone was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The colonial zone is the old, historical neighborhood of Santo Domingo. Popular area for tourists due to the landmarks, shops and restaurants.
  • El Faro Colon
    • Spaniards believe Christopher Columbus is buried in Spain, while Dominicans believe he is buried in Santo Domingo. El Faro Colon is a huge monument dedicated to Columbus, the founder of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic in 1492, prior to Santo Domingo being founded.
  • Cathedrals
    • Beautiful cathedrals can be toured during non-mass hours, all over Santo Domingo. Make sure you fit the dress code, if not, tourists will be given a skirt or shawl to cover up.
  • Kah Kow Experience 
    • Kah Kow Experience allow tourists to learn how chocolate is made, experience raw fruit and sample flavors. At the end of the tour, people are able to make their own candy bar.
  • Three Eyes National Park 
    • Beautiful caves in the middle of the town. Three Eyes National Park is a popular tour attraction, but the groups are well organized to prevent overcrowding. While walking down into the caves, be prepared to be ‘wowed’ by the beautiful rocks and clear water.
  • Alcazar de Colon
    • Is a replica of how Spanish nobles lived in the new world. Although, the objects aren’t originals, due to the house being burned, the tour is still worth it. In addition, the tour consists of headphones as tourists walk through the home.
  • National Botanical Garden 
    • Botanical Garden isn’t the usual sight for tourists of a historical town, but a great relaxing afternoon looking at the structures of the garden will be nice.
  • National Palace 
    • Beautiful structure in the middle of town. However, tourists are unable to go inside the fence, but worth the stop to see the building anyway. Furthermore, the guards on the outside are friendly and enjoy the pictures.
  • Amber World Museum 
    • Guided tour through the Amber Museum to see some of the biggest Amber stones. Amber stones make up a ton of the Dominican jewelry and at the end of the tour people may buy stones or jewelry.
  • 5 Natural Attractions
    • Cueva Fun Fun, Pico Duarte, Bayahibe and Soana Island, 27 Charcos, Samana and Los Haitises National Park are 5 must natural attractions you must see!

Don’t stop here, Santo Domingo has so much more to offer tourists.

What would you add to this Santo Domingo Guide?

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