In this section we will look at the main attractions of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic and some general information about the city.
Giuseppe and I leave from Las Terrenas and arrive in Santo Domingo in 2 ½ hours by bus. We get to Plaza Lama, which is also one of the main bus stops in Santo Domingo ,where there is a well known big mall belonging to a chain called La Sirena. Here you can find everything from food to furniture and of course many restaurants and smaller shops.
Santo Domingo is a city with about 3 million people, some of the neighborhoods are very dangerous to tour unless you are with a good guide. We recommend you stay in the more central ,and safe areas like the “Zona Colonial”.
We took a trip from the city center to the botanical gardens and the malecon which is the promenade that runs along one side of the capital.
What to see in Santo Domingo
From the Colonial area (zona colonial) you can see, at the end of the main street, a very large square with the cathedral ,a church built in Gothic style and full of paintings.
The Fortaleza Ozama
Also, near the main street of the colonial area you will find the Fortaleza Ozama, a fort built between 1502 and 1508,which is named after the river Ozama and was used to protect the city from pirate attacks.
Still in the Colonial part of town you will find Plaza d’Espana and the palace of Cristoforo Colombo at a stone’s throw from the Ozama fort on the banks of the Ozama River. It was built by Christoper Colombus’s son Bartholomew as their home on the island.
Santo Domingo’s seafront
Santo Domingo is on the sea and the promenade called Maricone, is also the main road that leads into the city where you will see some of the biggest hotels . The seafront is formed by rocks and therefore there are no beaches in Santo Domingo.
Palace of fine arts
The Palace of Fine Arts has been open since in 1956 and it holds all the cultural and artistic events, there are organizations of national folk dancing, choirs, and the school of national dance.
Faro a Colon
Faro Colon is one of the more recent monuments built with the help of many other countries in the memory of Christopher Columbus, on the walls are the names of all the countries that helped build it. The Faro (lighthouse) was built in the shape of a croce and is split down the middle. Today it’s a museum ..
An enchanted garden built to protect all species of flora of the Dominican Republic, you will find many species of orchids, palm trees and aquatic plants that can be admired in all their beauty.
Los Tres Ojos
Los tres ojos are 3 very beautiful natural caves with crystal clear waters and stalactites ,they are part of a national park where you can also see lizards that now exist only here and in the northern part of the island.
After visiting all these places we went back to the hotel which was right next to the colonial area, we rested a bit and after a nice refreshing shower we were ready for a bite to eat and a tour of the Santo Domingo night life with all its clubs and discos.
Walking in the Colonial area you will find many places where you can try pizza, the various Dominican dishes and also a good plate of pasta for those who just can’t do without it like me.
Nightlife in Santo Domingo
In Santo Domingo there is plenty of entertainment and night life, starting with the colonial area, in the square where the cathedral is you will find the Hard Rock cafe and many other places where you can sit outdoors and enjoy a good drink.
Tips on how to get around in Santo Domingo.
We advise you to get an official guide to tour the various monuments and if you should take a taxi use only those who are licensed , as there are many non-licensed taxis that may take advantage and rob you. So, in our opinion, it’s best to always be accompanied by a guide which you can find along the Conde which is the main street of the Colonial area.
To tour by night it is a must to go with a car, it is not advisable to walk anywhere outside of the Colonial area.