Santo Domingo Information
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Mapping Out the Dominican Republic
La Romana is home to resort delights, like Casa de Campo’s world-renowned Teeth of the Dog golf course. In Puerto Plata, surf’s up where you can find all types of water sports on its Amber Coast. People flock to Punta Cana’s luxurious resorts on pristine beaches for snorkeling and fun in the clear-aqua water. But visit Samaná to see majestic humpback whales up close, migrating through the bay. Finally, UNESCO World Heritage site in Santo Domingo is the oldest city in the Americas and is the cultural and political capital of the Dominican Republic. Whatever you want to do, the Dominican Republic’s got you covered.
City and beachlife is the way to go for a well balanced vacation. In between the shops and history you'll find in the colonial zone of Santo Domingo, you'll also want to experience El Malecón.
The boardwalk runs along the Caribbean coast and winds around most of the city. Avenida George Washington, as the road is properly named is lined with restaurants and hotels on some parts and gives you pretty views of the ocean and landscape.
During the day you'll hear the sounds of the waves and at night, the ocean sounds mix in with fun, Latin music and dancing. It's the place to be if you want a true cultural experience.
Why It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Santo Domingo is home to a lot of firsts. The Santa Maria La Menor Cathedral, Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo and Hospital San Nicolás de Bari are all the first of their kind in the Americas. The cathedral, university and hospital symbolize the city's importance as a historical site, whose heritage is honored and protected.
And those three sites are only the beginning of cherished heritage in Santo Domingo. You'll find so many beautiful and historical bits of culture in the ancient city. And because its so well preserved, you'll find yourself imagining what it must have been like to be at the brink of such a treasured place.
Because of all this, and its significance in culture and heritage, UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site in 1990.
Art, Shops, Cafes and History: Parque Colon
Dedicated to Christopher Columbus, complete with a bronze statue in his honor, Parque Colon is a charming town square park that’s great for just hanging out under the trees.
Cigar shops, art boutiques and cafes surround the area, and it’s the starting point of the historical district. The first cathedral in the New World is next to it, along with El Conde, the main shopping area.
It's a great place to stop and enjoy the scenery around you. You'll see both locals and tourists bustling around, enjoying the atmosphere. Take your pick from several of the restaurants to enjoy a drink or meal while experiencing colonial Santo Domingo.
First Cathedral in the New World
Stepping inside this building is like stepping back in time to 16th century Santo Domingo. Spiritualists, history buffs and tourists from all over the world visit the Santa Maria La Menor Cathedral to admire its beauty and appreciate its value as the first Christian structure in the New World.
The sacred architectural structure was consecrated in 1541 and is an impressive sight inside and out. The solid limestone, silver high alters and cross-vaulted ceilings are all part of the gothic and baroque design.
It's only one of the seven treasures of cultural heritage in Santo Domingo, but its spiritual value makes it especially beloved by the Dominican people.
Best Restaurants in Santo Domingo
The capital has tons of food options to fit all tastes and budgets. For authentic Dominican cuisine, you’ll want to visit Adrian Tropical Food on El Malecón.
If you’ve had a late night dancing the night away, feed your midnight munchies at Barra Payan. It’s a 24-hour favorite for everyone, serving scrumptious sandwiches and juice. Just be ready to order your sammy in Spanish.
Foodies, head over to French/European bistro, La Boheme for fine dining and great service in a sweet setting. And, for a great start to your day, enjoy tasty breakfast treats at Elysee.
Santo Domingo Quick Facts
Same voltage as North America, but the sockets are two pronged.
All U.S. citizens must have a valid passport when traveling to and from the Dominican Republic.
Drink only bottled water. Avoid tap water and drinking beverages with ice cubes.
Eastern Standard Time (UTC/GMT -4 hours)
Dec to Feb, July to Aug and Semana Santa (the week before Easter)