Introduction: rich in history and is the capital of the Dominican Republic. As far as I have been told it is one of the oldest cities or the oldest city in the Caribbean. They do still have some buildings that were built in the “New World” when Columbus and his mates were terrifying the islands. Buildings including the cathedral, Alcázar de Colón and a few others are still standing and you can have a glimpse of what the past would have been like.
How to get there: there are a few ways of getting to the Dominican Republic and to Santo Domingo above all. From my own experience, Punta Cana seems to be a cheaper option rather than Las Americas airport in Santo Domingo. The difference can be $200USD or more. You can bus it to Santo Domingo from Punta Cana airport in about 2 hours for about $10 to $20USD depending on the type of transport you take.
Where to stay: booking.com (get €15 off using my code) you are literally spoilt for choice. I have used booking as you get a 10 – 15% discount depending. You do have other options such as AirBNB and hotels and that, but it really depends on how long you want to stay in Santo Domingo. For me, it was a few days and I went off travelling…
What to do there: there are a few things you can do. One of the best places to go to is to Colombus Lighthouse. Here there is a black chest with the “remains” of Colombus himself, but I lived in Seville, Spain and they also have his remains, which they did DNA testing with his son and they matched, so the Dominicans have the remains of someone important but they won’t admit it is not Colombus himself lol The lighthouse is shaped as a catholic cross and before they used to illuminate it at night that you could see if from miles away, but today they don’t do it. Well worth a look, it is also a museum.
La Zona Colonial is probably the place to be, most foreigners go there as it is full of bars and restaurants everywhere, you can also eat typical Dominican food such as Mangu. Green plantains mashed until puree like, with salami, and usually fresh fried cheese unlike the melted one in my photo! Delicious and can eaten at any time during the day, however most have it for breaky.
Here you can also visit the oldest cathedral in the Americas, the house where Christopher Columbuses son lived. The building itself was blown up by an English pirate Francis Drake back in the 17th century, it left the place in tatters, so they decided to build it or a replica of what it might have looked like in the 20th century. When you do the tour of the Casa de Colon as it is known as, they will tell you all this as well. Here is a snap of it.
Santo Domingo have recently opened a cable car service which has 3 stations and covers quite a lot of ground. It is defo worth getting on it and checking out the views from above. The price is silly lol about $1 for a return ride which also includes the metro. The journey covers mostly the poorer parts of the city and you really get an idea of the poverty levels in Santo Domingo! Just on and do a round trip. Takes about 25mins to do it. Check out my pics below!
Some tips: going to a city like Santo Domingo does have its pros and cons. I was always told to be careful with a mobile phone in public and I sorta ignored that. One day in the city centre walking down the street on my phone like most people listening to music and motorbike came along side me and tried to swipe it out of my hand but I had a good grip, lesson learnt! Gotta be careful, when in a hotel or your accommodation, leave passport and credit cards, just take a small amount of cash. Make sure that if you are going out at night, you get an Uber from A to B, as some places can be quite dark, so best prevent some uncomfortable situations. I have yet to see something serious but you do read some scary things in the newspapers, so best be cautious. In general outside of Santo Domingo, in the provinces life is a lot slower, friendlier and most things you pay in cash as well and crime levels are a lot lower compared to Santo Domingo and Santiago. If you have any other questions or if there is something I have not answered, just give me a shout on my IG page