Capital of Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo, the capital of Dominican Republic, is known to be one of the most important historical sites on the new world. This city was founded in 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus and remains the oldest European establishment in the Americas. Because of the long rich heritage, there are many monuments and museums to visit in the area.

Santo Domingo has grown significantly in the last decade; along with the areas of Punta Cana, Santiago and Puerto Plata it has become a major tourist spot. The main city is separated into 2 sides: the east and the west one. These areas are divided by the Ozama River that runs through the center. The east part of the city is not as well developed as the western part which has been the target of several companies for economic expansion.

Weather in the city

Few places have such a pleasant weather as the capital of Dominican Republic. Its climate is tropical meaning no snow or extreme cold conditions ever! The overall temperature ranges from 72°F (22°C) in the early hours of the day to 89°F (32°C) in the evenings. You can visit the city anytime of the year and you will have a great time regardless. As in many parts of the world the summers are very hot especially during the month of August in which the temperature can get around 94 to 95°F (34 to 35°C) or even higher in extreme heat conditions. The lowest temperatures are present during January and February and they usually vary from 63 to 81°F (17 to 27°C). Like in any tropical area the rainfall is more common during the summer months all the way into October. As the “winter” arrives the rain becomes less frequent.

Visiting Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is a must to visit for all fans of the Caribbean. This city has everything you might need; since it was the first major city established in western world, you can find a lot of ancient architectural master pieces and landmarks.

Food in the streets of Santo Domingo
If you are a food lover there are plenty of restaurants for you to see with an immense variety of international cuisine. 

In the case that you are on tours, around the place you will find various fritter vendors, which is a good chance for meeting new people in the capital of Dominican Republic.

Shoppers also have a great time in the city; many stores to choose from with discount prices on several items of interest.

Finding a good place to stay is not a problem; lot of big resorts and small hotels available for all budget sizes.

From Punta Cana to Santo Domingo:

- Punta Cana is approximately 4 hours away of the capital (by car).

  By airplane is around 20 minutes away.

- The taxi rate is supposed to be around 200 USD or less.

Dominican Republic transportation

Taxis are the preferred means of transportation among many visitors. The drivers usually know every street and corner in the city plus they can be safer than other vehicles. Remember is a safer bet to call a taxi company than getting onboard on some random taxi even if is more expensive. Since taxis in Santo Domingo don’t use the typical meters used in other countries; they normally charge per destination from 4USD to 10USD inside the city.

Motoconchos are similar to taxis but instead of a car the vehicle is a motorcycle. It is a very economical alternative for all visitors that don’t want to spend a lot on taxis; of course the downside is you cannot carry luggage with you plus they are not exactly safe. If you are uncomfortable you can tell the driver to reduce the speed so you can feel safer.

Using the bus service can save you a lot of cash when moving around. They usually cover the main roads but they also have some disadvantages. Quite often you will have to deal with very crowded vehicles, the schedules are a bit uncertain plus you will have to be wary of the other passengers. The rates can go from approximately 0.40USD to 0.90USD.

“Carros Publicos” are basically a multi-fare taxi. You can find them quite easily in any major city like the capital of Dominican Republic. They are way more economical than a normal taxi but you will have to ride along with other people. You can also decide to cover the fares for all the seats if you don’t want company. The routes covered by this type of car service are often short but useful; the rate for riding in these vehicles goes from approximately 0.40USD to 0.50USD per trip.

Renting a car is an alternative for the most adventurous as driving in the Dominican Republic can be a bit of a daunting task. There are many companies that can help you pick the car that cover your needs so choose carefully.

Places to visit

- Many of the museums in the capital of Dominican Republic are located in the Zona Colonial District. Including the Museum of Natural History, Museum of Casas Reales, Museum of Alcazar, Museum of Dominican Man and Museum of Duarte. The History and Geography Museum follow the history of the area beginning in the pre-Columbian era to present times. 

The Colonial Zone is a vibrant section of the city where you can stroll past many historic places and get a feel for times gone by. There are several preserved buildings here that detail the history of early natives and European settlers.

- The many parks in the capital of Dominican Republic in Dominican Republic offer a place to enjoy the tropical surroundings. The area is enclosed by the Santo Domingo Green belt that was put in place to protect the natural habitat of the area. Other noteworthy natural recreational areas to visit include Mirador Sur Park, The Malecon, Dominican Republic Zoo and Enriquillo Park.

National Botanical Garden - The Botanical Garden located in Santo Domingo is known to be the biggest one in the Caribbean. This garden is an authentic marvel of nature holding an immense variety of plants from all over the world. If you love nature going there is an unforgettable experience. One of the most impressive areas there is the Japanese Garden; with the fascinating flora you would expect from this exotic country.

The Columbus Lighthouse - a visit to this monument is a must for all visitors of Santo Domingo. This structure was built to celebrate the 500 year anniversary of the arrival of Columbus. This cross shaped lighthouse hold the very remains of the famous explorer that changed the view of the world but that’s not all if at day the place is amazing you have to see at night. The light reflected from the lighthouse creates a cross like image that illuminates the night sky of the city. 

- “Los Tres Ojos” is a breathtaking cavern with a depth of approximately 50 feet. The stalagmites covering the floor and the 3 lagoons in the area are an ideal combination for enhancing the alluring atmosphere of this wonder of nature.

- The Alcazar de Colon is one of the very first buildings constructed in the New World. It was built by the son of Christopher Columbus in 1510-1514. It has been restored and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city being both a fun and educational place to visit. Some other interesting historical buildings include Roman Catholic cathedrals.

Santa Maria La Menor Cathedral - Dominican Republic- Roman Catholicism is strong in Santo Domingo and has a long history in the area. 

The Catedral Santa María La Menor is a World Heritage Site. It is located in the Colonial Zone and is the oldest cathedral in the Americas having been established in 1512. It stands as a marvel of architecture and houses a treasury of ancient woodcarvings, silver, jewels, and old furnishings. 

Most people are impressed with the capital of Dominican Republic for its old buildings and museums.

Nightlife in Town

You can always find something to do at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The last weeks of the month of December is the time when the partying can go on in the street without restriction so needless to say if you like to party that’s the time to go!

Before running to the club is important to be well dressed; some establishments have certain dressing codes that have to be followed. As a general rule the men are ok with shoes, jeans and collared shirts. Women can also do jeans and shoes but to be on the safe side dressing casual elegant will always work well.

There is a huge list of night clubs in the area of Santo Domingo; some of them are very luxurious while others have a more traditional atmosphere. Among the fanciest bars around you can visit: Praia, Fellini, Mix, Rua and Shots. One of the most unique nightclubs in the planet is La Guacara Taina. This is a must to visit for anyone in Santo Domingo. This club is the only one in the world that is found inside a natural cave! Imagine dancing all night in such an exotic place.

Sometimes the partying gets very good and you simply don’t feel like sleeping. No need to worry the Coppa bar located at the Melia and the Disco at the Aurora hotel are going to be ready to welcome you. The Coppabar is a very classy place; people like to dress well and dance to the rhythms of merengue, salsa, some house; even techno.

The disco at the Aurora is another amazing spot. Lots of people love to get in there especially after the other bars have closed so be early if you really want to see the place. This disco is all about latin music so expect salsa, merengue, reggaeton and the always memorable bachata. Both of these places close at 6 am so you will have more than enough time to for a great night.

Special Events

Dominicans love celebrations and some of the most important ones take place in the capital of Dominican Republic. The carnival is known to be one of the most expected events of the year. People all over the city and the surrounding towns congregate on “El Malecon” which is the main road to watch the parade. The parade consists of people wearing costumes and masks representing spirits while they dance along the street. Most of the times the entertainers take advantage of the event and scare the bystanders by chasing them down the street. The carnival is celebrated during the whole month of February but the main event takes place on the 27th which is the Independence Day of the Dominican Republic.

Another popular event in Santo Domingo is the Merengue Festival which by a coincidence organized on the “El Malecon” as well. Merengue is the official dance of the country so as you might imagine everybody dances around and enjoy the music of the best merengue bands available so if you are around you won’t be able to resist dancing to this amazing rhythm.

During this activity you can also take part on several exhibitions of foods and crafts. This event takes place during the last week of July.

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