Santo Domingo being the Capitol of Dominican Republic is the most advanced city in the Island. You can find here over 26 colleges and universities including the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo， the largest and the first university of the Americas. Santo Domingo when compared to some countries in Latin America is well developed and is rapidly moving into the 21st century. You can find pretty much anything you would in the states in Santo Domingo. This is one of the major reasons why students from all over the United States vacation in Santo Domingo. Students must understand that although Santo Domingo is a beautiful island full of life, there are parts of the city which are very poor. Streets are not fixed and houses are not very pretty. To understand why this is so you must understand the history and know that D.R. is relatively new to the current democratic government. The country suffered 31 years of a brutal dictatorship by Trujillo and its now recovering and moving forward.
Depending where in the capitol you stay, everything you need is relatively close by. This is the reason why locals and tourists a like walk to their destination and rely on the public transportation. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes before leaving your hotel room.
Walk-You may be able to walk to your destination because most restaurants and super markets are within a reasonable distance.
Public Transportation- The public transportation system is a cheap，easy a safe way to get around. The bus works just like our local transportation system here in the United States. Before getting in the bus ask a local, or the bus driver what bus will take you to your destination， they will point you in the right direction. The bus is roughly 15pesos.
Public Cars- you can identify a public car from a regular car because it will have a government seal on the windshield. Public cars usually go up and down a street. You can catch one by standing on the street and signaling if your going up the street or down. Public cars are also safe, except you will probably be riding along with at least 5 other people going the same way you are. Public cars are roughly 20-25pesos.
Taxi- Taxis are also very safe but will cost any where from 150-300 pesos depending on how far your destination.
Public Vans- Also called guaguas. These are not recommended to visitors because they are not safe，unless maybe accompanied by a local. Usually costs about 25-30 pesos
There are many things to see in this city.
The Colonial Zone
Streets of the Colonial Zone
Santa Maria la Menor Cathedral
Inside the first cathedral of the Americas
is an important landmark because it is the first cathedral of the Americas. First built in 1514, its construction was not finished until 1540.
the Ozama Fortress
is the oldest formal military construction still standing in the Americas. Cost of entrance is about $30 pesos per person and about $200 for a guide to take you. The guide is recommended because he will explain much of the hsitorical background.
Arial view of the Ozama Fortress
Columbus Lighthouse/Faro a Colón is a grandiose monument built to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the Americas in 1492. It is most important because it holds the remains of Columbus.
Sun Dial/ Reloj de Sol most impressive and beautiful sight. Built in 1753 its one of the oldest sun dial in the Americas. Located on Calle Las Damas
There are many things to do for Student and non students alike in the Dominican republic. Its rich culture and old architect offers a beauty that leaves visitors yearning and wanting more.
Columbus Park/ Parque Colón It is located in the center of the colonial zone. This park is most popular among locals and visitors alike. It is a beautiful plaza which surrounds a monument of Columbus to which the park is named after. It is visited by people who would like to relax, families who come to enjoy the park with the kids and couples who enjoy the scenery and its wonderful restaurants. Because the park is very popular you will find plenty of vendors selling CD's of local music, hand made trinkets, rosaries and food. You will also find many tour guides hanging around ready to give anyone who wishes a guided tour of the cathedral and the colonial zone at a price. Taxis ready to take you anywhere will also be hanging around the park.
Visit the Plaza of Culture/Plaza de la Cultura this plaza is home to four different museums: Museo de Historia Natural/ Museum of Natural History, Museo del Hombre Dominicano/ Museum of the Dominican Man, Museo de Arte Moderno/ Museum of Modern Art, and Museo de Historia y Geografía/ Museum of History and Geography. The entrance to the museums will cost any where from 5 to 20 pesos. All museums (La Plaza de la cultura) are located in the Gazcue area of Santo Domingo.
National theater/ Teatro Nacional Students like to visit the National theater because it holds many cultural events as well as concerts from American and Dominican artists alike. The theater is also located on the Plaza of Culture.
Cinema Cafe is a meeting place of artists, students, young professionals, music and movie-lovers. It is a place to listen to good music,poetry and to see theater performances. Location: Plaza de la Cultura
Cinema Cafe, (Plaza de la Cultura. Enter at the Calles Pedro Henriquez Ureña, Gazcue, Santo Domingo), ☎ 809-221-7555, . Monday thru Thursday 11AM to 1AM, Fridays 11AM to 3AM. Saturday 4PM to 3PM, Sunday 5PM to 1AM.
Museum of Rum and Sugar Cane/Museo del Ron y la Caña, Isabel la Catolica #261, Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo, Republica Dominicana, ☎ 809-685-5111. 9AM to 5PM (bar is open during the museum hours with limited service) daily. Closed Sunday.. Free.
the museum is free and one of the newest to open. It holds all the history of rum making in Dominican Republic. In the front of the museum you will find all the Dominican rum for sale at reasonable prices. There is also a very nice bar inside where you can enjoy a nice drink of rum or any other drink you like.
Malecon is a park running along the sea side of the busy street of Ave George Washington. It is a nice and relaxing place for a walk. Along the road you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Caribbean sea, people hanging, small kiosks selling goods and restaurants. There are many branches where you can sit and admire the view.
There are many plazas in Santo Domingo where you can find nice things. If you just walk out of your hotel room and walk on the main street you will run across a few plazas selling clothes/accesories as well as great restaurants. Most popular place for shopping is El Conde located in the colonial zone. Here you will find anything you are looking for. It is a strip of stores, gift shops and restaurants. In El conde you will find nice soveniers at a reasonable price. You can stop in any restaurant for fresh fruit drinks, good food and to rest your feet.
Adrian Tropical Food, Avenida 27 de Febrero, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, ☎ (809) 472-1763.
While in Adrian the dish to try is Mofongo. This is a dish made from mashed plantains.
Must Have Dishes
Sancocho-Famous and typical soup.
Fried Plantains/Platano Frito
The National Plate- Rice, beans,your choice of meet and salad
These dishes are found in almost any restaurant.
Must Have Deserts
Helado Bon/Bon Ice Cream- Many flavors to choose from. Bon is found in almost every corner of Santo Domingo.
Tres Leche Biscocho/Three Milk Cake- delicious cake made with whole milk, carnation milk and condensed milk.
There are many places where one can enjoy good music and drinks at a reasonable price.
Plaza Uris located on Ave. Roberto Pastoriza
This plaza has become one of the capital’s top weekend destinations with five very popular bar/clubs with Zambra-809.683.7373, Vié809.227-2503, Shots(829) 886.1208, Sinatra809.368.1155 and Taboo Bamboo809.227-2727 all in the same plaza. This is a favorite spot for locals and especially visitors because it reminds them of the states. Because of its proximity you can bar hop until you find the one that fits you. Music ranging from rock, hip-hop and Latin. When in the plaza the drink to try is definitely Omega shot. Make sure you have a designated driver or number to a taxi.
LED Students love this spot because of its spacious dance floor and popularity. Located inside the hotel Hispanola on Ave. Independencia & Abraham Lincoln-809.476.7733 – Open Wed-Sat. It may be a bit costly than the other bars/clubs, make sure to call for entrance fee ahead of time.
El Sarten this is a vintage Latin bar frequented by a mature crowd of experienced dancers. Drop in if you want to see some serious merengue and salsa steps. Located on Calle Hostos #153, Zona Colonial # 809.686.9621 – Open every night
Colonia Zone the colonial zone offers many bars/restaurant with students like to hang out and drink. Take a taxi to the colonial zone and explore the town, stopping at the many bars along the way.
When in Santo Domingo you absolutely must try a few drinks made delicious in SD.
Mamajuana- this is found only in Dominican Repulic. You can buy pre-made bottles and make yourself in the States. Also used for medicinal purposes.
Barcelo- Most Popular Dominican Rum
Brugal- Cheap and popular Dominican Rum
Presidente- The official Dominican beer. Cant leave Santo Domingo without tasting it.
Chinola Juice/Passion Fruit
Santo Domingo is a beautiful,exciting, and happy place. Have fun when your there but take caution and try to refraine from doing things you normally would not do in the states. Below are helpful suggestions to ensure you have a safe trip.
Try not to go out at night alone. Make sure when hitting the clubs/stores/restaurants and such you are accompanied by someone else.
Santo Domingo is a relatively poor country, try not to dress too flashy. It is not safe for you to be wearing your Rolax or Gucci.
Do NOT drink the water. You will get sick. Bottled water is really cheap and sold every where. Ice is okay.
Make sure to make copies of your documents. Leave the original in a safe place in your hotel or place where you are staying.
When walking on the side walk do Not stand too close the street. Sometimes people on mo-peds/motorcycles will pass by and yank your purse from you.
Almost every man and some women carry a gun on them. Do not let this alarm you. You will see men in civilian clothes relaxing on their patio or on the streets playing dominos, with a gun they could be security guards.
Try not to have too many big bills on you. Just carry with you the amount you will need for that outting.
If you get lost at any time ask any local walking by for directions. They are alway more than happy to help.