Santiago de los Caballeros or simply Santiago is a city in the Dominican Republic. The buildings are old and classic Caribbean Spanish style. It is the second biggest city in the country. It covers 2,836.51 km² and a population of 908,250 people. It is an inland part of the country with no beaches surrounding the area.
- By Plane: You can get into Santiago by plane, to the Santiago Municipal (STI) at the Aeropuerto Internacional del Cibao.
There are direct flights from New York (JFK) by Delta Airlines, and JetBlue. From Miami (Fort Lauderdale) by Spirit Air and American Airlines from Miami International Airport (MIA) There is a direct flight on Jet Blue to Boston (BOS) and San Juan (SJU). Also if you are in South America there is a direct flight from Panama (PTY) by Copa Airlines. Air Turks & Caicos have a direct flight from Providenciales (PLS) and connection to Nassau (NAS), Bahamas.
- By bus: You can come to Santiago from another part of the country using bus services such as Caribe Tours which offers low prices when compared to the price of renting a car or using a taxi.
- From Punta Cana: Take a Guagua to Higüey. Should cost you around 100 DOP. From there take a Bus to Santo Domingo. From Santo Domingo get a Bus to Santiago. IMPORTANT: the Bus to Santiago will most likely stop at a pharmacy where locals go out if they want to change buses to Santiago. The Taxi drivers will wait there and will approach you and offer you a way to expensive price to bring you to a Caribe Bus station. Don’t pay more than 150 DOP. But you don’t have to to a caribe bus station, around the corner is a bus company called AETRA. Just ask the people inside the pharmacy they will tell you the exact way. It’s gonna be a bit cheaper than caribe tours, but most importantly you won’t have to pay money for a Taxi.
If you’re coming from Higüey, just follow the instructions above.
- From Haiti: the closest Haitian border town is called Ouanaminthe. If your staying in Cap Haitian, simply take a Taptap to Ouanaminthe, will cost you 125 Gourdes. Once you’re in Ouanaminthe, Eather take a Moto to the Border or walk (2 km). First go to the Haitian costums and pay the exit fee (600Gourdes). Then make your way through the border on the bridge, which is literally just a metal door. Be prepared for lots of pushing and watch out for your things. Then walk across the bridge and go to the Dominican costums. Let them stamp your passport and pay the 10US dollar for a tourist card. You’ll also have to fill out a form with your personal information. People will try to give a form that’s already almost filled out, but be aware they want a tip for it. Insist on a blank form you can fill out by yourself. After that, walk into Dajabon, the Dominican border town. You can again take a moto or walk the one kilometer to the bus stations. From there take a bus to Santiago. Ask for a Caribe Tours or a Linero Bus Station.
- To get from the Airport to the city cheaply, here is Suggestion #1.
- Suggestion #2 for getting from the Airport to the City cheaply. Get to the road Las Palomas which runs through Licey, either by walking (a bit over 5km, or 1 hour at a moderate pace with baggage) or bargaining with some mototaxi or taxi at the airport (as per the first suggestion, go a little out of the airport to get cheaper taxis). From Licey there are regular gua-guas westbound to Santiago, which shouldn't cost you more than 25 pesos.
- Dominican Airport Transfers  . You can book online on their automated site.
There are many Bus Lines that can take you to different cities in Dominican Republic:
- Metro Bus & Metro Pack which travels from Santiago To Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata also delivers packages.
- Caribe Tours travels to Dajabon, Montecristi, Sosua, Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo.
- Expresso: those are the cheapest transportation to another city but this one stops everywhere during the trip to leave people so it will be slower and smaller than others..
- Taxis/Cab: most of them are expensive depending where you want to get but actually they cost RD$ 150.00 aprox US$ 4.00
- Coches: this one is pulled by horses it just take you around the city, it is fun and romantic, you can find them at the Monument.
- Conchos: those are the cheapest public transportation for going around the city with many routes it cost actually RD$ 20 aprox. US$ 0.45
- MotoConchos: this motorbikes can take you anywhere around the city it's fast and dangerous, with prices depending on travel distance (from RD$25 TO RD$75)
- Centro Leon (Centro Leon Santiago), Av. 27 de Febrero No. 146 (Santiago de los Caballeros, DR), ☎ (809) 582-2315, . 8-6. This is the modern center of Santiago, offering art galleries, audiovisual presentations, cinemacafe every week, a library and multimedia services. Local and international expos are present all around the year. edit
- El Monumento Santiago (Monumento de Santiago), Avenida Circunvalacion (Santiago). 10-10. Is located in the highest hill in the city, called also Monumento a los Heroes de la Restauración. All the nightlife in Santiago is conveniently located around this area. Live Concerts are held in the premises. Inside has a museum and library as well edit
- Calle El Sol (Calle El Sol Santiago), Calle El Sol (Santiago). This is the shopping street of Santiago de los Caballeros, here you will be close to museum, local attractions, giftshops, places to eat and drink and important monuments. edit
- Kaskada Park (Kaskada Agua Park), Ave. Hispanoamericana # 90, ☎ 1-809-570-7070 ([email protected]), . 6 days a week 10:00 AM - 5.30 PM, closed on tuesdays. This is a popular water park in Santiago. It gets extremely crowded with people, many people outside of the Santiago travel here with their families. The safety in some rides is questionable so be careful. $250 pesos for children ages 2-10, $350 pesos for adults. edit
Monumentos a los Heroes de la Restauracion, Centro León, La 37 por las tablas, Teatro Nacional del Cibao...
- Carnival. Visit the City during its carnival celebrations. They will take place on every weekend in February. The Main Street (Carrera) will transform into a party place, with parades all day long, cheap alcohol, lots of food and lots of people dancing. Be aware of the small children who are going to slap every girls butt. edit
There are 3 big shopping Centres in Santiago.
- Plaza Internacional. Av Juan Pablo Duarte. Where you can find brand stores like Oscar D La Renta, Bossini, Adidas, Levi's, Benetton, Nautica and others.
- Bella Terra Mall. Av Juan Pablo Duarte. This one is the newest and the biggest in Santiago with many stores like iFix from Apple Inc. And many clothing stores.
- Colinas Mall. Las Colinas. This one is recognized by a huge supermarket called Jumbo and for having lots of accesories stores.
But if you like more cheap things you should go to the city centre specially to Calle del Sol and all streets around.
- La Sirena Market Avenida Bartolomé Colón. This store is basically a Wal-Mart in the Dominican Republic. You can shop for groceries, music, toys, clothes, and just about anything you could find in a American Wal-Mart.
- Plaza Lama (Mall) Avenida 27 de Febrero. This mall has various locations throughout the country, not much in the Santiago branch of Plaza Lama. The stores that are featured are banks, cellular phone shops, and an ice cream store.
- Hipermercado La Fuente (Supermarket) Avenida Circunvalación #410. A supermarket that is unique to Santiago. It features produce at low prices and they often have sales.
If you are willing to buy more sophisticated stuff you could visit: Charo, La Rosé, Kakey, Eternia....
Santago has many places to eat and a variety of dishes.
There are many cultural places in Santiago due to globalization, such as american food (TGI Fridays, Burger King, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Domino's, Papa John's, Taco Bell and others.
- Asian (Chinese & Japanese): Pez Dorado, Super Rico Restaurant, Expresso Jade, Sushi Ya!, Belcaire Niguri...
- International: Satay, Paparazzo, Vivres, Front Door, Kaafa, Tete Club...
- Seafood: Marisco Centro, Pedro's, Puerto Madero...
- Steak's & Grill: Camp David Ranch, Rancho Steack House, Cukara Makara, Boceto, La Parrillita, Montezuma, Nano's....
- Italian: Piccola/La Locanda, Il Toscano, Il Pasticcio, Pizzarelli.
- Mexican: Algo Mexicano, Zókalo....
- Bakery/ Sweets/Ice Cream: La campaña, Benny Postres, Qcakes, Helados Bon/Yoguen Früz, Haagen Das....
- Ambulant food or Street food: Strong Burger, Empanadas Lalín, Empanadas Monumental, Oche a tu gusto...
Santiago has many Bars where you can drink anything you want. The cerveza is of the pilsner type, and it is very good. Both Presidente and Bohemia are great choices, as well as the Brazilian beer Brahma, which is sold in most places as well. For a cheap beer (as in not full restaurant prices) look for a colmado, or mini-market that delivers as well.
Search for a place called "Chico's Drinks" in el barrio "Los Jardines" - it's more of a cart run out of a guy's house, but man his mojitos and dakaris are good!
Local rum or Rón, is very cheap and very delicious. Two brands that stand out for quality for price are Brugal and Barcelo. Look for the extra añejo which is aged up to 12 years. At a bar, a rum and coke is called a Cuba Libre, a rum and sprite is a Santo Libre. Besides "Dónde está el baño" that's about all you need to know!
In most bars and clubs, the bartender will know what drink you want in English terminology, but often times, one has to put the name together into one word to get the point across - it's more Dominican that way. For example, a gin and tonic would be pronounced, "Gíntón." Keep that in mind, and be patient with the Dominicans, it will get you a long way.
Besides rum, whiskey is the other most commonly consumed hard alcohol. Johnny Walker bottles can be seen on most tables in clubs and drinking establishments, either Red, White, or Black Label.
Whatever your poison is, there will be plenty of it.
- Lodging/Hotels If you are just stopping by or must wait for another flight you can stay at the Hodelpa Courtyard at less than 20 mins from the airport.
If you are going to be around the city, one possibility is Hodelpa Gran Almirante, which has a convention centre, a casino, and TGI Fridays.
In the city centre there is the Hodelpa Centro Plaza & Casino just in the right middle of the city, and if you want something near to the beautiful monument you can stay at Hotel Matum & Casino.
- Hotel Aloha Sol, Calle del Sol #50, ☎ 809-583-0090, . checkin: 3:00 P.M.; checkout: 1:00 P.M.. The hotel is on Calle Del Sol in the center of the city. The hotel has 103 rooms available. One can reach the Monumento by foot in about 10 minutes. $83. edit
- Hotel Colonial, Calle Salvador Cucurullo, Nos.: 109, 113, 115., ☎ 809-247-3122. This is a simple but comfortable hotel. The kitchen prepares delicious local dishes, and there is wifi access in the local and dining area. edited: I slept there for few nights. For me they seem to be spoiled by various recommendations (LonelyPlanet for example) and what they really care now about is - your money. Not bad standard tough. I am 60 % sure that I've been food poisoned after eating in their restaurant.... $14 (RD$ 560). edit
- Hotel Los Jardines, Av. Texas esq. Calle10, ☎ 809-276-8222, . Hotel Los Jardines is located right next to the Gran Almirante. The hotel has 65 rooms available. $48. edit
- Hotel Dorato, calle salvador cucurollo (calle salvador cucurollo). Just in front of the Hotel Colonial. Cheaper and the rooms are with the same standard as of Colonial 400 pesos. edit
- Hotel Cucurollo, calle salvador cucurollo (calle salvador cucurollo). For people that won't get depressed fast while staying in its room.... No hot water, no internet, electricity blackouts are frequent...Rooms look like bunkers. You won'f find anything cheaper in Santiago probably - pay 200 pesos and see how most of Dominicans live on daily basis... 200 pesos. edit
- Hotel Monterrey, (Just get into a Guagua or a shared taxi and tell the driver you need to go to Hotel Colonial, they all know it). Very nice Hotel, right next to Hotel Colonial. Dominican Breakfast included in the price. 900 DOP for a double room. edit
The Centro Historico clears out after dark and it is not smart to be there. The western half (La Joya, Gurabito, Cienfuegos, etc.) of the city is generally poorer and rougher than the eastern half, but it is unlikely that any travelers would end up there.
Beware of purse-snatchers and pick pockets when walking around. It is important not to wear gold jewelry because it could make you become an easy target to be mugged. Be careful when revealing expensive phones in public, it has become more common for people to be mugged of their electronic.
Dress down as much as possible, you will stand out too much if you are dressed in a fancy way.
Caucasian tourists should be alarmed that they could be easy targets to be mugged, also be careful of insincere people who may try to befriend you to get money out of you. In such cases it is better to travel with a tour guide who can help you avoid these situations.
- Cibao International Airport - this is the third largest airport in the country and the best way out of Santiago if you are an international traveler. Beware that during the winter time flights to New York and Boston often get delayed or cancelled do to snow storms so bring some reading materials in case your flight is delayed. When flights are cancelled the airline will book you in a hotel near the airport.
Make sure that you are not bringing back to your home country any items that are banned by customs because they will get thrown out if they are found in your luggage. The airport has a cafe if you walk up the stairs that has a good view of the runway, but do not spend too much time there because going through customs can take a long time.