For my very first time in the Dominican republic, I took a trip to Santo Domingo, a city full of history, culture, great cuisine and charm.
In this Santo Domingo blog I will share with my tips and things to do in Santo Domingo for a memorable journey.
Where to Stay in Santo Domingo
If you plan to stay a few days in Santo Domingo, I recommend you to stay at the hotel I was staying at : Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando. It is a great hotel situated in the Colonial Zone of the city so that it is easy to explore everything around by feet. The hotel has big rooms, a pool, bar and great breakfast and gastronomic dining. The building also is listed as a UNESCO site has it used to be the home of Nicolas de Ovando, the former gouvernor of the Indies. It kept the charm of the luxurious colonial houses.
Zona Colonial of Santo Domingo, a UNESCO World heritage site
Santo Domingo is famous for it’s colonial zone that is a UNESCO world heritage. It is a few well preserved streets in which history has been made. For a little bit of history, the city was discovered by Bartholomew Columbus in 1496 and became the capital city on the Indies. It is from there that the Spanish started the colonization of the New World. Santo Domingo therefore was the first to have a university, a cathedral : Cathedral of Santa María la Menor , a castle, a monastery Monasterio de San Francisco, an hopital : Hospital of St. Nicolas of Bariand a fortress. Some of which are still to be seen in the city. Some of which or at list ruins of it are still there today! Checking them out is definitely a thing to do in Santo Domingo.
Carlos, our guide, said Santo Domingo was the city of first and we kept making joke about it but it is so interesting when you think about all the history!
Beside these sights, the best is to wanted around the city to see the colourful streets and great architecture! Also have dinner on Plaza de Espana where the house of Diego Columbus is situated.
Malecon in Santo Domingo
Malecon or George Washington Avenue is the famous avenue by the sea. There are located many luxury hotels, casinos, restaurants, etc but it is also a great place to stroll and do people watching. If you happen to be in Santo Domingo during Carnaval, it is also on the avenue that it is taking place.
Art galleries in Santo Domingo
As a capital, Santo Domingo has a lot of cultural offers. Dominicana Moda, the fashion event for which we were in Santo Domingo for example is one of theme. The city is also home of many art galleries. If you are into art you won’t want to miss the Museo de Arte Moderno (Modern Art Museum) that features works from Dominican and foreign artists.
There are also many galleries to visit. Some of the best are : Museo Bellapart that is a private museum, or Arte San Remon.
Restaurants recommandation in Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo has amazing restaurants that we had the chance to try while there. Here is a little list :
Mimosa for very authentic Creole cuisine that says rice, beans, tostones, and grilled meat or fresh fish.
Adress : Calle Arzobispo Nouel, Santo Domingo 10210, Dominican Republic
Buche Perico was my favorite restaurant during my trip to Santo Domingo, not only the food was amazing and very well presented, the restaurant is also beautifully designed with jungle vibes.
Adress : Calle El Conde 53, Santo Domingo 10210, Dominican Republic
Jalao is great to go in the weekend. It is a rather big restaurant with live music and where people dance in between the tables. So cool!
Calle el Conde, Ciudad Colonial, Santo Domingo 10210, Dominican Republic
Adrian Tropical : for a lunch with a view over the ocean!
Av. George Washington, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Mercado Modela – Artisanal market
If you wish to buy souvenirs, you will want to go Mercado Modela. There you will find many vendors and you will be able to but all kind of handicraft.
Beaches in Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo is situated by the sea but it has no beaches in the city. The closest beach is Boca Chica. It might not be the most beautiful beach in the Dominican Republic but still interesting to go for a few hours to see the locals and maybe have lunch at one of the many beach restaurants. We had lunch at Neptuno’s Restaurant that was delicious!
Trip to Santo Domingo’s Los Tres Ojos national park
One of the most famous site in the Dominican republic is situated only 15 minutes from Santo Domingo so it would be a shame to miss the excursion to Los Tres Ojos National Park.
Los Tres Ojos ( aka) the three eyes are 3 Cenote ( a natural lake) resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath.
Unfortunately it is not allowed to swin at Los Tres Ojos but the visit is still worth going.
Nightlife in Santo Domingo
Finally, if you are in the Dominican Republic you might want to go out and mayve dance the famous merengue. There are many bars and clubs in the city. Carlos, our guide gave me a few names : Route 77, El Sarten, Casa de Teatro at Ciudad Colonial, Bonyé (every Sunday by the ruins of St Francis Monastery from 6pm – 10pm), Jet Set for Merengue on Mondays with live bands!
I wish you an amazing trip to Santo Domingo !