Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic, is a vibrant and historic destination that attracts visitors from all over the world. This city is full of history, culture, and amazing food. Whether you’re here for a long vacation or a quick weekend getaway, you’ll find plenty to see and do in Santo Domingo.
Here are some travel tips, must-see places, routes, and recommendations for where to sleep and eat during your 3-day visit to Santo Domingo.
Travel Tips in Santo Domingo
- Wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be doing a lot of walking
- Carry bottled water with you at all times
- Be careful when crossing the streets, traffic can be chaotic
- Learn some basic Spanish phrases, it’ll be helpful when interacting with locals
- Keep your valuables safe and be aware of your surroundings
- Take a taxi or a guided tour if you’re not familiar with the area
What to See in Santo Domingo
There are so many amazing places to see in Santo Domingo that it can be overwhelming to decide where to start. Here are some of the most important places that you should add to your itinerary:
- The Colonial Zone: This is the oldest part of Santo Domingo and is full of historic buildings, museums, and cobblestone streets. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you explore this charming neighborhood.
- The Alcazar de Colón: This is a palace that was built in the 16th century for Christopher Columbus’ son, Diego. Today, it’s a museum that showcases the history of the Dominican Republic and the Columbus family.
- The Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor: This is the oldest cathedral in the Americas and is a must-see for anyone interested in history and architecture. The cathedral was built in the early 16th century and has survived earthquakes, fires, and hurricanes.
- The National Palace: This is the seat of the Dominican government and is a stunning example of modern architecture. You can take a guided tour of the palace to learn more about the history and culture of the Dominican Republic.
- The Malecón: This is a scenic promenade that runs along the Caribbean Sea. You can take a leisurely walk, enjoy the view, and stop for a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants and cafes along the way.
Routes in Santo Domingo
If you want to make the most out of your time in Santo Domingo, it’s a good idea to plan your route ahead of time. Here are some suggestions:
- The Colonial Route: This route will take you through the heart of the Colonial Zone and includes stops at the Alcazar de Colón, the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor, and the Parque Colón. You’ll also get to see some of the most beautiful colonial architecture in the city.
- The Art Route: This route will take you to some of the best art galleries and museums in Santo Domingo. You can start at the Museum of Modern Art and then visit the Bellapart Museum and the Centro Cultural de España.
- The Food Route: This route is perfect for foodies who want to try some of the best local cuisine. You can start with breakfast at La Cuchara de Madera and then visit El Conuco, where you can try some traditional Dominican dishes. Don’t forget to stop by the Mercado Modelo to sample some local fruits and snacks.
- The Beach Route: This route will take you to some of the best beaches in the area, including Boca Chica and Juan Dolio. You can rent a car or take a guided tour to make the most out of your beach day.
Where to Sleep in Santo Domingo
There are many options for accommodations in Santo Domingo, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Here are some suggestions:
- Hotel Catalonia Santo Domingo: This is a luxury hotel located in the heart of the city. It has a rooftop pool, a spa, and a restaurant that serves delicious food.
- Hotel Villa Colonial: This is a boutique hotel located in the Colonial Zone. It’s housed in a beautifully restored 19th-century building and has a courtyard and a rooftop terrace.
- Hostal San Francisco de Asis: This is a budget-friendly hostel located in the Colonial Zone. It has clean and comfortable rooms and a friendly staff.
Where to Eat in Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo is known for its delicious and diverse cuisine. Here are some of the best places to eat:
- El Conuco: This restaurant serves traditional Dominican cuisine, including mofongo and sancocho. It’s located in the heart of the Colonial Zone.
- Casa de Teatro: This restaurant is located in a beautiful historic building and serves a mix of Mediterranean and Caribbean cuisine.
- La Cuchara de Madera: This is a popular breakfast spot that serves delicious coffee and traditional Dominican breakfast dishes.
Free Tours in Santo Domingo
If you’re on a budget, there are many free tours that you can take in Santo Domingo. Here are some options:
- The Colonial Zone Walking Tour: This tour takes you through the heart of the Colonial Zone and includes stops at the Alcazar de Colón, the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor, and the Parque Colón. The tour is led by a knowledgeable guide who will provide you with insights into the history and culture of the area.
- The Santo Domingo City Tour: This tour is a great way to see some of the highlights of Santo Domingo. It includes stops at the National Palace, the Malecón, and the Columbus Lighthouse.
- The Mercado Modelo Tour: This tour takes you through one of the largest markets in Santo Domingo, where you can see local artisans at work and sample some delicious snacks.
Be sure to check with the Santo Domingo Tourism Office or your hotel for more information on free tours and events.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Santo Domingo safe for tourists? Santo Domingo is generally safe for tourists, but it’s always a good idea to take precautions, especially at night. Be aware of your surroundings, keep your valuables safe, and avoid walking alone in unfamiliar areas.
- What’s the best time to visit Santo Domingo? The best time to visit Santo Domingo is between November and March when the weather is mild and dry.
- Do I need a visa to visit Santo Domingo? If you’re a citizen of the United States, Canada, or a European Union country, you don’t need a visa to visit Santo Domingo for up to 90 days. However, be sure to check with your country’s embassy or consulate for the latest travel requirements.
- What’s the currency in Santo Domingo? The currency in Santo Domingo is the Dominican peso. You can exchange money at banks, exchange offices, or ATMs.