Welcome to Santo Dominigo
The capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo is also the most modern and dynamic metropolis in the Caribbean. La Capital – as it is affectionately known – embodies the pulse of Dominican culture, where the old and the new blend seamlessly, from centuries-old architecture and history to large shopping malls, art galleries, electric nightlife and a booming gastronomic scene.
Exploring the Colonial City – the first European settlement in the Americas and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990 – is a recommended experience for all travelers. This historic district consists of a pedestrian-friendly maze of narrow streets lined with architectural wonders from the 16th to early 20th centuries. They lead to colonial buildings that have been converted into museums, stores, hotels, restaurants and sidewalk cafes. Hop on the Chu Chu Colonial Train for a 45-minute tour of the area, hire a guide to escort you down America’s first paved street and tell you stories, or rent a bike and meander around on your own. Take a break in nature, picnicking on the lawns of the National Botanical Garden, the largest in the Caribbean, or stroll down the Malecón at sunset for ocean views, roadside snacks, and people-watching.
Away from the sights, a cultural experience is never far away in Santo Domingo’s eclectic neighborhoods. Shop at one of the colonial city’s exclusive malls or artisan galleries – pick up a linen Chacabana shirt, a leather handbag or a faceless ceramic doll. Dine in style at brand-name hotels throughout the city, where renowned chefs fine-tune Dominican and international cuisine. Relax with a Dominican puro at one of the open terrace bistros overlooking Plaza de España or mingle at the rooftop lounges on Avenida Gustavo Mejía Ricart. And when you’re ready for the beach, a forty-minute drive lands you on the soft white sands of Boca Chica overlooking the crystal clear Caribbean Sea, where seafood restaurants and entertainment await. Whatever pace you prefer, Santo Domingo has it.
Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) is the main port of entry, half an hour east of the city center, while the cruise ship port is just 10 minutes from the colonial city.