ADD TO LISTSanto Domingo (La Capital) is a large and energetic city of over 3 million people. It is also the political and cultural heart of the Dominican Republic, and was inscribed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1990. The sights and sounds here are an amplified version of Dominican life, from the huge Carnaval celebration to the music emanating from all around, and to the chaotic and cacophonous traffic. It is also a city of great historical importance as the oldest European city in the Americas. The Zona Colonial is the hotel zone and contains most of the historical sites. Within is the historic Parque Colon, with its statue of Columbus and crowds of people. The Cathedral Primada de America (1540) is the oldest operating cathedral in the Americas, and there are numerous other historical sites around. The cobblestone streets exude character and are also home to many excellent museums.
Last edited Apr 28, 10 12:09 PM. Contributors: Kate H.
Travel Tips from people who've been to Santo Domingo
Hola, Punta Cana is located outside of Santo Domingo. Me Gusta! Fun Fun Fun! If you find yourself doing what I did and go twice in one year, you know you love a place. I went in March then Sept. Banana boating is a must, but they will turn real fast and toss you off at the end, shh i didnt tell you that! Take a Safari tour on the Outback Safari tours, located at the front desk at most resorts there will be an apple vacations guide there you will be able to book all the tours you may want to go on. On The Outback Safari your first stop is a georgous beach with torquiose blue clear water with big waves. Make sure you grab a boogie board.There is a straw market set up right on the sand.Take advantage of the locals art, it will amaze you! Then you go through a sugar cane field and yes the guide cuts the cane right from the field and lets everyonebody try some, very good, yet has a wood texture for hard to eat, just suck it! As you drive you pass a garage yard, and the smell is terrible i had to hold my nose! Further down the beaten path you will tour an elementry school, and meet the little kids with their cute little uniforms on. They love visitors. Travel up the rigid mountain and smell the sweet flora lingering in the air. Watch out for their countrys national spider, its bigger then a tarantula! Oh yea and the best part about it is while your traveling and sitting in the back of an open truck bouncing around getting your tan on, the guide cracks open coke and sprite and pours rum in it, and there is no drinking age in this country, so drink that dominican rum it has a very dreamy like effect, amazing! Once you are in the middle of the jungle you get out and get to try cocoa straight from the plant, mind you this doesnt taste like hersheys chocolate, it is bitter and gross you would never guess something so tasty could come from such a foul plant. There was fresh coffee beans and they brewed up the strongest coffee you will ever taste, starbucks couldnt make coffee this powerful! Before the tour is over you have lunch at a pavalion in the middle of the jungle, there are dancers dressed in white frilly dresses trimed in blue and red, and a domincan lunch, with rice and chicken and fresh picked fruit! Saona Island is the second tour we went on! This is a MUST DO! You hop on a catamaran and the fun begins from the minute you step on that boat. Rum is passed out, and Merengue music plays, the natives running the boat will grab your hands and make you dance with them. This is all video taped. At the front of the boat there is a next the size of half a tennis court, lay down on it and sunbath and let the water soak you from underneath everytime you hit a wake. It takes about an hour to get to Saona island, but is very exciting with lots of activity! Once you get close to Saona Island a speed boat pulls up and you hope onto that. You zoom over to the island with seashells, and white sand beaches, and crystal clear water. The island is a national park, so it is uninhibited, it is untouched my hotels and condo's and kept very intact. Nature is not allowed to be removed! There are hammocks and picnic tables and shelters. Luch is another carribean treat, the same as The Outback Safari! Lay in the sun and enjoy the amazing view. Once a few hours pass, you hop back on the speed boat and jet over to the sand bar, a place in the middle of the ocean where the water is only about 2-3 feet deep! You jump out of the boat and if you've never seen clear ocean water this is the place to see it! There are starfish everywhere, huge ones that is. Make sure you pick them up, but don't let them up out of the water for too long, or you'll be bringing home a souviner. Saona island should be the first thing on your list!!!
In the capital, dudes will try to shine your shoes for a few bucks.. I didn't want them to as I was wearing sneakers, but they are persistent little kids.. Once I figured I'd be nice and gave one of the kids a buck just for the hell of it.. Well that kid did not stop following me for many blocks, and then some friends joined in assuming I was rich and going to give everyone cash.. Uhm, don't do it.. Unless you are rich and want to be followed by alot of little dudes.... Find other ways to help the community is such is your desire.. It gets dangerous when the older guys notice. Luckily I speak spanish and can speak slang so I spooked them off.....
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