Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic and the oldest European city in the Americas. The old city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.Santo Domingo is the capital city of the Dominican Republic, and it prides itself in being the first European city in the New World. Founded by Christopher Columbus’s brother Bartolome Colombus in 1496, it is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas and was the first seat of the Spanish colonial empire in the New World. For this reason, the city of Santo Domingo has a really rich historic and cultural heritage that makes any visit extremely worthwhile. Nowadays, it remains one of the most populous cities in the Central America-Caribbean area, and the main economic and commercial center of this region. The city is divided into two parts by the Ozama River. The western side is very developed economically, while the eastern part, known as “Santo Domingo Este,” has historically lagged behind. The most important tourist destination of the city is the Zona Colonial or Colonial Zone, on the western bank of the river and facing the Caribbean Sea. To the west of the Zona Colonial lies Gazcue, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, filled with old Victorian houses and tree-lined streets. The city’s waterfront George Washington Avenue, knows as “El Malecon,” borders the Caribbean Sea and attracts many tourists because of its hotels, casinos, palm-lined boulevards and monuments. Surrounding the Gazcue area you will find the Palacio Nacional (seat of the Dominican government), the National Theater, the Museums in the Plaza de la Cultura, and the Palace of Fine Arts. In the central part of western Santo Domingo lies the economic and commercial heart of the city, in an area known as the “Poligono Central” and delimited by the 27 de Febrero, John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill and Maximo Gomez avenues. This high-income area remains rather unexplored by tourists, despite offering most of the best dining and shopping available in the city. Many of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods surround the city’s two main parks, the Parque Mirador Sur in the South and the Jardin Botanico in the North.In the less developed Oriental Santo Domingo you will find other major monuments and tourist spots, such as Columbus’s Lighthouse, where the explorer’s remains are buried, the open caves of the Parque Nacional Los Tres Ojos, and the National Aquarium. This all makes of Santo Domingo a cosmopolitan, vibrant and bustling city with very distinct neighborhoods and ambiances, all worth a visit, and providing the most diverse cultural experiences.Santo Domingo enjoys a tropical climate. Temperature averages from 73.4 F (23C) in the morning to 89.1 F (31.7C) by the afternoon. Generally, January and February are the coldest months, and August is the hottest month of the year. The island is prone to hurricanes especially during June 1 to November 30, but fortunately they receive many warnings beforehand to prepare their people and tourist of any harm. Santo Domingo is a great city to visit during any season, because the city’s ideal tropical weather runs all year long!Santo Domingo is the headquarter of economic activity in Dominican Republic. The city catches the attention of many international firms. Many of these firms have their headquarters in the city due to its great location and prosperous economy.Power outages have been one of the downfalls of placing a major headquarter in the city, but the infrastructure is a great advantage to many of these international firms. Since Santo Domingo has privatized and integrated with the US telecommunication system, they have been fortunate to have the benefit of a contemporary telecommunication system.Incomes in Santo Domingo can vary from extremely rich to extremely poor. Many of the prominent families live in neighborhoods surrounding Avenida John F. Kennedy (“Avenida” = “Avenue”) to the north, Avenida 27 de Febrero to the south, Avenida Winston Churchill to the west and Avenida Máximo Gómez to the east. Some other areas that are always expanding and developing are Naco, Arroyo Hondo, Piantini, Paraíso, Bella Vista, Sarasota. Most of the city’s less fortunate live outside the center of Santo Domingo, which can be seen by various slums that emphasizes the huge issue poverty is for the city.Avenida Winston Churchill and 27 de Febrero Avenue are two of the commercial centers of the city. Many malls and shops are located in these two avenues such as, Acropolis Center, Scotiabank, Citibank, Banco BHD, Banco del Progreso, Banreservas, Plaza Central and Plaza Naco. However, some of the most popular malls are Acropolis Center, Bella Vista Mall, Blue Mall, the upcoming Novo-Centro, Agora Mall and Galería 360 because it contains more contemporary shops and is popular within the high income families.Santo Domingo was formerly called “Ciudad Trujillo” during the era of the dictatorship of TrujilloThe national government of the Dominican Republic is located in Santo Domingo. The National Palace is the workplace of the current President of Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, and the National Congress. The National Police (Policía Nacional) and the Tourist Police (Policia Turística) are in charge of implementing city safety. The national police station is located in Av. Leopoldo Navarro #402, you can also contact 809-682-2151 for the central line, but in case of an emergency dial 911. Be warned that their reliability is questionable and are not always responsive even to dire emergencies. There are also many destacamentos (police outposts) scattered throughout the city.Direct flights from:Atlanta, Boston, New York, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Philadelphia, Panama City, San Jose Costa Rica, San Juan Puerto Rico, Havana, Port-au-Prince, Caracas, Paris, Madrid, Frankfurt, Munich and Duesseldorf and surrounding Caribbean islands.Airfare to Santo Domingo may vary widely depending on season and demand. A round trip ticket from Boston or New York ranges anywhere from US$300 to US$700, with fares from Miami or San Juan only slightly lower. Airfare from most cities in Latin America cost between US$400 and US$1,000 and require layovers in Panama City, Panama (Copa Air) or San Jose, Costa Rica (Taca).Originally, a tourist card was required to enter the country, which costs US$10 and can be purchased with exact change upon arrival. This charge has now been included into all airfare through a tourist fee.Other airports in the country:There is ferry service to and from Mayaguez as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico. It costs around US $200 roundtrip and the overnight journey last 12 hours. For an additional fee, you can bring your car along for the ride. The former company, Ferries del Caribe is now out of business and the new provider is called America Cruise Ferries. Sansouci is a state-of-the-art terminal that holds up to 3800 passengers+luggage. From there you can get a taxi or a tour, and there is also an ATM, gift shops, a call center, and internet service.Santo Domingo was, until recently, a huge city (pop. nearly 4 million people) that was split into 5 independent municipalities: Distrito Nacional, Santo Domingo Este, Santo Domingo Oeste, Santo Domingo Norte and Boca Chica. Fortunately, nearly all tourist attractions and shopping, dining and entertainment venues are located relatively close to each other in the Distrito Nacional, making it easy for you to get around and see the sights. Santo Domingo is not entirely a tourist-friendly city. It`s often hard to move around if you don’t know the city, as many streets lack proper signage and addresses are often reliant on the neighborhood’s name more than an actual street address. However, don’t be afraid of asking the locals for orientation, as Dominicans are well known for their helpful nature and usually helpful to tourists. It’s a good idea to get a street map (there are many city maps online but it’s also possible to buy one at any gift shop or book store for no more than US$5 dollars). Walking along major thoroughfares in Santo Domingo can prove quite challenging. First, drivers aren’t very respectful of pedestrians, so you have to take extra care when trying to cross a street. Second, some sidewalks can be damaged or under construction , forcing you onto the street.The Malecon and Colonial Zone are the most walkable parts of the city. They offer multiple pedestrian attractions and are relatively safe areas for tourists to explore. Although it is always wise to use common sense as everywhere. While exploring the Colonial Zone try hiring a “properly-licensed” tour guide. These talented yet underpaid, multi-lingual individuals will keep you entertained for hours with unprecedented historical insight and humor. You can usually find them at the Plaza Colon in front of the Cathedral. Most are worth every penny. On the other hand, some of them are known to take their customers to businesses that throw them a kickback, so it’s up to you to decide whether you really like to act upon their advice on businesses or not.From the airport You can book your airport transfers in advance. Can try a private transportation tp get an instant quote and book online. The companies specializes working with non-Spanish speaking visitors and they can provide a service to any location in the country.Unlike most major metropolitan areas, there are very few roaming taxis in Santo Domingo. Even if you see one, it is best not to take a chance, it can be dangerous. In most cases, you have to call a dispatcher to have a taxi sent to your location. This isn’t a problem and most businesses will gladly call a cab for you. Relatively expensive, usually US$ 4-15 per average trip and possibly more if you use one of the friendly cabs waiting in front of your nice hotel lobby. Again, depending on circumstances, you may find that hiring a cab driver for the day is a good bargain.Alternatively, go up to the second floor at the Arrivals (at the very end), where a minivan will accommodate up to 8 passengers for a ride (70 pesos or ~ 2 USD, 1/2 hour) to the Zona Colonial (only). For further distances to the center (i.e. to the Caribe Tours Terminal), you will need to negotiate just like you would have with the usual un-metered taxis. To return, the cheapest option is to go to the corner of Av. Sabena Larga with Av. Las Americas (walkable in 15 minutes from Zona Colonial), where this same van may be there, or if not take the bus going to Boca Chica (40 pesos, about 1h)

Airport: SDQ Las Americas International Airport Cities in Dominican Republic

Country: Dominican Republic