February 2012
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Travel – Santo Domingo – the capital of the Dominican Republic




Santo Domingo is the capital city and also the oldest European city of the Dominican Republic. This city finds itself on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It was found by Christopher Columbus’s brother (named Bartolome Columbus) in 1496. It is the oldest settlement of the Americas. This city is rich in cultural heritage and historical background and touring it is a great option. It is known to be the Central America-Caribbean area’s most populated city and is the main economic and commercial center of this region.
This capital city is divided by Ozama River into two parts, the west and the east. The west is developed and east is historic and known as “Santo Domingo Oriental”. The official language of this place is Spanish. Some people speak both Spanish and English in tourist areas. Spanish is mixed with Few African and Arawakan words too in mostly rural areas.
Attractions of Santo Domingo:
• This is the Capital of the Republic. Its Cathedral and Castle are in the UNESCO world heritage sites. It is the colonial part that has an original charm. The first university and hospital came to existence in the New World in this city. It is a port city with casinos, shops, Plaza, discos and the Gallery of Modern Art and the National Theater.
• There is Los Tres Ojos de Agua which is a cave complex. It is also known as the three eyes of water because of the three turquoise lagoons on three levels of countless stalactites, stalagmites and lush tropical vegetation.
• Zona Colonial or Colonial Zone: This is in the capital city and to the west bank of the river. It is facing the Caribbean Sea. The other attractions here are the Calle El Conde, the Puerta de la Misericordia, the Catedral Santa María La Menor (Catedral Primada de América), and the Alcázar de Colón. This part of the city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.
• Gazcue: This is the city’s oldest neighborhood which is to the west of the Zona Colonial. This part of the city is filled with old Victorian houses and tree-lined streets.
• “El Malecon”: This is the city’s waterfront and along the Caribbean Sea. It has hotels, casinos, boulevards and monuments along the coast. This can be called a sea wall.
• Palacio Nacional: This is a national theatre that surrounds the Gazcue area. Along with this are the Museums in the Plaza de la Cultura, and the Palace of Fine Arts.
• Centro Olímpico Juan Pablo Duarte: This is a sports complex and was also used for the 2003 Pan American Games.
• Miradores: These are the parks situated in north, south, and east sections of the city.

Museums
• Museum of Alcázar
• Altar de la Patria
• Naval Museum of the Atarazanas
• Museum of the Casas Reales :This museum belongs to the colonial period
• Museum of Duarte: This museum depicts the history of the movement and struggle for independence of this place.
• Museum of Natural History
• Museum of Dominican Man
• World of Ambar Museum
• Museum of Modern Arts
• National Museum of History and Geography: This museum is of pre Columbian times and depicts Dominican history.

Parks and recreational areas
• Mirador Norte Park: This Park is in the north of the city and close to Villa Mella.
• Enriquillo Park
• Mirador Sur Park: This Park is situated in the southwest section of the city.
• Independencia Park: This Park is in Zona Colonial.
• Colón Park, located in Zona Colonial
• Las Praderas Metropolitan Park
• The Malecón
• Dr. Rafael Ma. Moscoso National Botanical Garden
• Dominican Republic National Zoo
• Barrio Chino (Chinatown)
• Parque Nuñez de Caceres

Malls and Plazas
• Acropolis Center Mall
• Bella Vista Mall
• Carrefour
• Diamond Mall
• IKEA
• Jumbo
• Malecon Center Mall
• Megacentro
• Plaza Central
• Plaza Lama
• Plaza Las Americas
• Plaza Naco
• Pola
• Sirena
• Sambil Santo Domingo Mall
• Agora Mall
• Blue Mall
• Galerias 360 Mall
• Sky Mall
• Megacentro

Best time to visit / climate:
The best time to visit this place is January to March, as during June to October this island is subjected to severe storms as this island lies in the middle of hurricane belt. It is best to visit in the Tropical maritime which has seasonal temperature variation.

Location on Google Maps:


View Larger Map

How to get there:
By plane
The main airports of the Dominican Republic are
• (AZS) Samana, also known as “El Catey”, located between the towns of Nagua and Samana on the north coast
• (JBQ) “La Isabela” airport in Santo Domingo, for domestic flights and some flights from other Caribbean islands
• (LRM) La Romana on the south east coast
• (POP) Puerto Plata, also known as “Gregorio Luperon” on the north coast
• (PUJ) Punta Cana International in the east.
• (SDQ) Santo Domingo, also known as “Las Americas” on the south coast close to the capital city Santo Domingo
• (STI) Santiago also known as “Cibao International” in Santiago de los Caballeros which is the country’s second largest city.

From Europe: One can fly from Europe via Madrid (MAD) or Paris (CDG).
From US: One can fly from New York, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Philadelphia, San Juan, Atlanta or Charlotte.
One can take a taxi from the airport. Do not forget the tourist card on arrival that cost $10.

By car: In Santo Domingo, Cars may be rented through Hertz, Avis, Prestige Car Rentals and other agencies. Rentals are also available in other major cities. Take DR-1 connecting Santo Domingo and Santiago or DR-7 from just east of Santo Domingo north to near Sanchez. DR takes from east to the Samana peninsula or west along the northern coast.
By boat: Ferry services are available between Mayagüez in Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo in Dominican Republic.
Get around: One can go around using the bus service, ‘gua-guas’, domestic air flights, Cocotours- one of the Dominican Republic’s leading inbound tour operators or charter air services. Cocotours has offices in La Romana, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana and Samana.

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers):

http://wikitravel.org/en/Santo_Domingo#Eat
http://wikitravel.org/en/Santo_Domingo#Sleep
Yahoo travel
Tripadvisor

Blogs / Sites about Santo Domingo:

http://www.blogsantodomingo.com/
Travelblog
Travelpod
LonelyPlanet

Images and photos of Santo Domingo:

Google Images
Tripadvisor
Trekearth
igougo

National Geographic Traveler: Dominican Republic Dominican Republic & Haiti (Country Travel Guide)

Videos of Santa Domingo from youtube:

Santo Domingo

Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo City – Part 1

Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo City – part 2

Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo




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