Santo Domingo: Historic Heart of Dominican Republic
Arts & Culture
If you’re in the mood for a Caribbean vacation then choose Dominican Republic. It has jungle, beaches and desert — it truly has it all! Santo Domingo is the historic heart of Dominican Republic. It is the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, it has the first cathedral, hospital, university and so on. Although raised on the beautiful countryside of Moca, yours truly was born in Santo Domingo! It is not everyone’s choice destination to visit in the D.R compared to other areas such as Punta Cana, but it is totally worth it. It can not always be beaches so immerse yourself in some culture, learn something and then head back.
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Where to stay in Santo Domingo
Casas del XVI
A collection of seven transformed colonial-era homes across Santo Domingo—a perfect city hit paired with a beach break.
InterContinental Paris Le Grand
A luxurious haven with opulent interiors, world-class service, and spectacular views of the Paris Opera House, nestled in the heart of the French capital.
$100 hotel / resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Experience the perfect fusion of modern sophistication and colonial charm at Luca Hotel Santo Domingo, where contemporary style and historical heritage come together for an unforgettable stay in the vibrant capital of the Dominican Republic.
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Things to do in Santo Domingo
Zona Colonial : All of the historical landmarks of the city are located within this popular site. Explore and learn about its fascinating history!
Tres Ojos National Park: Limestone cave with a serene landscape.
If you happen to visit the country in February, do not miss The Cojuelo Devil’s Carnival! It is tradition.
Partying, dancing and rum is what we do best besides baseball, of course.
Places to eat & drink in Santo Domingo
Dominican food is a mix of Spanish, African and Taino influences which is just as diverse as its people.
Start the day with a very popular breakfast, “Tres Golpes” which literally translates to “three strikes or hits”, I have no idea why!- it is a traditional Dominican dish comprised of mash plantains, eggs, Dominican salami, fried cheese and of course avocado. Ask a Dominican, the meal is not complete without an avocado!
Enjoy this meal with a “Morir soñando” which translates to “die dreaming” (yes, another one I can’t explain). It is a drink made of orange juice & milk. I am assuming it has that name because it is soooo good!
As hot as it gets outside we are pretty big on our stews so for lunch and/or dinner have a “Sancocho”, a stew with an array of vegetables and meats or the popular “La Bandera” with rice, beans, chicken or beef, tostones and yes avocado!
If you’re looking to add more spice to your vacation then have some Mama Juana. No, it is not an old lady named Mama Juana! It is our “national drink” made of rum, wine and spices/herbs. Rumor has it that it is an aphrodisiac.
Nightlife is just a vibrant as the day so go have fun!
Need to Know
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Savannah: Enchanting, Romantic & Elegant.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Dominican Republic.