Nobody can visit the Dominican
Republic without knowing its Magical, Historical, Romantic and first city founded in America.. Santo Domingo city, capital of Dominican Republic, the countrys
largest city and chief seaport, coextensive with the National District. Located at the
point where the Ozama River.
Flows into the Caribbean Sea, the city has a fine artificial harbor accessible to most
commercial and passenger ships. It is connected by both ship and airlines with principal
points in North and South America and is at the hub of a network of modern roads. Santo
Domingo is a tourist, economic, and administrative center. It is the site of factories
manufacturing processed foods, alcoholic beverages, metal products, chemicals, cement, and
textiles and serves as a distribution outlet for the sugarcane, beef and cattle, and other
products of the surrounding region.
Points of interest include the Cathedral of Santa Mariá la Menor (built 151420), believed to contain the remains of Christopher
Columbus; the palace (built 1510; a museum since 1957) of Diego Columbus (in Spanish Diego
Colón; c. 14801526), son of Christopher Columbus and a viceroy of the island (151126);
16th-century churches, such as San Nicolás and San Francisco; and the fortified walls of
the original Spanish town.
Educational institutions include the Autonomous University of
Santo Domingo (1538), said to be the oldest university in the Americas, and Pedro Henríquez Ureña National University (1966). Cultural institutions include the National
Gallery of Art (1943); the Museum of Dominican Man (formerly the National Museum, 1973),
known for its pre-Columbian collection; the Museum of Modern Art (1976); the National
Library (1971); and various public, private, and university libraries. Founded in 1496 by Bartholomew
Columbus (1445?1514?), brother of Christopher Columbus, the city is the oldest
European settlement extant in the New World. In 1930 it was heavily damaged by a hurricane
but was subsequently rebuilt.
In 1936 it was renamed Ciudad Trujillo for the Dominican
President Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina. It became Santo Domingo again in 1961 after the
assassination of Trujillo and the subsequent fall of his regime. In 1965 the city was the
scene of an uprising against the countrys ruling government. Pop. (1993, greater
No other city in the Caribbean has a greater variety
of restaurants and night life. There are so many
restaurants in this city that it is practically
impossible even for those who live here to have
visited them all. And it's a city that never sleeps.
A great place to meet people. A lot of young single
executives who come here to work end up leaving (if
they leave) married to a Dominican.
Santo Domingo has great shopping. Major chains from
all around the world have opened branches here and
more will be opening soon. Discount stores offer
great prices on designer brands, the leading shops
offer clearance sales several times a year and there
are many designer shops for more exclusive wear.
Santo Domingo is the most bustling and diverse city
in the Caribbean. It has a population of over three
million inhabitants within the city and the Province
of Santo Domingo and sprawls out over 250 square
Colonial City The Colonial City is the perfect starting point for
visitors to discover Santo Domingo. Here, between
Independence Park and the Ozama River, you will find
the first city built in the New World by European
settlers, including Columbus's brother, Bartholomew,
and his son, Diego Columbus.
The first street in the Americas is Calle de Las
Damas, the site of numerous historic buildings
including the Ozama Fortress, the oldest fortress in
the Americas. There is also the house of Nicolás de
Ovando, governor of Santo Domingo in the early
1500's and a ruthless warrior against the Taino
Of great historical interest is the Museo de las
Casas Reales (Museum of the Royal Houses), the
restored 16th century palace of the Spanish Court,
which features a wonderful glimpse of the past.
Nearby is the Alcázar de Colón (Castle of Columbus)
built by Diego Columbus and his wife Maria de
Toledo, niece of the Spanish King Ferdinand.
A few streets over in the center of the walled city,
visitors will find the Cathedral Basilica Santa
Maria la Menor, pronounced the first cathedral in
the New World by Pope Paul III in 1542. While
touring the colonial city, visitors can learn all
about amber, the stone made even more famous by
Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park film. The Amber
Museum on Calle Arz. Meriño features exceptional
educational exhibits of this semi-precious jewel.
Plaza de la Cultura From the old to the new, Santo Domingo takes
visitors on a trip through time with its dozens of
national museums celebrating all aspects of
Dominican life, past and present. Many of these
museums are located in the Plaza de la Cultura, a
large park area where visitors can stroll easily
from one museum to another.
They include The Museum of Dominican Man, the Museum
of Modern Art, the National Museum of History and
Geography, and the National Museum of Natural
History. Visitors to the Museum of Dominican Man
will enjoy the fascinating look into the history of
the Dominican people including original Taino
artifacts, the Spanish conquerors and the African
slaves. The Museum of Modern Art has an impressive
collection although small by developed world
Columbus Lighthouse Another site not to be missed is the Faro a Colón
(Columbus Lighthouse) an impressive structure in the
shape of a cross which was constructed to mark the
500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival
in the Americas in 1492. It houses his remains in an
impressive tomb and features numerous exhibits.
After exploring it by day, it is exciting to view
the Lighthouse at night from the Colonial City, when
the powerful lights are reflected into the sky in
the shape of a cross. The lighthouse is located in
the Mirador del Este Park.
Botanical Gardens & Parks With about 2 million square meters, the Santo
Domingo Botanical Gardens is the largest in the
Caribbean. The park is viewable by small train.
Within are exhibits of the natural flora of the
island and areas dedicated to palm trees, orchids
and exotic plants. Also on the grounds is what was
once the largest floral clock in the world. Those who have visited Japan will agree that the
Japanese Garden here is one of the most lovely in
The well-kept Santo Domingo Botanical Gardens is
well worth the visit if you love nature. Other city parks worth a visit are the Mirador del
Sur Park and the Mirador del Norte Park (for
bicycling, skating, jogging and kite-flying).
Golf Those visiting Santo Domingo can book reservations
at the 18-hole Las Lagunas Country Club at Km. 20
Duarte Highway, Tel. 809 372-7441. Or at Isabel
Villas Country Club at Avenida Belice, Urb. Isabel
Villas, Cuesta Hermosa III, Arroyo Hondo that allows
night play at its 9 holes par 3 course. Tel. 809
Accommodations Colonial Tour and Travel offer you in Santo Domingo
our special Catalogue of
hotels of all
categories . The hotels for business are
primarily located along the sea-bordering Malecon,
along the Maximo Gomez Avenue, the Naco area and
near the Mirador del Sur Park. Several small hotels
offer attractive rates for those on a budget or
wanting to stay longer.
Choose your city accommodation depending on where
your center of activity will be. If you are coming
for leisure, there are many boutique hotels in the
Colonial City. If you will be here for business,
book your hotel accordingly to avoid delays in
traffic. For more information on hotels, see our
Restaurants Santo Domingo's dining scene rivals any cosmopolitan
city around the world. A truly international mix,
visitors can find every type of cuisine as well as
savory Dominican dishes at superb restaurants.
Restaurants are clustered in the Colonial City,
Gazcue, the Malecon and uptown on 27 de Febrero
Avenue, between Winston Churchill and Ortega y
Nightlife People-watching at the cafes and bars, many of them
open air. Dancing merengue, salsa, bachata and even
rock until the early morning in discos and night
clubs. Casino gambling until dawn in hotel casinos.
Santo Domingo has its fair share of casinos,
international theatre, music and dance performances,
the finest of them performing at the National
Theater. A city for young people, every evening
hundreds of young executives congregate for drinks
at the many bars and cafes in the city, many located
at the Avenida Abraham Lincoln, Gustavo Mejia Ricart
and Roberto Pastoriza or on the Malecon. The
nightlife starts late, with people arriving at the
discos after 11 pm and the merengue, salsa and rock
beats don’t stop until around 4 am at upscale dance
clubs in town. Newcomers to the city should visit the Guacara Taina,
a famous multi-level dance club set in a massive
underground cave in the Mirador del Sur Park. Or
live orchestra music nights at Jet Set Disco at Av.
Independencia in front of Presidente beer brewery.