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Santo Domingo
—  City  —
Santo Domingo de Guzmán
Clockwise from the upper left: skyline of Santo Domingo; Fortaleza Ozama; Malecón Center; Supreme Court of Justice; Acrópolis Center; Anacaona Avenue; the Cathedral of Santa María; the National Palace.


Coat of arms
Santo Domingo is located in Dominican Republic
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic
Coordinates: 18°30′0″N 69°59′0″W / 18.5°N 69.983333°W / 18.5; -69.983333
Country  Dominican Republic
Province National District
Founded 1496
Founder Bartholomew Columbus
 - Mayor Roberto Salcedo
Area [1]
 - Total 104.44 km2 (40.3 sq mi)
Elevation [2] 14 m (46 ft)
Population (2006)
 Urban 2,987,013
 Metro 3,813,214
 - Gentilic Capitaleño/a
Postal Code(s) 10100 to 10699 Distrito Nacional, 10700 to 11999 Santo Domingo
Website Ayuntamiento del Distrito Nacional

Santo Domingo, or Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 2,253,437 in 2006. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River. Founded by Bartholomew Columbus in 1496, it is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas, and was the first seat of Spanish colonial rule in the New World. Santo Domingo came to be known as the "Gateway to the Caribbean". It lies within the boundaries of the Distrito Nacional (D.N.; "National District"), itself bordered on three sides by Santo Domingo Province.

Santo Domingo bore the name "Ciudad Trujillo", after the country's dictator, from 1930 to 1961. Today, Santo Domingo is the Dominican Republic's major metropolis, and is the largest city in the Caribbean by population.

Please note: When this article refers to Santo Domingo it is most likely referring to the Greater Santo Domingo Area (Distrito Nacional plus Santo Domingo Province). In some cases it may state "D.N.", which strictly refers to the city proper, i.e., excluding the surrounding province of Santo Domingo.



Columbus Park
Fortaleza Ozama, one of the historic buildings in Santo Domingo
Alcázar de Colón, in the historic center of Santo Domingo's Zona Colonial

Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, the Taíno people populated the island they called Quisqueya (mother of all lands) and Ayiti (land of high mountains), which Columbus named Hispaniola. It includes the part now occupied by the Republic of Haiti. At the time, the island's territory consisted of five chiefdoms: Marién, Maguá, Maguana, Jaragua, and Higüey. These were ruled respectively by caciques (chiefs) Guacanagarix, Guarionex, Caonabo, Bohechío, and Cayacoa.

Dating to 1496, when the Spanish settled there, and officially to 5 August 1498, Santo Domingo is the oldest European city in America. Bartholomew Columbus founded the settlement and named it La Isabela, after the Queen of Spain Isabella I. It was later renamed "Santo Domingo", in honor of Saint Dominic.

Santo Domingo was destroyed by a hurricane in 1502, and the new Governor Nicolás de Ovando had it rebuilt on a different site nearby.[3] The original layout of the city and a large portion of its defensive wall can still be appreciated today throughout the Colonial Zone, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1990. The Colonial Zone, bordered by the Río Ozama, also has an impressive collection of 16th century buildings, including palatial houses and majestic churches that reflect the architectural style of the late medieval period.

The city's most important colonial buildings include the Catedral Santa María La Menor, called La Catedral Primada de América, America's First Cathedral, which states its distinction; the Alcázar de Colón, America's first castle, once the residence of Viceroy of the Indies Don Diego Colón, a son of Christopher Columbus; the Monasterio de San Francisco, the ruins of the first monastery in America; the Museo de las Casas Reales, the former Palace of the Governor General and the Palace of Royal Audiences; the Parque Colón (Columbus Park), a historic square; the Fortaleza Ozama, the oldest fortress in America; the Pantéon Nacional, a former Jesuit edifice now hosting the remains of various renowned members of the Dominican Order; and the Iglesia del Convento Dominico, the first convent in America.

Throughout its first century, Santo Domingo was the launching pad for much of the exploration and conquest of the New World.[citation needed] The expeditions that led to Hernando Cortes' conquest of Mexico and Balboa's sighting of the Pacific Ocean all started from Santo Domingo.[citation needed]

In 1586, Francis Drake captured the city, which he held for ransom.[4] Drake's invasion and pillaging of Hispaniola so weakened Spanish dominion over the island that for more than 50 years all but the capital was abandoned and left to the mercy of the pirates.[citation needed] An expedition sent by Oliver Cromwell in 1655 attacked the city of Santo Domingo, but was defeated, and withdrew and took Jamaica, instead.[5]

From 1795 to 1822 the city changed hands several times along with the colony it headed. It was ceded to France in 1795, captured by rebellious Haitian slaves in 1801, recovered by France in 1802, recovered by Spain in 1809. In 1821 Santo Domingo became the capital of an independent nation, Haití Español. This was two months later conquered by Haiti. The city and the colony lost much of their Spanish population as a result of these events.[4][6][7]

Santo Domingo was again the capital of a free nation, when Dominicans gained their independence from Haitian rule on February 27, 1844 led by their national hero Juan Pablo Duarte. The city was a prize fought over by various political factions over the succeeding decades of instability. In addition, the country had to fight multiple battles with Haiti; the Battle of March 19, Battle of March 30, Battle of Las Carreras, and Battle of Beler, are a few of the most prominent encounters, mentioned in the national anthem and with city streets named after them.[8] In 1861 Spain returned to the country, having struck a bargain with Dominican leader Pedro Santana whereby the latter was granted several honorific titles and privileges, in exchange for annexing the young nation back to Spanish rule. The Dominican Restoration War began in 1863 however, and in 1865 the country was free again after Spain withdrew.

Over the next two-thirds of a century Santo Domingo and the Dominican Republic went through many revolutions, power changes, and occupation by the United States, 1916–24. The city was struck by hurricane San Zenón in 1930, which caused major damage. After its rebuilding, Santo Domingo was known officially as Ciudad Trujillo in honor of dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, who governed from 1930. Following his assassination in 1961 the city was renamed back to Santo Domingo. It was the scene of street fighting during the 1965 United States occupation of the Dominican Republic.

The year 1992 marked the 500th anniversary, El Quinto Centenario, of Christopher Columbus' Discovery of America. The Columbus Lighthouse – Faro a Colón – with an approximate cost of 400 million Dominican pesos and amidst great controversy,[citation needed] was erected in Santo Domingo in honor of this occasion.[9]


Santo Domingo de Guzmán (DN) and the municipality of Santo Domingo Este (in S.D. Province) are separated by the Ozama River.

The Ozama river flows 148 kilometers before emptying into the Caribbean Sea. Santo Domingo's position on its banks was of great importance to the city's economic development and the growth of trade during colonial times. The Ozama River is where the country's busiest port is located.

Metropolitan Santo Domingo is divided into four municipalities, mostly for administrative reasons. They consist of Santo Domingo de Guzmán National District and three municipal divisions of Santo Domingo Province: Santo Domingo Norte (Villa Mella Municipal District, etc.), Santo Domingo Este (San Isidro Municipal District, etc.), and Santo Domingo Oeste. These three border Santo Domingo de Guzmán on the north, east, and west, respectively. Bajos de Haina, in San Cristóbal Province, borders Santo Domingo Oeste, in the west. The Ozama River and Isabella end at the Center of Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo is relatively low in altitude, but has several high hills.



Under the Koppen climate classification, Santo Domingo features a Tropical monsoon climate. The average temperature varies little in the city, because the tropical trade winds help mitigate the heat and humidity throughout the year. Thanks to these trade winds, Santo Domingo seldom experiences the oppressive heat and humidity that one may expect to find in a tropical climate. December and January are the coolest months and July and August are the warmest. Santo Domingo averages 1445 mm of precipitation per year. Its driest months are from January through April, however, due to the tradewinds, precipitation is seen even during these months. Because its driest month is just below 60 mm, Santo Domingo falls under the Tropical monsoon climate category. Like many other nations in the Caribbean, Santo Domingo is very susceptible to hurricanes.

Climate data for Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average high °C (°F) 29
Daily mean °C (°F) 24
Average low °C (°F) 19
Precipitation mm (inches) 64
Source: Weather Channel[10] {{{accessdate}}}

Economic development

The city is the center of economic activity in the Dominican Republic. Many national and international firms have their headquarters or regional offices in Santo Domingo. The city attracts many international firms and franchises due to its geographic location, stability, and vibrant economy.

The infrastructure is adequate for most business operations; however, power outages continue to be a problem in certain parts of the city. A key element that has helped the city thrive and compete globally is the telecommunications infrastructure. For many years the Dominican Republic has enjoyed a modern and state of the art telecommunications system, due to its privatization and integration with the US system.

Santo Domingo contains a wide variety of incomes, ranging from the extremely poor to the highly rich. Areas of high income families are found in the central Polygon of the city, which is bordered by the 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, and is characterized by its mostly residential area and its distinguished nightlife.

Santo Domingo has areas of high development, among them Naco, Arroyo Hondo, Piantini, Paraíso, Bella Vista, Sarasota and other neighborhoods, which mostly consist of costly buildings and luxury houses, contrasting with the outskirts of the city like Gualey and Capotillo which are less economically developed.

Bella Vista and La Esperilla are currently the neighborhoods with the highest income growth and with tall mega-projects marking the city skyline. Gazcue belongs to the more traditional southeastern area of the city and is characterized by its slightly older constructions, dating from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Santo Domingo skyline

The commercial centers in the city are mostly found on Avenida Winston Churchill, where large plazas, such as Acropolis Center, and large supermarkets are found. This area is home to most of the banks in the city, like Scotiabank, Citibank, Banco BHD, Banco del Progreso, and Banreservas, to name a few. 27 de Febrero Avenue is very commercially successful and is considered the most important crosstown avenue in the city. The oldest mall plazas in the country are Plaza Central and Plaza Naco, which served as the first commercial center in the city, until the recent construction of others, which quickly became new alternatives. Bella Vista Mall and the Acropolis Center are two of the newest malls built in the city, attracting many of the high income families.

Most of the city's poor live outside the center. Some live in extreme conditions of poverty and in slums, intensifying the city's economic contrast.

Panoramic view of Santo Domingo

Government and politics

The National Palace, in Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is the center of the national government of the Dominican Republic. The National Palace, which is the President's office, as well as the National Congress, are located in the metropolitan area. The current mayor of the City of Santo Domingo is Roberto Esmérito Salcedo, of the governing Dominican Liberation Party. The city is administered by the Ayuntamiento del Distrito Nacional (City Hall), which is responsible for municipal functions. The "Policía Nacional" (National Police) and "Policia Turística" (Tourist Police) (POLITUR) are tasked with enforcing city safety.


Catedral Santa María La Menor (Catedral Primada de América), the first cathedral in America

Famous landmarks in Santo Domingo include the Calle El Conde, the Puerta de la Misericordia, the Catedral Santa María La Menor (Catedral Primada de América), and the Alcázar de Colón, all of which are located within the Zona Colonial district of the city. This part was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.

Outside of the colonial quarters, the area surrounding the Malecón (seawall) is a vibrant commercial and tourist center, having as a centerpiece the large obelisk located at the eastern end of George Washington Avenue.

Other places of interest are Plaza de la Cultura, which houses the city's most important cultural venues, such as the Teatro Nacional (National Theater) and the Museum of Modern Arts; the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts), a neoclassical theatre that is the permanent home of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional (National Symphony Orchestra); the Parque Mirador Sur, a six square kilometer park in the southwestern part of the city; and the Boulevard 27 de Febrero, a pedestrian promenade located on the busy Avenida 27 de Febrero, which displays many works of art from prominent Dominican artists and sculptors.

Another attraction is the Centro Olímpico Juan Pablo Duarte, a sports complex in the center of Santo Domingo. This complex was used during the 2003 Pan American Games.


Santo Domingo is the location of numerous museums dedicated to the history of the Dominican Republic. Most of them are within the Zona Colonial District.[9]

  • Museum of Alcázar
  • Altar de la Patria
  • Naval Museum of the Atarazanas
  • Museum of the Casas Reales is dedicated to the colonial period
  • Museum of Duarte summarizes and shows the history of the movement and struggle for independence
  • Museum of Natural History
  • Museum of Dominican Man
  • World of Ambar Museum
  • Museum of Modern Arts
  • National Museum of History and Geography is dedicated to all of Dominican history, from pre-Columbian up to contemporary times

Parks and recreational areas

See Also: Santo Domingo Greenbelt

Santo Domingo has various parks, three of which are called Miradores and are located in the north, south, and east sections of the city. Even though these parks are relatively big, Santo Domingo still lacks enough recreational areas. Santo Domingo (D.N) is surrounded by the Santo Domingo Greenbelt.

  • Mirador Norte Park, lies in the north of the city, close to Villa Mella
  • Enriquillo Park
  • Mirador Sur Park, located in the southwest section of the city
  • Independencia Park, located in Zona Colonial
  • Colón Park, located in Zona Colonial
  • Las Praderas Metropolitan Park
  • The Malecón, cityfront coastal park
  • 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
  • Agora Mall (under construction)
  • Blue Mall (under construction)
  • Diandy XX (under construction)
  • Galerias 360 Mall (under construction)
  • Sky Mall (under construction)



Santo Domingo is provided with a variety of informal transportation systems. These include motoconchos (motorcycle taxis), guaguas/voladoras (public buses that are known for their generally bad conditions and the drivers' reckless driving), and carros publicos/conchos (shared taxis that stop at certain intervals or wherever there are passengers on a street). There are however several bus services, such as the government owned and operated OMSA, which has a fleet of air conditioned buses with regular stops. OMSA operates long routes that traverse the metro area and are very popular with poor and middle class people. Efforts are being made to modernize the fleet and to complement the new subway system. However, due to the long hours of operation, long routes and high demand, coupled with high parts costs, these buses' lifespans are usually less than ten years.


Santo Domingo is the terminus for four of the five national highways. The city is connected with the southwest of the republic by the national highway DR-2 (Avenida George Washington and Autopista 30 de Mayo), and with the cities of the country's northwest by DR-1 (Expreso Kennedy, Corredor Duarte), which serves as a direct link to the city of Santiago de los Caballeros. DR-3 (Expreso 27 de Febrero/Autopista de Las Américas) connects Santo Domingo directly to the east of the country, including the cities of San Pedro de Macoris, La Romana, and major tourist sites like Punta Cana and Bavaro, and to the Samaná Province (in the northeast) via the Samana Highway.


The Santo Domingo Metro is a 15 km underground and elevated system consisting of six proposed lines. The first line begins elevated at Villa Mella (in Santo Domingo Norte)—located north of the Isabela River and north of the city center—and ends at Centro de los Héroes on the southern coast of Santo Domingo, near the seawall district (Malecón). Some of the stops on the first line are the Teatro Nacional, the main campus of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD; Autonomous University of Santo Domingo) and Avenida Lincoln. The first line is already in service.

The second line, currently under construction, is said to run in an east-west direction beneath Expreso Kennedy, crossing the first line at Maximo Gómez Avenue. The third line will also run in an east-west direction, beneath Expreso 27 de Febrero.[citation needed]


  • Las Américas International Airport
Las Américas International Airport's Terminal A and B

Santo Domingo is served by two international airports, the main one being Las Américas International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional de las Americas Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez). The airport has two terminals; the newer one, just completed in 2006, added four more gates on the northern end of the facility. As of 2005, the airport handled over 2.5 million passengers per year.[11] Las Américas is located in Punta Caucedo, 15 kilometers east of the National District on DR-3.

  • La Isabela International Airport

The Aeropuerto Internacional La Isabela is a secondary, newly constructed airport located in the northern section of the city, within kilometres of the city center. It is not currently used as a major international airport, servicing mostly domestic and charter flights. It was built to replace the obsolete Herrera Airport, which was considered by many too dangerous due to the proximity to commercial and residential areas. La Isabela Airport is also conveniently located just on the outskirts of the city and most of the internal flights of the country can be carried out here; flights to the north of the island (for example, to Samaná) can be booked here with such airlines as Caribair and Aerodomca. Many pilots also cited the length of the runway as inadequate for most private jets.


SANSOUCI Puerto SD.jpg
  • Port of Santo Domingo: Sans Souci

The Port of Santo Domingo is located on the Ozama River. Its location at the center of the Caribbean is well suited for flexible itinerary planning and has excellent support, road and airport infrastructure within the Santo Domingo region, which facilitate access and transfers. The port is suitable for both turnaround and transit calls.

The port's renovation is part of a major redevelopment project, aimed at integrating the port area and the Zona Colonial and foster a cruise, yacht, and high-end tourism destination. Supported by legislation approved in 2005, the project, developed by the Sans Souci Group, also includes the development of a new sports marina and a 122-acre mixed-leisure real estate development adjacent to the port.



There are 15 television stations (both UHF and VHF) in Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo has the greatest number of television signals in the country, followed by Santiago.

Additional cable television channels are provided by companies like Aster, Cable TV Dominicana, SKY Dominicana, and Telecable.

VHF (channel number in parentheses):

  • Tele Antillas (2)
  • CERTV (4)
  • Telemicro (5)
  • Antena Latina (7)
  • Color Visión (9)
  • Telesistema (11)
  • Telecentro (13)


  • Digital 15 (15)
  • Telefuturo (23)
  • RNN (27)
  • Supercanal (33)
  • CDN (37)
  • Coral 39 (39)
  • Teleradio América (canal 45)
  • Santo Domingo TV (canal 69)


In Santo Domingo there are 100 different stations in AM frequency and 44 in FM frequency.

Telephone services

CODETEL (Compañía Dominicana de Teléfonos) was originally the provider of telephone service in the Dominican Republic since the 1940s. The company was later bought by GTE (later Verizon). By 2004 the company was named Verizon Dominicana and was later sold to América Móvil; it was named CODETEL again, as a marketing strategy. The company uses the name Claro GSM/CDMA for its cellular phone division. The second landline competitor is Tricom, which is a minor competitor, Codetel being the dominant service provider in the country. Other mobile providers include Tricom CDMA, Viva CDMA/GSM, and Orange GSM, the last and Claro having the majority of the mobile phone service provider market.

The national area codes are 809 and 829. In 2005 the 829 area code was made an overlay of 809, due to the increase of fax, internet, mobile, and ground lines in the last decade. The Dominican Republic uses +1-809-XXX-XXXX and +1-829-XXX-XXXX as the official format for telephone numbers.

In late May 2009, INDOTEL raised and adapted the idea of introducing a new area code (849), with the purpose of increasing the availability of more line numbers in the country. INDOTEL said they will launch a new television campaign to promote the new code.


.do is the internet code for The Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic has an estimated 2,000,000 internet users.


There are eighteen universities in Santo Domingo, the highest number of any city in the Dominican Republic. Established in 1538, the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) is the oldest university in the Americas and is also the only public university in the city. Santo Domingo holds the nation's highest percentage of residents with a higher education degree.[citation needed]

Aula Magna at night, Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD)

Photo gallery

Sister cities

Santo Domingo has three sister cities designated by Sister Cities International:[12]

Santo Domingo also has twinning agreements with the following sister cities:

Notable residents

See also


  1. ^ Superficies a nivel de municipios, Oficina Nacional de Estadística
  2. ^ De la Fuente, Santiago (1976) (in Spanish). Geografía Dominicana. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Editora Colegial Quisqueyana. 
  3. ^ Meining 1986:9
  4. ^ a b "Dominican Republic - THE FIRST COLONY". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  5. ^ Marley, David (1998). Wars of the Americas. ABC-CLIO. pp. 148–149. ISBN 0874368375, 9780874368376. 
  6. ^ "Elections and Events 1791-1849". University of California-San Diego. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  7. ^ Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes, 2007, p. 70
  8. ^ "City street map of Santo Domingo at". Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  9. ^ a b "Secretaría de Estado de Cultura". Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  10. ^ "Weather Channel: Historical Weather for Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic". 
  11. ^ Aerodom Siglo XXI. "Number of Passengers by Airport in 2004 (in Spanish)". Retrieved 2006-12-17. 
  12. ^ a b c d Online Directory: Dominican Republic, Caribbean Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI)
  13. ^ a b c d "Memoria Anual, Agosto 2002-Agosto 2003". Ayuntamiento del Distrito Nacional. pp. 66–67. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  14. ^ "Mapa Mundi de las ciudades hermanadas". Ayuntamiento de Madrid. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ La Guardia y Santo Domingo, dos ciudades hermanas (Spanish)
  • Meinig, D.W. (1986). The Shaping of America: a Geographic Perspective on 500 Years of History. Volume I - Atlantic America, 1492-1800. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-03882-8
  • Santo Domingo; Fragmentos De Patria by Banreservas ISBN 99934-898-9-5

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

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.

The Parque Colon in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo
The Parque Colon in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo


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 Bartholomew 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 worth it. 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 Oriental," 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.

  • Las Americas International Airport (Located: Greater Santo Domingo). (IATA: SDQ) is located approximately 15 minutes from the greater metropolitan area and around 30 minutes from the city`s center. The airport offers several transportation options, including all major American car rental firms.

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 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).

  • La Isabela International Airport (Located: Greater Santo Domingo). (IATA: JBQ)
  • Punta Cana International Airport (Located: Punta Cana / Higüey City)[1]. (IATA: PUJ)
  • La Romana International Airport (Located: La Romana City)[2]. (IATA: LRM)
  • Cibao International Airport (Located: Santiago de los Caballeros City [3]). (IATA: STI)
  • Gregorio Luperón International Airport (Located: Puerto Plata City)[4]. (IATA: POP)
  • El Catey International Airport (Located: Sanchez City)[5]. (IATA: AZS)
  • María Montez International Airport (Located: Barahona City)[6]. (IATA: BRX)

By ferry

There is ferry service to and from San Juan, Puerto Rico twice per week. It costs around US $250 roundtrip and the overnight journey last 12 hours. For an additional fee, you can bring your car along for the ride. The company is called Ferries del Caribe [7]

Getting around

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. They are worth every penny.

  • From the airport You can book your airport transfers in advance. Can try Dominican Airport Transfers[8] one of business leaders, you can actually get an instant quote and book online on their automated site but the office is located in the city.

Taxis charge anywhere from US$25 to US$40 for the drive from the airport into Santo Domingo.

Unlike most major metropolitan areas, there are very few roaming taxis in Santo Domingo. 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.

Bottom line: taxis are convenient but expensive.

  • Also be sure to never get into stray cabs at night or cabs that aren't sent by a dispatcher, they are not the safest. Another note, some cabs will put several passengers in at once, each paying a separate fare.


All major US car rental firms are available at the airport, along with several local vendors offering everything from subcompacts to late model Hummers, Range Rovers and Land Cruisers. When renting from local vendors be sure to read the fine print regarding insurance coverage; you might think you're getting a great deal on a car, only to get into an accident and find out that your insurance coverage does not apply or that your deductible is as high as US$5,000.

Advice to potential renters: Gasoline costs around US$ 5 per gallon here and people drive fast and furious, breaking every imaginable rule. It might be safer and cheaper to develop a friendship with a cab driver who will gladly become your personal driver, tourguide and concierge for a day rate equal to a fraction of what it would cost you to rent, insure and gas up a rental.


For some unknown reason bus service in Santo Domingo is not very user-friendly and geared more towards locals getting to and from work. It is often impossible to know which bus goes where unless you ask the driver, as neither buses nor routes are clearly marked. Bottom Line: Inexpensive (around US $ 0.5 and 1.00 per ride) yet complicated. Avoid unless you are accompanied by a local.

Collective taxis

These collective taxis or "carro público" as they are called by Dominicans, stick to a predetermined route (usually up and down a major avenue), picking up and dropping off passengers along the way - often cramming up to five passengers into a twenty year old Toyota Corolla. Very inexpensive,US$ 0.50 per trip, yet very uncomfortable. By the way, if you happen to be overweight don't be surprised if the driver charges you for two seats instead of one.


Santo Domingo has just recently gotten its own Metro, with just one line operating on a North-South axis under the Maximo Gomez avenue, going from Villa Mella to the Centro de los Heroes and the Malecon, passing by the National Theater and the Santo Domingo Autonomous University (UASD). It costs just 30 pesos per ride (less than US$ 1.00). A second line is currently in construction.


Despite boasting a rich cultural, architectural and artistic heritage, Santo Domingo has not been exploited for all its tourist potential. You're pretty much on your own to discover this fascinating city. Make the most of your time there.

Colonial Zone

Santo Domingo was the first major european settlement in the New World. Christopher Columbus walked these streets! Check out the many examples of 15th and 16th century architecture in the Colonial Zone. Don't miss the Ozama Fort, the Alcazar de Colon and the Cathedral, all built in Columbus' lifetime. You can also check beautiful churches and convents, such as the Iglesia Regina Angelorum and the Convento de los Dominicos. Don't miss the Panteon Nacional, where the national heroes are burried, located in the Calle Las Damas, the New World's first (European) street! Also, walk up the Calle del Conde, a very old pedestrian shop-lined street that used to be the commercial heart of the city. This street leads to the Puerta de la Independencia, where the Dominican Republic proclaimed its independence from Haiti, and the Parque Independencia, where the country's founding fathers' remains are kept. On Sunday evenings, check out the Ruinas de San Francisco for live bands playing Merengue, Bachata, Salsa and Son, in a wonderful weekly show where both locals and tourists dance, drink and enjoy themselves. This would be an unforgettable experience! Also check out La Atarazana street after dark for a variety of romantic outdoor cafes with a spectacular view of the Alcazar and bay area. One such brasserie, Pat E Palo, has operated uninterrupted since 1505. Check out the house where Ponce DeLeon lived before he embarked upon his quest for the fountain of youth and ended up discovering Florida.


This waterfront boulevard (George Washington Avenue) is home to several huge hotel/casino complexes and dozens of small restaurants, clubs and cafes. Go there to people watch, take a romantic carriage ride or just have a few beers. Site of many festivals and concerts throughout the year. Parallel to the Malecon you will find Avenida Independencia, a tree lined street full of shops, bed and breakfasts and affordable restaurants with a nice mix of locals and tourists. For a unique dining experience check out Adrian Tropical, a traditional Dominican restaurant literally built on the water, or San Gil, a more formal eatery occupying the ruins of a colonial fort. The Malecon Center, located on the far end of the Malecon, is a new and still underoccupied high-end shopping center/hotel/condo complex with a Botero sculpture out front that reportedly cost US$1 million.

Plaza de la Cultura

Walk all the way down the Malecon to Avenida Maximo Gomez and take a left. Walk past the McDonald's and Pizza Hut until you reach the Plaza de la Cultura. This amazing complex is home to the National Theater and five museums, ranging from the delapidated and mundane, to the crisp, modern Museum of Modern Art[9], the largest in the Caribbean and home to exhibits by artists from Jamaica, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and of course, the Dominican Republic. If want a nice beautiful garden to read or talk this is your place also.

Upscale Santo Domingo

If you want to see the cosmopolitan, upscale side of Santo Domingo, head to the Piantini and Naco neighborhoods. Streets like Gustavo Mejía Ricart and major avenues like Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill are lined with high end boutiques, shopping plazas, expensive cafes and restaurants offering a huge variety of international cuisines and just about anything money can buy, from cigar shops to Ferrari and Bentley dealerships. The Holyday Inn Hotel has recently opened in this area, which is very likely to bring much more tourism into what is the actual "downtown" of Santo Domingo. Don't miss Acropolis Center, an ultra-modern shopping center/office building where you will find everything from TGI Friday's to Prada. Further away you can find Bella Vista Mall and Diamond Mall, two other big shopping malls in Santo Domingo. If you're looking for more open-air plazas lined with smaller boutiques, you should check out Plaza Andalucia. For bowling, you can go to the Plaza Bolera, which has recently gotten a face-lift. If you're in this area in the early afternoon, you should check out trendy cafes such as La Cuchara de Madera, where you can enjoy delicious deserts such as their dulce de leche "Piramides", and Marocha, where you can eat "churros" with chocolate and dulce de leche. For your information, three new malls are in construction in the city, including the Blue Mall, which will be huge and will bring many more of the world's most exclusive shops to Santo Domingo!


Find your way to the Parque Mirador Sur, an impressive park overlooking the coast. It gets closed for cars on Sundays, and gets filled with families playing with their children and exercising. Bike rentals are at your disposal. Also, you can visit the Jardin Botanico, a vast, beautiful and lush park situated near one of Santo Domingo's most exclusive neighborhoods. There you can experience different ecosystems from a rain-forest to a Japanese garden!

Eastern Santo Domingo

Refered to as Santo Domingo Oriental, this separate municipality is not very tourist-friendly. Fortunately, most of its attractions are very close to the Colonial Zone and easy to get to. Check out Los Tres Ojos, or Three Eyes, a series of open-roof caverns and underground lakes for the whole family to explore (with a local this part of Santo Domingo is the most poverty stricken and can be dangerous!!!!). Head over to the Faro a Colon, a huge lighthouse and monument to Christopher Columbus which not only houses his remains but doubles as a museum. Check out the Santo Domingo Aquarium, a small but impressive showcase of the local aquatic life. If you're looking for some shopping, you can go to the Megacentro, Santo Domingo's largest shopping mall. It is massive!


Unfortunately, there isn't a beach in Santo Domingo, despite being on the water's edge. The closest beach is Boca Chica, which is about a half hour away, just past the airport and shipping port.


In the Colonial Zone:

  • Alcázar de Colón - Visit this stunning villa, built in 1510 and retaining period furnishings and other items owned by Governor Diego Colón, first-born son of Christopher Columbus.
  • Naval Museum of the Atarazanas Located across the plaza from the Alcazar de Colon on Calle Atarazana, the oldest street in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Museum of the Casas Reales Another great museum featuring collections depicting life in 16th century Santo Domingo. Located on Calle Las Damas, walking distance from the Alcazar de Colon and the Naval Museum.
  • World of Ambar Museum An impressive collection of Amber stones and aksd
  • Museum of Duarte A collection of artifacts and writings regarding the Dominican Republic's founding father, Juan Pablo Duarte. Located on Calle Isabel La Catolica, a few blocks west of the above museums.
  • Museum of Natural History
  • Museum of Dominican Man
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • National Museum of History and Geography


Santo Domingo is an excellent place to study Spanish off the beaten track and get immersed in the language. One recommended Spanish school that specializes in one on one lessons at discount rates is the RoofTop Spanish School.


Colonial Zone

The Colonial Zone offers plenty of shopping opportunities, especially if you are looking for Ambar and Larimar, the traditional stones of the DR. Don't forget to haggle, as all the shop owners adjust their prices for this purpose. You will also find a ton of Haitian art for sale everywhere at great prices. If that's your thing, great, just remember its not Dominican. The main boulevard in the Colonial Zone is El Conde, a pedestrian boulevard lined with all kinds of shops and eateries mostly aimed at the locales. Have fun shopping and people watching here.

If you are feeling adventurous, have a cab take you to the Mercado Modelo nearby. This indoor labyrinth of shops can be overwhelming for a new tourist but, don't worry, it is safe. Then again, you might feel safer asking the cab driver to escort you through the maze of shops and kiosks offering every imaginable kind of souvenir, jewelry, stone, artwork, etc.


If you want to experience American-style shopping there are plenty of options but here are the three most popular: Plaza Central, Acropolis Center and, for those of you willing to venture into Santo Domingo Oriental, MegaCentro. Remember: no haggling at the malls. While MegaCentro is farther away than the others, it is the largest mall in the Caribbean (possibly including Florida) and is a destination in and of itself. This place is HUGE!

Please remember when shopping at the malls, this is an island where practically everything being sold is imported and, worse yet, taxed at 16% (ITBIS or Value Added Tax). Don't expect to find too many bargains to brag about back home!


Santo Domingo offers a variety of cuisines from around the world from Chinese, Italian and Mediterranean to Brazillian. You can also find the main fast food franchises like McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, among others.

Be aware that mid-grade and high-end restaurants can be quite costly for third world standards, a dinner with an entrée, main court, drink and dessert can range from US$ 15 - $75 per person, plus 10% mandatory tip plus 16% ITBIS tax. Be careful and ask around as price doesn't always equal quality, especially in tourist areas.

Note: Unless the contrary is specified menu prices don’t include the 10 % service charge and 16 % sale tax, so real prices are 26 % higher than indicated in the menu.


If you want to spend less than US $ 8 on a decent meal and drink:

  • Visit a “comedor” or cafeteria.

Comedores offer a “Plato del Día” or predetermined meal of the day (usually rice, beans, salad and meat or chicken, and a soda) for just US$3 – 8. Cafeterias and Comedores can be found everywhere around the city but specially around business areas and universities, this is where locals eat so is a great way of getting in touch with the culture. “Mimosa”, located on Padre Billini street in the Colonial Zone, offers a great variety of tasty local food during lunch hours.

  • Best sandwiches, juice and shakes in the Caribbean

"Barra Payán", located on 30 de marzo street only five minutes from the Colonial Zone, is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. A sandwich cafeteria, the place has been a traditional eatery for more than a half century. Buy a sandwich and a delicious squeezed-to-order fruit juice or milkshake for less than US$ 5.

  • Chinese and "Pica Pollo"

At some point in history Dominicans became quite fond of fried chicken and chinese food, combining both cuisines into fast food establishments known as "pica pollos". These are usually take-out joints run by first or second generation chinese immigrants, serving up heaping portions of fried rice, plantain slices and tasty (and greasy) fried chicken, along with the usual variety of chinese comfort food. Very inexpensive. Visit Santo Domingo's China Town, near the Mercado Modelo and not far from the Colonial Zone (Duarte Avenue), a very busy zone where working class people do a lot of their shopping. If you feel adventurous enough to enter this usually chaotic but very picturesque part of the town it would an experience to remember. Keep in mind, pick-pockets love the crowded streets, watch your belongings closely.

  • Fast food

A Mcdonalds combo costs around US$ 5, Taco Bell, Wendys and Pizza Hut around US$ 6. There are also several very good local franchises like Pizzarelli [10]where you can have pasta, pizza or a salad for no more than US$ 10, and others like Pollos Victorina. Also, don't miss some good Dominican "empanadas" at De Nosotros Empanadas. Interesting note: you can walk into a McDonalds in Santo Domingo and order a value meal with a Presidente beer instead of a Coke. How cool is that?

  • Adrian Tropical A unique, quality and "affordable" dining experience. There are three restaurants in the city, the coolest one is literally built on the water in the Malecon.
  • El Conuco Very touristy and rather affordable restaurant in Gazcue, where you can enjoy live traditional Dominican dances.
  • Lincoln Road On the Abraham Lincoln avenue, this restaurant has recently been remodeled.
  • Yokomo The Dominican Sushi franchise. Enjoy the most unique and inventive Dominican-fushion sushi, such as sushi with sweet plantains.
  • Falafel In the colonial zone, a good and affordable Near Eastern restaurant specializing in, as the name suggests it, falafel.
  • Atras and Cinnamon in Plaza Orleans, two contiguous open-air restaurants. In this plaza you can order from any restaurant while sitting in the courtyard.
  • Buen Provecho Middle range restaurant serving different types of food, a good place to get the "Dominican Flag" of meat with rice and beans.
  • Red Grill A very trendy grill with several locations in the city. One is located in Plaza Orleans, another one has its own bar on top. Pricier, but not a splurge.
  • Chef Pepper Also very trendy, and it just opened a new branch in Bella Vista. If you're craving a hamburger or a steak and cheese sandwich, this is a good place to go.
  • L'Osteria A mid-range but very high quality Italian restaurant, facing the national theater.
  • Sapore d'Italia Another mid-range, very good Italian restaurant.
  • La Lasagna And yet another good Italian restaurant, very good and pretty affordable.

American and international midrange franchises include:

  • TGI Fridays in Acropolis Mall
  • Tony Roma's in the Sarasota Avenue
  • Outback Steak House in Acropolis Mall
  • Hard Rock Cafe in the Colonial Zone, facing the Cathedral


If you have to ask how much, you can't afford these places. The following are very tourist-friendly:

  • El Vesuvio The oldest and finest Italian restaurant on the island, bar none, located on the Malecon
  • Pat'e Palo Very touristy Spanish/Mediterranean restaurant, situated by the "Plaza de Espana" overlooking the "Alcazar de Colon"
  • La Briciola Fancy Italian restaurant in a Colonial Garden
  • Mesón de la Cava An expensive average restaurant whose chief gimmick is being located within a natural cave underground.
  • Any of the tourist traps on beautiful Atarazana Street in the Colonial Zone, worth at least one night out.

The following are not very touristy, mostly being frequented by locals. However, if you want to explore how the wealthier classes dine in Santo Domingo, these are the places to go:

  • Pepperoni Grille Upscale, modern Italian.
  • Sofia's Mediterranean cuisine.
  • Any of the restaurants around Gustavo Mejia Ricart Avenue
  • David Crockett The most expensive steak house.
  • Mesón de Bari One of the classiest restaurants for Dominican cuisine
  • Porter House Grill Steakhouse
  • Marocha Very popular cafe/restaurant, especially because of its "Churros"
  • Lupe Right next to Marocha, Mexican Restaurant
  • La Marrana Very trendy Spanish restaurant
  • Cane, Jaleo and Tangerine Three contiguous "Dominican fusion" bar/restaurants
  • Margó More Dominican/European fusion food
  • Aka Possibly the most popular Japanese restaurant
  • Fellini's Fancy Italian
  • Don Pepe Fancy Spanish restaurant, very pricey
  • Mitre Chic restaurant and wine bar
  • Tabu Bambu Asian Fusion
  • Scherezade Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurant, with a lunch buffet on Sundays.
  • Michelangelo Restaurant, (Winston Churchill and Roberto Pastoriza, Plaza Las Americas). The average price is about six to fourteen dollars a plate, a international menu that includes, imported seafood, imported pasta and cheese, imported steaks and some of the most popular Dominican cuisine. The decoration is artistic, with Michaelangelo finest works on the walls but at the same time very modern and chic all in white, with a outdoor terrace to enjoy frozen cocktails and wine overlooking one of the most popular avenue in the city. The restaurant products are mostly imported and they only cook with bottle water, making it one of the most safe place to eat.  edit


Santo Domingo has an amazing variety of night life options. Unfortunately, most bars and clubs must close at midnight from Sunday to Thursday and at 2AM on Friday and Saturday. This is a regulation imposed since 2006 intended to curtail the escalating crime in the city. Therefore, it is not uncommon for people to start partying at 8PM on the weekends. Happily, the regulation is suspended on holidays and the last two weeks of December for Christmas partying. Usually the clubs located inside major hotels are exempt from this rule, although they aren't usually much fun.

As of November 2007, there are a couple of bars that are open until 3AM on weekends since August 2007.

The Malecon is home to several options as well, depending on what's in style at the time.

Check out Jet Set on Monday nights for live Merengue and Bachata shows from the most popular top bands.

Head over to the upscale side of Santo Domingo (Naco, Piantini) if that is your scene. There are a ton of options there, including perennial favorites such as Trio Caffe, Praia and Montecristo. Be aware that those kind of places can have a rather strict admission policy, you usually have to look white enough and rich enough to be admitted. This discrimination hasn't go unnoticed, the Embassy of United States directed all resident official U.S. Embassy employees to refrain from patronizing Loft one of the most popular and exclusive nightclubs in the city, responding to the actions of Loft management in selectively denying entry to African-Americans embassy on July 22 2007. [11]

In this upscale area of Santo Domingo, consider:

  • Shots Mostly rock music, very young crowd. Ave. Roberto Pastoriza.
  • Praia The fanciest club, currently moved to the Holiday Inn Hotel.
  • LED A nice Club with House music, where some well known DJ's are invited. Near Santo Domingo Hotel.
  • El Barcito Very nice ambiance, mostly rock music. The owner is always present and very friendly.
  • Dock Very trendy Bar at the Acropolis Center. Open air, electronic music.
  • Mix Right next to the Mix Restaurant, another popular bar.

If you you are more into the bohemian scene check out the Colonial Zone for great bars and cafes, as well as a vibrant gay nightlife scene. Here are some hints:

  • Cacibajagua. Great rock music, nice decor, adult crowd. Sanchez #201. [12]
  • Bio. Modern eclectic music from regueaton to latin rock, very young public. Famous for serving drinks from buckets. Calle Sanchez and Padre Billini
  • S Bar. Mostly rock music can enjoy some falafels too, you would love the owner Isaac. Calle Sanchez and Padre Billini
  • Parada 77. Latin rock, spanish songwriters some merengue and salsa , people in their mid thirties and forties.
  • Ocho Puertas Rock, alternative and electronica with live music also, very beautiful place. Jose Reyes #107
  • Segafredo. A franchise, loungue music, italian food and good coffee.
  • Encuentro Artesanal. The decor is definitely the best in the Colonial Zone highly selected electronic music, frequented by artists and publicists.
  • O' Brien's Supposedly an Irish Pub, and although there's nothing of a pub about it, it is a very trendy place.
  • Misifu New bar in the Atarazana street. Very trendy at the moment.
  • Doubles Good Latin dance music.
  • Casa de Teatro Enjoy live jazz and rock concerts, pretty bohemian.

Outside the Colonial Zone try Cinemacafe, [13]. A nice caffe in the Plaza de la Cultural. Check the website for the activities calendar. Whatever you do, don't leave Santo Domingo without visiting La Guacara Taina, the only nightclub in the world inside a huge natural cave. Descend several hundred feet into a fantasy world of lights and sound. You have to see this place to believe it. Located (under) the Mirador Sur park mentioned above.

  • Courtyard by Marriot Santo Domingo Hotel, Avenida Maximo Gomez, + 1 809-685-1010, [14]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 1PM. Near the business district, conveniently located to the US Embassy and the US Consulate, ideal for business travellers. Comfortable rooms equipped with free wireless internet.  edit
  • Hilton Santo Domingo, George Washington Avenue, #500, Tel: +1-809-685-0000, [15].
  • Hotel Delta:, Sarasota #53 in Bella Vista area, +1 809 535 0800, [16]. Excellent for the business traveler. It located in the center of the city making it very accessible. Hotel offers a business center and wifi connection. Restaurant with 24 hour room service. There is a very nice pool/bar on the rooftop which offers a 360 degree view of the city.
  • Hotel Nikkolaus Nice budget hotel not far from the colonial zone (about 10 minutes by taxi). Triple rooms for 60 USD. [17].
  • Pension Ginette El Conde 505 (near Puerta del Conde), Tel: +1 809 623 9740. 400 DOP for 2 people.
  • Renaissance Jaragua Hotel & Casino Reservations: +1 809 221-2222 [18]. Centrally located near El Conde (shopping district), historic colonial buildings, and restaurants. Also across the street from the malecon (which is long sidewalk and sitting area in front of ocean).
  • The RoofTop Hostel, Calle Francisco Peynado No. 56, Edificio Calú, Tel: +1-809-297-2538, A great hangout spot for backpackers with dorm beds starting at $6 USD per night [19].
  • Santo Domingo Apartments - your home away from home, Gazcue, +1 809 858 67 64 (), [20]. Whether what you are seeking is comfort or quiet lodging in Santo Domingo, it doesn’t get any better than Santo Domingo Apartments. Fully equipped apartments in center of the city   edit
  • Quality Hotel Real Aeropuerto Santo Domingo, KM 22 Autopista Las Americas next to Las Americas Free Zone, +1 809 549 2525 (fax: +1 809 549 2727), [21]. Quality Hotel Real Aeropuerto Santo Domingo offers guests pool, parks in every area, restaurant and bar. Rooms have access to high speed internet, cable TV, laundry service, among other services. Prices range between $80 - $140.  edit

Stay Safe

Poverty (though not as bad as next door Haiti, is still rampant and it is best you take precautions. Do not flash obvious wealth in poorer or middle class sections of the city (lots of jewelry, expensive camera, big watches, etc). Keep your bag away from the street when walking as it can be snatched by kids on mopeds and keep a firm grip on it. Keep your passport at your accomidation and in a safe (some maids can steal).

Walk confidently. Don't dress like a tourist. Be yourself but if yourself is flashing Gucci and Prada where ever you go, maybe you need to dress down a bit.

  • Canada, Capitán Eugenio de Marchena, No. 39 La Esperilla, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 1-809-200-0012 / 809-685-1136 (, fax: 809-682-2691), [22].  edit
  • United States of America, Cesar Nicolas Penson esq. Leopoldo Navarro, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 1-809-221-2171 (, fax: 1-809-686-7437).  edit
  • Spain, Av. Independencia No. 1205, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 1-809-535-6500 (, fax: 1-809-535-1595).  edit
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Proper noun

Santo Domingo

  1. The capital of the Dominican Republic.

Simple English

Santo Domingo de Guzmán
Santo Domingo
—  Municipality  —
Santo Domingo partial skyline
File:Escudo de Santo Domingo de Guzmá

Santo Domingo de Guzmán
Coordinates: 18°30′0″N 69°59′0″W / 18.5°N 69.983333°W / 18.5; -69.983333
Country Dominican Republic
Province Distrito Nacional
Founded 1496
Municipality since
Area [1]
 - Total 104.44 km2 (40.3 sq mi)
Elevation [2] 14 m (46 ft)
Population (2002)[3]
 - Total 913,540
 Density 8,747/km2 (22,654.6/sq mi)
 Urban 913,540
Time zone AST (UTC-4)
 - Summer (DST) AST (UTC-4)

Santo Domingo de Guzmán, or just Santo Domingo, is the capital of the Dominican Republic; it is also its largest city. It is the oldest European city in the Americas where people have been living since it was founded at the end of the 16th century.



The city is at the mouth of the River Ozama, on the Caribbean coast. The city has the Santo Domingo province to the east, north and west. To the south is the Caribbean Sea.

The eastern limit of the city is the River Ozama and the northern limit is the River Isabela, a tributary of the Ozama. The western limit is a long street, Gregorio Luperón Avenue.

The average temperature (25.7 °C) varies little in the city. December and January are the coolest months and July and August are the warmest. Some years, hurricanes affect the city because it is located in the Caribbean where hurricanes are common from June to November.


[[File:|thumb|upright|200px|Fortaleza Ozama, a colonial fort to protect the port.]] The city was first founded on the east side of River Ozama by Bartholomew Columbus, brother of Christopher, with the name of La Nueva Isabela (The New Isabela); La Isabela was a town founded on the northern coast of the island by Christopher Columbus. The name was soon changed to Santo Domingo.

After a hurricane in 1502 destroyed the city, the new governor of the island Nicolás de Ovando built it again but on the west side of the river and with the new name of Santo Domingo.[4]

Santo Domingo was the first capital of the Spanish colonies in the Américas. It became the starting point of most of the Spanish expeditions of exploration and conquest of the other Caribbean islands and the adjacent lands in the continent.[5] There are still many buildings from that time (16th century) and part of the old walls.

In 1930, the city of Santo Domingo was almost completely destroyed by a hurricane called San Zenón. Rafael Trujillo rebuilt the city and named it Ciudad Trujillo after himself. After his assassination in 1961, Ciudad Trujillo became again Santo Domingo. The 1966 constitution named the city Santo Domingo de Guzmán.

In 2001, the Santo Domingo Province was created with much of the area of the old Distrito Nacional ("National District"). With that division, many parts of the old city are now part of the Santo Domingo Province and not of the city of Santo Domingo de Guzmán. But they are still part of the metropolitan area of the city (the Greater Santo Domingo). The people that live in this Greater Santo Domingo are capitaleños (women are capitaleñas), even if they do not live in the National District.

Places of interest

Zona Colonial

File:Catedral Primada -
Catedral Santa María, first cathedral in the Americas.

The old section of the city is known as Zona Colonial ("Colonial Zone") or Ciudad Colonial ("Colonial City"). The Colonial Zone, bordered by the River Ozama, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1990. Some of the old buildings in this zone are

  • Cathedral of Saint Mary, the first cathedral in America.
  • Alcázar de Colón ("Diego Columbus' Palace") where Diego Columbus, son of Christopher, lived when he was governor of the Spanish colony.
  • Monasterio de San Francisco ("St. Francis Monastery"), an church and place where monks lived (monastery); now is partially destroyed.
  • Hospital de San Nicolás de Bari ("St. Nicholas of Bari Hospital"), the first hospital in the Americas; now is partially destroyed.
  • Palacio del Gobernador y de la Audiencia ("Palace of the Governor and the Court"); now is a museum, Museo de las Casas Reales ("Museum of the Royal Houses").
  • Fortaleza Ozama ("Ozama Fortress"), the oldest fort in America.


Santo Domingo has several museums, many of them in the Zona Colonial.

  • Alcázar de Colón ("Diego Columbus' Palace")
  • Naval Museum of the Atarazanas
  • Museum of the Casas Reales (colonial period)
  • Museum of Duarte
  • National Museum of Natural History
  • Museum of the Dominican Man
  • World of Amber Museum
  • Modern Art Gallery
  • National Museum of History and Geography

Parks and recreational areas

Columbus Park

Santo Domingo has various parks as the National Botanical Garden, the National Zoo and the Mirador Sur Park.

There are also many small squares as the Parque Colón ("Columbus Park"), in the Zonal Colonial and on the northern side of the cathedral; and the Parque Independencia ("Independence Park"), just outside of the old western wall and where the Founding Fathers of the country (Juan Pablo Duarte, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez and Matías Ramón Mella) are buried.


There are eighteen universities in Santo Domingo. Established in 1538, Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) was the first university founded in the continent; it is also the only public university in the country.


Santo Domingo is home to the Leones del Escogido and Tigres del Licey baseball clubs of the Dominican Winter League. Estadio Quisqueya is the home stadium for both teams. Centro Olimpico Juan Pablo Duarte is the central sports complex of the city, located at the center of the city.

Photo Gallery

Sister cities

Santo Domingo has sister relationships with many cities worldwide:

Barcelona, SpainMiami, Florida, USA
Berlin,GermanyNew York City, New York, USA
Bern, SwitzerlandParis, France
Boston, Massachusetts, USAProvidence, Rhode Island, USA
Buenos Aires, ArgentinaSarasota, Florida, USA
Caracas, VenezuelaTaipei, Taiwan
Haifa, IsraelTenerife, Gran Canaria, Spain
London, United KingdomToronto, Canada

Other pages


Provincial capitals of the Dominican Republic
Azua • Baní • BarahonaBonao • Comendador • Cotuí • Dajabón • El SeiboHato Mayor • Higüey • Jimaní • La Romana • La Vega • MaoMocaMonte CristiMonte PlataNaguaNeibaPedernalesPuerto Plata • Sabaneta • Salcedo • Samaná • San Cristóbal • San Francisco de Macorís • San José de Ocoa • San Juan de la Maguana • San Pedro de Macorís • Santiago de los CaballerosSanto DomingoSanto Domingo Este


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