Angelic Santo Domingo
The Dominican Republic’s capital city, Santo Domingo is also the most modern and dynamic metropolis in the Caribbean. La Capital—as it is affectionately called—epitomizes the pulse of Dominican culture, where the old and the new converge seamlessly from centuries old architecture and history, to large shopping malls, art galleries, an electric nightlife, and a booming gastronomy scene.
Santo Domingo is situated on the southeast coast of the island of Hispaniola, at the mouth of the Ozama River, and is the oldest permanent city established by Europeans in the Western Hemisphere. The city is also the seat of the oldest Roman Catholic archbishopric in the Americas.
Founded by Bartholomew Columbus in 1496, on the east bank of the Ozama River and then moved by Nicolás de Ovando in 1502 to the west bank of the river, the city is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas, and was the first seat of the Spanish colonial rule in the New World. Santo Domingo is the site of the first university, cathedral, castle, monastery, and fortress in the New World. The city’s Colonial Zone was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Santo Domingo was called Ciudad Trujillo (Spanish pronunciation: [sjuˈðað tɾuˈxiʝo]), from 1936 to 1961, after the Dominican Republic’s dictator, Rafael Trujillo, named the capital after himself. Following his assassination, the city resumed its original designation.
Santo Domingo is the cultural, financial, political, commercial and industrial center of the Dominican Republic, with the country’s most important industries being located within the city. Santo Domingo also serves as the chief seaport of the country. The city’s harbor at the mouth of the Ozama River accommodates the largest vessels, and the port handles both heavy passenger and freight traffic. Temperatures are high year round, with cooler breezes during winter time.
Santo Domingo is the industrial, commercial, and financial centre of the country. Its industrial development has been greatly influenced by the construction of hydroelectric dams, which furnish its industries with inexpensive electrical power. The country’s most important industries—such as metallurgy; the manufacture of refrigerators, petrochemicals and plastics, cement, and textiles; and food processing—are located in Santo Domingo. The importance of services, including tourism, to the city’s economy has grown since the late 20th century.
Exploring the Colonial City—the first European settlement of the Americas and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990—is a recommended experience for all travelers. This historic neighborhood consists of a pedestrian-friendly maze of narrow streets brimming with 16th to early 20th century architectural wonders. They lead toward colonial buildings turned museums, shops, hotels, restaurants, and sidewalk cafés. Hop on the Chu Chu Colonial train for a 45-minute tour of the area, hire a guide who will walk you down the first paved road of the Americas while sharing tales, or rent a bike and meander on your own. For a nature break, picnic on the lawns of the National Botanical Garden, the largest in the Caribbean, or stroll down the Malecón at sunset for sea views, roadside snacks, and people watching.
Beyond the sights, a cultural experience is never far in Santo Domingo’s eclectic neighborhoods. Shop at one of the exclusive malls or at an artisan gallery in the Colonial City—get a linen chacabana shirt, a leather handbag, or a ceramic faceless doll. Dine in style at brand hotels citywide where renowned chefs create twists on Dominican and international cuisine. Relax with a Dominican puro at one of the open terrace-bistros overlooking Plaza de España, or mingle at rooftop lounges on Gustavo Mejía Ricart Avenue. And when you’re ready for the beach, a forty-minute ride lands you onto Boca Chica’s soft, white sands facing a crystal clear Caribbean Sea, where seafood restaurants and entertainment await. Whichever your preferred beat, Santo Domingo has it.
Avenida Luperón, esquina Cayetano Germosén Santo Domingo, República Dominicana
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC MINISTRY OF TOURISM
Avenida Luperón, esquina Cayetano Germosén
Santo Domingo, República Dominicana