Santo Domingo Travel Guide & Information

Santo Domingo, the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic prides itself on being the first European city in the New World. 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 vast historic and cultural heritage that makes any visit to the city extremely memorable.

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Travel to Santo Domingo, a city that represents a perfect harmony between modern sophistication, old world charm and Latin flavor. Santo Domingo is known throughout the Caribbean for its upscale hotels and restaurants and nightlife. Flights to Santo Domingo give you an opportunity to experience the ambience and romanticism of this vibrant seaside capital. The architectural landmarks in the city include a number of firsts for the New World: the first cathedral, monastery, military fort and university.

Santo Domingo today is an intensely urban city, home to not only colonial era masterpieces and New World firsts, but to vibrant nightclubs, world class museums, cultural institutions and elegant restaurants. Located in the tropical southern Caribbean coast of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo is an ideal destination to visit any time of year. The superb shopping, delicious dining, dazzling casinos, lush green parks, colonial era architecture and vibrant nightlife, make Santo Domingo a "Must Visit" destination for every traveler.

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Things to do in Santo Domingo

Museums:

Santo Domingo has several world class museums that provide historic insight.

Museo de las Casas Reales: One of the important cultural monuments built during the colonial era. This museum was established to collect and highlight the history, life and customs of the Spanish colony. It is currently one of the most visited sites by tourists in Santo Domingo. This restored 16th-century palace is filled with armor, tapestries, maps and an array of artifacts stretching from pre-Columbian days to the beginning of the 19th century.

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Museo del Hombre Dominicano: treasures the history of the island before Columbus set foot in the Dominican Republic. The museum preserves portions of that early, rich history and allows visitors to view tribal masks, ceremonial items and everyday artifacts that survived European colonial expansion.

Museum of Modern Art: holds a worthy collection of Dominican, Caribbean and Latin American art, paintings, drawings, sculptures, videos, ceramics and photography, paintings and sculptures by national and international artists. A must see at the museum is works of two of the country's best-known artists, Elvis Aviles and Tony Capellan.

Prominent Attractions:

Santo Domingo hosts several other attractions.

Acuario Nacional: makes for an ideal spot for a family visit. The open, airy National Aquarium offers visitors a glimpse of the Caribbean's diverse, colorful sea life. A particular area of interest is the aquarium's Plexiglas tunnel, which lets visitors walk directly through the aquarium. The complex boasts more than 3,000 marine inhabitants.

Boca Chica: is the closest beach to Santo Domingo. Boca Chica serves as the area's most popular destination for lounging in the sun and enjoying crystal clear Caribbean waters. Picturesque white sands and blue waters make this a worthwhile spot to visit. Subdued waves and clear waters make it a favorite spot for vacationers looking for water activities like snorkeling and swimming.

Columbus Lighthouse Monument: This mammoth structure was built on the eastern shore of the Ozama River in the early 1990s to commemorate both Santo Domingo's status as the oldest European city in the Americas and the 500th anniversary of Columbus arrival in the New World. The building is another "Must Visit" attraction on your trip to Santo Domingo.

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Where to Stay in Santo Domingo

Like any major city, Santo Domingo offers visitors a wide range of lodging options. The variety ranges from cheap hotels, 4 star hotels under $99, spa and resort hotels and more.

Colonial Zone: The Colonial Zone is home to several attractions that date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The Ozama Fort, the Alcazar de Colon and the Cathedral, all built during Columbus’ lifetime. The area is home to several beautiful monuments and buildings too, such as the Iglesia Regina Angelorum and the Convento de los Dominicos. When it comes to hotels, the choices range from budget hotels to luxurious hotels and Bed and Breakfast Inns.

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El Malecon: This waterfront boulevard is home to several huge hotel and casino complexes with dozens of small restaurants, clubs and cafes. Travelers will find numerous festivals and concerts throughout the year. El Malecon is home to several shops, bed and breakfast hotels and affordable restaurants with a nice mix of locals and tourists. Those looking for more luxurious accommodations can choose to stay in some of the renowned hotels available in the area.

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Passport & Visa Requirements

As per the latest travel information available to Santo Domingo, here are the latest passport and visa guidelines are as follows:

For US Citizens:

* All Americans traveling by air outside of the United States are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States.

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* Visitors who do not obtain a Dominican visa prior to entry must purchase a tourist card upon arrival to enter the country.

* Visit the Embassy of the Dominican Republic web site for the most current visa information.

For Canadian Citizens:

* For direct air travel to the Santo Domingo, Canadian tourists are only required to be in possession of valid official photo identification and proof of citizenship.

* Canadian tourists must also be in possession of a return airline ticket.

* Canadians entering the Santo Domingo for tourist purposes must purchase a tourist card.

* For additional information, please contact the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Ottawa or its consulates in Canada.

This requirement applies to all travelers, regardless of age, including children.

We recommend that you check the latest travel alerts, various airlines baggage policies and travel safety tips, so that you do not miss out on any of the fun while visiting Santo Domingo.

*Kindly note that we take the utmost care in providing you with correct information at all times. However, the passport and visa regulations are subject to change and we strongly urge you to check the requirements directly with the US passport office and, or the Canadian Passport Office before traveling.

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When to visit Santo Domingo

With great weather, Santo Domingo is filled with tourists all round the year. However, as is the case with the most Caribbean destinations, most visitors travel during the winter months. Vacationers flock to the region in order to escape cold weather.

Budget travelers looking for cheap flights to Santo Domingo can travel during the months of June and November.

Planning your Visit:

Peak season: (December to April)

Off-Peak season: (June to November)

Santo Domingo Weather

Santo Domingo enjoys a tropical climate. Sea breezes cool temperatures. The rainy season is between May and November and consists of heavy, short showers after which the sun shines brightly once again.

* The average temperature varies little in the city because of the tropical trade winds help mitigate the heat and humidity throughout the year.

* December and January are the coolest months and July and August are the warmest.

Currency and Language:

Currency:

Languages:

* Spanish is the dominant language in Santo Domingo.

* Many people in Santo Domingo speak English as well, especially in touristy areas of the city.