The Capital of Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo was founded by Bartolome Colon, Columbus’ brother. It is known as the first city of the Americas.
It was called La Isabela, when founded in 1496. Its official name now is Santo Domingo de Guzman. It is located on the southern coast of the Island of Hispaniola, shared by Haiti on the west and the Dominican Republic on the East.
It faces, therefore, the Caribbean Sea. It is proud to be the home of the first university, the first hospital and the first cathedral on the New World.
The busy capital of Santo Domingo Dominican Republic
The Trujillo era
The city has experienced its share of tragedies during the years. It was once destroyed in 1562 by an earthquake, burned and savaged by Sir Francis Drake in 1586 and occupied by the Haitians until Rafael Leonidas Trujillo took power in 1936.
The rising Dictator changed the name of the city to Ciudad Trujillo after himself. I remember my years at Elementary School, we learned the capitals of the Americas and Ciudad Trujillo was the only name recognized for this colonial city.
Upon his rule was overthrown in 1961, the Capital regained its name back. A few years of unrest continued until the American Invasion of 1965, which brought calm and prosperity to the country.
The fully refurbished Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo
An important and busy Caribbean Capital
Santo Domingo Dominican Republic is today a cosmopolitan city with around 2.5 million inhabitants. And if we count the Province of Santo Domingo the population goes over the three million on an area of more than 250 square kilometers.
Santo Domingo is the most bustling and diverse city in the Caribbean. The dominicanos are lovely working people, which have gone through many difficulties during the years, but now they have the progress and quiet they so long deserve.
La Atarazana Colonial section of Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo Attractions
The Capital of Dominican Republic has an area called the Zona Colonial located west of the Ozama River. Also called La Atarazana, it is a perfect example of Spanish colonial Architecture including cobblestone streets.
It hosts the Museum of the Dominican man, and the Museum of Modern Art. Going down to the west starts the famous Malecon or boardwalk along the ocean, surrounded by palms.
Let us visit the Estadio Quisqueya where you can watch the national and favorite sport of the island, baseball. We are all witnesses to the many great “dominicanos” playing on the Great Leagues in the United States. Who doesn’t know famous A Rod, short for Alex Rodriguez?
The First Cathedral in the Americas is in Santo Domingo
If you arrive individually your best choices are either renting a car or going by taxi. Driving a rental car is easy and locals are very friendly helping the tourists to get around. Taxis abound at the airport.
They will take you anywhere you need in the capital. Although prices are fix by authorities, please make sure that you have agreed on the price with your taxi driver.
Bus transportation is mainly used by locals. I personally do not recommend it.
No matter what the purpose of your visit is, business o tourism you will enjoy this capital of Dominican Republic.
Hear my advice, eat lots of “Tostones” and “Mangu”, drink Dominican rum with moderation and don’t forget to dance the merengue. This is what I would do right now if I was there.
The Dominican Republic Food is awesome.
Los Tres Ojos
In English the three eyes, is located on the way from the airport to the capital. It is a site of large underground caves and fresh water lagoons. The Tainos, the island Pre-Columbus inhabitants used the caves and lagoons for religious rituals.
Faro de Colon
Columbus Lighthouse was built in the shape of a cross and also projects a cross shaped beam of light into the sky at night. This monument is located in Santo Domingo Este, Dominican Republic, in tribute to Christopher Columbus.
Restaurants in Santo Domingo
The city is famous for having so many restaurants that is impossible to cover them all even for locals. When we lived in Puerto Rico we used to come to “La Republica”, as we affectionately call the country, and eat and drank to satiety.
Shopping in Santo Domingo
Shopping is also an important part of your visit. Many World known chains have opened in Santo Domingo, bringing the latest fashions to the island. Great designers like Oscar de la Renta are proud Dominicans.
Aeropuerto Las Americas an important hub in the Caribbean
Las Americas International Airport is located about 30 minutes’ drive east of the Capital of Dominican Republic. It is a busy airport handling flights from most cities in North America, the Caribbean, South America and Europe.
You’ll be surprised to see at one time planes of Air France, Jet Blue, American Airlines, Lufthansa, COPA, and so many that it is unnecessary to mention them all.
The Beach of Boca Chica a short drive from the Capital
Dominican Republic Beaches
Like in the rest of the country, the capital is also surrounded by beautiful beaches. Go east and you’ll find the resort town of Boca Chica, very popular with locals and tourist to Santo Domingo.
Further east are La Romana with its state of the art Resort of Casa de Campo. If you continue east, then you start to go around the island and see more great beaches like Punta Cana Dominican Republic, Puerto Plata, Sosua, Cabarete and many more.
From the capital if you go west towards the Haitian border you arrive at Palenque and Nizao Beach.
And if you head north towards the city of Santiago de los Caballeros you will pass the cities of Bonao and Jarabacoa and the Cibao Region.
Map of Dominican Republic showing the location of Santo Domingo
images for capital of dominican republic
cathedral by mariordo
faro by bgabel
all courtesy of wikimedia commons