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Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

All inclusive Santo Domingo holidays

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Santo Domingo Overview

Cultural holidays: Being the major capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo holidays have a wealth of attractions for you to see during your holidays here. The Dominican Republic was discovered in 1496 by Christopher Colombus’s brother, Bartolome Colombus, and as such Santo Domingo is the oldest European city in the Americas. The Colonial Zone is the main area which attracts tourists, thanks to wonderful 16th century structures such as Ozama Fort, Alcazar de Colon and the Cathedral.

Fiesta holidays: Santo Domingo holidays have a fiesta-style atmosphere. So even if you’re not on your holidays here during the time of the two actual festivals (the Merengue on July 26 and The Carnival throughout February), you’ll still enjoy the cocktail bars, rustic straw-thatched restaurants and spacious parks which are open all year round.

Shopping holidays: Santo Domingo holidays have some of the best shopping choices in all of the holidays in the Caribbean. There are a number of authentic and original shopping stalls in the Colonial Zone selling items unique to Dominican Republic holidays. Plus, if you travel a little further out from the centre of Santo Domingo you’ll have the choice of three massive malls all selling items from famous international brands.

Attractions in Santo Domingo

Ozama Fortress: This amazing 16th century castle is the oldest military construction still standing in the Americas. With cobbled stone walls and a geometric rook, the Ozama Fortress has medieval style architecture reminiscent of castles all over Europe, particularly in Britain and Spain.

Alcazar de Colon: It’s easy to understand why Santo Domingo is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site when they are so many famous landmarks all grouped within its centre. Like the Ozama Fortress, Alcazar de Colon is another such landmark, with this one being a grand palace which has housed Diego Colon (the son of Christopher Colombus) and Francis Drake over its time. The palace has now been fully restored back to its former glory and is a wonderful sight to see during your holidays in Santo Domingo.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor: Another landmark of firsts, this Cathedral was the first of its kind to be built in the Americas. Work was completed in 1540 but the Cathedral has remained in rather good condition, with a decorative golden facade and a pure silver altar. The cathedral is lavishly decorated largely thanks to the riches acquired by the Columbus family during their explorations and adventures. In fact, it is even believed that the remains which were once under this cathedral were the remains of Christopher Columbus himself, making this a very special place to visit during your holidays in Santo Domingo.

Activities in Santo Domingo

Museum of Modern Art: One of the best art galleries you’ll see on holidays in the Caribbean, this sleek, modern building was founded in 1976. Since then, the Museum of Modern Art has gone from strength to strength, growing to incorporate works from Jamaica, Bahamas and Puerto Rico as well as from the Dominican Republic.

Botanical garden: Being in a tropical climate, the weather on Santo Domingo holidays encourages a rich diversity of wildlife which it’s wonderful to immerse yourself in. That’s why it’s well worth a visit to the main botanical garden, or Jardin Botanico as it’s known. Throughout its grounds you can wonder through different eco-systems from rainforests to oriental gardens.

Museum of the Casas Reales: This impressive museum is actually housed within a grand 16th century palace. Most of the collections inside are devoted to showing what life was like in the Dominican Republic in the 16th century, with exhibitions depicting smuggling, health, discovery, and the economy. It’s a great way to learn about the culture of Dominican people during your holidays.

Beaches in Santo Domingo

Boca Chica: There are no beaches directly within the resort of Santo Domingo, but Boca Chica is only around twenty minutes away. It’s a beautiful beach too with white powder-soft sand and luminescent turquoise waters. The open expanse also features huge palm trees and shallow waters which are great for swimming, especially for children on family holidays here.

Restaurants in Santo Domingo

Fellini: The sleek stylish decor of this modern restaurant matches the expert presentation of the food perfectly. Dishes include wonderfully inventive delights like prawn Carpaccio and risotto with black squid ink. The restaurant doubles up as a rather swish bar to treat yourself to a cocktail while you’re on your holidays too!

Adrian Tropical: The unique feature of this tropical themed restaurant is its setting – it’s actually built on the water on high wooden seats. There are some classic Dominican dishes here too, such as Mofongo (made out of sweet mashed plantains), guinea stew and fried pork. It all makes for a very memorable meal on your holidays in Santo Domingo.

Buen Provecho: Another great restaurant to sample the local delicacies of the Dominican Republic. Buen Provecho actually specialises in ‘La Bandera’ which translates as ‘the flag’. This is often the lunch of choice for most Dominicans, and consists of a tasty variation of rice, beans and meat. They also serve ‘Sancocho’ here too, which is a soup-stew with lots of root vegetables like cassava, yucca, potatoes and plantain. Try this restaurant to sample completely traditional cuisine during your holidays in the Dominican Republic.

Nightlife in Santo Domingo

Partying holidays: Being the capital city, Santo Domingo holidays have a vibrant and varied nightlife scene. Both the touristy colonial zone and the upmarket Naco and Piantini have a good selection of bars for dancing the night away. If you’re heading to the upmarket area, look out for bars such as Maruja, Rua and Dock – they’re all open-air bars with a very cool, chic atmosphere. There are clubs in this area too such as the stylish Praia and the dance music focused LED. Venture down to the colonial zone for a more chilled take on drinking, with bars such as Casa de Teatro, Parada 77 and Misifu have a very laid-back Bohemian style.

Shopping in Santo Domingo

Authentic shops: There are a number of shops in the colonial zone offering many items which are unique to Dominican Republic holidays. In particular, look out for the jewellery which is decorated with the precious stones of amber and larimar, which are both indigenous to the Dominican Republic. Be prepared to haggle with the shop owners too, as bartering is often expected in many shops in Santo Domingo.

Shopping holidays: Santo Domingo holidays have a real claim to fame in the number of huge shopping centres it has nearby. There’s Plaza Central and Acropolis Centre, but for a real impression of the sense of scale of these centres you’ll want to visit MegaCentro. The massive mall has over 150 shops, 19 restaurants and 10 cinema screens! So it’s not surprising it’s often considered the largest shopping centre you’ll see of all holidays in the Caribbean.

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