The beating heart of the Dominican Republic is undoubtedly the buzzing metropolis of Santo Domingo. Known by locals as ‘La Capital’, this dynamic city is a melting pot of different cultures and vibrant neighbourhoods. At once chaotic and laidback in spirit, the streets bustle with life.
As the first European settlement in the Americas, Santo Domingo’s architecture bears witness to its Spanish colonial past. Stroll amid the cobblestone streets and discover 16th Century churches, charming plazas and crumbling fortresses in the Zona Colonial, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ever the city of contrasts, you’ll also find fascinating galleries and museums, a booming gastronomy scene and lively bars blasting out merengue.
To admire Santo Domingo’s native flora, wander through the orchids, tropical palms and aquatic plants of the National Botanical Garden. Another natural highlight in the area is the Three Eyes National Park, where limestone caves dripping with lush vegetation shelter three sparkling lakes. Looking to sunbathe by golden sands and crystal clear waters? Conveniently close to the city, the stunning lesser-known beaches of Juan Dolio and Guayacanes offer plenty of great spots to unwind. They also boast some incredible restaurants and cafes where you can sample the freshest seafood imaginable.