As some of you may know, we had our first visitors this past week ! And what a week it was. I got to see and explore parts of our city I hadn’t seen before, and introduce my Dad and his fiancé Carla to our life here in the Dominican Republic.
Our week started out by picking them up at Las Americas International Airport which is about a 35 minute drive from our house. First stop, the closest gas station for an ice cold Presidente beer to show them just how we do in the Dominican Republic. That’s right, people can stop at their local colmado(bodega) along with their closest gas station on the road for a beer at any time. Hey, we had to show them the Dominican way. Right?
After showing them our house and getting settled in, we headed to D’Luis Parrillada for dinner, one of our favorite restaurants on the Malecon. Once you are seated and order your drinks, you will be served a small bowl of their sancocho which let me say is to die for. For your main course, I recommend one of their specialties, mofongo, which is what we all ended up ordering.
The next day, we headed over to Los Tres Ojos National Park. This park is on the outskirts of Santo Domingo but it is a mustsee if you happen to ever be in town. It costs about 70 pesos per person to enter which is almost $2 usd and then for an optional 900 pesos for all 4 people (about $19usd) you can get a tour guide who speaks Spanish, English, or French. I definitely recommend splurging on the tour guide. There aren’t many signs with information about any of the lagoons so a tour guide will give you information and history you otherwise wouldn’t have known.
Los Tres Ojos is a natural wonder of amazing caves and blue water lagoons interconnected under the ground. There are three lagoons you can see and then a short boat ride through a cave to see a fourth lagoon. The pictures honestly speak for themselves. Tres Ojos which means three eyes represents the three main lagoons.
The next day we took it easy and lounged around while my dad and fiancé watched soccer and football. But that night, we headed over to a casino at the Renaissance hotel on the Malecon. The Malecon is lined with hotels and casinos so naturally we had to go test our luck.
A day later, we headed over to Boca Chica to show my Dad and Carla our closest beach and the one we frequent most often. Because what would a trip to Dominican Republic be without a beach day? We had lunch and spent the day at Pelicano Beach Club which is a great place if
you’re looking for a casual beach club restaurant. You can literally jump off the restaurant floor into the crystal clear blue ocean or you can sunbathe on one of the many lounge beds and chairs. While eating, you can watch fellow beachgoers partake in water sports and activities or if you decide you can join in for a few
dollars. Pelicano has a cosmopolitan feel without the cosmopolitan prices.
One of my favorite things this past week was the drive up to the mountains of Jarabacoa and lunch at Aroma de la Montana on Jamaca de Dios. It was breathtaking. And I don’t mean the kind where you say breathtaking as a figure of speech. This place was literally breathtaking. You drive up a massive cliff of winds and turns which reminded us of the hills of Italy and Greece.When you arrive at the top, you are faced with the most amazing view of the Caribbean, in my opinion. Who would have thought that the Caribbean boasted mountains like this. My first thought was is this for real? Am I still in Dominican Republic. Yup, we
were;Dominican Republic in all its glory opening my eyes to how amazingly beautiful this country can be. Not only was the view amazing, but the food was exquisite also. This restaurant has two floors, all with glass windows and a deck which is where we sat to take in the view while we ate. The top floor of the restaurant actually rotates 360 degrees so no matter where you sit, you are sure to be in the perfect spot.
As our week was coming closer to a close, we visited Zona Colonial and saw the first Cathedral of the New World and Alcazar De Colon. These are just two of the tourist attractions in Santo Domingo and they do not disappoint. After walking the cobblestone streets, seeingthe vibrant colors, looking at the colonial buildings, and watching the men playing dominoes, we had dinner at SegaZona. This is one of my favorite restaurants in Zona Colonial because they serve Mexican and Italian food, my two favorite things!
On our last full day, we took it easy and shopped at the malls. You think New Jersey is full of malls? Let me tell you a thing about Santo Domingo. It is filled with shopping malls. You can have your pick of malls with stores in the states and Europe, or malls with all high end stores. My favorites include Agora Mall, Galeria 360, and Blue Mall. We also boast a mall called Sambil which has an actual aquarium inside.
As our trip was coming to a close, we had dinner in Piantini, at La Dolcerie. OMG this place was amazing. With outdoor or indoor dining, we opted for the air conditioning and sat inside.
I can’t say enough good things about this restaurant. It has definitely become my favorite place to eat in Santo Domingo. The decor, atmosphere, and food were all great. Not only that but the service was awesome too which is a big win in Dominican Republic in my book. Ifvisiting, I recommend the goat cheese croquettes as an appetizer, sweet sausage risotto for your main, and the fondue de coco for dessert.