Santo Domingo a City of Firsts

Los Tres Ojos National Park in Santo Domingo

Let’s talk about my city for a moment. When most people contemplate a vacation in Dominican Republic they think of the beautiful beaches. Honestly, they think of Punta Cana. But in my opinion, going to Punta Cana is a far cry from an authentic trip to the Dominican Republic. This country has so much more to offer than just its beaches. When my fiancé and I embarked on our move here, the most common question I got was “where are you living, is it close to Punta Cana”. Now, I’ve been to Punta Cana, don’t get me wrong, it can be beautiful. But, and this is a big but, let me tell you about my city of Santo Domingo. I truly believe this is one of the most underrated travel destinations I’ve been to in my life. I don’t know anyone from back home that vacations here or has even thought to make a stop on their way to (as we all know by now) Punta Cana.

 
So let’s start with a bit of a history lesson. Santo Domingo was the first permanent establishment of the new world. You want history, I don’t kno
w where you could go to get more. The whole city is basically a UNESCO heritage site. In fact, the colonial city was deemed a UNESCO heritage cite. This city holds the title of the first university, cathedral, castle, monastery, and fortress in the New World. That’s a lot of firsts. And let me tell you, those are all must-sees on your trip here. The cathedral being my favorite, is beyond being able to be described by words. It sits right in the center of everything. The square it sits in is filled with Dominicans playing dominoes, artists drawing and painting, photographers snapping away, Europeans sitting at the cafes that line the streets, and pigeons surrounding the square. Don’t worry, not the gross pigeons you’re thinking of; these ones have a sort of majestic feel to them.

 

Calle Conde in Zona Colonial
Zona Colonial, a part of Santo Domingo, boasts amazing cobblestone streets and European colonial-era architecture. It is by far my favorite area of Santo Domingo and every time you’re there, you get a feeling that you’re in a small city somewhere in Europe. The small houses are lined with bougainvillea (my favorite flower). You can get the best foods and drinks at any of the cafes with outdoor seating; this sets the atmosphere to just right. There are many boutique hotels and restaurants throughout the area that you can eat or stay at. Most of the hotels even boast a day-pass where youcan use the amenities while you eat and drink.
 
Now don’t get me wrong, you can still get to beaches from Santo Domingo. The capital city is on a coast. My favorite beach, which happens to be the closest is Boca Chica. Once a major travel destination deemed to be a resort town; this beach boasts a few all-i
nclusive resorts and and many restaurants literally on 
the water. If you want a cosmopolitan feel, I suggest going to El Pelicano, where you can literally walk down the steps of the restaurant and be waist deep in the ultra blue clear water.
 

 

On the public beach, you can rent an umbrella and beach chairs for around 300 pesos, which is equal to about $6. I love this beach. You want an authentic beach trip in the Dominican Republic, you go here. In fact Anthony Bourdain took a trip here for the famous fried fish. Talk about fresh fish, Boca Chica was in fact a fishing village before it turned into a tourist destination.
 
So as you can see, I’ve fallen in love with this city. Dominican Republic isn’t just what you see on the internet and tv. It’s oh, so much more.
 

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