One thing I’m always doing is planning my next trip. Living on Martha’s Vineyard and coming from the Dominican Republic, islands call my name. I’m excited to share some insider’s tips on visiting the gorgeous Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic. Specifically, the heart of the island – Santo Domingo.
Are you visiting Santo Domingo for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in SDQ!
When I have a visitor from out of town, the first place they want to see is the Colonial Zone, but I also take them around the city itself – for a more local, authentic experience. The Colonial Zone is the oldest permanent European settlement of the New World and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
When I want to escape the crowds/tourists, my favorite place to visit is Juan Dolio, a small beach town perfect for relaxing and getting away but only 40 minutes from the city itself.
If this is a romantic trip, I recommend heading to Boca Marina Restaurant for kissing with a view. This gorgeous beach front restaurant is the perfect place to head for date night! Not only is the seafood locally sourced and the dishes influenced by the Caribbean flavors, but the view during sunset is spectular.
The best place to walk the dog is Parque Mirador, a gorgeous and large park where athletes work out, families spend time together on picnics, and dogs frolic happily.
Museums are wonderful, but if you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit the Museo Infantil Trampolin. A children-inspired museum, parents will delight in all the educational fun!
If you are looking for typical Dominican cuisine, I recommend having lunch at Adrian’s. Known for their “mofongo”, a mash of plantains, pork rinds, and garlic. So delicious!
The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is basically any bakery in the city. Santo Domingo has a vast array of bakeries and coffee shops, and coffee is not only a beverage but a ritual. After lunch, families and friends sit around the table and drink coffee while talking and discussing about their day. Coffee is never rushed – actually, very rarely do you see Dominican take coffee “to-go”.
Looking for cheap food in Santo Domingo? Go to check out Barra Payan where you can get the best grilled sandwiches and smoothies. I recommend getting a cuban sandwich and a papaya smoothie – the perfect combination. Another great place to check out is the cafeteria at the Americana. Oddly enough a large hardware/department store, this cafeteria has daily specials for lunch – everything from burgers to traditional Dominican cuisine (I recommend getting the Dominican food, whatever it is that day!)
Any restaurant on the Gustavo Mejia Ricart street is the spot for late night dining. The street is bustling with activities and some of the best late night cuisine. International
For an expensive, yet quality meal, go to Mitre. Right in the center of the city, Mitre provides some of the best meals you’ll experience in the city. Serving everything for a fresh mozzarella bar, seafood appetizers, fusion entrees, and more, it’s the ideal place for date night or a night on the town with friends.
Seeing a lot of coffee, rum, and baseball? Santo Domingo – even more so – Dominican Republic, is known for all three things. Some of the best coffee, rum, and baseball players come from my home island so make sure to catch a local game and bring home some freshly roasted coffee and rum.
When you come to Santo Domingo, get your picture taken at Alcazar de Colon – is the oldest Viceregal residence in America!
The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of el Pico Duarte, the highest peak in the Caribbean. Great for skilled hikers!
Any of the beaches offer great views of sunrise and sunset, and La Vega Providence (not in Santo Domingo, but just a couple of hours away) is the best place to watch or experience the carnival that takes place in February.
In Santo Domingo, outdoor lovers will want to horseback ride on the beach!
Looking for a little exercise? Walk along the Colonial Zone.
After a day of adventure, Virginia Spa is the best place to go for a spa treatment.
If you are a museum lover, the best museum is The Museo Bellapart, a private art museum whose collection includes artwork from the mid-19th century to the 1960s. Perfect for the art lovers.
Looking for exciting night life? Go dancing at any of the clubs and discos for live music. Santo Domingo nightlife is happening and every establishment has a fun activity happening, where it’s Monday or Saturday.
The Listin Diario will keep you posted on what’s happening in Santo Domingo and the entire Dominican Republic.
You can tell a lot about Santo Domingo from visiting and watching basically any weekend family event. You’ll see it be surrounded by food, music, and great times!
The Dominican Republic doesn’t live through the four seasons, with basically spring and summer being the basic seasons. Fall and winter just mean a slight drop in temperatures, but never less than 65F. It’s a great getaway if you live up North and want to get away from the snow in the winter months.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that some of the best summer beer is made in the Dominican Republic, right in Santo Domingo: Presidente Beer! Make sure to order one!
Just outside of Santo Domingo you can visit La Romana and have lunch at Peperoni Marina, where you’ll find a great variety of fusion items, mixing great Dominican flavors with international cuisine.
These insider tips to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic were written by Marnely Murray who pens Cooking with Books.