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Santo Domingo Travel Guide - Plan your vacation in Santo Domingo

Leisure and Culture

  • What are the Best Beaches in Santo Domingo?
    Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, is often called the Miami of the Caribbean. Its awe-inspiring beaches set against verdant tropical landscapes, adorning most of the coast, provide an exquisite paradise for soaking up the sun and swimming in warm aquamarine water. To the east of the city are spectacular beaches such as Boca Chica, Playa de Guayacanes, Playa Don Dolio, Playa Caribe, and Playa Nizao and to the south-west is the quieter but equally splendid Playa de Palenque. These stretches of white sand and pleasant surf are amongst the best beaches in Santo Domingo offering a utopian seaside experience for all holidaymakers.
    • playa-boca-chica.jpg
      Boca Chica

      Translated, Boca Chica means ''little mouth''. Once home to a languid fishing village, it's amongst the grandest and most popular of Santo Domingo beaches. Shaped like a bay and protected by a reef, its shallow turquoise waters make it a sought-after family-friendly spot ideal for watersports like snorkeling, surfing, and fishing. Lined with coconut palm trees and golden sand, this expansive beach is dotted with bars and appetizing restaurants where, on occasion, the vibrant sounds of traditional bachata music can be heard.

    • playa-guayacanes.jpg
      Playa de Guayacanes

      Secluded and set amidst fishing villages is tranquil Playa de Guayacanes, a mere 40-minute drive from Santo Domingo. This largely underdeveloped and lesser-known shoreline is one of Santo Domingo’s quintessential beaches for vacationers seeking a peaceful coastal retreat. Abundant palm trees supply shade from the balmy heat, while its offshore reef is great for snorkeling adventures. Beachgoers are encouraged to walk along its fine sands during dawn and dusk to catch the splendid sun‘s rays glistening on the Caribbean sea.

    • playa-juan-dolio.jpg
      Playa de Juan Dolio

      A designated swimming area with crystalline water and lifeguards all-year round make Playa de Juan Dolio a favored family beach. Its pristine shores, famous for tall palm trees and lapped by gentle waves, remain natural and unspoiled, while a few wrecks offshore provide exciting underwater expeditions for scuba diving enthusiasts.

    • playa-caribe.jpg
      Playa Caribe

      Located on the south coast between Boca Chica and Juan Dolio is stunning Playa Caribe, also known as Embassy Beach. While calm during the morning, the turquoise swell in this small cove increases moderately by afternoon attracting boogie boarders and surfers keen to enjoy the thrill of catching Caribbean waves.

    • playa-palenque.jpg
      Playa de Palenque

      Southwest of Santo Domingo is the dark-sand beach Playa de Palenque, a boating, and kayaking haven. Less frequented than Boca Chica, this beautiful part of the Dominican coastline is excellent for surfing and diving. Submerged just off the shore are the remains of two French warships, the Imperial and Diomède, which sank in 1806, providing an opportunity to embark on a fascinating scuba diving adventure.

    • playa-nizao.jpg
      Playa de Nizao

      One of the best beaches to visit in Santo Domingo on the eastern side of the Dominican Republic is the three kilometer stretch of shimmering white sand called Playa de Nizao. Regularly frequented by locals and less crowded, it's a site of warm lagoons and rivers, as well as remote forested areas attracting those interested in ecotourism. Like Santo Domingo’s other picturesque beaches, it's pleasant waters are suitable for fishing, snorkeling, diving and refreshing swims.

    • The Caribbean sun is strong. Always use sunblock with a high SPF factor.
    • Microbes in the water in the Dominican Republic might have an unpleasant  effect on sensitive stomachs. To ensure water safety in Santo Domingo, Drink purified bottled water to avoid an upset stomach.
    • Haggling is an expected part of the Dominican shopping experience. If your bargaining skills are sound, you’ll most likely be able to get the initial price down to half. Just remember that many artisans make their livelihoods at markets so you should always trade fairly.
    • Some Dominican Republic beaches have powerful waves, strong undertows, and large rocks. To maintain personal safety, check water conditions before swimming.
    • Excessive sun and alcohol consumption can have adverse effects. Stay hydrated to avoid illness.
    • Don’t buy from the first vendor you encounter. Check out the competition to learn the average price before bartering.
    • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially when outdoors.
    • Avoid raw protein products like shellfish and eggs, especially when eating street food.
    • Avoid purchasing fake amber or cigars when shopping in Santo Domingo. Only buy from reputable places who can authenticate your purchase.
    • While it's generally safe, holidaymakers are discouraged from visiting the beach alone at night.
    • Don't drink unpasteurized dairy products.
    • Exercise caution when buying turtle shell souvenirs. Many species such as the Hawksbill sea turtle are endangered, and there’s a risk your goods will be impounded by the U.S.
    • Always respect the environment and don't leave litter lying around.
    • Frequently wash hands with soap and water, even more so before eating,  to stop the spreading of unhealthy bacteria.
    • Most hotel gift shops sell mass-produced souvenirs. If you’re looking for a varied selection of authentic, handcrafted goods, then it’s best to visit local markets.
    • It's easy to get distracted by beautiful surroundings when visiting the best beaches in Santo Domingo, only take what's necessary and leave valuables behind to avoid potential theft.
    • Stay away from eating street food that’s been out in the open. It´s not always easy to determine how fresh it is.
    • Rather shop with cash than your credit card. Vendors are charged a processing fee for purchases made with cards and prefer to receive money. Paying with cash gives you bargaining leverage and a greater chance of getting a discount.
  • What are the Best Excursions in Santo Domingo?
    Famed for being the oldest European settlement in the Americas, Santo Domingo’s diverse heritage is a melting pot of Spanish, African and Taino history. Its spectacular mountain terrain, 16th-century colonial architecture and scenic outdoor wonders offer vacationers an alchemy of cultural and natural phenomenon to behold.From breathtaking limestone caves to a sublime UNESCO nature reserve to architectural masterpieces and a blissful island, there's plenty of astonishing 1-day excursions in Santo Domingo for every kind of holidaymaker to enjoy.
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      Parque Nacional Los Tres Ojos (Three Eyes Park)

      This historic landmark, located in Mirador de Esta Park, is one of Dominican Republic's biggest ecotourism attractions. Its sublime open-air limestone cave, extending over 50 yards, spans over three mesmerizing lakes namely, Lago de Zufre, La Nevera and El Lado de Las Damas. A natural habitat for bats, a variety of fish, turtles and 13-feet ferns, Parque Los Tres offers one of the most unique outdoor excursions from Santo Domingo.

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      Bahía de las Águilas

      Declared a World Biosphere Reserve by the UN, this undisturbed wilderness - part of Jaragua National Park and near the southernmost border with Haiti -  boasts an eight kilometer-long beach with glittering sand and sea-diving pelicans. Meaning Eagles Bay in Spanish, this majestic terrain is home to commonly recognized green Iguanas, cactus-covered cliffs and giant starfish residing in the reserve’s clear ocean waters.

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      Baní

      27 miles west from Santo Domingo is the capital town of the Peravia Province, Bani, which blends commercial enterprise and natural beauty. From the popular Bani dunes auspicious for bird watching to Las Salinas - a prominent Caribbean salt mining center- to the Nuestra Senora Regia Cathedral with colonial architecture dating back to the 16th century, this trip offers a fun-filled 1-day excursion from Santo Domingo.

    • juan-dolio-guayacanes.jpg
      Juan Dolio and Guayacanes

      A visit to these idyllic beach towns are well-suited to seaside lovers, gastronomy aficionados and those interested in Taino history. Playa Guayacanes is quiet during the week, and its placid waters are superb for snorkeling, swimming, and fishing. For those culturally inclined, the Museo de San Pedro Macoris in Juan Dolio showcases a miscellany of historical objects, collected by the local community, while Museo Regional de Antropologia, displays a variety of Taino artifacts providing insight into the history of the Caribbean’s indigenous people.

    • cueva-maravillas.jpg
      Las Maravillas Cave and Altos de Chavon

      Discover this archaeological treasure once occupied by the Taino, who engraved its rock face with over 400 paintings illustrating native mythology and sacred rituals. This ancient 800-meter cave, which can be explored up to 200 meters, is filled with dazzling stalactites, stalagmites and formidable geological columns formed over thousands of years. In the heart of the Dominican countryside resides Altos de Chavon, an impressive replica of a 16th-century Mediterranean city designed by Dominican architect, Jose Antonio Caro and Italian cinematographer and designer Roberto Coppa. Operating as a cultural center with a 5000 seater amphitheater, cathedral and archaeological museum, it draws working artists and residents from all over the Dominican Republic.

    • isla-saona.jpg
      Saona Island

      This rustic, tropical island offers one of the most authentic ecotourism excursions from Santo Domingo. Its famous beach, Canto del Playa, is inhabited by lithe coconut palms and lush mangroves, while its quaint village,  Mano Juan, powered by solely by solar panels, lures visitors with its brightly colored wooden houses.

    • The Caribbean sun is strong. Always use sunblock with a high SPF factor.
    • Microbes in the water in the Dominican Republic might have an unpleasant  effect on sensitive stomachs. To ensure water safety in Santo Domingo, Drink purified bottled water to avoid an upset stomach.
    • Haggling is an expected part of the Dominican shopping experience. If your bargaining skills are sound, you’ll most likely be able to get the initial price down to half. Just remember that many artisans make their livelihoods at markets so you should always trade fairly.
    • Some Dominican Republic beaches have powerful waves, strong undertows, and large rocks. To maintain personal safety, check water conditions before swimming.
    • Excessive sun and alcohol consumption can have adverse effects. Stay hydrated to avoid illness.
    • Don’t buy from the first vendor you encounter. Check out the competition to learn the average price before bartering.
    • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially when outdoors.
    • Avoid raw protein products like shellfish and eggs, especially when eating street food.
    • Avoid purchasing fake amber or cigars when shopping in Santo Domingo. Only buy from reputable places who can authenticate your purchase.
    • While it's generally safe, holidaymakers are discouraged from visiting the beach alone at night.
    • Don't drink unpasteurized dairy products.
    • Exercise caution when buying turtle shell souvenirs. Many species such as the Hawksbill sea turtle are endangered, and there’s a risk your goods will be impounded by the U.S.
    • Always respect the environment and don't leave litter lying around.
    • Frequently wash hands with soap and water, even more so before eating,  to stop the spreading of unhealthy bacteria.
    • Most hotel gift shops sell mass-produced souvenirs. If you’re looking for a varied selection of authentic, handcrafted goods, then it’s best to visit local markets.
    • It's easy to get distracted by beautiful surroundings when visiting the best beaches in Santo Domingo, only take what's necessary and leave valuables behind to avoid potential theft.
    • Stay away from eating street food that’s been out in the open. It´s not always easy to determine how fresh it is.
    • Rather shop with cash than your credit card. Vendors are charged a processing fee for purchases made with cards and prefer to receive money. Paying with cash gives you bargaining leverage and a greater chance of getting a discount.
  • Where to Have Fun in Santo Domingo?
    Santo Domingo’s exciting nightlife is a combination of informal gatherings at colmados - mini-markets doubling as night spots - high-end clubs, quaint cafes, exquisite bars and sensual live music concerts. It’s one of the most vibrant party cities in Latin America that’s guaranteed to provide excellent entertainment for all budgets.
    • merengue-santo-domingo.jpg
      Dance Merengue on Avenida Venezuela

      Across the Ozama River, 15 minutes east of Santo Domingo’s city center, lies the local nightlife hotspot Avenida Venezuela. Experience genuine Caribbean fiestas and join locals as they dance merengue and salsa in this effervescent Dominican party avenue.

    • bares-santo-domingo.jpg
      Bar Hop at Historical Zona Colonial

      Whether it's having an ice-cold beer in the early afternoon at a colmado or a sophisticated rum cocktail at a high-end jazz bar, El Conde Calle in Zona Colonial is perfect for enjoying the balmy evening breeze in the most historic part of Santo Domingo before the sun sets.

    • fiesta-ruinas-san-francisco.jpg
      Party Outdoors at Ruins de San Francisco

      Every Sunday at the ruins of the oldest monastery in The Americas, the well-known Dominican band Grupi Bonye hosts a live event playing merengue, jazz, and bachata music. Suitable for the young and old, their free party draws an energetic crowd who delight in dancing under the stars.

    • teatro-nacional-santo-domingo.jpg
      Watch a Show at the Iconic Teatro Nacional

      Located in Plaza de la Cultura, the cultural center of Santo Domingo, this 1700-seat theatre is home to the Dominican Republic’s national opera, ballet and symphony orchestra. Be sure to book tickets at their box office to see spellbinding musical performances, ranging from classical music to Latin pop stars, before heading out for a night on the town.

    • malecon-santo-domingo.jpg
      Eat out Along the Lively Malecón

      Santo Domingo’s picturesque promenade, also known as George Washington, brims with festive outdoor restaurants and informal food shacks that come alive around 10pm. Its superb sea views and miscellany of establishments offering traditional Dominican and international cuisine make it a top destination for food lovers.

    • casino-santo-domingo.jpg
      Enjoy the Thrill of Casino Entertainment

      With over 30 casinos accepting bets in pesos and dollars, there’s no shortage of thrilling entertainment for casino enthusiasts in Santo Domingo. Try and win big playing Blackjack, Poker and Russian Roulette or hedge your bets on slot machines between listening to live music and dancing the night away.   

    • The Caribbean sun is strong. Always use sunblock with a high SPF factor.
    • Microbes in the water in the Dominican Republic might have an unpleasant  effect on sensitive stomachs. To ensure water safety in Santo Domingo, Drink purified bottled water to avoid an upset stomach.
    • Haggling is an expected part of the Dominican shopping experience. If your bargaining skills are sound, you’ll most likely be able to get the initial price down to half. Just remember that many artisans make their livelihoods at markets so you should always trade fairly.
    • Some Dominican Republic beaches have powerful waves, strong undertows, and large rocks. To maintain personal safety, check water conditions before swimming.
    • Excessive sun and alcohol consumption can have adverse effects. Stay hydrated to avoid illness.
    • Don’t buy from the first vendor you encounter. Check out the competition to learn the average price before bartering.
    • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially when outdoors.
    • Avoid raw protein products like shellfish and eggs, especially when eating street food.
    • Avoid purchasing fake amber or cigars when shopping in Santo Domingo. Only buy from reputable places who can authenticate your purchase.
    • While it's generally safe, holidaymakers are discouraged from visiting the beach alone at night.
    • Don't drink unpasteurized dairy products.
    • Exercise caution when buying turtle shell souvenirs. Many species such as the Hawksbill sea turtle are endangered, and there’s a risk your goods will be impounded by the U.S.
    • Always respect the environment and don't leave litter lying around.
    • Frequently wash hands with soap and water, even more so before eating,  to stop the spreading of unhealthy bacteria.
    • Most hotel gift shops sell mass-produced souvenirs. If you’re looking for a varied selection of authentic, handcrafted goods, then it’s best to visit local markets.
    • It's easy to get distracted by beautiful surroundings when visiting the best beaches in Santo Domingo, only take what's necessary and leave valuables behind to avoid potential theft.
    • Stay away from eating street food that’s been out in the open. It´s not always easy to determine how fresh it is.
    • Rather shop with cash than your credit card. Vendors are charged a processing fee for purchases made with cards and prefer to receive money. Paying with cash gives you bargaining leverage and a greater chance of getting a discount.
  • What to Eat in Santo Domingo
    As a former Spanish colony with roots in indigenous Taino and African traditions, Dominicans’ varied gastronomy, colloquially called Comida Criolla, possess a history of flavors and dishes drawn from three continents. Santo Domingo cuisine encompasses rich starches such as rice, potatoes, yucca, and bananas as well fish and meat, leaving food lovers with an array of delectable dishes to choose from when deciding what to eat in Santo Domingo.The island’s food flavors are robust with a hearty punch. Sofrito; a mixture of sauteed vegetables, herbs and spices including onions, garlic, green peppers, tomatoes, thyme, parsley, coriander, cilantro, and vinegar, forms the base of many Dominican dishes. It's commonly used on rice, bean, fish, chicken and in its national delicacy, Sancocho.Other delicious traditional meals like Mangú, a plantain mash, and habichuelas, bean stew, are still enjoyed by locals with a Morir Soñando, a drink made from milk and orange juice, or Mama Juana, an alcoholic beverage. Here´s a brief guide to Santo Domingo’s traditional food, as well as a few culinary dos and don’ts in the Dominican Republic.
    • The Caribbean sun is strong. Always use sunblock with a high SPF factor.
    • Microbes in the water in the Dominican Republic might have an unpleasant  effect on sensitive stomachs. To ensure water safety in Santo Domingo, Drink purified bottled water to avoid an upset stomach.
    • Haggling is an expected part of the Dominican shopping experience. If your bargaining skills are sound, you’ll most likely be able to get the initial price down to half. Just remember that many artisans make their livelihoods at markets so you should always trade fairly.
    • Some Dominican Republic beaches have powerful waves, strong undertows, and large rocks. To maintain personal safety, check water conditions before swimming.
    • Excessive sun and alcohol consumption can have adverse effects. Stay hydrated to avoid illness.
    • Don’t buy from the first vendor you encounter. Check out the competition to learn the average price before bartering.
    • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially when outdoors.
    • Avoid raw protein products like shellfish and eggs, especially when eating street food.
    • Avoid purchasing fake amber or cigars when shopping in Santo Domingo. Only buy from reputable places who can authenticate your purchase.
    • While it's generally safe, holidaymakers are discouraged from visiting the beach alone at night.
    • Don't drink unpasteurized dairy products.
    • Exercise caution when buying turtle shell souvenirs. Many species such as the Hawksbill sea turtle are endangered, and there’s a risk your goods will be impounded by the U.S.
    • Always respect the environment and don't leave litter lying around.
    • Frequently wash hands with soap and water, even more so before eating,  to stop the spreading of unhealthy bacteria.
    • Most hotel gift shops sell mass-produced souvenirs. If you’re looking for a varied selection of authentic, handcrafted goods, then it’s best to visit local markets.
    • It's easy to get distracted by beautiful surroundings when visiting the best beaches in Santo Domingo, only take what's necessary and leave valuables behind to avoid potential theft.
    • Stay away from eating street food that’s been out in the open. It´s not always easy to determine how fresh it is.
    • Rather shop with cash than your credit card. Vendors are charged a processing fee for purchases made with cards and prefer to receive money. Paying with cash gives you bargaining leverage and a greater chance of getting a discount.
  • What are the Best Things to do in Santo Domingo?
    With its mighty colonial architecture dating back to the 1500s, vivacious cultural life and appetizing traditional cuisine, there’s never a shortage of enthralling things to do in Santo Domingo. Learning about the art of cigar-making at Tabacalera de Garcia , taking a gentle stroll through National Botanical Gardens, touring history-laden CiudadColonial, watching a baseball game, enjoying an informative half-day bus tour and finding tasting and cooking tours are some of the best activities in Santo Domingo.
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      Go on a History Sightseeing Tour

      Situated on the west bank of the Ozama River, is Ciudad Colonial, a UNESCO World Heritage, Santo Domingo’s oldest historical neighborhood. Home to the restored Alcázar de Colón, the formidable 16-century residence turned visual art gallery built by Christopher Columbus’s son, Convento de Los Dominicos, the first university opened in the New World and Catedral Primada de America, Santo Domingo’s main cathedral combining some Gothic and Plateresque architectural styles.

    • tour-cocina-dominicana.jpg
      Try a Dominican Cooking and Tasting Tour

      Delight the taste buds and embark on a sensory journey exploring the Dominican Republic's mouth-watering cuisine. The city offers a plethora of cooking and tasting tours for visitors to get acquainted with their local rum, finely-crafted cigars, delicious chocolate and African-Spanish inspired culinary techniques. Cooking connaisseurs keen to test their culinary skills can travel to Merco Model to source fresh ingredients for their Dominican cooking adventures.

    • jardin-botanico-nacional.jpg
      Stroll in the Beautiful National Botanical Gardens

      Founded in 1976 by the Dominican botanist Rafael Ma. Moscoso and complete with a manicured Japanese garden, this bucolic stretch of greenery covers over 200 acres and is the biggest of its kind in the Caribbean. Partake in Santo Domingo’s active tourism offerings by walking one of their trails packed with more than 300 varieties of orchids, palms, and flora or enjoy an informative ride on their choo choo train.

    • beisbol-quisqueya.jpg
      Watch Baseball at the Quisqueya Stadium

      Dominicans are avid Baseball fans. The premier place to take part in sporting action and watch a game is at the home field of two of their six professional teams, Licey and Escogido. Tickets to most games at Quisqueya Stadium can be bought just before the first inning but if hometown rival teams Licey and Agulhas are playing then buying in advance is recommended.

    • tabacalera-garcia.jpg
      Visit the Tabacalera de Garcia Cigar Factory Tour

      Witness the industry's most experienced craftsmen and women at work in the world's largest handmade cigar factory. From bunching to rolling, this insightful tour will take you from Tabacalera de Garcia’s curing rooms, where the tobacco is dried, to the rolling stations, where with quick flicks of the wrist, cigars are twisted into shape by hand.

    • ruta-turistica-santo-domingo.jpg
      Embark on a Bus Tour Through Santo Domingo

      Take a half day tour on Gray Line’s sightseeing bus excursions and experience the cultural and historical scope of the Caribbean’s oldest colonial city. This is one of the best things to do in Santo Domingo offering a broad feel for Dominican life. Highlights include the Fine Arts Palace, National Theatre and Presidential Palace, and the Columbus lighthouse.

    • The Caribbean sun is strong. Always use sunblock with a high SPF factor.
    • Microbes in the water in the Dominican Republic might have an unpleasant  effect on sensitive stomachs. To ensure water safety in Santo Domingo, Drink purified bottled water to avoid an upset stomach.
    • Haggling is an expected part of the Dominican shopping experience. If your bargaining skills are sound, you’ll most likely be able to get the initial price down to half. Just remember that many artisans make their livelihoods at markets so you should always trade fairly.
    • Some Dominican Republic beaches have powerful waves, strong undertows, and large rocks. To maintain personal safety, check water conditions before swimming.
    • Excessive sun and alcohol consumption can have adverse effects. Stay hydrated to avoid illness.
    • Don’t buy from the first vendor you encounter. Check out the competition to learn the average price before bartering.
    • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially when outdoors.
    • Avoid raw protein products like shellfish and eggs, especially when eating street food.
    • Avoid purchasing fake amber or cigars when shopping in Santo Domingo. Only buy from reputable places who can authenticate your purchase.
    • While it's generally safe, holidaymakers are discouraged from visiting the beach alone at night.
    • Don't drink unpasteurized dairy products.
    • Exercise caution when buying turtle shell souvenirs. Many species such as the Hawksbill sea turtle are endangered, and there’s a risk your goods will be impounded by the U.S.
    • Always respect the environment and don't leave litter lying around.
    • Frequently wash hands with soap and water, even more so before eating,  to stop the spreading of unhealthy bacteria.
    • Most hotel gift shops sell mass-produced souvenirs. If you’re looking for a varied selection of authentic, handcrafted goods, then it’s best to visit local markets.
    • It's easy to get distracted by beautiful surroundings when visiting the best beaches in Santo Domingo, only take what's necessary and leave valuables behind to avoid potential theft.
    • Stay away from eating street food that’s been out in the open. It´s not always easy to determine how fresh it is.
    • Rather shop with cash than your credit card. Vendors are charged a processing fee for purchases made with cards and prefer to receive money. Paying with cash gives you bargaining leverage and a greater chance of getting a discount.
  • What to Buy in Santo Domingo
    In Santo Domingo, there are countless fascinating markets filled with high-quality souvenirs. From their hand-rolled cigars to prized Larimar gemstones and valuable Amber, after a day strolling through their mercados, you’re sure to return home with a collection of their local treasures.
    • comprar-santo-domingo.jpg
      Where to Shop in Santo Domingo

      Whether it's remarkable gemstones or artisanal trinkets, Santo Domingo’s markets are a treasure trove for keepsakes and gift buying. In Colonial Zone, you can visit the large, bustling Mercado Model, stroll through the only pedestrian street, Calle El Conde, search for rare antiques at Pulga de Antigüedades or do a quick shop at Columbus Plaza. If you’re looking for contemporary Dominican art, then make a trip to La Atarazana or head further out and shop at leisure at the Catuano Beach Market on Sonora Island.

    • mercado-modelo-santo-domingo.jpg
      Mercado Modelo

      Downtown Santo Domingo, a few blocks north of the Colonial Zone, is the city’s largest market, Mercado Modelo. Inside this two-story art deco building, erected in 1942 as one of Santo Domingo’s first tourist venue, you can purchase Larimar jewelry, traditional faceless dolls, ubiquitous Haitian art, hand-made Mahogany rocking chairs and, if you’re brave, aphrodisiac love potions.

    • la-pulga.jpg
      Pulga de Antigüedades

      Open every Sunday, this delightful antique market, situated one block north of Parque Colón, is a go-to destination for vintage and trinket collectors shopping in Santo Domingo. From period watches to coins dating back to colonial times, if you’re an avid relic hunter and aren’t pressed for time, then a visit to this unique plaza is a must.

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      Calle El Conde

      The smell of fresh coffee and bachata rhythms fill Calle El Conde, the oldest road in the Americas. Now a pedestrian thoroughfare and cultural hub, this cobblestone street has a density of shops where you’ll find leather goods, Panama hats, renowned Mamajuana Rum and Guayabera shirts.

    • columbus-plaza.jpg
      Columbus Plaza

      Steps away from Alcázar de Colón is the convenient souvenir mall Columbus Plaza. Here, you can obtain decorative ceramics, gourmet coffee, delectable chocolates and local rum. It’s the perfect shopping destination if you’re pressed for time but still, want to buy a variety of goods.

    • la-atarazana.jpg
      La Atarazana

      East of the city center is La Atarazana, an area filled with 16th-century houses transformed into art galleries, slick jewelry stores, and plush cigar shops. If you’re looking for Santo Domingo souvenirs such as gem-stones, flavorsome cigars, and contemporary Dominican artworks, then be sure schedule a stop here in your itinerary.

    • mercadillo-catuano.jpg
      Catuano Beach Market

      Nestled between palm trees on pristine shores you’ll find detailed wooden Taino figurines and boxes, handmade bracelets and beachwear for sale. If you’re making a trip to Saona island, then be sure to stop by this idyllic, beachfront market.

    • The Caribbean sun is strong. Always use sunblock with a high SPF factor.
    • Microbes in the water in the Dominican Republic might have an unpleasant  effect on sensitive stomachs. To ensure water safety in Santo Domingo, Drink purified bottled water to avoid an upset stomach.
    • Haggling is an expected part of the Dominican shopping experience. If your bargaining skills are sound, you’ll most likely be able to get the initial price down to half. Just remember that many artisans make their livelihoods at markets so you should always trade fairly.
    • Some Dominican Republic beaches have powerful waves, strong undertows, and large rocks. To maintain personal safety, check water conditions before swimming.
    • Excessive sun and alcohol consumption can have adverse effects. Stay hydrated to avoid illness.
    • Don’t buy from the first vendor you encounter. Check out the competition to learn the average price before bartering.
    • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially when outdoors.
    • Avoid raw protein products like shellfish and eggs, especially when eating street food.
    • Avoid purchasing fake amber or cigars when shopping in Santo Domingo. Only buy from reputable places who can authenticate your purchase.
    • While it's generally safe, holidaymakers are discouraged from visiting the beach alone at night.
    • Don't drink unpasteurized dairy products.
    • Exercise caution when buying turtle shell souvenirs. Many species such as the Hawksbill sea turtle are endangered, and there’s a risk your goods will be impounded by the U.S.
    • Always respect the environment and don't leave litter lying around.
    • Frequently wash hands with soap and water, even more so before eating,  to stop the spreading of unhealthy bacteria.
    • Most hotel gift shops sell mass-produced souvenirs. If you’re looking for a varied selection of authentic, handcrafted goods, then it’s best to visit local markets.
    • It's easy to get distracted by beautiful surroundings when visiting the best beaches in Santo Domingo, only take what's necessary and leave valuables behind to avoid potential theft.
    • Stay away from eating street food that’s been out in the open. It´s not always easy to determine how fresh it is.
    • Rather shop with cash than your credit card. Vendors are charged a processing fee for purchases made with cards and prefer to receive money. Paying with cash gives you bargaining leverage and a greater chance of getting a discount.