Posted by: Anni Orekh | March 8, 2010

Visiting Dominican Republic’s Heart

Visiting Dominican Republic’s Heart: Santo Domingo the Capital

Resort life is only one aspect of visiting a country.   Santo Domingo located in the Dominican Republic  was discovered by Christopher Columbus it became the first capital of the new territories ( first city in Latin America) . The first also to have Spanish coinage, a fort, a monastery, a cathedral, a university, a hospital and a palace.

Santo Domingo is where Madrid’s rulers in 1512 set up the highest level of its judicial system since the Middle Ages, the Spanish Colonies’ first royal appellate court.

Santo Domingo’s old world charisma and Latin charm has blended well into the modern world, resulting in a thriving city of 2 million which offers the best of the old and new. It’s rich colonial past is fertile ground for tourists from all over the world.

It was founded in August 1496 by Columbus’ brother Bartolome, who moved the temporary capital from Hispaniola’s northwest coast. Christopher Columbus set up it’s first settlement, Navidad after discovering the island in December 1492. Columbus later established a community he called Isabela in the northwest, which Bartolome later moved to present-day Santo Domingo. Here is a list with  Santo Domingo’s  insights:

  Boca Chica Beach. A Relaxing  Bathing Spot

30 kilómetros al este de Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
phone: +1 809 541 5652

Discovered at the end of the 19th century by the Italian Don Juan Vicini, this lovely bathing spot lies in exceptionally beautiful natural surroundings. The coral breakwater protects its warm, crystal-clear waters from the waves of the Caribbean. Fine white sands are fringed with graceful coconut palms. Not far out to sea there are two uninhabited islands, both covered in vegetation: Los Pinitos and Las Maticas. Proximity to the city of Santo Domingo makes this a favorite destination for tourists in search of shade from the sun and a pleasant sea breeze.

La Caduta Submarine National Park, which is 7.1 miles to the west of Boca Chica.

Juan Dolio:  is a long stretch of white sand beach. The shallow water is crystal clear and protected by natural coral reefs. Hotels, beach cottages, and concession and vendor stands line the back of the beach.

Juan Dolio’s waters are great for swimming and snorkeling, especially around the coral reefs. Water sport equipment is available at stands along the beach, so visitors should find plenty to keep them busy.

Juan Dolio has a boulevard and a main street where most hotels and restaurants are located. So you can walk, jog or cycle in safety here. This destination is perfect for those looking for a quiet escape with the comforts of home.

Most travelers to the Juan Dolio area will arrive at the Las Americas International Airport, a 30 minute drive. However, some flights are now starting to arrive at the new La Romana airport. This airport is just over an hour’s drive from Juan Dolio.

Go Kart Bahn is a racetrack on the highway to San Pedro where go karts can be rented for a fast spin around the track. 

The Cueva de las Maravillas should be included in every visit. Down under,  you can browse at the very good collection of pre-Columbian art amidst spectacular stenography created with lighting against stalagmites and stalactites.

Tropical Plantation is on the Hato Mayor-Sabana de la Mar road due north of Juan Dolio. This working flower farm has a fairy-tale botanical garden and a natural green jungle with a labyrinth of paths where the fun is in getting lost and finding your way out again.

El  Faro a Colon
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the Dominican Republic there are nearby opportunities. For example El Faro a Col�n is located 17.3 miles to the west of Boca Chica.

Calle El Conde:  the oldest commercial street in Latin America

Between Parque Colón and Parque Independencia
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

One of the oldest streets in Santo Domingo and still among the city’s most popular commercial centers, this quaint pedestrian street extends from the Parque Colón to the Parque Independencia. It hosts a diverse variety of stores that include apparel and textile shops, shoe stores, restaurants and cafés, a hotel, gift shops and jewelry stores. Over time, this street has received several names, including Clavijo, Real and Separación. Its current name honors the Conde (Count) of Peñalba who defeated the English in the 17th century.
Boulevar de La 27 (El) : Take a Walk, Sit and Talk in the city.

Boulevar de La 27 (El)
Avenida 27 de Febrero , Entre las avenidas Lincoln y Churchill
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
fax: +1 809 541 5652

This small plaza, located in the middle of 27 de Febrero Avenue, is bordered by Winston Churchill Avenue on one end and Abraham Lincoln Avenue on the other. It’s a beautiful place that’s ideal for whiling away the hours in lovely flower-filled surroundings. All along the plaza you will find banks, kiosks and small businesses that sell food and drink, as well as diverse modernistic metal sculptures. Current music videoclips are shown on a gigantic screen, and it is also possible to enjoy live concerts on occasion.

Acuario Nacional de la República Dominicana: a marine sanctuary

Avenida España No. 75 , Sans Soucí
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
phone: +1 809 766 1709
fax: +1 809 766 1629
email: info@acuarionacional.com

Opened in 1990, the National Aquarium boasts a modern, open-air design and a glorious location overlooking the Caribbean. Roughly 3,000 live specimens of 250 species of marine life inhabit the friendly waters here. The staff is dedicated to the study, promotion, protection and distribution of information on both marine and freshwater flora and fauna. There are lectures and guided tours every day. Videos and talks are available for school groups.

Altar de la Patria: A Mausoleum to the Heroes of Independece
Avenue Independencia , Parque Independencia
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
phone: +1 305 235 4683
email: info@27febrero.com

Built in 1976 and located at the center of the Parque Independencia, this white-marble mausoleum is where some heroes of the Dominican Republic are interred. Here the leaders of the 1844 Independence movement from Haiti are buried, including Juan Pablo Duarte , Francisco del Rosario Sánchez and Ramón Matías Mella. An “eternal flame” is kept lit in memory of the patriots and floral offerings are common during commemorative dates. February 27th is when Independence from Haiti is celebrated.

Barrio de San Antón: First Ghetto for Workers in colonial times.

Entre las avenidas Mella, Juan Isidro Pérez, Emiliano Tejera, Arzobispo Meriño y Duarte
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
phone: +1 809 541 5652

The San Antón neighborhood has its origins in the first part of the 16th century when those who worked in the rock quarries, which today is the site of the Monasterio de San Francisco, moved to the area. At one time there was a small stone hermitage and wall dedicated to Saint Anthony, the Abbot. However, these were damaged during an invasion by Sir Francis Drake in 1586 and completely destroyed by the Saint Xenon hurricane in 1930. The hermitage has been recently reconstructed as part of a government effort to revitalize the Colonial Zone.

Entertainment outside your hotel

There is nightlife primarily at the hotels but this is not what you would call a “party hearty” destination. Take time out to visit the many restaurants in the area and mingle with the crowd that lives there or commutes in from Santo Domingo, especially on weekends. Drive, take a taxi or the bus  and you are at  La Parrilla Steak House with lively night life, especially on Saturdays. New in the town is upscale bar and restaurant El meson de la Cava, with its lounges stretching right into the Mirador Sur for nature and people watching. Pasatiempo Ristorante Italiano is popular. Other is  Pita Romero, casual food.  Santo domingo has tons of places for Merengue, salsa and dance beat ‘til all hours. Chocolate Bar, on access road near Jaragua Renaissance, Melia Santo Domingo, Hotel Lina,  Clarion, Inter Continenal  and  Hilton.  All of them have   standard table games and slots, pool tables and international beers on offer.

Try to see life away from resorts and call  Hineni  for Tours and Excursions

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