A complete guide to Domenican Republic-The capital Santo Domingo

I was so impressed with the heaven discovered in Domenican Republic that I have decided to come back just 3 weeks after my first visit, this time bringing my mother along. Call me crazy but Domenican Republic has it’s magic spell that is hard to resist. Never before happened to me to pay a visit to a country twice in the same month.

A day trip to the capital Santo Domingo

After a quick search online I decided to take my mother to a day trip to the capital city, Santo Domingo. It would have been shamefull to spend 14 days in the same country and never visit its most iconic city.

Domenican Republic is not at all a poor country how one might have thought but a place blessed with natural resources such as gold, silver, beautiful landscape and arable land. How all those are getting administrated? Poorly I would dare to say, being the fact that an average person must live with 300$ a month in a place where the tourism exploded and so did the prices.

I was impressed to discover that Domenican Republic has a good infrastructure with great roads and highways, so much more developed than my own country Romania. A trip from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo will take roughly 2.5h with a beautiful ocean view for a big part of the trip.

Cueva tres ojos- The cave called 3 eyes

Our first stop in the capital city was at a beautiful Cueva, which is in fact a partial covered cave made out of limestone (so called Cenotes in Mexico region). Many many thousands years ago this place represented the bottom of the ocean, proven today by little sea shells or corals carved on the formations. Even more spectacular, the nature itself is the architect of a perfectly graven dolphin (see the picture below). The cave was initially used by the indigenous Taino indians for religious rituals but today it serves just as touristic landmark.

I would have not mind a quick refreshing bath in this heavenly place but this Cueva like many others in Domenican Republic are national parks protected by law and swimming is totally prohibited.

The nature listened my thoughts and warm drops of rain started showering the city once we finished climbing the 300 stairs to the top. The rainy season it’s just in the beginning but unlike my first visit, the days are often cloudy and wet.

The walled city of Santo Domingo

At first glance Santo Domingo looks striking familiar even though I have never visited this place before. Its walled city with the animated streets full of bars, shops, musicians and tourists from all over the world takes me back to Cartagena, Colombia.

Unfortunately I found the day trip to the capital a total waste of energy, the time spent on the road and the torrid heat of the afternoon didn’t allow us to enjoy to the maximum, reason why I recommend you alocate the capital 2-3 days and explore de walled city by foot and without rush. Our patience reached its boiling point when the tour guide continued to take us through souvenir shops instead of presenting the main attractions of the city.

Alcazar de Colon and Columbus family

Probably the most beautiful building of the capital and with no doubt the most exciting part of the tour was Alcazar de Colon, the only known residence of one of Christopher Columbus family. The palace is located in the colonial area of Santo Domingo, built using coralline blocks and overlooking the Ozama river. Nowadays the most visited museum of the country, it belonged in the past to Diego Columbus (first born son of Christopher) and his wife Maria de Toledo, who continued to live here even after her husband death.

Initially the palace featured 55 rooms from which only 22 remained and are now filled with furniture and artwork of that period. Each room it’s marked with a number and throughout an audio guide available in many languages you are able to unfold a piece of history in front of your eyes.

Diego’s room
Maria’s room

Santo Domingo name was once Ciudad Trujillo

Before bidding farewall to our tour guide, we visited a church, the first hospital of America and a beautiful plaza and found out that Domenican Republic has been rulled for 30 years by a bloody dictator, Rafael Trujillo, period in which he changed the capital name to Ciudad Trujillo along with other important monuments, landmarks and streets.

Domenicans are proud of their history and heritage but moreover of their flag which is the only flag in the world to have a Bible in its center.

In the end of the day I return to the hotel with a great feeling of satisfaction and gratitude that I had the chance to visitthis far, far away place of the world, especially in those time when most of the people cant even leave their house.

Gracias Republica Domenicana

To be continued…

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