Things to do and where to eat: Santo Domingo
I went on a trip with my dad but while he was on business conferences, I was touring. My dad knows a lot of people in Santo Domingo and a professional taxi driver drove me around. I just had one day, so I had to make most of it. This is what I did in one day!
Start the day early at 7am before the morning rush hour. The afternoon rush hour is at 5-6pm.
What to bring
backpack, purse, fanny pack
money in cash to change into Dominican Dollars
Where to go
The 3 eyes are a set of caverns that have 4 lagoons of pure super blue water. This is a natural formation from a river caving in with time.
When you enter you have to buy tickets with cash. They give discounts to residents. They have souvenirs at the exit that you can buy in cash.
To each lagoon, you can go down to touch the water. Do not enter the lagoon to swim. When you enter the cave you have to go down a long set of stairs to the first lagoon.
The first is medium sized, the second is the smallest and the third is the largest and where you take the boat to the fourth one. The forth one is the only one that is more green than blue and is surrounded by lush greenery
It is a street that is only for pedestrians and is filled with stores. It tends to be calm during the day but it gets very lively during the night. It is close to the Colonial zone, independence park and the basilicas.
It is a big tourist area that is widely visited because they always have events. One of the most famous events is the book festival that is held every year and I was really lucky to see the book festival dedicated to Puerto Rico.
Despite its name it is not Cristobal Colons house, its his family’s home. Inside it is a museum modeled as their home with furniture from the time.
Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor
It is one of the oldest churches in the Americas with gothic and baroque architecture. It has amazing woodwork, paintings, and beautiful ceilings
A park dedicated to the people who made the independence of the Dominican Republic happen. A small history lesson here they had to separate from Spain, Haiti, USA, Trujillo, and Sir Francis Drake. When you enter you pass through a Colonial style entrance and then you see all the busts of all the people that leads to where the fathers of the Dominican Republic are buried: Juan Pablo Duarte, Matías Ramón Mella, and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez
A medieval style building built by the Spanish in 1502 as a way to guard the entrance to Santo Domingo.
National Pantheon of the Dominican Republic
This is where Hostos is buried and many other poets, writers, and important people. In honor of them, there is the famous eternal flame. It is a church that was renovated by Trujillo and today it has Trujillo’s assassins there.
Among Trujillo’s renovations that you’ll see are gifts from Hitler (the swasticas hidden as crosses) and Franco (the chandelier).
The building is in a cross form and when what I mean by that is that from the windows to the structure, to the lighthouse and the walls. Pope John Paul II visited twice and you can find photos, letters, and everything about the event here.
Boca Chica Beach
An awesome almost waveless beach with white sand. They have a lot of hotels and restaurants where you can definitely have lunch. There is a section filled with a kiosk that makes food, their specialty is fish.
Presidencia de la República Dominicana
A building that is imitating the style of the White House. The president of the Dominican Republic doesn’t live here.
I went to the mall to just relax after a full day of sightseeing. It’s one of the biggest malls in the area.
Where to eat
Jalao: A restaurant located in Calle Conde, that was previously the Hard Rock Cafe. You can have traditional Dominican food and live music. The service is excellent and they treat you like family. They celebrate birthdays and have a nice old couple that takes everyone to dance.
I was in a large group of dad’s friends and we ordered various things to share: octopus, garbanzo soup, fried yuca, eggplant, empanadas, fried meat (carne frita) with tostones. Everything was fresh, delicious and well seasoned.
Hotel Barcelo Breakfast buffet: It has a lot of variety for everyone. Oatmeal, omelettes, smoothies, fruits, pastries and cereals. I had omelets and a smoothie for my weekend.
Hotel Barcelo is beautiful, modern and well equipped. If you forget something while packing they have a mini convenience store and in the room they have a lot of included essential amenities like toothbrush, blower, comb, perfume, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner.
Boca chica: The specific Kiosk where I ate is #12, its right in the middle. They literally bring the fresh fish and show it to you and you can choose whether to fry it or grill it. The fish was made simple with salt, pepper, onions, garlic, bay leaf and its own juices.