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- 28 Jul 2021, 3 nights
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Santo Domingo is a lively city full of Caribbean spirit and colonial character in the Dominican Republic. It’s a place where new and old merge into an exciting melting pot of different influences. Traditional bachata music murmurs through its old cobblestone streets, while downtown runs to the beat of its upscale dance clubs. From its beginnings as Christopher Columbus’ New World discovery, the old city today stands as a UNESCO-protected site doused in old-world charm. Take a day or two to discover its centuries-old churches and atmospheric plazas before heading off to nearby beaches.
Many Santo Domingo hostels are housed in the city’s historic colonial buildings, within the old town area. Find hostels in Santo Domingo with shady courtyard areas and swimming pools, as well as charming features like railed balconies and tiled floors. Choose to stay in a shared dorm in a rustic-style interior or opt for a little luxury with a private room in a spa stay. You can also find a Santo Domingo hostel with an outdoor terrace with views of the marina, or a hostel with a lively on-site bar.
The city is divided into different areas with the Ozama River running through its centre. Zona Colonial, the city’s old town, can be found on the western banks. Towards the seafront is the Malecón, a long promenade with palm tree-lined boulevards and casinos. Away from the centre you’ll find the neighbourhoods of Naco and Piantini, which have an upscale vibe, as well as a buzzing nightlife. The eastern side of the river, known as Santo Domingo Oriental, is worth exploring for its National Park full of open-roof caverns and underground lakes.
Parque Colón, where Columbus’ statue stands tall, is a good starting point to get your bearings. It’s a lively hub where musicians and street performers often set up. Stroll down Calle El Conde street for its charming European vibe and al-fresco cafés. Other nearby colonial gems include the Catedral Primada de América, Alcázar de Colón and the Museum of the Royal Houses. Amateur photographer? Armed with your camera, head down Calle Hostos and Calle Jose Reyes for their brightly painted buildings.
Santo Domingo has two airports. The main one, Las Américas International Airport, is 22km east of the city. The other, La Isabela, offers domestic flights only. Taxi services can take you into the city. There's also a bus service which connects Port-au-Prince, and other cities, to Santo Domingo. Getting around town is effortless with the city’s local buses and metro lines that run through the major areas.