INTRODUCING SANTO DOMINGO
In this UNESCO World Heritage City you can admire 16th-century Spanish architecture, relax in café-lined squares and cool off in parks one day. Then, stretch out on the fine white sands the next. Even the quaint horse and carriages, waiting to take visitors around the Colonial Zone, are painted in vibrant Dominican style.
Old world meets new wave in this colonial capital buzzing with Caribbean spirit.
Things to do
White sands, warm seas, and gently fluttering palms… The Dominican Republic is blessed with numerous picture-perfect beaches. Head to Boca Chica for a calm, coral-filled lagoon and plenty of beachside restaurants, or venture further afield to the tiny cove at Playa Caribe. To sample the best of the coastline, embark on a beach hopping excursion.
Wander Santo Domingo’s labyrinthine streets in the Colonial Zone and you’ll eventually come to the Catedral Primada de América. This 16th-century masterpiece is gold, coral and stone on the outside, and breathtakingly cavernous on the inside. Stop off at the Alcázar de Colón, former home of Diego Columbus, Christopher Columbus’ son. Step inside the palace and admire artefacts belonging to this famous family.
To get a feel for Santo Domingo’s old-world charm and modern sensibilities, spend a day shopping. There are glitzy malls with trendy boutiques. But make time to explore the tiny shops in the Colonial Zone that sell local larimar and amber jewellery. Here you’ll find the rare blue amber that’s mined near Santiago and changes colour in the sunlight.
To see the locals sway to traditional Latin music, head for the ruins of the San Francisco Monastery on a Sunday night.
Top tip from SLH