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Letter from the Team

Our Cover

“Two Dominicans Dancing”. Photo by Esperanza Rodríguez

Editorial Director Dolores Vicioso Technical Director Robert Woolford Project Managers Thomas J. Murray Lu Olivero Design & Layout Baldomero Quezada Photography Ken Harrington Esperanza Rodríguez Copy Editor Ilana Benady Comments & Suggestions Phone: 809.565.6510 Fax: +1.805.715.3418 Email: Advertising & Sales Thomas J. Murray Phone: 809.565.6510 Publisher Pro RD S. A. Gustavo Mejía Ricart 119B-408 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Though every effort has been made to present the information accurately, content and pricing contained in this guide are subject to change.

The #1 tourist-related website in the Dominican Republic, is proud to present the dr1guide to Santo Domingo: a compact tourist guide focused on where to go and what to do in our great city. The launch of the guide follows the announcement that Santo Domingo has been named American Capital of Culture for 2010. Santo Domingo is the first Caribbean or Central American city to receive the distinction that is comparative to hosting a World Expo or the Olympic Games. This year the city begins the whirlwind of preparations to showcase the city. The dr1guide to Santo Domingo is part of this effort. The following pages highlight the aspects that make the city’s sights and culture so memorable. The dr1guide to Santo Domingo begins with our Top Ten list of mustsee attractions. It then goes on to list the major sightseeing highlights, theaters and museums, shopping and services, dining and nightlife. Also featured are walking and transport maps, info on the capital’s closest beach & golf destinations Boca Chica, Guayacanes and Juan Dolio, along with useful information and phone numbers that may come in handy. Best of all, our guide is part of an interactive website,, featuring an events calendar, expanded content, downloadable versions of the guide, photo galleries and much more. We hope our guide acts as an indispensable reference as you explore Santo Domingo by visiting our historical sites, tasting our incredible food, relaxing on our tropical beaches and experiencing the pulse of our nightlife. Remember, this is the guide “that treats you like a local.” Have it handy wherever you go and please visit our advertisers, the people who make this guide possible, and let them know you saw their ad in the dr1guide to Santo Domingo. Enjoy! Sincerely, The dr1guide Team

The Sights

The National Zoo

More than you imagined


ccording to new zoo director Patricia Toribio, the drink water from a bottle for National Zoo has made a comeback. She and her his medicine. People go crazy team are now in charge of continuing government when they see him opening the and community-support programs that have once again bottled water himself.” Another star of the zoo is put the zoo on the must-see attraction list of Santo DoTito, a small monkey roaming mingo. free in the trees aabove the on square meters Covering an area over one million zoo. Tito has gest in the Cachildren’s zoo in size, the National Zoo is the largest been taught to ast. While it t ribbean and impressive to say the least. hold his belhrough ho is a zoo, it is also a wondrous walk through ly whenlush tropical landscapes, making it well ever he en worth a visit with or without children feels in tow. h u n Animals one would never exgry, g and to pect to find in Santo Domingo milk this talent, he roam free in the park’s expansive spends much mu of the grounds, and in many cases only day pleading with a fenceless, narrow trench separates Chimps are very zoo employees for you from lions, rhinos, hippos, tigers, zebras, popular for kids his two guilty pleachimpanzees, antelopes, buffalos, hyenas and many more. Recent improvements under way that visit the zoo sures - watermelon and corn flakes. are updating the 33-year old infrastructure to The park’s exhibthe 21st century. its of birds, reptiles and mamObviously, it’s the animals that enjoy the improvements mals might give visitors the that have come with new sources of funding. “They eat impression they are strolling better than I do,” says Toribio with a smile. Anyone visiting through an African safari park. at feeding time will note that many of the animals are beOne would be hard pressed to ing given fresh fruit. find a zoo where onlookers can The Zoo feels a lot like a refuge from the busy streets of get this close to some of the Santo Domingo. Besides its many animal exhibits, the park most exotic animals on earth. features natural clear water lagoons, endemic fauna, a motorized train if you get tired of walking, a picnic area and a brand new children’s zoo where kids and adults can get Open Tues-Sun 9am-5pm. Closed Mondays. Foreign Adults RD$175; up close and personal with farm animals, parrots, ponies, foreign children RD$105. Children’s monkeys and turtles. According to Toribio, of all the animal zoo, RD$25. Ave. La Vega Real, Arroyo exhibits, Toby the chimpanzee is the most popular. Hondo, 809.378.2149; “He’s funny,” says Toribio. “We taught him how to


The Sights g Zona Colonial Declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1991, the Colonial City of Santo Domingo (La Zona Colonial) is 16 square blocks laid out in a grid system between forts. The first and largest European urban settlement in the Americas, La Zona (as it is commonly known) has many firsts of the New World with the first cathedral, hospital, palace, paved street, university and more. The two most visited monuments are the Cathedral and the Columbus Palace (Alcázar). As well as the neighborhood’s history, which dates back to the turn of the 15th century, the Zona Colonial boasts a variety of shopping, dining and nightlife options, all within walking distance of one another.

to motorized traffic. This pedestrian mall, with its decadent aura, is nevertheless popular with locals and visitors for its bustling bohemian atmosphere. Many shops now cater to tourists, including those arriving on the cruise ships that dock nearby.

Numbered monuments are listed in the order of a walking tour (see Zona Colonial Map, pages 14-15). Calle El Conde


Puerta del Conde

The Count’s Gate. A national monument marking where the founders of the Republic proclaimed independence from Haiti on 27 February 1844. It earned its name when the Count of Peñalva, governor of the island in 1655, succeeded in defending the settlement from Oliver Cromwell’s powerful invading army with 56 ships and 9,000 men under the command of Admiral William Penn (who later went on to found Pennsylvania). The gate marks the entrance to Independence Park. Ave. Independencia & Calle Palo Hincado.

3 Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes

Puerta del Conde

Parque Duarte, next to the Convento de los Dominicos


El Conde

Considered Santo Domingo’s prime shopping strip until the 1980s, El Conde shops run from east to west along eight city blocks closed off


Constructed between 1549 and 1555, the church was dedicated to the Lady of Mercedes, named patron of the city in 1617. Note the remarkable façade of the building on its western exterior, the Baroque style main altar and an impressive bell tower, the biggest in the city, dating back to 1673. Visits daily 4pm-5:30pm. Mass daily 5:30pm-6:30pm. Calle Las Mercedes & Jose Reyes, 809.682.3744.


Iglesia Regina Angelorum

An imposing late Gothic structure with gargoyles, demons and buttresses, the church houses the remains of Padre Billini, a 17th century priest fa-

The Sights g mous for his work with the poor and for having discovered Columbus’ bones. Church only open during mass Sun 6pm-6:30pm. Calle Padre Billini & José Reyes, 809.682.2783. 5

Convento de los Dominicos

Built in 1510, the convent is one of the oldest churches in the Americas. This is also the site of the New World’s first university, Santo Tomás de Aquino (1538), before it evolved into its present incarnation as the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD). From its pulpit, Fray Anton de Montesinos became the first to denounce the violation of human rights in the Americas, when he spoke out against the treatment of the native Indians. Open daily only during Mass MonSat 7am-7:30am. Free admission. Calle Padre Billini & Ave. Duarte, 809.682.3780. 6


Parque Colón

Located beside the Cathedral, this square is surrounded by interesting architecture (colonial, republican and modern) with plenty of shady trees, pigeons, sidewalk cafes and a great peoplewatching mix of tourists and locals, especially in the late afternoon. The central brass and cement monument with statues of Christopher Columbus and Taino Indian heroine Anacaona, by French sculptor Ernesto Guilbert, dates back to 1887, giving the space its new name.

Casa de Tostado

House of Tostado. Built around 1520 for scribe Francisco Tostado who arrived with appointed governor Nicolás de Ovando in 1502. It is distinguished by the Gothic stone decorations atop twin windows, unique in the Americas. The house is now a museum showcasing the way wealthy Dominicans lived in the 19th century. Mon-Sat 9am-4pm. Foreign Adults RD$40; foreign children from 2-7 yrs. RD$20. Calle Arzobispo Meriño & Padre Billini, 809.689.5000. 7

ny. Visits Mon-Sat 9am-4pm, Mass Mon-Sat 5pm, Sun 12pm & 5pm. No Mass Tuesday. Calle Arzobispo Meriño & Arzobispo Nouel, 809.682.3848.

View of the Parque Colón

Hard Rock Cafe Catedral Primada de América

The oldest cathedral in the Americas, it was planned by Alonso Rodríguez, the architect who would go on to design the cathedral of Mexico. Construction began in 1514 and it was consecrated a cathedral in 1540. The Cathedral’s modern stained glass windows, by Dominican artist Jose Rincón Mora, were a donation by Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, Archbishop of Munich, GermaCatedral Primada de América

The world famous rock museum/restaurant has a home in Santo Domingo. Walk in to check out two floors of rock memorabilia from famous national and international musicians. Calle El Conde #103, 809.686.7771;

Calle Las Damas The oldest paved street in the New World. It was constructed in 1502 and acquired its present name with the arrival in 1509 of Diego Columbus and his noble wife María de Toledo, niece of King Ferdinand of Spain. With them came a large retinue of family members and courtesans who adopted the custom of strolling up and down the street. 9

Fortaleza Ozama

The oldest military plaza in the Americas, used as a garrison and prison well into the 1960s. It contains structures dating from as far back as 1503


The Sights g to the 1800’s. At the center is the five-floor high Torre del Homenaje with its six-foot thick walls, and a lookout platform with a 360 degree view of the river, city and countryside. Daily 9am-6pm. Adults RD$30, children between 10-15 yrs. RD$10. Calle Las Damas, 809.333.8672.

here Spain ruled over the New World Empire. It was the administrative center of the West Indies, housing the Royal Court, Treasury, Governor’s Office and law courts. Tues-Sun 9am-5pm. Adults RD$50, children between 10-15 yrs. RD$20. Calle de Las Damas, 809.682.4202.

Capilla de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios Originally a private chapel for the early 16th century Dávila mansion next door, today cultural exhibitions and concerts are held there. Calle Las Damas.

Sundial This timepiece still tells the time. It was built in 1753 to keep the royal audiences held in the Casas Reales on time. Calle Las Damas off from the Museo de las Casas Reales. 13 Inside the Fortaleza Ozama

Plaza María de Toledo Small plaza named in honor of Diego Columbus’ noble wife, niece of King Ferdinand of Spain. 9am-6pm. Calle Las Damas opposite Hostal Nicolás de Ovando. 10

Panteón Nacional

Built from 1714-1745, as a Jesuit convent and church before the Jesuits were expelled from Spanish colonies, the building was used as warehouse and cultural center. In 1956 it was converted to the National Pantheon and now serves as a mausoleum for some of the Dominican Republic’s most influential figures behind its stone walls. Daily 8am-9pm. Free admission. Calle Las Damas, 809.689.6010. 11

Casa del Cordón

Completed in 1504, this is the oldest stone house in the Americas, originally owned by Francisco de Garay, who came to Hispaniola with Columbus. Its portal features an impressive stone carving of the characteristic cord of the Franciscan order. Banco Popular offices are located there. Mon-Fri 8am-3pm. Free admission. Calle Isabel La Católica & Emiliano Tejera, 809.544.8915. 14

Plaza de España

What was once the center of colonial power and trade with a mix of merchants, sailors and Spanish high officials, is today a large romantic plaza replete dotted with restaurants, bars and steps overlooking the Ozama River.

Hostal Nicolás de Ovando

Overlooking the Ozama River, this manor was once the home of Nicolás de Ovando, first governor of Santo Domingo and court official Francisco Dávila. The building has since been restored into a luxury hotel. Calle Las Damas. 12

Museo de las Casas Reales

Built between 1503 and 1520, this museum now displays the DR’s history from 1492-1821. From


Inside the Museo de la Casas Reales

The Sights g 19

Museo del Ámbar

Visitors can see a range of samples of amber, the semi-precious gemstone the Dominican Republic is famous for. Some pieces include trapped insects, leaves and even lizards. Mon-Sat 8:30am6pm, Sun 9am-1pm. Calle Arzobispo Meriño & Restauración #452, 809.682.3309. 20

Arches of the Alcázar de Colón


Alcázar de Colón

The Columbus Palace was built (1510-1512) by Christopher Columbus’ son Diego, appointed Viceroy of the Indies to house the stately court he held with his wife María de Toledo, niece of the King of Spain. Today the Alcázar showcases Medieval and Renaissance furniture and objects depicting domestic life of 16th century Spanish nobility in the Americas. (Check page 33 for more information). Tues-Sat 9am-5pm. Sun 9am-4pm. Closed Monday. Adults RD$60, children under 9 free. Plaza de España, 809.682.4750. 16

Puerta de San Diego

Down the steps from the Alcázar de Colón are the ruins of the San Diego Gate built in Renaissance style in 1540. For a time, this was the main gate to the city. 17

Iglesia de Santa Bárbara

Built during the late 16th century in honor of the military’s patron saint is this handsome whitewashed church, behind which are the ruins of the Fort Santa Bárbara it was once attached to. Visits daily 8am-12pm. Mass Mon-Sat 6pm6:45pm. Sun 7:30am-8:30am, 9am-10am. Isabel La Católica & Puello, 809.682.3307. 18

Ruinas de San Francisco

With its lovely Plateresque gate, with St. Francis’ cord carved in stone still intact, this became the first monastery in the Americas when Franciscan monks arrived with first governor Nicolás de Ovando in 1502. The present stone structure was built from 1543-1664. Daily 9am-5pm. Free admission. Calle Hostos between Calle Emiliano Tejera & Restauración, 809.686.8657.

Museo Casa de Duarte

Once the house of Juan Pablo Duarte, the country’s founding father. He led the independence movement from Haiti that culminated successfully in 1844. On display are various objects and documents related to his life. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat-Sun 9am-4pm. Calle Isabel La Católica #308, 809.687.1436.

Calle Hostos

Calle Hostos Calle Hostos is best known by movie buffs as part of the 1974 Hollywood hit “The Godfather II.” The scene depicts Michael Corleon witnessing a suicide bombing in 1958 Cuba, making him reconsider family business there. Walk down the cobble stone streets after you finish visiting the Ruinas de San Francisco. 21

Hospital San Nicolás de Barí

The ruins of the first hospital in the New World, constructed in 1503 by order of Santo Domingo’s first governor, Nicolás de Ovando. Calle Hostos & General Luperón.

Monumento de Fray Antón de Montesinos The 30-meter high statue was donated by the government of Mexico, and is dedicated to this


The Sights g 16th century priest who preached against the atrocities being committed against the Taino Indians. His rage is depicted by the flames in his hair. Located at the westernmost entrance to the Port of Santo Domingo, off the Malecón.

Beyond the Zona Palacio Nacional The Presidential Palace was inaugurated by Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1947. The imposing neoclassical structure houses executive and administrative offices, but is not the President’s actual residence. Tours are free but must be requested 10 days in advance via telephone. You will be e-mailed a form with information and requirements. Ave. Mexico & Dr. Delgado, 809.695-8299.

Hospital San Nicolás de Barí ruins


Fuerte de San Gil

On the waterfront, just a token remains of this south-westernmost fort, part of the city’s protective fortifications built between 1540 and 1668 to defend the city from pirates and corsairs. From this site, there is a fine view of the harbor, the lighthouse and arriving and departing ships. Today it houses an open-air restaurant. Malecón & Calle Palo Hincado. 23

Puerta de la Misericordia

Gate of Mercy. Built in Renaissance style in 1543. This was the original gate of the city’s western wall and was named following an 1842 earthquake when local priests set up tents to help the sick and injured. Ramon Matías Mella fired the first shot here prior to marching on to the Puerta del Conde to proclaim independence from Haiti on 27 February 1844. Calle Palo Hincado & Arzobispo Portes. 24

Chinatown Note the traditional arch donated by the People’s Republic of China on the Av. Mexico entrance and that from Taiwan on the Av. Mella exit to Santo Domingo’s Chinatown district. Its main street, Jacinto de la Concha, is lined with life-sized oriental bronze statues. Bargain prices are the draw at the neighborhood’s shops and restaurants owned by Chinese immigrants. This is the place for dim sum and Peking Duck. It is also the site of the annual Chinese New Year celebration in January.

El Faro a Colón Parque Independencia

Home to the Altar de la Patria, a marble mausoleum containing the remains of the Dominican Republic’s founding fathers: Juan Pablo Duarte, Ramón Matías Mella and Francisco Rosario Sánchez. The compass in the park’s center is Kilometer 0, from which all distances in the country are measured. It is also an important venue for public art exhibits. Mausoleum open daily 7:30am-6pm. Free admission.


Street statue in Chinatown

Completed in 1992 for the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of the Americas, the monumental lighthouse houses the remains of the famous explorer and historic exhibits donated by other nations. Tues-Sun 9am5:30pm. Closed Mondays. Adults RD$100, children from 8-11 yrs. RD$20. Ave. Mirador del Este, 809.592.5217.

The Sights g Acuario Nacional The National Aquarium features a large plexiglass tunnel where visitors can walk through a tank full of sharks, stingrays, turtles and many other sea creatures. Walkable distance to the Columbus Lighthouse. Tues-Sun 9:30am-5:30pm. Closed Mondays. Foreign adults & children RD$50. Ave. España #77, 809.766.1709.

RD$50; children RD$30. Along Ave. Mirador del Este, 809.472.4204 exts. 285, 237, 228.

Jardín Botánico A sprawling display of aquatic plants, orchids, bromeliads, ferns and endemic plants along with an impressive Japanese garden and more are all housed within this expansive green sanctuary. Daily 9am-5pm. Foreign adults RD$175, foreign children from 3-12 yrs. RD$70. Av. República de Colombia, 809.385.2611;

Los Tres Ojos (The Three Eyes) Although named “The Three Eyes”, this attraction boasts four clear water lagoons in limestone sinkholes. A deep staircase leads visitors to the underground caverns once used by the Taino Indians in religious ceremonies. Daily 8am-5:30pm. Adults

Japanese Garden at the Jardín Botánico

Parque Mirador del Sur A six kilometer long park popular with Dominicans for running, biking, rollerblading and walking in the early mornings and late afternoons, when the park’s main avenue is closed off to motorized traffic and the sun is less intense. The park is great for kids as it boasts numerous jungle gyms and vendors of sweets. Ave. Mirador del Sur.


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The Arts

Roots, Rock, Batey

Cultural fusion on a new level


show is in full swing. The sweat l Batey is one of the many fusion bands on the Sandrips, legs become tired, throats to Domingo underground music scene. With their turn dry, but the audience is distinctive sound they have set themselves the chalpowerless against it all. They lenge of looking to the future of the city’s musical movekeep dancing. This is Batey. ment without forgetting its cultural past. Their distinctive To add fuel to the fire, Cigua, sound mixes Afro-Dominican grooves with political comwith his face covered by mentary rarely found in Dominican music. h trademark locks, his As Cigua, Batey’s energetic lead singer, steps brings out a large to the stage, the raucous applause from a dedihorn typically cated fan base rings out. The audience squeezused in gaga mues into Encuentro Artesanal, one of the many sical festivals. He small theater houses located within the Coblows. The crowd lonial Zone. The spot is cramped, smoke fills responds. Cigua rethe air, and the energy is palpable. The lights cites poetic versdim slowly and spectators prepare for the es into his microshow. After moments of waiting the crowd Batey’s music phone as the music turns from calm to anxious. They’ve come for pays tribute to of old mixed with a show. Batey will give them one. new wails in the After the first 10 seconds on stage the auAfrican sounds background. dience realizes this isn’t their parent’s merenJust as the mugue band, blowing out danceable tunes about sic reaches a frenetic climax sunny days on the Malecón. This is the newest generation the band slows the pace to an of Dominican artists, redefining the concept of what Doalmost even crawl. The crowd minican music is, what it isn’t and what it could be. reflects on the jams they’ve The music that Batey plays is a mix of African beats, heard. Jose Carlos beats away with Haitian rara, Dominican gaga, American rock and on the drums and Fernando Palos, all in one blend that Cigua compares to a “sancocho” lets the guitar cry. The crowd (a popular Dominican stew - see page 31). Their music is a is at ease with tonight’s show. dash of merengue star Johnny Ventura and bachata’s Frank Cigua explains, “This is music. Reyes, mixed with some Jimi Hendrix, a taste of Bob MarThis is also Dominican music. ley, topped off with a little bit of Dominican mambo. This We young people are speaking is the new generation of Dominican music: you just have through the music.” to know where to find it. As the energy picks up, the dancing starts. The drums speed up. The guitar riffs are strange, harsh, loud and melodCheck to download ic. They speak. The horns blare to a fever pitch and a once music by El Batey. calm Saturday night is now a raucous cage of energy. The


The Arts Plaza de la Cultura Museo del Hombre Dominicano Wide collection of Taino artifacts with sections dedicated to the post-Columbus era and the country’s African heritage. Religious practices, Dominican fiestas and the roots of Dominican music are also on display. Tues-Sun 10am-5pm. Closed Monday. Foreign adults & children RD$75. Ave. Pedro Henríquez Ureña, 809.687.3622;

Henríquez Ureña, 809.688.6952. Under renovation. Opening date not known at time of publication.

Cinemateca Dominicana The Cinemateca is Santo Domingo’s art house cinema, screening local and international independent films, as well as sponsoring workshops and annual film festivals. Ave. Máximo Gómez & Pedro Henríquez Ureña, 809.689.6102;

Museo de Arte Moderno

Museo Numismático y Filatélico

Four floors of the museum are dedicated to 20th century Dominican art. The first and fourth floors are reserved for temporary exhibits while the second and third floors feature permanent collections. Tues-Sun 9am-5pm. Closed Monday. Adults RD$50; children from 8-12 yrs. RD$20. Ave. Pedro Henríquez Ureña, 809.685.2153 ext. 0.

Coin and Stamp Museum. On the north side of the street, up from Plaza de la Cultura, this Central Bank museum takes visitors on a tour of the history of currency and stamps in the DR. The stamp collection goes as far back as 1865. A selection of coins salvaged from shipwrecked Spanish galleons is also on display. Mon-Fri 9am-3pm. Free admission. Ave. Pedro Henríquez Ureña & Leopoldo Navarro, 809.221.9111 ext. 3662/3712;

The Zona Colonial Centro Cultural de España The Spanish Cultural Center, managed by the Spanish Embassy, is known for sponsoring events highlighting local and international art, artists and culture. Daily 8am-9pm. Calle Arzobispo Meriño & Arzobispo Portes, 809.686.8212; Museo de Arte Moderno

Casa de Francia Museo de Historia Natural The museum includes exhibits of animals endemic to the island as well as animals from around the world. There are also exhibits of the DR’s famous amber gemstones. Tues-Sun 10am-5pm. Closed Monday. Foreign adults & children RD$100, Planetarium RD$30. Ave. Pedro Henríquez Ureña, 809.689.0106.

Museo Nacional de Historia y Geografía On display are personal belongings of former Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. The car Trujillo was riding in when he was assassinated in 1961 can be seen at the museum. Ave. Pedro


Built by Santo Domingo’s first governor Nicolás de Ovando in the early 16th century, the building was once home to Mexico’s Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés. The building now houses the French Embassy. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. Calle Las Damas & El Conde, 809.695.4300.

Casa de Italia With the support of the Italian community and Embassy, Casa de Italia is home to the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Italian language center and hosts events promoting italian culture and heritage in the DR. Mon-Fri 8:30am-6pm, Sat 8:30am-5pm. Closed Sunday. Calle Hostos & Luperón, 809.688.1497.

The Arts Centro Domínico-Alemán The Germans also have a center in the Colonial City, running a library, a monthly schedule of film screenings, cultural events and culinary events all year round. Site of the German Chamber of Commerce. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. Calle Isabel la Catolica #212 opposite the former Telecommunications Palace, 809.221.8475.

cane production in the Dominican Republic. On the premises is a shop selling several brands of rum and a bar. Mon-Wed 9am-5pm, Thurs 9am12am, Fri-Sat 9am-2am. Closed Sunday. Free admission. Calle Isabel La Católica & Restauración, 809.685.5111.

Museo de Porcelana The major attraction in this museum is artwork made entirely of porcelain. Mon-Fri 10am-5pm,

Rum barrels at the Museo del Ron y la Caña

Museo del Ron y la Caña Present and past rum producers have come together to exhibit a collection of memorabilia of the industry that tells the story of rum and sugar

Museo de Porcelana


The Arts Sat 11am-4pm. Closed Sunday. Foreign adults RD$100; foreign children from 5-12 yrs. RD$50. Calle José Reyes #6, 809.688.4759.

Museo de Larimar A museum and store dedicated to Larimar, a rare pale-blue colored semi-precious stone found only in the DR. Mon-Sat 8:30am-6pm, Sun 9am1pm. Free admission. Isabel La Católica #54, 809.689.6605;

Museo Trampolín Today, a children’s museum, this edifice was built at Casa Rodrigo de Bastidas, a colonial building that dates back to the 17th century. Its exhibits take children on a tour of the universe, planet Earth, the National Parks in the DR and the human body. Tues-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am6pm. Adults RD$100; children from 2-12 yrs. RD$50. Calle Las Damas, 809.685.5551.

PreHispanic Art Hall Sala de Arte Prehispánico. Fundación García Arévalo exhibits a well-preserved collection of aboriginal art and artifacts. Mon-Fri 9am-12pm and 2pm-5pm. Free admission. Av. J. F. Kennedy at the Pepsi Cola offices (Embotelladora Dominicana), 809.620.7777 ext. 234, 235. Call prior to visiting.

Theaters The Zona Colonial Casa de Teatro Casa de Teatro started out as an independent theater in 1974 and has become a haven for emerging Dominican artists. Beyond theater, the Teatro hosts a variety of cultural events including music shows and art exhibitions. Calle Arzobispo Meriño #110, 809.689.3430;

Quinta Dominica Small cultural space without a permanent collection, with Dominican art and culture as its main focus. Exhibitions are constantly changing. MonSat 9:30am-6pm. Closed Sunday. Free admission. Padre Billini #202, 809.687.5944.

Beyond the Zona Museo Bellapart Museum dedicated to well-known Dominican artists with works by Jaime Colson, Luis (Sisito) Desangles, Leopoldo Navarro, Abelardo Rodríguez Urdaneta, Abelardo Piñeyro, Adolfo García Obregón, Enrique García Godoy, Celeste Woss y Gil and Fernando (Tuto) Báez. Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 9am-12pm. Closed Sunday. Free admission. Av. John F. Kennedy, Edificio Honda, 5th Floor, 809.541.7721 ext. 296; Teatro las Máscaras

Casa de Teatro

Teatro Guloya Small theatrical venue featuring local and international theater performances. Calle Arzobispo Portes #205, 809.685.4856;

Teatro las Máscaras Small intimate playhouse with informal underground performances. Calle Arzobispo Portes #56, 809.687.9788;

Beyond the Zona Teatro Nacional The theater’s main hall seats 1,589 spectators in its Sala Eduardo Brito and is home to international plays and performers as well as local productions. Formal dress code. Ave. Máximo Gómez #35, Plaza de la Cultura, 809.687.3191.


The Arts

Palacio de Bellas Artes

Sunday Nights with Bonyé Each Sunday, on the steps of the San Francisco Ruins, in the Zona Colonial (see walking tour page 15) the love of music fills the hot Santo Domingo nights with bluesy son and merengue sounds when Bonyé and talented friends take the stage. The horns blare out, the drums beat tightly, the sounds of cold Presidente beers being opened create a lively chorus that complement the show on stage.

Palacio de Bellas Artes The Palace of the Arts is the recently renovated home to the National School of Visual Arts, National Dance School, National Ballet, National Symphony Orchestra, Fine Arts Theater, National Folklore Dance Troupe and National Drama School. Ave. Máximo Gómez & Independencia, 809.682.1325.

Conservatorio Nacional de Música The National Music Conservatory’s Sala Juan Francisco García is used for the National Dance Festival, musical recitals and drama performances. Ave. César Nicolás Pensón & Alma Mater, 809.682.1325.

Cinemas Cinemas are great value in the DR with weekday shows under RD$150 for recent releases and hovering around RD$250 for weekend showings. The better cinemas are located at the Bella Vista, Diamond, Acropolis, Coral, Megacentro malls and Malecón Center. Teatro Nacional

Bonyé in concert

It is a sight to enjoy and the hundreds of smiles, joyful laughter and dancing feet are a testament to that. This group of talented friends, led by Felix Báez, aren’t getting rich by moonlighting as musicians. Actually, they are plenty rich, but never that type of wealth that is measured by monthly bank statements. It’s the wealth that one gets from enjoying the simple things in life. The show begins promptly at 6pm “Dominican time”, which means things won’t get started until around 7pm. Much of what makes Bonyé an enjoyable experience is the meet and greet with locals who come every Sunday to sit and people watch. The ruins of San Francisco provide an amazing background to enjoy the show and the warmth shared by locals, who at a moments notice become long time friends, to reflect the ongoing spirit of Santo Domingo.










Stay tuned for the Fall 2009 edition

Dominican Republic Fashion Week was held at Santo Domingo’s Sansouci Port in June 2009

Shopping & Services

The Mercado Modelo

Haggling tips from behind enemy lines


mainstay since 1942, the Mercado Modelo holds claim to the city’s largest selection of Dominican souvenirs. Here, visitors and vendors pull and tug for the best price. To assist visitors, dr1guide collected tips from two unlikely sources. Veteran Mercado Modelo vendors Virgilio González and Silvia Molina were bold enough to give us some advice on how to get the best prices.

González. So, don’t feel foolish looking for the same item in several shops or even returning to a shop you’ve already visited; it’s all expected.

Offer 50%. According to Molina, visitors should offer Haggling is expected. According to González, z, ven50% of the cost of an item right dors at the Mercado Modelo expect you to bargain,, away to start the bargaining gam as this puts both so much so that they would be a bit surprised if a game p client didn’t ask for a lower price. “Tourists seem parties on an even playing field. The to know they can haggle, maybe they’re told at buyer is offering what the airport,” González says with a smile. “I have they consider a fair no problem lowering until we reach a price thatt price, and the seller is comfortable for me and for the client.” (although they may Amber is a Be nice. Some visitors can be aggressive try to increase the when trying to lower the price, and accordprice) will make a popular item at ing to González, this is the wrong way to go profit. Molina adthe mercado about things. One must remember there’s vises that visitors something to be gained by both parties. “We should try and hold can keep lowering the price to an amount where I can’t go strong around the 50% mark esany lower. If the client cannot pay my lowest price, there’s pecially on the larger merchanno reason to get upset,” says González. He explains that dise like wooden sculptures, he also wants to reach an agreement but obviously has to paintings, drums, etc. She menmake some money on the deal as well. tions that the vendor will try to get the buyer more around 30% Not every shop has the same price. A common for smaller merchandise like misconception at the Mercado Modelo is that since each magnets, knick-knacks, pens or shop within the warehouse is basically selling the same penholders, etc. According to thing, the prices should be more or less the same. Not so, Molina, haggling is just part of explains González. According to him, each shop buys from the game. different artisans and prices can vary a great deal in the market. González suggests you shop around because alOpen Mon-Sat 8am-6pm. Sun 8amthough the same item may be sold in various shops, pric12pm. Av. Mella #55, 809.685.1600. es can vary considerably. “There’s never a fixed price,” says




Shoppingg & Services Spas: Not just for ladies Once a hidden pleasure for even the manliest of men, a day at the spa has become a standard of health and wellness for men in Santo Domingo. In a city where looks and youth are worth their weight in gold, Dominican men have opened up to the benefits of spa treatments, making it a must for healthy looking and living. Replacing the steamy sweat rooms of bland bath houses, the spa has also taken shape as the new boardroom, where many of Santo Domingo’s top executives go to make important decisions, while they indulge in the delights of scented aromas, flavored waters and much needed rest and relaxation.

No longer are men in Santo Domingo subjected to hang nails, in grown hairs and rough cowboy skin, instead the new man of Santo Domingo easily indulges himself in the comforts of full body massages. Dominican males have become so accustomed to the pampering at wellness centers that many of the city’s spas have begun offering male specific spa treatments and exclusive packages. Male travelers to Santo Domingo, looking to relax and enjoy as many other Dominicans would, should drop the khaki shorts and sandals and replace them with soft linen towels and cotton moccasins. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.


Beauty Salons Dominican women of all economic status like to look good. Dominican salons keep up to date on the new hair cuts and deep conditioning treatments. Dominican stylists are known the world over for their mastery of the art of blow drying, working from root to tips and painstakingly drying hair in sections, twirling the brush at the ends to give hair tons of body, and getting the shine out of hair. A Dominican salon is probably the only place where if you are in a rush, you can get two stylists to go at your hair.

The beauty salon experience is just as much about looking good as getting a psychological uplift. It is a time women dedicate to themselves. Everyone seems to be on a first-name basis, and stylists know how to keep a conversation going. To immerse yourself into local culture, visit a salon in Santo Domingo. The weekly visit to the neighborhood salon is part of Dominican female culture. Little girls start going to the salon from 4 years old or even earlier. It’s a mom and daughter bonding routine.


Barra Payán

Half a century of sandwiches


n 10 August 1956, Juan Frias Payán borrowed the mous batida de zapote (sapote equivalent of about US$22 from a friend to open milkshake). a of o the t e a sandwich shop at Calle 30 de Marzo. Half “I love the fact that I can money went towards the first payment of the storefront come here at any hour,” says long ti and the other half was spent on stocking his new small time client Freddie Peralta. “T business. More than half a century later, Barra Payán is a “These sandwiches have a special taste.” Santo Domingo mainstay. For the first 30 years, Open 24 hours, its large menu of addictivee Payán personally helped sandwiches and sweet tropical juices and shakess prepa have attracted famous musicians, major leaguee prepare the sandwiches that baseball players, politicians, late night food seek-have m made his establishment famous Since then, he has ers and ordinary Dominicans for over 50 years. famous. bee content to simply “We’ve had Presidents to people from all been w social classes. [Barra Payán] is special, just as watch as the fruits of a there is a politician or professional, sitting business he started right next to them is a shoeshine boy...with from scratch conno judgment between them,” says Payán, tinue to flourish. who is now 85. He can usually be Barra Payán’s Despite his business’s enduring success, found in his small Payán has never opened another location. He completo sand- office above the believes that opening more locations nega(watching wich and sapote kitchen tively affects the personal service Barra Payán the security cammilkshake has always given its clients. In any case, after era, of course) or more than 50 years in business, people know sitting in the corwhere to find him. ner by the takeout Clients can eat their order at the bar, take the food entrance. Nowadays, he sees to go, or even park their car alongside the shop and the grandchildren of his first have their order served right to the window. Waiters at clients on the stools where they Barra Payán are trained to use their memory, as orders once sat. are not written down, they’re simply remembered and “We’re an institution now,” then shouted through to the kitchen. No need to worry says Payán. “If you haven’t though, there is a method to the madness. All you need been by Barra Payán, you to fret about is what to choose on the menu. To help you haven’t been to the capital.” decide, Payán highlights the shop’s two most popular orders, the derretido de queso (grilled cheese) and the Open 24 hours. Calle 30 de Marzo #140 (almost corner 27 de Febrero), completo (ham, cheese, chicken or pork, lettuce and to809.689.6654. mato). This can be washed down with Barra Payán’s


Mediterranean Italian Wood oven pizza

Atarazana #21, Zona Colonial • 809.686.3586


The Alcázar de Colón Royalty in the Americas The Alcázar at night

The Alcázar de Colón was the monumental the 18th centuries from royal palaces in Spain, home of the first viceroy of the Americas and is recreating the Alcázar’s original beauty and amthe “icon of colonization,” according to Museum bience. Director Eva Camilo. “This is Today, visitors who enter the where the New World met royalty Alcázar can experience how the for the first time.” first royal family lived in the New Construction began in 1510 World. The palace boasts numerfor the grand palace to house ous pieces of Renaissance furniChristopher Columbus’ son, ture, musical instruments, ceramnewly appointed Santo Domingo ics, tapestries and paintings all set Governor, Diego Columbus, his out as if the royal family still lived wife María de Toledo, their family Plate with Columbus within the palace. family emblem and royal court. The Columbus family moved into their new home in 1512 and would inhabit the Alcázar until 1577. During this time as the center of the Spanish court in the Americas, the palace hosted the legendary Spanish explorers Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro and Ponce de León. Ransacked by English Buccaneer Sir Francis Drake during his 1586 invasion of the city and damaged by subsequent earthquakes, the Alcázar fell into disrepair for over 300 years. Restoration began in 1955 and was concluded in 1958. During this renovation, the Dominican government acquired priceless pieces from the 16th to Actress dressed as María de Toledo Painting of Christopher Columbus and his son Diego

Now, thanks to a new museum initiative, the royal family will walk the corridors of the Alcázar once again after more than 400 years. Starting on 19 September 2009, visitors will find individual actors in full costume playing the roles of Diego, María de Toledo, their seven children and members of the court on weekdays and on Saturday nights. Much planning has gone into this unique initiative that will definitely be on the “must see” list of Santo Domingo come September.


Diningg How it’s prepared Barbecued

Al carbón






A la parilla

Oven roasted



Al vapor



Basic words to know Breakfast






International cuisine in the romantic Plaza de España



Credit card

Tarjeta de crédito

Calle Atarazana #27, Zona Colonial 809-688-9400. Sun-Thurs 10:30am-1am. Fri-Sat 10:30am-3am.

Hot or spicy



El Menú

Dominican Restaurant Lingo Many restaurants in Santo Domingo list their menu options in both Spanish and English so there should be no problem understanding what to order. In any case, the following terms are good to have handy when dining out.

Meats Rare

Vuelta y vuelta


Término medio

Medium well

Tres cuarto

Well done

Bien cocido














The bill

La cuenta

The waiter/waitress

El/la Camarero/a







Bon Apetit

Buen Provecho




Avenida Venezuela

Santo Domingo’s real party strip


evoid of the nouveau chic vibe found in the center as a “mega-colmadón”. Cheap of Santo Domingo, “Aquel Lado,” as it is referred drinks, great music and a great to by Capitaleños, has a completely different feel. atmosphere make these some Gone are the European designers and the thumping techof Santo Domingo’s best people no music. Gone are the high-priced sushi joints and cafe watching nightspots. bars. Forget about Moet and Martinis. This part of town, And on certain nights you across the Ozama River, some 15 minutes east of Santo won’t even have to go inside a nightclub as the p Domingo city center, is where real dancers go to dance and party spills ightlife can be found. onto the streets. str where a vibrant Dominican nightlife These avenues b According to Jeurys Pérez, who lives on the east become parside of the Ozama, “people from Aquel ty strips where cars sl Lado like to meet more and more parade slowly down d stree grabbing people and make more and the street, the attention atten more friends so they can of onlookers. “A keep the party going until “Aquel Lado is 100 ttimes better whenever.” César Pérez, who also frethan anyquents the dance clubs, says,, where “the vibe on the other side is in Santo very different from the center of Santo D o fferent, the Domingo. The music is different, mingo,” people are different. It’s more down to earth.” says GiThough Aquel Lado coverss a large area, in ancarlo Pimenans two streets – tel. “It’s not about terms of nightlife it only spans image or the car Av. Venezuela and Av. San Vicente de Paul. The party spills These two bustling city streets are lined with you drive. People onto the street some of Santo Domingo’s hottest Latin dance won’t judge you clubs. And for those who bring their danchere; they just on Venezuela ing shoes, this is the place for you. The party want to have fun. can be found any night of the week with the It doesn’t get any ever-popular Makumba playing today’s hottest salsa and better than that. If you want merengue jams, with a mix of bachata and American to have fun, then you have to pop songs. As the weekend nears, the dancers get their cross the river!”. shoes ready for Eclipse, where the party goes strong all weekend long. Check for nightlife events For those who would rather watch than be watched, in Santo Domingo. take a ride to House Drink or La Barrica, better known




This photo, of Carnival 2009, was submitted by photographer Charlies RodrĂ­guez, runner-up in our dr1guide Cover Contest. To submit your art/photograph for future editions please visit


The Beaches

Santo Domingo’s Beaches Boca Chica, Guayacanes, Juan Dolio Boca Chica Beach


ocated 20 miles (30 kms) east of Santo Domingo and 2 miles (a bit over 3 kms) east of Las Americas International Airport, Boca Chica has reserved the right of being the capital’s “city beach”. As with any city beach, expect large crowds on weekends and many vendors selling everything from massages to seafood to necklaces. The beach is quiet during the week as well as in the late afternoon after the crowds head back to the city. Boca Chica Beach is famous for its powdery white sand. It also has some of the Dominican Republic’s calmest waters, thanks to a coral reef that protects the beach from big breakers. It creates a large natural lagoon that is Juan Dolio Beach perfect for wading and making it safe for children and non swimmers. People are also drawn to the beach for its famous fried fish (see article page 43). But there are also many sea-front restaurants that promise delicious seafood served with a touch of sea salt spray and views that make for excellent photo souvenirs.

Guayacanes Beach About 8 miles (13 kms) east of Boca Chica is the small town of Guayacanes. The town’s beach can also get pretty crowded on the weekends with a mix mainly of locals and some tourists, but its calm inviting waters and the absence of large resorts only adds to its small village appeal. Much like Boca Chica, the beach is less crowded on weekdays. A spattering of good restaurants is also a big draw, bringing in capital city dwellers for a day outing.

as present. The beach is also more spacious, thanks in part to a government beach regeneration project completed in 2007. In relation to Boca Chica though, Juan Dolio’s waters are rougher and the underwater sand less smooth due to some seaweed and dead coral scattered about in some parts. Nevertheless, its large expanse of shoreline allows for a relaxing day at the beach with plenty of space to stretch out under the sun. Juan Dolio is undergoing a major real estate boom, with luxury high-rise buildings under construction, as promoters seek to sell the wonderful views to snowbirds and locals who want their own place on the beach. Its many good restaurants keep visitors coming back to the area. Fishing boat in Guayacanes

Juan Dolio Beach About 2 miles (3 kms) east of Guayacanes, Juan Dolio Beach is much more laid back and hassle-free compared to Boca Chica as the large crowds and vendors are not


The Beaches Transport to the Beach Santo Domingo to the beach Taking a private taxi is one option to get to the beach. Prices aren’t cheap, but are always negotiable. You can also negotiate the cab to wait for you and also discuss return fees to the city. Look at our directory section for private taxi options. There is alternate transport for an attractive price. Parque Enriquillo (see transport map, page 60) is the main bus hub for guaguas (buses) going to Boca Chica, Guayacanes and Juan Dolio. Remember that public buses make stops wherever you wish, so, if you are traveling to Boca Chica you can be let off anywhere along Duarte Avenue and anywhere along the Autovía del Este in Guayacanes and Juan Dolio.

Tee off in Juan Dolio Great golf is not far from Santo Domingo. Juan Dolio features two challenging 18 hole par 72 courses at Metro Country Club’s Los Marlins Golf Course and at the Guavaberry Golf & Country Club’s Gary Player designed course. Remember that reservations are required for weekend play.

Metro Country Club

Metro Country Club Boulevar de Juan Dolio & Autovía del Este, Juan Dolio. 809.685.7949 $80 green fee (includes cart) Caddie for 9 holes: US$10

From the beach to Santo Domingo

Caddie for 18 holes: US$15

Buses traveling back to the capital are found along the Autovía del Este in Juan Dolio and Guayacanes and along Duarte Avenue in Boca Chica. It is good to note that these buses feed into the Boca Chica Bus Terminal (see beach map, page 44) where you must transfer to another bus to reach the capital. You will be charged once. Note: Express buses cost a bit more and are air conditioned and go directly to their destination letting people off along the way but they do not take on new passengers. Local buses are not airconditioned and make numerous stops to let people on and off. Express buses are commonly referred to as guaguas frias (cold buses) and local buses as guaguas calientes (hot buses).

US$45 to rent clubs



Cold Bus

Hot Bus

Boca Chica

45 min

60 pesos

45 pesos


1 hour

100 pesos

80 pesos

Juan Dolio

1 hour

100 pesos

80 pesos


7am-6pm. Guavaberry Golf & Country Club Km 55 Autovía del Este, Juan Dolio. 809.333.4653 US$105 green fee (includes cart) US$25 to rent clubs Caddie for 9 holes: US$10 Caddie for 18 holes: US$15 7am-7pm Guavaberry Golf & Country Club

The Beaches Fried Fish, Boca Chica Style Boca Chica is famous for its fried fish. According to fish vendor Rosanna Bautista, it’s the love they add to the recipe that separates fried fish in Boca Chica from that which is served anywhere else on the island. Bautista owns a small stall on the western section of Santo Domingo’s closest beach. Just as in all the stalls, Bautista has her fish on display and ready to go, seasoned with a mix of salt, garlic and oregano. Once a client asks for a specific fish, she coats it with flour and fries the fish twice so it “takes up a good flavor,” as she explains. Most of the fish sold in Boca Chica is either Loro (Parrot Fish), Mero (Grouper) or Chillo (Red Snapper). According to Bautista, the price of the fish has nothing to do with the type but rather the size. Prices range from RD$150 to RD$390. Remember that fried fish never arrives on your plate alone. Every fish comes as a “servicio” or combo that is accompanied by tostones (fried plantains) and aguacate (avocado). Patrons can also add on batata frita (fried sweet potato), bollito de yuca (cheese filled cassava), longaniza (pork sausage) or yaniqueque (Johnny cake).

Seasoned fish

Boca Chica fried fish and its side dishes

Boca Chica fried fish stands

809 877 4332


d o m i n i c a n c h a r t e r fi s h i n g. c o m




Business Directory LAWYERS Guzmán Ariza, Attorneys at Law Your legal partner in Santo Domingo and the entire Dominican Republic. Multilingual attorneys servicing the business and personal needs of international corporations and individuals. Calle Ernesto de la Maza. MonFri 8:30am – 6:00 pm. Tel: 809.255.0980 - Fax 809.255.0940.

MUSEUMS Amber World Museum We are the amber authority in the Dominican Republic. Visitors can enjoy our many displays and learn about the origins of this semi-precious stone, appreciate the work of an expert craftsman in our workshop and even take home a piece of this beautiful gem from our museum store. Mon-Sat 8:30 am-6pm. Sun 9am-1pm, Arz. Meriño & Restauración #452, 809.682.3309;

RESTAURANTS Hard Rock Cafe Come see time fly and lose yourself in our extensive


memorabilia collection. Be sure to enjoy some great live music and try our famous cocktails. Hungry? Satisfy your appetite with our delightful dishes, or just pull up a stool at the bar and enjoy the atmosphere. Sun-Thurs 11am-1am, Fri-Sat 11am3am. Calle El Conde #103, 809.686.7771.

Pat’e Palo European Brasserie Pat’e Palo is the first tavern of the Americas and our best asset is our location in front of the elegant arches of the Alcazar de Colón. We have a wide menu of succulent dishes that are best enjoyed with a good cup of wine. Don’t miss our live music sessions every Sunday beginning at 7pm. SunThurs 9am-1am, Fri-Sat 9am-3am. Calle Atarazana #25, 809.687.8089; Ristorante Angelo Come enjoy a unique dining experience at our three level restaurant in the beautiful Zona Colonial. We offer a wide range of Mediterranean and Italian dishes, all capable of satisfying the most demanding of tastes; not to

mention, our unforgettable wood oven pizza. SunThurs 12pm-1am, Fri-Sat 12pm-3am. Calle Atarazana #21, 809.686.3586.

Rita’s Café We welcome you to share this charming atmosphere where you may relax and enjoy a unique dining experience. Be our guest, meet new friends, renew old acquaintances and enjoy the total ambience of Rita’s Café. Sun-Thurs 10:30am-1am. Fri-Sat 10:30am-3am. Atarazana #27, 809.688.9400.

SHOPPING & SERVICES Acropolis Center The DR’s top shopping mall features more than 40 name-brand stores like Mango, Kenneth Cole, Benetton, Swarovski, Zara, and Tommy Hilfiger. We also have full-service restaurants like TGI Friday’s and Fry & Grill, with Caribbean Cinemas and a play ground for the little ones. Mon-Sat 10am9pm, Sun 11am-6pm. Av. W. Churchill & Rafael A. Sánchez, 809.955.2020. Aunt Clara’s Dominican Cookbook Get your copy of Aunt

Clara’s Dominican Cookbook! The only book of Dominican recipes currently available in English. It contains 100 classic recipes for favorite Dominican starters, main dishes, buffet food, hot and cold beverages, desserts and cakes, including the legendary bizcocho dominicano! Visit cooking to bring Dominican flavor home to your kitchen.

Boutique del Fumador Our store is the best place in Santo Domingo to purchase handmade cigars. Enjoy the experience of a cigar factory tour. Find a variety of local brands such as Caoba and Criollo, as well as our own Cohiba brand of cigars. Shoppers can find all smoking accessories such as humidifiers and cigar cutters. Mon-Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 10am-3pm. Calle El Conde #109, Zona Colonial, 809.685.6425; Ola Time Saving and one of a kind in the Dominican Republic! Buy the Premium Dominican Republic Map with the plan of your preference from 3, 6 to 12 months. Payments

from RD$125 monthly. 809.420.1012;

Reefer Services, S.A. We are the industry leader in refrigerated transport with services that include equipment rental, sales, installation, monitoring, electricity, cleaning and repair. We feature a team of specialized technicians in the brands we represent: Tempstar, Thermoguard and Scout. Carretera Sánchez km. 12½, Haina Oriental. 809.539.6122;

TOURS Captain Rob’s Fishing Charters Boca Chica fishing charters and excursions just 15 minutes from Santo Domingo! Half and full day rates at reasonable prices with bait and tackle included. U.S. Coast Guard captain with 30+ years experience and an expert fisherman. Call Captain Rob at 809.877.4332 or visit our website dominicancharterfishing. com.

tion management company with services that include: group and private airport transfers, hotel check in assistance with representatives available to help with any questions, tours in the Punta Cana region, wedding reception assistance, conferences and event planning. 809.552.1286;

Ocean World Adventure Park, Casino & Marina Get ready for a once in a lifetime experience! Swim with dolphins in the world’s largest dolphin lagoon created by a group of marine animal experts. In addition to playful Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins, Ocean World is also home to stingrays, tropical fish, sharks, exotic birds, reptiles and fun loving sea lions. Reservations: 809.291.1000.Groups: 809.291.1111; oceanworld. net.

Caribbean Dream TO Let us help you plan your trip. We are a destina-


Santo Domingo Restaurants RESTAURANT







Av. R. Pastoriza #226



L, D


El Rey del Falafel

Calle Padre Billini

Zona Colonial/3



809.688.9714 809 532.8350

Chino de Mariscos

Av. Sarasota #38A

Bella Vista


L, D

Dragon House

Av. Duarte & Ave. México



L, D


Adrian Tropical

Ave. G. Washington #2


B, L, D


El Conuco

Casimiro de Moya #152



L, D


Meson di Bari

Calle Hostos #302

Zona Colonial/3


L, D


La Residence

Calle Las Damas

Zona Colonial/3


B, L, D


La Cave del Rey

Abelardo R. Urdaneta



L, D



Av. A. Lincoln #1001



L, D



Av. G. Mejía Ricart #124

Piantini 1


B, L, D


Meson de la Cava

Av. Mirador del Sur #1



L, D



Av. Sarasota #14A

La Julia


L, D


Cafeteria El Conde

Calle Arz. Meriño #111

Zona Colonial/3


B, L, D


Hard Rock Cafe

Calle El Conde #103

Zona Colonial/3


L, D


Pat’e Palo

Calle La Atarazana #25

Zona Colonial/3


L, D


Rita’s Café

Calle La Atarazana #27

Zona Colonial/3


L, D


Il Capuccino

Av. Máximo Gómez #60



B, L, D



Av. R. Pastoriza #504

Evaristo Morales


L, D



Ave. G. Washington #521

C. Universitaria


L, D


La Briciola

Calle Arz. Meriño #152

Zona Colonial/3


L, D


Ristorante Angelo

Calle Atarazana #21

Zona Colonial/3


L, D



Calle Seminario #57



L, D


Coreano Magna

Calle 12 de Junio

Bella Vista


L, D




Av. A. Lincoln #1059



L, D


Porter House

Av. A. Lincoln #918



L, D


David Crockett

Av. Gustavo M. Ricart #34



L, D


Madera Steak




L, D


Red Grill

M. Henríquez Ureña # 50



L, D


El Agave

Av. Lope de Vega #104



L, D



Av. W. Churchill #802

Evaristo Morales


L, D

809.338 0404

Casa Portuguesa

J. del Embajador #10B

Bella Vista


L, D



Av. Charles Summer #19



L, D


Boga Boga

Av. Bolívar #203



L, D



Av. Independencia #54



L, D


Don Pepe

Manuel Troncoso #5



L, D



Santo Domingo Bars & Clubs BAR/CLUB




Cafe/Bar /Lounge Cinnamon

Av Winston Churchill #1550



Sunset Bar & Lounge

Av. Winston Churchill & José A. Soler



Ferro Cafe

Virgilio Díaz Ordóñez #201



Bali Cafe

Av. Bolivar #1002

La Julia


Chao Lounge

Av. Tiradentes #7




Gustavo Mejia Ricart #69




Ave. Abraham Lincoln #1059




Ave. Winston Churchill, Acropolis Center



La Suite

Calle Manuel Troncoso, Plaza Don Alfonso



Mi Taverna

Av. Abraham Lincoln, Plaza Castilla #21A




Ave. R. Pastoriza, Plaza Dorada #463



Ristorante Angelo

Calle Atarazana #21

Zona Colonial/3


Bio Bar

Calle Sánchez #125

Zona Colonial/3



Calle Hostos #157

Zona Colonial/3



Calle Atarazana #11

Zona Colonial/3



Arzobispo Meriño #154-A

Zona Colonial/3


Encuentro Artesanal

Calle Arzobispo Meriño #407

Zona Colonial/3


Hard Rock Cafe

Calle El Conde #103

Zona Colonial/3


La Espiral

Calle Jose Reyes & Salome Ureña #107

Zona Colonial/3


Le Studio

Calle Las Mercedes #352

Zona Colonial/3


Parada 77

Isabel la Catolica #255

Zona Colonial/3


Pat’e Palo

Calle Atarazana #25

Zona Colonial/3


Quintana Bar & Lounge

Calle Atarazana #13

Zona Colonial/3


Rita’s Café

Calle Atarazana #27

Zona Colonial/3


Alta Copa

Pedro A. Bobea #6

Bella Vista



Calle Heroes del Luperón #29

La Feria


Coyote Club

Paseo de Los Locutores #58

Evaristo Morales/1


Coppa Bar

Hotel Melia, Ave. G. Washington #365



La Guacara Taina

Ave. Parque Mirador del Sur

Mirador Sur



Beat Lounge & Dance

Ave. Lope de Vega #13




Gustavo Mejía Ricart #78




Ave. Abraham Lincoln, Plaza Andalucia



Montecristo Café

Jose Amado Soler & Ave. A. Lincoln




Beach Bars & Restaurants BAR & RESTAURANT






Boca Chica D’Cris y Adriano

Abraham Nuñez #27


B, L

Pequeña Suiza

Duarte #56


B, L, D



Boca Marina

Duarte #12-A


L, D


Caribe Beach Club

Duarte #30


L, D


Chez Maríus

Duarte #28


B, L, D


El Tula

20 de Diciembre #1


L, D

Neptuno’s Club

Duarte #12


L, D


El Pelícano

Hotel Hamaca


L, D


The Boat House

Calle Duarte #34


B, L, D


Italy & Italy

Calle Duarte #101


B, L, D



Avenida del Sur #3




Da’ Nancy Trattoria

Abraham Nuñez #52


B, L, D



Beach Club Isla Bonita

Duarte #46


B, L, D


El Tucano

Duarte #25


B, L, D


La Terraza de Pilar

Juan B. Vicini #12


B, L, D

Playa Guayacanes



Guayacanes Deli Swiss

L, D


Restaurant El Pescador

Playa Guayacanes


B, L, D


Salitre Restaurante

Playa Guayacanes


B, L, D


Juan Dolio Bar Cacique

Calle Principal

La Brissa Plaza Express

Calle Boulevar #1

Appetizers Dom.

B, L, D




Aura Beach House

Calle Principal


L, D

Mandalay Restaurant

Calle Boulevar


B, L, D

Bistro Marianna

Calle Boulevar


B, L, D

El Sueño

Calle Principal


L, D


La Cucina de la Mama

Calle Boulevar


L, D


La Grotta Azzura

Calle Principal


L, D


Lucas Ristorante

Calle Principal


L, D


Pizzería Venezia

Calle Boulevar


L, D

Guilia’s Cafe Sports Bar

Calle Principal


B, L, D


JD Bar & Grill

Calle Boulevar


B, L, D


Bar Restaurant Popeye

Calle Principal


B, L, D


Bar “El Bambú”

Calle Principal


B, L, D


El Mesón

Calle Boulevar


L, D






Free Gift with your purchase at our Rock Shop Calle El Conde #103 809.686.7771. Sun-Thurs 11am-1am Fri-Sat 11am-3am.

Free House Cocktail with the purchase of any appetizer

One coupon per person. Offer valid until July 2010. Some restrictions may apply

Free Mixed Appetizer with the purchase of any bottle of wine

Calle Atarazana #27, 809.688.9400 Sun-Thurs 10:30am-1am. Fri-Sat 10:30am-3am.

One coupon per bill. Offer valid until July 2010. Some restrictions may apply

Free Appetizer


Calle Atarazana #25, 809.687.8089, Sun-Thurs 9am-1am, Fri-Sat 9am-3am.

Free Cocktail

One coupon per person. Offer valid until July 2010. Some restrictions may apply

Calle El Conde #103 809.686.7771. Sun-Thurs 11am-1am Fri-Sat 11am-3am.

Free Gift

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Free House Cocktail with the purchase of any appetizer Calle Atarazana #25, 809.687.8089, Sun-Thurs 9am-1am, Fri-Sat 9am-3am.

Free Cocktail

One coupon per person. Offer valid until July 2010. Some restrictions may apply

Calle Atarazana #27, 809.688.9400 Sun-Thurs 10:30am-1am. Fri-Sat 10:30am-3am.

One coupon per bill. Offer valid until July 2010. Some restrictions may apply

Free Appetizer

Free Mixed Appetizer with the purchase of any bottle of wine


One coupon per person. Offer valid until July 2010. Some restrictions may apply

Calle Atarazana #21, 809.686.3586 Sun-Thurs 12pm-1am, Fri-Sat 12pm-3am.

10% Discount

10% Discount on your bill with this coupon

Free Gift with your purchase at the Amber World Museum Gift Shop

One coupon per person. Offer valid until January 2010. Some restrictions may apply

10% Discount on any fishing charter lasting eight hours or more Santo Domingo, Boca Chica, Juan Dolio 809.877.4332 One coupon per charter. Offer valid until July 2010. Some restrictions may apply

10% Discount


Arz. Meriño & Restauración #452, 809.682.3309 Mon-Sat 8:30am-6pm. Sun 9am-1pm.

Free Gift

One coupon per bill. Offer valid until July 2010. Some restrictions may apply

Calle Atarazana #21, 809.686.3586 Sun-Thurs 12pm-1am, Fri-Sat 12pm-3am.

10% Discount

10% Discount on your bill with this coupon

Free Gift with your purchase at the Amber World Museum Gift Shop Arz. Meriño & Restauración #452, 809.682.3309 Mon-Sat 8:30am-6pm. Sun 9am-1pm.

Free Gift

One coupon per bill. Offer valid until July 2010. Some restrictions may apply

Santo Domingo, Boca Chica, Juan Dolio 809.877.4332 One coupon per charter. Offer valid until July 2010. Some restrictions may apply

10% Discount

10% Discount on any fishing charter lasting eight hours or more


One coupon per person. Offer valid until January 2010. Some restrictions may apply

The Basics

Brief History


hen Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492, the island he named Hispaniola was inhabited by some 400,000 Taino Indians. Old World diseases, slavery and abysmal treatment by the Spaniards all but erased this population. To replace the manual labor, the first African slaves were brought to the island in 1520. The country gained its first independence from Spain in 1821, but the following year, the Haitians invaded, inspired by the ideal of “one indivisible island” set by their liberator Toussaint L’Ouverture. The Dominican Republic remained under Haitian control until 27 February 1844 when the founding fathers of Dominican independence Juan Pablo Duarte, Ramón Matías Mella and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez led a successful revolt and declared independence.

Geography The second largest country in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles, with Haiti occupying the western portion. Situated in the heart of the region between North and South America, the country is bathed by the Caribbean Sea on the south coast and the Atlantic Ocean to the north and its contrasting landscape ranges from towering mountains, to cacti-studded deserts, to rainforest along with 400+ kilometers of soft sand beaches. The DR is big by Caribbean standards at 48,198 square kilometers (29,948 square miles).


city and province of Santo Domingo their home.

Government A Representative Democracy, the Dominican government is made up of three branches: the Executive, Legislative and Judicial. The President is elected by popular vote every four years. President Leonel Fernández was elected to office through August 2012.

Climate & Weather The country is a tropical, maritime nation. The main annual temperature ranges from a cool 17C (62F) to hot 33C (92F) primarily in low-lying areas and along the coast, with most temperatures in Santo Domingo ranging from 25C (77F) to 30C (86F) all year round. Although known as a tropical island, temperatures in some mountainous regions can dip below the freezing mark in the winter months. See for weather updates.

The country’s population is approximately nine million with three million people calling the capital


The Basics Religion


About 95% of the country is Christian, mainly Roman Catholic, however, many denominations (Anglican, Baptist, Evangelical, Seventh Day Adventist, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness) are practiced and tolerated. There are also Jewish, Muslim and Bahai places of worship. Visit for a list of houses of worship. Conversion Box Weights & Measurements 1 pound = 0.45359 kilo

1 kilo = 2.204 pounds

The official currency is the Dominican peso (RD$). Most ATMs operate on the Cirrus Networks (Mastercard) or Plus networks (Visa). Remember that money withdrawn from ATMs in the DR will dispense Dominican pesos and not your home currency. Dominican pesos are available in RD$2,000, RD$1,000, RD$500, RD$100, RD$50 bills of different colors. There are coins for RD$25, RD$10 and RD$5. Visa, Mastercard and American Express credit cards are widely accepted. American Express Travelers checks can be replaced at branches of the Banco Popular.

Speed: Kilometers/MPH: 1 mph = 1.60934 kph

1 kph = 0.62137 mph

Fahrenheit to Celsius Temperature in the DR is recorded in Celsius. 18C = 65F

27C = 80F

21C = 70F

30C = 85F

24C = 75F

32C = 90F

Time The DR’s time zone is Eastern Standard, although the country does not follow Daylight Saving. Because of this, the DR is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time from April to October.

Lost or Stolen Credit Cards and Traveler’s Checks





American Express


Tax & Tipping Goods and services in the Dominican Republic are subject to a 16% government valueadded tax, or ITBIS Tax. At restaurants, for example, your bill includes the 16% ITBIS plus a 10% service charge. An additional tip is optional.

Beverage limitations Safety Be alert to your surroundings and take the same safety precautions recommended worldwide for traveling in any major foreign city, such as using the hotel safe and keeping money and valuables out of sight. Do not leave luggage in sight in a vehicle.

Electricity Electrical current in the Dominican Republic is 110 volts AC, 60 Hz. US-style twopin plugs are standard, so European visitors should bring suitable adaptors.

Water Drink bottled or treated water. Locals do not drink the tap water so you will be served bottled water at restaurants.


Discos, restaurants and casinos inside hotels are exempt from the present liquor-vending schedule that affects establishments throughout the country. Note that many restaurants, clubs and bars must close at midnight from Sun-Thurs and at 2am on Fri, Sat and holidays. Numerous establishments have been given an extension allowing them to close at 1am SunThurs and at 3am Fri, Sat. Bring and ID. Patrons under the age of 18 won’t be admitted.

Mail For sending important parcels, consider using DHL, UPS or FEDEX. There are local postal office stamp vending and drop off points for letters or postcards at La Sirena (Winston Churchill), Hotel Embajador and Centro de los Héroes main post.

The Basics Postal Information

Holidays 2009



Thursday, 1 Jan.

New Year’s Day.



Monday, 5 Jan.

Three Kings Day (6 Jan).

Wed., 21 Jan.

Our Lady of Altagracia Day.

Monday, 26 Jan.

Duarte Day.

Friday, 27 Feb.

Independence Day.

Embassies & Consulates Please visit for a complete list of embassies and consulates.


Friday, 10 April

Good Friday.

Monday, 4 May

Labor Day (1 May).

Mobile Phones

Thursday, 1 June

Corpus Christi Day.

There are several options for visitors who want to use their mobile phone. One would be using your personal cell phone and paying your provider’s roaming charges. Another is taking your phone to a local provider to unlock the phone for local use. This can be done if your mobile uses GSM or CDMA frequency. Orange and Claro offer the service of activating most open European and North American based cell phones. For GSM phones, they will provide you with a SIM card, which is the removable information card all phones have,

Sunday, 16 Aug.

Restoration Day.

Thursday, 24 Sept.

Our Lady of Mercedes Day.

Monday, 9 Nov.

Constitution Day (6 Nov).

Friday, 25 Dec.

Christmas Day.

*For more on long weekends and holiday events, see

and a local phone number. You can remove the chip once you leave and re-insert your original SIM. Visitors can purchase a local prepaid

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The Basics phone along with prepaid phone cards. This is a great option if you are a frequent visitor to the DR.

Calling Cards Upon arrival in the Dominican Republic, it is a good practice to purchase a calling card from Codetel, Orange or Tricom. The cards, which are available in several denominations, will make it easy for you to use a public phone (otherwise you need coins) for national or international calls from almost any LAN or cell phone in the Dominican Republic. You will have to dial 1+area code+phone number to dial to the US. To dial Canada dial 011+1+the number. To call European countries you must dial 011+the country code+ area code+the number.

* For a complete list of country codes log onto

Internet Access If you require Internet access, cyber cafes are located throughout Santo Domingo and nearby beach towns. Wi-fi hot spots are also readily available with many universities, hotels and eateries now providing the service.

Transportation A variety of transportation options exist for getting around Santo Domingo and nearby beaches. Public transport is the most readily available. This includes carros públicos, buses and motorcycle taxis. Also, the 14.5 km long Santo Domingo Metro line provides transport from Villa Mella in the north of Santo Domingo to south-central Centro de los Héroes. Types of Public Transport Box Guaguas - Small buses Carros Públicos - Small public taxis

phone. The phone operator will tell you what the rate should be to your destination. It’s also good to ask for the taxi number and color when calling. This way, you can be sure you are getting into the taxi you asked for. Dominican taxis do not use fare meters. Instead, there are flat rates for each destination. Remember, the farther you go outside the city center, the more expensive the ride. Always confirm the rate with the driver prior to departing; you may get him to put it into writing if there is a language problem, to avoid any misunderstanding.

Intercity Buses Metro and Caribe Tours provide coach transportation service between Santo Domingo and major cities. Expreso Bávaro travels to the East Coast destinations. Other cities may be served by express regional bus lines that can be boarded at the Enriquillo Park environs near Duarte Avenue or Kilómetro Nueve (a bus hub on John F. Kennedy Ave.) Travel Time Box Domestic travel times by car Santo Domingo-Puerto Plata 3½ hour Santo Domingo-Santiago 2 hours Santo Domingo-Jarabacoa 1½ hours Santo Domingo-Constanza 2 hours Santo Domingo-Boca Chica ½ hour Santo Domingo-Juan Dolio 40 minutes Santo Domingo-Bayahibe 2 hours Santo Domingo-La Romana 1½ hours Santo Domingo-Punta Cana 3½ hours Santo Domingo-Samana 2 hours on toll road Santo Domingo-Barahona 3 hours

OMSA - Government run buses Motoconchos- Motorcycle taxi Santo Domingo Metro * See Transport Map on page 60 for descriptions of types of public transport.

Private taxis Private taxis are available 24 hours a day in Santo Domingo and can be contracted by tele-


Car Rentals Major car rental companies have branches at airports, hotels and city locations. Do not cut corners when choosing your rental car service. Also take out the extra insurance plan that is available. If you suffer an accident that dents your car, for instance, the insurance will prevent delays or hassles. You must be at least 21 years old.

The Basics Important Phone Numbers Telephone numbers All Dominican telephone numbers must be dialed with the 809 or 829 area code. To dial a cell phone from a land line, dial 1 plus the 10 digit number.

Calling the US Toll Free With few exceptions, toll free numbers in the US are not free of charge in the Dominican Republic and you will be charged at international dialing rates.

International Airlines Serving SD

US Contact

Local Contact

American Airlines




Continental Airlines



Spirit Airlines



U.S. Airways



Delta Airlines



Air Europa



Air France






Jet Blue



USA 3000



Air Canada






Air Caraibes









Dutch Antilles Express













Insel Air

Taca Airlines Hospitals


Hospiten Santo Domingo

Ave. Alma Mater & Bolívar



Centro Abel González

Av. Abraham Lincoln #953


Corazones Unidos

Calle Fantino Falco #21


Clínica Abreu

Calle Beller #52



Av. Ortega y Gassett #10


Universidad Central del Este

Pedro Henríquez Ureña corner Máximo Gómez


Emergency Number Ambulance, police, fire, hospitals







dr1guide Santo Domingo - Issue #1  

The tourist guide to Santo Domingo that treats you like a local.

dr1guide Santo Domingo - Issue #1  

The tourist guide to Santo Domingo that treats you like a local.