Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Vacations

Our Opinion of Santo Domingo

Welcome to the first city of the New World. Recognized by UNESCO, this first city has the first stone cathedral, monastery, hospital, university, street and palace of the Americas. This colonial jewel is perfectly incorporated into the sophistication of its new modern developments.

Nearby beaches, excellent gastronomy, an exciting nightlife, and several attractive shopping areas are all the perfect compliment to make Santo Domingo a delightful destination for travellers.

Santo Domingo is not a top destination for beautiful beaches but there are some enjoyable ones to be found:

Playa Boca Chica is about 30km from the city center. Clear, shallow blue water await you and you will also find a natural coral reef.

Playa Juan Dolio, a narrow white-sand beach which is a bit farther east, and where there are many new resorts.

Playa Guayacanes is nestled between Juan Dolio and Boca Chica, and is a local favorite for boogie-boarding.

Things to know about Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Vacations

Activities & Sports
Resorts and beaches provide every water sports like deep-sea fishing, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing and powerboats.

Golf enthusiasts will love Santo Domingo's four golf courses: the 3 first clubs all being 18-hole courses: the Las Lagunas Country Club, the Guavaberry Golf & Country Club, the Los Marlins Golf Course, and the 9-hole terrain at the San Andres Caribe Golf Club.

Other activities offered at various locations include horseback riding, tennis, and polo, bicycling, bowling, and parasailing. Adventurers will enjoy treks, hikes, white water rafting and exploring caves.

Several spectator sports are offered. Horse Racing is enjoyed at the Hipodromo V Centenario. From October to January you can catch a baseball game, the national sport, at the Liga de Beisbol stadium. Motocross and car races take place at the Las Americas Autodrome.
Dining & Nightlife
Santo Domingo offers plays, concerts or other shows in the National Theater or in the smaller theaters of the city.

About 20 casinos, a host of discotheques playing the islands trademark Merengue rhythms and quaint bars with live music are here for you pleasure. The most popular place it the Guacara Taina, a discotheque dug out of a Tainos cave.

An authentic experience to help you capture the Dominican spirit would be visiting a Gallera, the typical cylindrical pit where cockfights are held.
The enticing restaurants offer rich gastronomies of varied ethnic influences, including Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, English and countless more. Thousands of emigrants have come here and have contributed the best of their cuisine.

If you want to discover an authentic Dominican meal, several restaurants offer the best of Creole homemade foods, sometimes accompanied by lively bands. The Restaurante El Conuco may serve a dish called La Bandera consisting of beef simmered with rice, kidney beans, and fried bananas. The Reina de Espana might prepare seafood-stuffed artichokes or other specialties like paella and cochinillo.

Cafes are sprouting everywhere. The locals gather in them to have a late night bite, coffee or drinks. A favourite is Cafe Atlantico. 
The capital's shops offer the best of the local arts, crafts, richly-flavored Dominican cigars, rum, and coffee. Those in search of paintings or sculptures should make their way to the art galleries in the district of Atarazana.

The handicrafts shops and boutiques are concentrated around the Plaza de la Catedral and in Calle del Conde. The Mercado Modelo sells amber and larimar, black coral and mother of pearl jewellery as well as carpets and clothes.
Language: Spanish; English widely spoken in tourist areas, although a Spanish/English dictionary can be helpful.
Currency: Dominican peso. The Canadian dollar is easily exchanged into Pesos, so no need for US funds.
Climate: Sub-tropical with some rain in May/June and November/December.
Electricity: Same as Canada and the U.S.
Canadians entering the Dominican Republic for tourist purposes must purchase a tourist card, at a cost of $10 US, which is valid for 30 days. It is strongly recommended that all Canadians be in possession of a valid Canadian passport while abroad. However, for direct air travel to the Dominican Republic, Canadian tourists are only required to be in possession of valid official photo identification (such as a drivers licence) and proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate). Canadian tourists must also be in possession of a return airline ticket.
All other nationalities please consult a vacation specialist or the Dominican consulate at 1-888-494-5050.
Note: Some hotels require credit card imprint upon check-in for any incidental charges. Hotel check-in is typically between 3pm and 4pm. If your flight arrives early, it is a good idea to pack essential items in your carry-on luggage (i.e. bathing suit, suntan lotion, medications, etc.), so you do not miss any valuable vacation time.
There is a 16% sales tax in the Dominican Republic. makes every effort to ensure that information on this page is current, however, all information on this page is subject to change without notice.