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Destination Guide: Santo Domingo

Sumptuous architecture, colourful parks and a chic café culture
Visit Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, and follow in the footsteps of Columbus along Calle de las Damas or head for Las Atarazanas for a latte and a slice of Dominican cake, bizcocho dominicano. Amble along the vibrant Malecon esplanade before stopping for haute couture shopping in Plaza Central.

Food and Drink

Dine in flamboyant Dominican restaurants, French bistros or smart beachside bars. Lunch in Avenida Duarte’s bistros or tempt tastebuds on pastelon de berenjenas con carne, a local layered pasta and meat dish, in the Spanish-influenced eateries of Gazcue. Later, linger over cocktails on the soft, white sand and watch the sunset at trendy Playa Punta Torrecillas.

Sightseeing and relaxation

Explore bastions and palaces, and lose yourself in art. Admire medieval paintings at the Alcazar de Colon and linger over the beauty of Museo de las Casas Reales, the former Spanish Court palace. Visit the oldest cathedral in the Americas, Santo Domingo’s Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor where Columbus is said to rest.

Shopping

Take home designer fashions and authentic handicrafts. In Zone Colonial, discover cobbled streets teeming with tiny stores selling unique jewellery made from larimar, a rare blue stone found only in the Dominican Republic. Save time for some serious boutique shopping in malls like the sprawling Galeria de Arte el Greco or find authentic Dominican faceless Limé dolls in Avenue Mella.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Dance and enjoy local music or dress up for the theatre. Santo Domingo is the perfect place to dance to salsa or listen to traditional merengue at nightspots in vibrant San Carlos. People-watch at fashionable Playa Montesinos beach or dress up for an evening of opera at the Teatro Nacional.