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Santo Domingo Travel Guide


Santo Domingo Introduction


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The Dominican Republic's capital and largest city, Santo Domingo is the oldest city in the Americas. It was founded in 1498 and was Spain's first colonial headquarters in the New World.   Click here to see the full Santo Domingo travel guide on Travel42 »

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Santo Domingo Geography


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Santo Domingo, a port city on the south coast, is virtually split down the middle by the Ozama River, with the Zona Colonial immediately west of the river and the city's more upscale areas fanning inland to the west and north. Most of the urban middle-class sprawl (and a considerable amount of the slum area) is taking place on the east side, including along the main highway to Las Americas Airport. The city is mostly flat and is fringed along the Caribbean cliff-top by a seaside boulevard (the Malecon) lined with restaurants and outdoor bars overlooking litter-strewn coves and beaches. A low mountain range abuts the northern fringe of the city.   Click here to see the full Santo Domingo travel guide on Travel42 »

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Santo Domingo History


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Christopher Columbus' brother, Bartholomew, and the "Great Navigator's" son, Diego, founded Santo Domingo in 1498. Motley remains of the original settlement can be seen east of the Ozama River. In 1502, the crude settlement relocated to the west side of the river and evolved into the political center for Spain's New World possessions. The Colonial Zone is located between the Ozama River and Parque Independencia (Independence Park) and is bounded by Palo Hincado Street to the west and Avenida Mella to the north, corresponding to the old city walls (since demolished). The area contains Spanish-Colonial architecture dating from the 1500s. Santo Domingo was several times ransacked by pirates and has changed hands on multiple occasions throughout the centuries—at different periods, it was controlled by the French, English and Spanish.   Click here to see the full Santo Domingo travel guide on Travel42 »

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Santo Domingo Sightseeing & Things to Do


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Restoration of public buildings in Santo Domingo was initiated by the government in the early 1990s to showcase the city on the 500th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the Americas. Since then, dozens of churches, plazas, forts, gates, parks and palaces have been restored to their 16th-century condition. Most can be easily explored on foot.   Click here to see the full Santo Domingo travel guide on Travel42 »

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Santo Domingo Nightlife


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Santo Domingo is a lively town at night, and the Colonial Zone is the primary hot spot because of its proximity to the port and its abundance of beautiful old buildings. Be sure to find your way to at least one club featuring merengue, the sultry music and steamy dance that was invented more than 200 years ago in the Dominican Republic.   Click here to see the full Santo Domingo travel guide on Travel42 »

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Santo Domingo Restaurants & Dining


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Santo Domingo has a wide variety of international restaurants as well as plenty of local eateries serving good Dominican cuisine. You'll also find U.S.-influenced fast-food chains, pizza parlors and Chinese restaurants, which seem to be everywhere. You will see roadside stands selling anything and everything palatable or otherwise. Think twice before eating at one of these stands—some of the food is not well-prepared and can cause illness.   Click here to see the full Santo Domingo travel guide on Travel42 »

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