A lot of visitors to the Dominican Republic fly into Santo Domingo before going onwards to their final destinations. Often people travel onwards straight away or might stop for an overnight stay in the colonial center of the capital city. But the city has so much more to offer than just the colonial center. We’ve put together a short list of the main Santo Domingo highlights so next time you pass through you’ll have something to look forward to and break the monotony of travel.
The National Aquarium
Located just next to the shoreline on Avenida España just across the river from the colonial town, this aquarium is a hidden jewel. Mostly open air with lots of green spaces bordered by cliffs and the Caribbean Sea, the area itself is great place to take a break from hectic city life. The aquarium is most famous for its underwater tunnel which gives visitors an amazing view of typical Caribbean sea life. It also numerous other exhibitions giving a good insight in the different marine lives, be it reef life, coastal life or mangrove life. Guides are available for further information but the personnel scattered around the aquarium can usually answer a lot of your questions as well. Especially recommended for children.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 5:30pm
Entrance for foreign adults: 100RD per person
Three Eyes National Park
Santo Domingo is big and congested but then when you least expect it an enormous park comes into view. It has somehow managed to hide itself well among all those buildings. Called the Mirador del Este and located just off the main road coming from the airport to the colonial center (Avenida las Americas) just before going over the river, this park holds another surprise: a series of three caves with lakes surrounded by an impressive geological formation of limestone.
A series of steps hewn into the rock gives access to the first cave, a boat pulls visitors across the second lake. A short walk will take you to the third lake and some even mention a fourth one called Lady's Lake, which is a meter deep and off to the right as you return back up. A guide can be hired to give you more information. Just agree on the price before you set off with your guide.
Open every day from 9am to 5pm
Entrance fee for foreign adults: 100RD per person
Fee for little boat: 25RD per person
For those who love shopping Galeria 360 should definitely be on their list of things to visit. This shopping mall located on Avenida John F. Kennedy has all possible shops you can think off. From 15 to 17 May they also host “Recicla 360”, to celebrate the World Recycling Day on 16 May. They will be organizing a special market with a lot of retailers that sell jewelry, art, clothing and other things made from recycled materials, including the people from Cabarete shop Kana Rapai. A number of workshops that will for example teach people how to make bracelets from products that are typically denoted as waste, will also take place. The Galeria 360 also has a cinema for those who prefer to watch a film while their better halves go shopping.
Shops are open every day from 9am to 9pm