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If you are visiting the Dominican Republic, you should put the capital, Santo Domingo (La Capital’), on your ‘must see’ list. Santo Domingo is the oldest city in the ‘new world’ and also the largest in the Caribbean. The city is a mix of old-world charm with a modern Latin feel. In addition, its medieval palaces fuse beautifully with its nightlife and shopping. You will also find unspoiled beaches and many hidden gems – like a salsa club set inside a massive underground cave!
WHAT YOU MUST PACK
We can all agree that packing isn’t the most exciting part of any trip – and it is a given that you are going to forget something important, however below is a list of the absolute essentials you will need in order to enjoy Dominican Republic’s capital to the fullest.
Guidebook – reading about the city’s history, culture and general layout can greatly increase your enjoyment. You must take the time to visit the Colonial Zone, which is both an important historical site with a wonderland of Spanish colonial buildings and monuments, as well as a vibrant cultural neighbourhood filled with shops, cafes and restaurants. The pulsing street life, including live music performances and beautiful parks and squares, make the Colonial Zone a prime destination for art and culture.
Hat & Light Clothing – Santo Domingo has a tropical climate with warm and humid weather year round. There are two seasons: one wet (May – November) and one dry (December – April). The Caribbean sun is much hotter than what most visitors are used to and a hat can be a great way to stay cool and avoid sunburn! Also, while shorts and short-sleeves are the tourist uniform of choice, they are not always the best to protect you from the sun. Lengthier, light-weight clothing helps to combat the sun and keep you cooler.
Swimsuit & Sunglasses - even if you haven’t made any plans to stay at the beach, bring a swim suit (or two)! The beaches at Boca Chica and Juan Dolio are close enough that you can just spend a morning or afternoon by the crystal blue Caribbean Sea. The locals head to Boca Chica and Juan Dolio during the weekend but if you go during the week, you will practically have the towns to yourself. Make sure to get yourself some fried fish or seafood while you’re there. You won’t regret it.
Sun Lotion – as mentioned, the Caribbean sun is very strong so even if you are used to sun exposure, we recommend that you ensure you are protected. As with most places, Santo Domingo can encounter abnormal weather, such as extended dry or unusually hot periods however generally, the weather is quite consistent with warm sunny days with a scattering of short heavy downpours in-between.
Bag – while a backpack is more convenient, they can sometimes pose as a target for theft. As with any big city, you must take basic safety precautions. A side-strap bag can give you more security – great as a city or beach bag!
Dancing Shoes - from bars to dance clubs and casino’s, San Domingo comes alive at night. You will be sure to find the right place for you, from cozy bars for romantic evenings to popular clubs where you can dance until dawn. And the opportunity to enjoy live music is endless, with bands of all styles performing each night throughout the city. If you want a more authentic experience, you can stop by one of the city’s colmados – small grocery stores which become the neighbourhood watering holes at night, serving local beers and Latin music.
What would you add to your list?