Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - Tullys Travel
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Santo Domingo

The Dominican Republic’s capital city, Santo Domingo is also the most modern and dynamic metropolis in the Caribbean. La Capital—as it is affectionately called—epitomizes the pulse of Dominican culture, where the old and the new converge seamlessly from centuries old architecture and history, to large shopping malls, art galleries, an electric nightlife, and a booming gastronomy scene.

Exploring the Colonial City—the first European settlement of the Americas and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990—is a recommended experience for all travelers. This historic neighborhood consists of a pedestrian-friendly maze of narrow streets brimming with 16th to early 20th century architectural wonders. They lead toward colonial buildings turned museums, shops, hotels, restaurants, and sidewalk cafés. Hop on the Chu Chu Colonial train for a 45-minute tour of the area, hire a guide who will walk you down the first paved road of the Americas while sharing tales, or rent a bike and meander on your own. For a nature break, picnic on the lawns of the National Botanical Garden, the largest in the Caribbean, or stroll down the Malecón at sunset for sea views, roadside snacks, and people watching.

Information & Facts




The Dominican Republic is surrounded by over 1, 600 km (1, 000 miles) of coastline on its north, east, and southern borders, and the climate is tropical. Noontime temperatures range from 27°C to 32°C (80°F to 90°F ), and can fall to 18°C and 23°C (64°F to 73°F) during the winter. Because we are in the tropics, it is hard to say if and when there is a rainy season. Rains are usually short lasting.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1 and extends to November 30. In the Dominican Republic, these are the summer and early fall seasons when the weather is sunny and humid, with some cloudiness and occasional rain showers in the late afternoon or at night. Historically, most hurricanes have occurred in the month of September. But chances of one hitting are slim, and if it does occur, resort staff is trained in handling these situations, and resort buildings today are equipped to withstand hurricane force. You should also take note that the Dominican Republic is a large country–this means that while one coast may be affected, another may be completely unscathed by a storm.

Getting Around

The Dominican Republic’s public transportation system is surprisingly modern and extensive. Dominicans are constantly on the road–visiting family in the countryside, conducting business, or shuffling to school. Taxis are ubiquitous, Uber is available in three major cities–Santo Domingo, Santiago, and Puerto Plata–and there’s always a form of bus service, big or small, going to any town or city you want to explore. Aside from being the most affordable way to travel, public transportation is a great way to glimpse every day life in the DR, and is guaranteed to be a memorable experience.


The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish. And like many of its Latin counterparts, Dominicans have their own accent, colloquialisms, and idioms. They are particularly famous for being incredibly fast speakers, projecting words a mile a minute. They abbreviate, skip syllables, and don’t pronounce certain letters–such as the plural “s” (for example, they say La Terrena when referring to Las Terrenas).

Not knowing Spanish, however, is not a problem: English is widely spoken in the tourist areas. Tour guides and hotel staff across multiple regions are also well versed in multiple languages, including Italian, French, German, and Russian, among others.


The local currency is the Dominican peso (RD$). The daily rate fluctuates depending on the day and the location of exchange.

Keep these numbers in mind as a general guideline:

RD$100 = US$2

RD$500 = US$10

RD$1, 000 = US$20

United States dollars and Euros can be readily exchanged in banks, or in authorized exchange offices around the country. Some exchange offices also accept the following currencies: Canadian dollar, Swiss franc, Danish krone, British pound, Japanese yen, Scottish pound, Swedish krona, and Norwegian krone.

ATMs are widely available from a variety of established banks, including Scotiabank and Banco Popular. They are safe to use for withdrawals in the local currency. They also provide the best exchange rates. Choose an indoor location and stick to daytime use. The Spanish word for ATM is cajero. For help in determining the amount you want to withdraw, download and use a free handy app like XE.

ATMs from Banco Popular, Banco BHD León, Banco Progreso, and Scotiabank accept North American bank cards, and offer an English or Spanish language menu. As a tip, you will often find ATM machines in airports, supermarkets, major resorts, and shopping malls.

Night Life

Santo Domingo offers different nightlife and interesting cultural experiences. Not far from the city, the communities of Boca Chica and Juan Dolio are known for their romantic restaurants that line the sea, as well as the large all-inclusive hotels that offer entertainment targeting both couples and families. Santo Domingo’s discos favor dancing to merengue, salsa, bachata and even rock, as well as casino gambling until dawn. The Colonial City attracts a younger crowd thanks to its possibility of barhopping, however tourists of all ages may be seen enjoying a splendid dinner in several of the restaurants located in Plaza de España. Another interesting option to see Santo Domingo at night is to take the Bonche Bus Night Tours.


Santo Domingo will charm even the most discriminating shopper with a variety of shopping experiences. The Blue Mall offers upscale stores like Louis Vuitton, Carolina Herrera and Cartier. The Ágora Mall, with its many European stores and a variety of restaurants and children’s playground, is also a favorite. Novo-Centro features a sophisticated modern architecture with popular shops, bars, cafes and small movie theaters. Other shopping venues in Santo Domingo include the Downtown Center, Acrópolis, Bella Vista Mall, Sámbil, Galería 360, Ikea and many affordable department stores. In addition, there are many gift shops located in the Colonial City, including the famous pedestrian street El Conde and the Mercado Modelo. Boca Chica’s main shopping strip, one block up from the beach, includes Dominican essentials like rum, cigars, artwork, crafts and more.


The local time zone is Eastern Caribbean Time (GMT-0400). The Dominican Republic does not observe daylight savings time.

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