Old Town, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic Information
Language and Currency
What is the Dominican Republic Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?
The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish and the currency is the Dominican Peso. U.S. dollars are widely accepted as are major credit cards.
The Dominican Republic is a wonderful mix of history coupled with a unique Caribbean environment. The Old Town section of Santo Domingo reminds one of old sections of some of Spain's most beautiful cities. While heavily populated, the Dominican Republic offers fabulous beaches and lush vegetation. The people are a perfect blend of Spanish, African and Caribbean heritage.
While the best time to visit is during the winter months (November through March) the Dominican Republic is enjoyable anytime during the year. However, be aware the Dominican Republic is directly in the path of hurricanes during season and also receives a good amount of rain during the summer months.
There are really three different areas in the Dominican Republic that ships may call on. Santo Domingo (the Dominican Republic's capital city) offers two separate cruise ship piers. The newest, Don Diego Quay, is the best and is only a few minutes walk from the Old Town area of Santo Domingo.
Another cruise terminal lies between the village of La Romana and the resort of Casa de Campo. There are minimal services at the dock so one must either take a tour or negotiate for a taxi (limited and expensive)..
Yet another pier is available at Puerto Plata's commercial shipping area and is within easy walking distance of everything in Puerto Plata.
Shopping is available within easy walking distance in both Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata. La Romana offers excellent shopping as well and visitors to Casa de Campo will find many shops at the resort.
At Mercado Modelo in Santo Domingo, one can find everything under the sun. This open air public market features all of the staples the local populations requires as well as a good assortment of crafts and other collectibles. Wooden masks, carvings and other wooden items are excellent buys as are the local paintings. If the concept of a local market isn't to your liking try the more touristy area known as Las Atarazanas. The boutiques, galleries, jewelry stores, shops, restaurants and street vendors in the old buildings found here are very quaint and feature excellent shopping for local crafts.
In Puerto Plata, you will find excellent local crafts available in Centro Artesanal, the local artist's cooperative. Look for wood carvings, paintings, jewelry and other local treasures.
If you make it to La Romana, be sure to visit the boutiques and shops scattered throughout the town. Here you will find excellent shopping for local crafts and collectible artwork.
Calle de las Damas, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Santo Domingo itself dates back to the 1400s and sports some of the oldest structures in the area. The street known as Calle de las Damas is said to be the oldest street in the new world and was used by Christopher Columbus himself. The Alcazar of Columbus, a castle built around 1500 by Columbus' son Diego, now houses a fabulous museum offering a collection of period furniture, artwork and jewelry. Exploring Santo Domingo's ancient streets and architecture is well worthy of a day. A few miles east of the city is an interesting cave complex, Los Tres Ojos de Agua, containing three surreal lagoons, fed by an underground river. The stalactites and stalagmites only add to the uniqueness of this wonderful spot.
In Puerto Plata visit the amber museum in town (on the second floor of an old Victorian house) Dominican amber (petrified resin from trees) is unique in color and offers a glimpse of things covered by the resin and then petrified. Most interesting is the piece of amber with a petrified lizard in it. Also, don't miss the San Felipe Fort. This fort dates back to the 1500s and is well worth the tour to investigate it.
If you dock between La Romana and Casa de Campo, be sure to visit the fabulous resort of Casa de Campo. It is a huge resort that features just about everything you can imagine. Note, that you must obtain permission from the property in advance of arrival to visit it as it is a main feature of ships calling here for their shore excursions and they will not let other passengers into the resort.
In addition to the above sights, ships normally offer a good number of shore excursions for SCUBA diving, snorkeling, horseback riding (at Casa de Campo) golf, city tours, fishing and so on. The beaches in the Dominican Republic are excellent, but one must obtain permission from any hotel to use their beach facilities.
Is there anything of “Don’t Miss” quality?
Yes, I would give the Old Town area of Santo Domingo this rating.
Not that I have found, how about you? Do you have any suggestions?
15 users found this review helpful.
This port was problematic in that the ship leaves San Juan late Saturday night (for late-arriving passengers), so one has only an afternoon ashore here. The cruise line provides a...read more
35 users found this review helpful.
We had arranged to have a private tour with Rafael Silva Taxi service. This was done over the internet prior to arriving. We do not speak Spanish and their driver's...read more
20 users found this review helpful.
By the time the ship moved from our day at Catalina Island to the pier at Casa de Campo it was already 6:30. Our original plan was to venture to Altos de Chavon...read more
62 users found this review helpful.
; Judy Best Wednesday was our second port in La Romana (Casa de Campo), Dominican Republic. Nothing exists at the port here, except a parking lot and information...read more
73 users found this review helpful.
La Romana, Dominican Republic: This was the most confusing port to research, in my opinion, since the Paradise is one of the first ships to visit it. At first the...read more