This is the largest, most animated, cosmopolitan and people-friendly city in the Caribbean and Central America. Avoid peak hour traffic, and you are in a metropolis that has it all.
Every first time traveler is advised to leave the comfort of their resort and, for at least a day, visit the Colonial City, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The Colonial City is a very walkable grid of 16 short streets with jewels of 16th to early 20th century architecture. Cobblestone lanes and iron street lamps lead to the many small museums, shops, hotels, restaurants and bars that are tucked away on every street. The Chu Chu Colonial offers a 45-minute trip around the city to help newcomers get their bearings.
In the city, marvel at the lushness of the Botanical Gardens. Walk over to the Malecón and watch the people and the sea views.
Shopping is big at the malls in Santo Domingo. Look for Dominican shops to buy a linen guayabera, leather handbag or original designed clothing. Eyeball gorgeous men and women at one of the better gyms. Then relax and smoke a good cigar at one of the open terrace-restaurants at Plaza de España or Av. Gustavo Mejia Ricart. The city is yours.
Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) is the main port of entry, half an hour east of the city. Cruise ship passengers arriving to Santo Domingo by sea are 10 minutes from the leading attraction of the Colonial City.