Santo Domingo

Teresa Lowe enjoying Santo Domingo Botanical Garden

Teresa Lowe enjoying Santo Domingo Botanical Garden; credit Paul Lowe

Welcome to Santo Domingo

by Teresa & Paul Lowe

Warm and hospitable people, diverse terrain with eye-pleasing scenery, incredibly beautiful sandy beaches with clear ocean waters that gently dance against the shoreline-facing resorts, are the principle banners of the Dominican Republic. This Caribbean island nation is worthy of vacation exploration. This is indeed a tropical destination that enables you to discover your adventurous-getaway soul.

Having Fun

Any day of the week there is an abundance of pleasurable adventure to experience in Dominican. If you like to party, the nightlife is described by many locals as “way over the top.” Some of the best Salsa and Meringue bands in the world play here. There’s exquisite fine dining, world class shopping, golfing, water and city walk excursions, zip lining and even fishing for deep-sea anglers. There is ample opportunity to do absolutely nothing, should you choose to “just chill” and allow the day to blissfully whisper past you.

Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic, is a place like few others on the planet, featuring astounding natural settings, a history of colonial America and cultural experiences-music, art, museums, a massive botanical garden and unique and colorful local festivals.

Venture to the southwest coastal area you discover an atmosphere, not at all like the well manicured resort neighborhoods of Punta Cana. In the contrasting area of Barahona you find trail roads that make their way along waterways and jungle. Continue your travels along the roadways for fantastic vista views.

A beach in Santo Domingo

Playa Rincon Beach, Santo Domingo; credit Paul Lowe

Crystal clear water with an average temperature of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, invites snorkeling, kite boarding, and even scuba diving in the Dominican Republic.

Playa Rincon Beach, north of Los Galeras in the northeastern area, is another super cool location to delightfully spend your day. A great destination for lunch or dinner, after the visiting the beach is El Conuco. The dancers here put on a spectacular show … spinning atop a soda bottle-wow! Another must try seaside lunch spot is Neptunes.

A visit to Dominican Republic should include a sampling of the culturally delicious foods, and perhaps even a local baseball game. You never now, you just might see a future Major League Baseball star.

Ron Barcelo Rum History Tour, Santo Domingo

Ron Barcelo Rum History Tour guide; credit Paul Lowe

Be sure to try some of the sugar cane rum, chocolate, and coffee. After downing a cup or two of the rich coffee or a shot or two of rum, you might feel an urge to dance your own version of the merengue.

If you truly enjoy the taste of great rum, local cabbies suggest a stop at the Ron Barcelo Distillery, located just a short drive outside of Santo Domingo. There you’ll not only get to sample fine rum made from sugar cane, but you can take in a tour of how this particular kind of rum is formed in the Caribbean region.

A rum aficionado might tell you that rum made with pure sugar cane, compared to rum made with molasses, has a smoother taste … a taste that’s similar to fine tequila.

A Brief History

The island of Hispaniola is home to two nations, Dominican Republic on one side and Haiti on the other. Italian navigator Christopher Columbus claimed the island for Spain in 1492. But, it was his brother Bartholomew Columbus, who built the City of Santo Domingo in 1496.

Paul Lowe at a Fortress in Santo Domingo

Paul Lowe at a Spanish Fortress in Santo Domingo; credit Teresa Lowe

Spain made Santo Domingo its first seat of colonial rule in what was called the “New World” by Europeans. Santo Domingo is technically the oldest city in the Americas. By the way, one of Bartholomew’s homes is still standing. It’s currently the Pat’e Palo Restaurant — the first tavern of America, established in 1505. A few original furnishings and artifacts are on display.

In the late 1600s, France took control of the western half of Hispaniola. Thousands of Africans were soon brought to work the land of what was renamed Haiti. France’s control of Hispaniola, however, was short-lived. African military general Toussaint L’Ouverture, who was one time enslaved, led large groups of other enslaved Blacks in a war against the French and captured control of Haiti, Santo Domingo and most of the island. For decades following L’Ouverture’s liberation of the Africans, Haiti fought against Santo Domingo over territory.

The United States took first governing control of the island during construction of the Panama Canel. Today Dominican Republic, a country of 5-million people, is a safe global business and tourist destination that will have you echoing one local saying, “we have it all, what took you so long to visit.”

El Conuco Restaurant matron, Santo Domingo

A charming Meringue dancer at El Conuco, Santo Domingo; credit Paul Lowe

Where To Stay

The Intercontinental Real Santo Domingo is a beautiful alluring and thoroughly modern high-end 21 story hotel. You’ll find it in the heart of the entertainment, business and shopping districts. The rooms are spacious and luxuriously decorated. If an incredible night’s sleep is what you seek, you’ll find beds that seem to mold to your body as you rest atop exceptional quality Egyptian cotton sheets. The service observed here by the staffers is swift and remarkably courteous and superior! The more than 220 rooms have ocean and city views that can be mesmerizing especially around sunset and evenings.

Operators of the Intercontinental have made this property a destination for visitors and locals. The restaurants, the NAU Sushi Lounge, The Market, Factory Steak & Lobster, serve wonderfully delicious meals.

Santo Domingo Hotel Intercontinental suite

Teresa in Santo Domingo Hotel Intercontinental suite bedroom; credit Paul Lowe

The Intercontinental Hotel Group, the largest luxury hotel operator in the world, also runs the Crowne Plaza Santo Domingo and the Holiday Inn Santo Domingo. The two properties offer experiences that are a bit more friendly to a traveler’s wallet.

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