we’ve had the dominican republic on our bucket list since we moved here, more than four years ago – there are so many dominicans living on island, and hear so much about it, we were excited to finally visit.
we went for a very short weekend, didn’t rent a car or went shopping, we stayed at the historical centre, and wanted to walk the neighborhood and absorb as much culture and history as we could. the city’s zona colonial, historical centre, was declared as a world heritage site by unesco.
the flight from providenciales was only about an hour and then a 20min drive from the airport to our hotel, the hostal nicolas de ovando – located in the first cobbled street of the caribbean, calle las damas!
julia’s cliché picture of every hotel room we stay at (#julialoveshotels)
christopher columbus arrived in 1492, and the city of santo domingo is the oldest inhabited european settlement in the americas – i think it’s pretty impressive! the city has the first university, first cathedral, first castle, first monastery, and first fortress in the new world. pictured, the beautiful cathedral of santa maria la menor, located at the parque colón.
i loved that there were so many little gardens and courtyards around the area.
this is the dominican convent, the first convent in the americas, which was later converted to a university.
the remains of san francisco monastery, the first hospital in the americas – there are only ruins, but an impressive historical site. apparently it’s the venue for concerts every sunday evening, which we sadly missed.
lately julia is having an interest/obsession in animals, specially dogs and birds. she could’ve spent all afternoon pointing and following the pigeons around (not my favourite…but to her, all birds are cute!)
we walked and strolled the pedestrian main street calle el conde a few times, and wish we had one like that here in provo – with so much character and so much going on, families, tourists, sellers, shops, music and coffee shops.
we stopped in this coffee shop, it looked like not a very touristy one :)
although we stayed at the zona colonial, where all the history is, and all the tourists and tourist oriented restaurants – on our first day we asked a taxi driver to take us to his favorite spot to eat chicharron.
chicharron is literally fried pork, and i’m guessing it’s as tasty as unhealthy :) james was specially craving it!
it was cheap, friendly and so good. i’m not the biggest fan in whole in the wall spots, but this one was definitely one of the highlights of our trip, oh and julia loved it too!
we took julia on a tour around the neighborhood on a horse carriage, thinking she would be excited about it…a few minutes in and she fell asleep!
the only family picture we got from this trip, in front of a restaurant – it says a lot about us :)
we had the best meal here, at meson de bari – crab and cod empanadas, crab stew, and coconut and rice dessert – it was recommended on anthony bourdain’s show on DR, and certainly didn’t disappoint.
julia was a real trooper, as i’ve mentioned before, it does require so much more planning and patience, and flexibility, but we really liked having her with us. this was our first trip with julia walking so it was extra special and fun to see her out and about enjoying the city.
our friends joined us on the last day of our trip and julia loved having her ‘older’ buddy to play with…and she fell asleep again as we took a ride on the chu chu train.
we liked santo domingo so much we can’t wait to go back and visit another part of the country, perhaps samana? the dominicans are very friendly, there is so much culture and history and the city is full of character and life. their food is delicious, fresh local fruit and delicious smoothies everywhere. we’re just ‘next door’, but the dominican republic is surprisingly different to turks and caicos, in a good way.
ps – some other travel adventures