General feeling/ atmosphere of the place
Santo Domingo - the capital of Dominican Republic, located in the middle of southern dominican coast. Santo Domingo has its famous historical area - Zona Colonial. You may see there what was left after Spanish colonizators - some OLD historical buildings, like churches, fortresses, etc. Santo Domingo was also a first European base in the New World - Americas, who were discovered by Christopher Colon...
However besides Zona Zolonial is nothing really that much interesting in Santo Domingo, in my opinion. If you are looking for the good infrastructure (well, it is a capital at last), you may find it here. But with all these modern shops, hospitals, schools there is also a lot of poverty, crime, pollution, noise and traffic. And once again - traffic. Santo Domingo has one of the worst traffic jams in the world and you should think about it before you will have "brilliant" idea of coming here by car. Dont ever ever do that.
Santo Domingo is also a big city - around 3 milions of habitants, if not more, and such big cities usually work like a magnet for all thieves, robbers and such type of people, as they feel quite anonymous in such gigantic urban area. That's why Santo Domingo is worst when it comes to crime in DR - while I usually felt safe everywhere I walked in DR, I know that in Santo Domingo it would be a completely different story...
I stayed in Santo Domingo for around week, and these were my first days in Dominican Republic. I remember one time, when I was walking main, "represental" street of Zona Colonial - very strict center of the center of Santo Domingo - I was thinking to myself: [...read the full article here...]
CHEAP HOTELS in Santo Domingo / Where to sleep
Santo Domingo (especially its center) is more expensive than rest of the Dominican Republic; the same situation is with hotels, rooms for rent and flats for rent (in good areas). The thing is however - that you may always find something cheap even here, and even in its strict center.
One of the most popular guides adressed to backpackers, recommends as "cheap sleeping" 20 usd bed in dorm room somewhere in Santo Domingo. I paid in the very strict center of the Zona Colonial - 560 pesos - 14 USD (in 2012, now it is probably somewhere around 600 pesos)...14 USD for double room and 20 USD for a bed in dorm room - there is a difference, right ?
Things worth to see / do in Santo Domingo / Best of Santo Domingo
Zona Colonial. Just take a walk on the small streets here and you will smell...not only cats' urine but also - THE HISTORY - over 500 years of it.
There is also Malecon, near the Zona Colonial - which in Dominican Republic it is - walking alley on the coast. Always with fresh breeze from the sea and with nice views. The Malecon in Santo Domingo is in typical condition of Malecons in DR - which means it is literally flooded with trash. Dominican people usually dont care about littering, they just throw the trash everywhere...and produce a lot of it, too.
What's more in Santo Domingo ? Shops, shops, shops...Bars, Cafes, cinemas, museums, live concerts...If you look for the place in DR to enjoy and get some carribean culture or just do some shopping, Santo Domingo is the place for it.
Like I said before: Santo Domingo is the most dangerous place in whole DR (and probably the only really dangerous place there). Always be awary of your surroundings and never ever walk in the night in the unknown areas.
Getting into Santo Domingo / Roads Info
Santo Domingo is the biggest transport hub in the Dominican Republic. Dozens of roads cross here and from here you may also get bus to anywhere in DR (and also to Haiti). Dont never even come here by your own car - it's a recipe for disaster, or in the best case scenario - recipe for losing time, nerves and money for the gasoline.