Things to do in Santo Domingo in 5 days
The capital of the Dominican Republic is a city with plenty of appeal for all tastes and preferences. Discovering the Colonial City and the first European footprints in America is perfect for people who love history and culture. Savoring the Dominican Republic’s enticing dishes is a must for any foodie. Moving to the beat of Santo Domingo’s exciting nightlife is an irresistible plan that draws revelers. Clearly there is something for everyone, so all you have to do is pick what catches your eye the most, or better yet, try a little bit of everything.
Aside from the Dominican capital’s many appeals, Santo Domingo is the perfect starting point for exploring the rest of the country. Beyond the capital, there are many destinations that reveal all the charms of the Dominican Republic, such as its amazing beaches or the countless historical and cultural treasures.
Itinerary day 1
During the day
Upon arriving at Las Américas International Airport and checking in to the hotel, spend the rest of the day getting a feel for this wonderful city. For example, take a pleasant walk, stop at one of the squares for a drink or visit the gorgeous botanical garden.
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Begin by discovering the Dominican Republic’s rich cuisine and the best international food at Los Porches restaurant in El Embajador, a Royal Hideaway Hotel. Bon appétit!
4:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Spend the afternoon shopping and visiting stores that sell lovely Dominican handicrafts, boutiques featuring local designers, or Blue Mall and Ágora Mall, home to the best brands.
8:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Wrap up the first day of a well-earned vacation at one of Santo Domingo’s culinary icons: Mesón de la Cava. Housed in a natural cave formerly used as a hideout by ancient Tainos and by a pirate or two, this restaurant serves exquisite Dominican and international cuisine.
Itinerary day 2
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Cross the Ozama River towards East Santo Domingo and visit one of the city’s most important monuments: Columbus Lighthouse. This enormous mausoleum and museum was built to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival on the island, and it is said that the great explorer’s remains are kept here.
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Discover the wonders of the Colonial City—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—starting with Santo Domingo Cathedral, the first of its kind in the New World and whose construction began in 1512. Located next to the cathedral, Columbus Park is the heart of the old city.
1:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Take advantage of the fact that Santo Domingo is also the capital of street food snacks. Try any of the popular antojitos, such as catibias (delicious yucca turnovers) and chimichurri or “chimi” (the local version of a hamburger). Or try a little bit of everything at one of the buffets where these delicacies are served.
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
It’s time for dessert and there is no better way to give yourself a sweet treat than by trying one of the Dominican Republic’s most popular exports: cacao. Visit Kahkow Experience, a unique factory-museum right in the heart of the Colonial City, and learn everything there is to know about chocolate.
3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Turn onto the first street built by Spanish colonists in America, the famous Calle Las Damas, and continue exploring Santo Domingo’s old town. Discover treasures such as Ozama Fortress, the National Pantheon, the Museum of the Royal Houses, the Columbus Alcazar and Plaza de España.
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
After a day of exploring, take a seat at one of the many bars on Plaza de España to watch the sunset. Be sure to pair the experience with a rum cocktail, just like the locals.
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Taste authentic Caribbean flavors at Adrián Tropical restaurant. Located right on the Malecón promenade, this Santo Domingo classic has been serving the best Dominican dishes for more than 20 years, with everything from traditional mofongo to chivo guisado. Be sure to try one of their tropijugo juices. Absolutely delicious!
Itinerary day 3
During the entire day
Head to Jarabacoa’s mountains, in the heart of the country, for a day of adrenaline surrounded by nature. Rafting, canyoning, mountain biking, trekking, horseback riding, ecology trails and more. Choose your own adventure!
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
If you still have energy upon returning to the city, sign up for a fun Santo Domingo Night Tour to experience the Dominican Republic’s most traditional dishes and dances. The best party with a dash of culture!
Itinerary day 4
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
This great square is home to the National Library, the Museum of the Dominican Man, the National Theater, the Museum of Modern Art, and the National Museum of History and Geography. Be sure to check out any—or all—of them to be amazed by the Dominican Republic’s rich history, art and culture.
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Stop by Independence Park and after checking out this historical site, make your way towards the famous Calle El Conde. This lovely pedestrian street was the first main street with shops in the New World, and it remains one of the liveliest in the city.
5:30 PM - 10:00 PM
If it’s Sunday, be sure to visit the ruins of St. Francis (Monasterio de San Francisco) in the Colonial City to experience the incomparable rhythm of Grupo Bonyé, with a Presidente beer in hand. Merengue, salsa, son, bolero, danzón and more. An authentic Dominican performance, that also happens to be free.
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Just a stone’s throw from Plaza de la Cultura, the B.Delicious à la carte and buffet restaurant at the Barceló Santo Domingo hotel is the perfect place to fill up with a delicious meal.
Itinerary day 5
During the entire day
Just a couple of hours from Santo Domingo awaits a true Caribbean paradise: Saona Island. Anyone who vacations in the Dominican Republic should visit this virtually untouched island, which forms part of Cotubanamá National Park.
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Upon returning to the city, enjoy a fantastic farewell dinner at Kyoto Japanese restaurant in the Barceló Santo Domingo hotel. Its creations are a delicious sample of the culinary variety available in this magical city, and the perfect way to round out an intense day!