Most visitors make a beeline for the Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo's large, substantially intact colonial district, home to dozens of wonderful old buildings. Many never bother to venture outside of this expansive, historic neighbourhood, and while it deserves the most attention you should also make the effort to check out at least a few other diversions throughout the city, especially around the barrios of the Gazcue and Malecón.
Santo Domingo is without doubt the most bustling, colorful and diverse city in the Caribbean. It has a population of over three million inhabitants within the city and the Province of Santo Domingo and sprawls out over 250 square kilometers. Santo Domingo is an integral part of any trip to the Dominican Republic; it is the modern face of the country, and has a nonstop liveliness not seen in many other places.
No other city in the Caribbean caters this lavishly to the tourist, or has a greater variety of restaurants, luxury vacation rentals, villa rentals and night life. There are so many restaurants in this city that it is practically impossible even for those who live here to have visited them all. In fact, Santo Domingo's dining scene rivals any cosmopolitan city in the world. An incredible international blend, visitors can find every type of cuisine as well as savory Dominican dishes at superb restaurants.
Santo Domingo also has its fair share of casinos, international theatre, music and dance performances. The nightlife starts late, with people arriving at the discos after 11 PM, and the merengue, salsa and rock beats don’t stop until just before breakfast at the upscale dance clubs in town. And for those of you who feel lucky, there is gambling until dawn in the hotel casinos.
After a restful night in your vacation rental or villa rental, you can begin to discover that this beautiful colonial city has world class shopping. Major chains from all around the world have opened branches here and more will be opening soon. Discount stores offer great prices on designer brands, the leading shops offer clearance sales several times a year and there are many designer shops for more exclusive wear.
Santo Domingo’s accommodations cater to everyone, from the business executive that visits the city for business, a student needing very basic lodging, to the large family who is vacationing on a budget. Many of the villa rentals and vacation rentals are located along the sea-bordering Malecon. Fantastic value can be found in the numerous executive condo rentals available, many with the same amenities as international jet set properties.