Cuisine and restaurants of Santo Domingo
The cuisine of Santo Domingo is based on Spanish, African and French culinary traditions. It is based on simple products – legumes, rice, vegetables, fruits, chicken and pork. Local culinary specialists often cook food on charcoal, wrapping it in banana leaves, so the dish acquires special flavors. Bananas themselves are used not only in desserts. The platano variety is served only fried as a side dish for meat or as an addition to vegetables.
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Local eateries are called “comadores”. A large portion of “plateau del dia” of rice, meat, legumes and lettuce will cost 250 DOP along with a drink. It is advised to try crabs in cangrejo guisado sauce, sancocho stew, asopao soup. In addition, there are Chinese, French, Italian, Brazilian restaurants.
Authentic street food is cassava casabe, empanada pies, which are prepared in establishments of the same name. You can quench your thirst with freshly squeezed juices. There is a large selection of exotic fruits – mango, pitahaya, passion fruit, papaya, mammon, gunabana, granadilla.
Entertainment and attractions
The main promenade of the capital is Las Damas Street. It is worth walking along its old paving stones to see the changing of the guard of honor at the National Pantheon, or admire the mansions of the eminent conquerors of the New World. Among the examples of colonial architecture, the Columbus Palace (Alcazar de Colon) stands out – a residence built without a single nail from coral blocks.
The neighborhoods adjacent to Las Damas with Victorian houses and shady alleys are part of the Colonial Zone, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The high crenellated walls of the Osama fortress located here also remind of the times of development of these lands. An impressive view of the city opens from its observation tower Torre del Omenahe.
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One of the symbols of Santo Domingo is the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor (Calle Isabel La Catolica). It was founded by the son of Columbus and is considered the oldest Christian church in America. In the park opposite there is a monument to the great navigator.
The Malecon (George Washington Avenue), stretching for 15 km along the Caribbean Sea, is a place where life is in full swing in the evenings.
On the other side of the Osama River, there is the Mirador el Este park, its high hill is decorated with a monumental building – Columbus Lighthouse (Fara-o-Colon). Inside the memorial, made in the form of a cross, rest the remains of the great discoverer. Not far from the lighthouse is the Three Lakes Park, named after a natural attraction – three limestone caves with an underground lake, stalactites and stalagmites.
Museums of Santo Domingo
The history of Santo Domingo from the 15th to the 19th century is presented at the Museum of the Royal Houses on the famous Las Damas Street. Exhibits dating back to the pre-Columbian era are stored in the Museum of the Dominican Man in the Place de la Cultury, where visitors will get acquainted with the culture of the Taino Indians, artifacts of the ancient world and the heritage of colonial influence.
The Amber Museum (official site in English), located on El Conde Street, tells about the history of amber mining on the island. It houses rare specimens of amber fossils and a jewelry collection of amber and larimar. The details of the life path of one of the founders of the state, Juan Pablo Duarte, are introduced in his house-museum (Calle Isabel La Catolica).
Paintings and sculptures are exhibited at the Bellaparte Museum (Av. John F. Kennedy) and the Museum of Modern Art (Av. Pedro Henriquez Urena). You can taste the exhibits at the Jamon Museum (Calle Atarazana, 17), the Chocolate Museum (Calle Arzopispo Merino, 254) and the Rum and Sugar Cane Museum (Calle Isabel la Catolica, 261).
Holidays and events
The brightest holiday in Santo Domingo is the February carnival. In August, the city celebrates the Foundation Day on a grand scale. In July and November, a passionate Afro-Caribbean dance festival, the merengue, spreads like a hot wave through the streets of the capital.
In Santo Domingo, eternal summer – the temperature remains the same all year round, without sudden changes. Although there is a division into dry and rainy seasons. December to April is the time of minimum rainfall. From May to November, there is a period of short-term, but heavy rains, which are often accompanied by hurricane-force winds and storms. The local hot and humid climate is well tolerated thanks to the constantly blowing trade winds.