From Samana it’s about three hours to Santo Domingo by bus. We woke up at 4:30 in the morning to catch the 5:00 AM guagua bound for Santo Domingo. The guagua is a local minibus which stops often to load passengers, mainly Dominicans, headed to the capital. The bus was full but extra seating was improvised in the aisle space between the seats. We sat like sardines, shoulder to shoulder for the next 3 hours. We arrived in what seemed to be a sketchy part of town. We were ready to walk and asked around for directions to Zona Colonial but we were told to forget it as the neighbourhood was “muy peligroso”. So we jumped into a cab that took no longer than 5 minutes to Zona Colonial. It seemed as if we were already there.
We had booked a night at hotel Portes 9 in Zona Colonial, a quaint little hotel on a quiet street. We set to explore the city and headed downtown and along Santo Domingo’s Malecón. We walked for a good 15 km in the afternoon scorching heat and got a nice sunburn. We got a good feel for the city however outside Zona Colonial there isn’t that much to see. Aside from this shoot above, the city’s waterfront is nothing to brag about. It’s worth to mention that we felt safe in the city at all times.
Zona Colonial was definitely the highlight of Santo Domingo. On our second day there we did a walking tour of the area and visited Museo de las Casas Reales.
Walking the streets of the old part of town I almost forgot that I was in the Caribbean. Colonial architecture, old cathedrals, and charming parks with outdoor cafes made me feel like I was somewhere in Europe.
The city comes to life at night and we had dinner at one of the restaurants with outdoor seating overlooking Plaza Epaña.
As we sat there, a heavy downpour started and people rushed inside. Our spot seemed to be one of the few tables that was nicely protected from the rain by an umbrella. Another lucky group at the next table continued to eat their meal unfazed.
The next day we headed back to Samana. The two days we had planned turned out to be the perfect amount of time in Santo Domingo.