Backpacks On! - Santo Domingo OUR Way.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Where I stayed
Hotel Napolitano Santo Domingo
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Dominican Republic  , Distrito Nacional,
Friday, December 7, 2012

We are travelling on our own again!

Loving the feeling of backpacks on and negotiating exchange rates and taxi fares. We walked away on the taxi drivers' quoted prices at the airport in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and had them clamouring after us, begging us to reconsider. Finally achieving a driver agreeing to the Local price (as opposed to the inflated tourist price) and we high 5'd that we were back to the old A & H travel team. The pampered life of the cruise ship hadn't softened our style!

We had decided before we left Oz to do two more islands (Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico) on our own after the cruise as they both had easily accessible UNESCO World Heritage sites and not too exorbitantly expensive flights. After disembarking at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, we took a private transfer through to Miami Airport, an hour and a half away, for our flight to Dominican Republic. The traffic was bad and the main freeway gridlocked so our driver took us on a circuitous route through the seedy parts of Miami. We were amused to see a sign that said "$99 Evictions". Property management is obviously a little different Miami!

After a cramped but uneventful flight, a tropical downpour hit just as our taxi pulled out from the Santo Domingo airport and visibility was almost nil as we drove the half an hour into the city. We glimpsed the massive walls of the Zona Colonial historic area through a curtain of rain but knew it was now too late and too wet to go exploring. Our hotel had a restaurant, so dinner was easy and after a quick look in the Casino, an early night in order, so we could devote all of the next day enjoying sightseeing.

Santo Domingo boasts two "oldest"s. The oldest cathedral in operation in the Americas (Cat
edal Primada de America building commenced 1514) and the oldest Convent of the Dominican order (Convento de la Orden des los Predicadores built 1510). These amazing old buildings are in an 11 square blocks that make up the Zona Colonial and includes many other historic buildings, a massive fort, museums, monuments and parks. We spent a full day exploring and learning the Dominican Republic history.

After a street side café lunch, we chanced upon a massive speed chess tournament where long tables had been set up in a street and we enjoyed watching the players beat the clock with their moves. Being Saturday, we saw beautiful brides having pre-wedding pictures taken in and around the historic parks and buildings.

Lucky we HAD delayed our sightseeing due to the rain the evening before, because as it turned out the next day was free museum day and most entry fees were waived!

We really do have our travel mojo back.

Footnote: Colonial City of Santo Domingo is UNESCO World Heritage Listed.
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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