This annual festival takes place in late July/early August and features the best national and international Merengue performers. There are several live shows per day and the festival is one week long.
The Merengue festival is organized by the Dominican Ministry of Tourism and has taken place at El Malecón since 1967. Along with the performances, there are some small fairs going on as well.
This zoo, inaugurated in 1975, is home to big cats, the white rhino, hippos, monkeys, birds, etc. Before you used to see endemic animals of this island like the Solenodon (Solenodon paradoxus) but for now the only endemic animal in exhibition is Boa de la Hispaniola (Hispaniola boa constrictor). Some cool animals you'll see are Guaraguaos (hawk like birds), Paloma Ceniza (pigeons with ash colored feathers), Australian emus and ostriches, South American ñandús, ponies, etc.
The biggest attraction of the zoo right now are the Chimps Maria and Toby. Before it used to be an Asian female elephant called Mami (mommy) but I understand she past away of natural causes.
A lot of families use the zoo as a Saturday or Sunday excursion, where they can bring their own food and drinks and spend the day peacefully while the kids get rid of all the energy at the children's play area but the park isn't as well kept as the Botanical Garden and that's a shame.
Practical info: we got lost finding the place because there were very few signs, so I'd recommend you take a cab. The entrance fee for all non Dominicans is 5US or the equivalent in pesos, 50 pesos for all Dominicans and in the entrance fee a 15-minute train ride is included although the guide speaks and the signs are written only in Spanish. Notice that it's forbidden to feed the animals, to bring skateboards, inline (and otherwise) skates and radios/boom boxes. Open Tue-Sun 9am-5pm.
* During the carnival, dance on the street at night - taken from the most popular carnival song by Fernando "El Mayimbe" Villalona.
The Santo Domingo carnival is as colorful as the one in La Vega and other cities, and as noisy too ;) There's usually one or several live shows with popular artists, both national and from the nearby islands (usually Puerto Rico). You can hear merengue, salsa and bachata being played as the parades of costumes of the most popular carnival characters walk along the Malecón. Sometimes this is televised for those who can't go and see it.
Our carnival is held usually in late Feb-early Mar, after La Vega's is closed for the year so if you missed La Vega's carnival then visit ours :)
In the later years the Church has tried to talk the government into separating the carnival dates from the Independence day and the Lent period because they think Lent is a period that shouldn't be used to party and drink, but to think of Jesus' sacrifice to mankind. To this day, no agreement has been reached.
The monument, Plaza de la Bandera (The Square of the Flag), is situated at the end of the important road "27 de Febrero". Around the square there are several government buildings.
Seen from above, the monument has form of a Latin American cross and in the central part the Monument to the Country is located, represented by an Arch of the Triumph. At the sides there are two angels that represent: The Glory and the Honour. Under the arch, a sculpture of Juan de Avalo is located and a very big Dominican flag completes the monument.
On a walk through Santo Domingo, we passed the Palacio Nacional - the office of the president (2008: Doctor Leonel Fernández). The palace is located east of the Plaza de la Cultura.
It's possible to take a guided tour inside the Palacio Nacional , but it must be booked in advance.
We didn't go inside, but saw the beautiful palace from the street.
The Boulevard, as it is known among us, is a traffic island in the middle of Avenida 27 de Febrero, between Av. Lincoln and Av. Churchill. They have sculptures, a "tower" inspired by the Eiffel tower with a clock and some places where you can buy beer, soft drinks and snacks. When it opened it used to hold some shows, promotions, even a fashion show once.
The place has benches and trees with flowers that blossom all year round. A true oasis among traffic chaos.
Well if you like Discotecas, adn a hot Latin vibe then this place is for you. This is one of the hottest clubs for a younger crowd, but you will be able to find Dominican locals, to European and American travelers. The music is a good mix of hip-hop, techno, merengue, and the loved regetón. This is waht the club is really all about.
If you don´t like regatón, you will after you see how the crowd moves to the latin mix. This club is a must attend event and cover charge ranges from free to USD$5 (RD$150) depending if they have a live band. If you like how latins dance, then you will love it here. Drinks are about USD$3.50 (RD$100).
I asked Gloria to take us to the "Faro a Colon" because I thought it was an actual lighthouse. I was disappointed to find out that it was not. Whether by accident or on purpose, later we went by and into the Base Naval 27 de Febrero and the Naval Academy of the Dominican Republic, and we saw a real lighthouse which was a square concrete spiral striped blue and yellow structure. It is part of an area called Sans Souci in Santo Domingo East.
I was only able to find a couple of photos of this lighthouse (I was looking in order to find out what the heck it was). There was a photo by another traveler, and another taken by the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Gentian on a port visit to Santo Domingo. (which didn't show how yellow the pale stripes are), and the one in the URL below which was taken from the air.
Tower Height: 125
Height of Focal Plane: 135
Characteristic and Range: White light; 2 seconds on, 2 seconds off, 2 seconds on, 4 seconds off; range 13 nautical miles.
This light is operational
Date Established: 1853
Date Present Tower Built: 1986
Current Use: Active aid to navigation.
I don't think it can be visited.
According to the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society (ARLHS) World List of Lights in addition to the Punta Torrecilla light, the Dominican Republic has nine other lighthouses
CABO ENGANO 18°37'N 68°20'W
CABO FRANCÉS VIEJO 19°41'N 69°55'W
EL MORRO DE MONTE CRISTI 19°54'N 71°39'W
ISLA ALTO VELO 17°29'N 71°39'W
ISLA CABRITA 19°53'N 71°40'W
ISLA SAONA 18°07'N 68°35'W
LA ROMANA 18°25'N 68°57'W
PUERTO PLATA 19°49'N 70°42'W
PUNTA LAGUNA (Isla Saona) 18°08'N 68°45'W
There was also the SANTO DOMINGO (Fuerte San José) lighthouse which was destroyed by a hurricane in 1930.
Isla Saona tour. Visit a natural unspoilt tropical island for the day . A must do .There are two ways of getting there . Catamarang sailboat very calm and relaxing about 1.5hrs trip. OR High powered
speedboat. which takes about 40mins. We chose the speedboat , what a rush. It holds about 16 people where you sit in a bus seating arrangement. open top/no cabin .These boats are approx
20 ft long and 6ft wide with twin 300HP outboards. They go like the wind. Once at the island you can relax swim sunbathe or get a massage for around 20US . They serve you lunch and of course as much booze as you want. There are lounge chairs for free.
On the way back they stop and anchor about 1/2 mile off the mainland on a huge sandbar where the depth is unto your waist . There the driver and 1 crew serve you more booze while you are in the water and then dive and bring up starfish to show you, These starfish are huge approx 2 ft across and fat..
Before you get on the boat to go to the island they take your picture under an arbour. I didn't do anything at the time but kicking myself since. While your away they make a label of your picture
and mount it on a bottle of wine all for 10US quite the keepsake.
Unfortunatly the day we went was overcast at the beginning of Nov. But still hot
I was looking through my Dominican pictures when I came across this one, and I thought "I just have to add this one to my DR page!"
I think this is a beautiful picture of this young boy just relaxing under the shade of the tree. Dominicans are beautiful people and they have an exciting culture with fun music and relaxing lives, from what I saw while I was there. Where i was they just hung out, basked in the sunlight, breathed in the ocean breeze. It was lovely.
For a relaxing time, just hang out with one of these folks and before you know it, you're life will definitely seem stress free!
The Dominican Republic offers many beautiful beaches but the one that I visited was gorgeous and I loved it! It is the closest beach to Santo Domingo with a comfortable atmosphere and beautiful surroundings. Palm Trees, soft sand, and crystal water! Enjoy the breeze, the sun, and the big blue!
Sometimes the best views aare had from the least likely places. On Arzobispo Merino just up from Mrecedes there is a multi story carpark. Head to the roof and you'll gather in some awesome views of the surrounding area. You'll even see the hotel - el refugio across the road i stayed in.
sadly i didnt get a picture, no camera handy, but i still rememebr the views where good.
UNIVERSIDAD AUTONOMA DE SANTO DOMINGO
The University of Saint Tomás of Aquino, today Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, was founded under the reign of Carlos I of Spain and V of Germany by the Bula in Apostolatus Culminate. Its shield, in the fourth upper left symbolizes the Imperial Eagle bicéfala of the Hapsburg family. In the fourth upper right the Professorship is found of Saint Tomás of Aquino, disciple of Saint Domingo of Guzmán, founder of the Order of the Dominicos. In the two lower rooms a greyhound appears maintaining a thea among its teeth that sets on fire the Earth Globe, with what symbolizes the vehement oratory of the Order of the Preachers. It tells the tradition that when the mother of Saint Domingo of Guzmán carried him its womb, she had a vision in which a dog appeared setting on fire the land. It is because of it, that when Saint Domingo founded the Order of the Preachers to fight the heresies of the albicenses, its members were called "Dominicanis", that means "Dog of the Lord". On the greyhound there are two branches of laurel and of palm intercross, that represent the triumph of the Order of the Preachers. On these, a star symbolizing a marks of birth that had Saint Domingo in the forehead.
All these symbols are framed by the inscription: "Academy of Saint Tomás of Aquino in the Imperial Convent of the Island Hispaniola".
Places that you should not miss if ever visiting the Dominican Republic:
#1- ZONA COLONIAL(Colonial Zone):
This is a zone that encompasses about some 8 square blocks, of houses, buildings and edifications dating back to the establishment of the spanish colony in the new world (1492) and it's still in actual livable conditions, unlike the rest of the latin-american long gone cultures.
#2- ALCAZAR DE COLON:
This is the main house of conqueror Alt. Cristobal Colon and later the residency of his brother Gov. Don Diego Colon, you should make early preparations to visit there, since visiting hours change regulary.
#3- JARDIN BOTANICO MOSCOSO PUELLO:
This is by far the biggest and most varied botanical garden in all latin-america, among some of it's most beautiful exhibits is the Japanese Gardens, you should take a day or two to explore some of it's grounds, it's very extensive!
#4- Follows o the next tip:
If you want to know the best time to visit Santo Domingo, there isn't. That's because anytime is a great time!!!
In the summer time, although it is quite hot and humid at times, there are good deals on hotels and beach resorts.
Many parties every day, especially on Sundays, where you will see the whole city going to some beach and at dawn, all parked up in the malecon or on a busy avenue, either chatting,eating up a nice dinner, drinking or dancing.
In the winter time, it gets a bit breezy, nothing to be worried about! You can still go to the beach in December. Airlline ticket prices and hotel prices go up at the end of December because of the demand. So if you would like to visit Santo Domingo during the month of December or January, make sure you reserve tickets on time.
But anytime is a great time to go!!!!
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