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Ask the Locals Travel Guide: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

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Dominican Republic Travel GuidePeter’s radio show is coming to us from Hostal Nicolas de Ovando in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

If all you know about the DR is sun, sand and plantains, keep reading.

We’ve got tips galore … straight from the locals.

Jim Parker, pilot and owner, Caribbean Flying Adventures

Constanza is a 4,000-foot elevated valley in the center of the country, known as the agricultural center for production of strawberries, garlic, flowers, apples, etc. This valley is  surrounded by the country’s highest peaks (10,000 ft) and offers great hiking, waterfalls and spectacular scenery, and the evenings are nice and cool.

Don’t miss Peter’s radio show from Santo Domingo. View a list of guests from the show here.

Cuevas de las Maravillas, located about an hour east of Santo Domingo, is a natural cave system with Taino Indian cave drawings. This is a world-class attraction with modern infrastructure that is a worthwhile experience.

Local Flora - Dominican RepublicLos Haitises National Park is well-known, but it is not overly crowded. This is a unique natural wonder complete with caves, mangroves, horseback riding, and spectacular waterfalls. It’s a “must” visit destination for any visitor.

For anyone looking for an aerial adventure, there are 14 airports in the Dominican Republic, most of which are off the beaten track. One of more remote, yet magnificent regions to fly around is Monte Cristi in the northwest corner of the country on the frontier with Haiti. There aren’t too many frills, but the area has spectacular beaches and exceptional fishing.

Miguel Montilla, cigar expert and general manager at Boutique del Fumador

A top choice for restaurants is Pat’e palo (it translates into “peg leg”), located in the Plaza España in Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone. It’s a European-style brasserie with incredible service. Even better, the restaurant housed in a building dating back to 1505 that was considered to be the first tavern in the Americas.

Learn more in our Caribbean Travel section.

Cantabrico restaurant, Santo DomingoEl Cantábrico, also in Santo Domingo, serves a wonderful variety of seafood with Spanish and international influences.

Although it’s something of a tourist destination, El Conuco is a good place to experience typical Dominican cuisine along with traditional dance performance.

The Dominican Republic is a haven for quality cigars, and the lounge that I recommend is called, simply, the Cigar Club. It’s a beautiful place with a huge selection of cigars, as well as a lounge where you can sit back and enjoy your cigar with traditional Dominican coffee or spirits.

As you may know, the Dominican Republic comprises the eastern half of the island of Hispaniola. The western third of the island is Haiti, which was recently ravaged by an earthquake. Please visit our Complete Guide to Helping Haiti: News, Resources & Links.

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