Most of us think of the Dominican
Republic as a tropical paradise, a haven of all-inclusive resorts offering the perfect sun and sand vacation during seemingly
endless winter months.
But there’s a wonderful world outside those resorts, and those who choose to venture out will be rewarded with wonderful memories. This is, after all, the birthplace
of the Americas and as such offers a unique cultural experience, steeped in colonial and
The culture of the Dominican Republic, like its Caribbean neighbours, is a blend of the
legacies of European colonists, Africans, and the indigenous Taínos people. And there’s no place better to experience those distinctly
different elements than in Santo Domingo, the country’s capital.
Long before Columbus set foot in the
Dominican Republic, the island was home to several native tribes, most notably the Taino Indians. The Museo del Hombre Dominicano (Museum of Dominican Man)in Santo Domingo preserves portions of that
early, rich history and allows visitors to get close to tribal masks, ceremonial items, and
everyday artifacts that survived the European colonial expansion.
The Dominican Republic’s African legacy is reflected in the elaborate masks worn by
revelers during the Santo Domingo Carnaval. This annual celebration finds the city streets full of festival goers dressed in traditional costumes. The event closes with an elaborate
parade featuring the Carnaval King and professional dance groups .
The colonial influence of Santo Domingo is best exemplified in the architecture and ambiance of the oldest hotel building in the New World, the Palacio Nicolas de
Ovando. This oasis of refinement and
old word regality is an amazing contrast to the fast pace and bustle of this Caribbean
city. A very European afternoon can also be spent at La Cafeteria gazing at artists, musicians, and Dominican intellectuals while
enjoying their legendary rich black espresso.
Why not make your next trip to Dominican Republic a memorable one by visiting the incredible city of Santo Domingo? It may just be the highlight of your trip!