Located in the city of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the Santo Domingo Port has two main terminals for cruise passengers. The Sans Souci cruise terminal which was completed in 2008 can handle approximately 3,800 passengers and can accommodate the largest cruise ships today. On the other hand, the Don Diego terminal has specially designated parking lots for the shuttles and buses of different tourism companies. Most cruise ships dock at the Don Diego terminal. Of the two Santo Domingo cruise terminals, the Don Diego terminal is closest to the city. The Santo Domingo port of call is also the largest among the three ports in the city.
As the oldest city in South America, Santo Domingo combines the rich heritage of 15th century buildings and modern shops. The city is known as the “Gateway to the Caribbean” and its locals are very warm and welcoming to cruise visitors.
Shopping in Santo Domingo can be done right off the pier to large shopping centers by walking for a few minutes from the port. A wide selection of handicrafts can be bought at the Mercado Modelo in Avenida Mella. The place used to be a farmer’s market that was later converted to a giant gift shop.
Smaller gift shops are located at Arzobispo and Isabel la Catolica. You can also drop by at Puerto Plata where quality art pieces, jewelry and carvings are sold at bargain prices. Stylish boutiques are located at the Las Atarazanas. When shopping in Santo Domingo, amber jewelry and cigars are your best buys.
Things to See
There are several excursion groups that can help you tour Santo Domingo. When you are in a small group, renting a car or making use of taxi services may be more convenient for you.
Explore the rich history of The Colonial City by visiting the Independence Park and traversing the Ozama River. This is the 1st city discovered in the New World by Christopher Columbus. The 1st street in the New World can also be found in the city, the Calle de las Damas. The Museo de las Casa Reales is a 16th century palace of the Spanish court that was restored by the government.
Newer museums are located at the Plaza de la Cultura. The Museo Bellapart is a privately-owned museum that displays the best of Dominican contemporary art. You should also drop by and take a photo of the cross-shaped Columbus Lighthouse located at the Mirador del Este Park.
Restaurants and Bars
The Meson de la Cava is the city’s best loved restaurant which is located in a cave 50 meters under the ground. Stewed fish and goat, Santo Domingo’s national delicacy, are served at the Meson D’Bari. To have a taste of the city’s oldest dishes, visit the Pat E Palo brasserie, they have been operating since 1505.
The Guacara Taina is a dance bar located in an underground cave at the Mirasor del Sur Park.
Santo Domingo is indeed one of the most diverse cities in the Caribbean, from historical sites to contemporary buildings.