Santo Domingo, DR – City Guide for Nomads and Expats

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The capital of the DR as well as its largest city.

Zona Colonial is a UNESCO heritage site, and a great place to take a stroll during the day. The city is the financial, political, and industrial hub of the country. Santo Domingo women are among the best in the country, so if your priority is dating, I recommend starting here! The vibe of Santo Domingo is very carefree and Caribbean. Many famous reggaeton artists have come from here.

POPULATION: 2,000,000


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RENT AN APARTMENT IN SANTO DOMINGO

$500.00 in Santo Domingo can be done, and has been done. You may want to pay a bit more rent for a better apartment amenities/location, though. Apartment rentals — and cost of living in general — is higher than you might expect.

 

WHERE TO STAY IN SANTO DOMINGO

The best areas of Santo Domingo are Naco and Piantini. ThYou don’t want to stay in the historic center (zona colonial). In the Zona Colonial it gets pretty bad at night. You can stay in Piantini within walking distance of Agora and Blue malls. In Piantini there are restaurants and everything you’ll need. This area is very well located and there are many hotels and Airbnb options.

 

 BEST BARS & NIGHTLIFE IN SANTO DOMINGO

7.75/10 

A plethora of options with some of the best dancing you’ll see anywhere. Zona Colonial and Venezuela Avenue is where it’s at. Zona Colonial has better looking clientel and fancier clubs. The vibe is much more casual on Avenida Venezuela. The choice is yours. Nightlife in Santo Domingo is pretty bumpin’ but kind of intimidating at first… feels like you might be robbed. But it is safer than it feels. Take a shot of Dominican rum and hit the town. Santo Domingo is one of the reggaeton capitals of the world, alongside Medellin, Panama City and Puerto Rico. 

I recommend: Platinum Disco ClubIn the university zone, which is not far from the colonial zone. A bit higher brow, so if you like something a bit grittier so to speak, head to Venezuela Ave.

 

IS SANTO DOMINGO SAFE?

Santo Domingo can be a bit dangerous. Don’t look lost or rich at night and have all your wits about you when you’re out and about. Stick to Naco and Piantini if at all possible. If you start hanging around the malecon (especially in those casinos and hotels along the malecon), that’s where you’ll see robberies, scams and everything else. Things go smoothly in Naco and Piantini.

 

THINGS TO DO IN SANTO DOMINGO.

Visit the Columbus Lighthouse and Parque Mirador del Este.

Walk around the Zona Colonial. Check out the Alcázar de Colón, built by Christopher Colombus’ son. Check out Museo de las Casas Reales, a museum in a 16th century building. See the Monumento Ruinas de San Francisco.

Take a bus out of town. Buses leave from Parque Enriquillo. Go check out Santiago. Dominican Republic is a very small country so it’s definitely super easy to get around from one smaller city to the other.

 

COST OF LIVING IN SANTO DOMINGO

The following data is from Expatistan, a crowdsourced database of prices and cost of living around the world. In our experience, the data tends to underestimate cost of living, so take the following as the minimum you might need to live here.

*Figures are listed in USD

You’ll need a minimum of $885 USD/month to live in Santo Domingo (we suggest more like $1500)

cost-of-living-santo-domingo

BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT SANTO DOMINGO

The best time to visit Santo Domingo is between early November and late March. During this time of year there is less rainfall and less humidity. November to March is, however, the high season for tourists from Canada and the United States. So perhaps there is value to come outside of high season. You’ve been warned! 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS ON SANTO DOMINGO

Santo Domingo is a solid city. Definitely has enough to warrant a week’s stay or longer. Girls in Santo Domingo are super cool as well. However, if you’re not used to spending time in 3rd-ish world countries, you may find the city a bit…grotty. But it would be a damn shame if you let that deter you from going.


OVERALL RATING: 7.25/10


Have questions?  Skip the guesswork…

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