Welcome to the Dominican Republic

Hello everyone! Welcome to this blog where we will take you on a virtual tour across this beautiful caribbean island, a paradise close in our hearts and at the same time far away (although not that much!) on the maps.

We will talk about tourism, of course; about the fascinating hotels next to wonderful beaches surrounded by palm trees, about visiting colonial cities full of history, about food and cuisine with a caribbean twist...

We will also talk about landscapes and corners of the country little known by mass tourism, but full of beauty and authenticity, and of course about the Dominican people, their sympathy and their envy to live life with true caribbean joy.

Finally, for those who are seriously thinking about relocating in the Dominican Republic, we will be posting useful information about housing and real estate.

Also: Maps, information about dominican cities and useful tips about subjects such as travel, visas, work permits, and of course education, health and medical assistance.

And many more things: be patient as we will be doing our best to make comments and ask questions, as we will answer as soon as we can.

Welcome to Quisqueya!

The City of Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is the oldest city founded by Europeans in the Americas: founded by Bartolomé Colón, Columbus' brother, in 1496 on the shore of the Ozama river. Its current situation is not the original one, as it was moved by Nicolás de Ovando in 1502. There we can see the New World first street, the first cathedral, first university, first hospital... The so-called Colonial Zone is like traveling in time back to the 16th century.

If you want to know more about those times, don't miss the city's museums:

Museo de las Casas Reales
Calle Las Damas, Santo Domingo
Teléfono: (809) 682-4202
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily
The building ws the siege of the Supreme court in the 16th century. This museum illustrates the rich heritage of Santo Domingo with tapestries, maps and other objects dating back from 1492 to 1821.

Alcázar de Colón
Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo
Teléfono: (809) 686-8657
9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Daily
This palace was built in 1500 by Diego Colón, Columbus' son, and has object that belonged to the Dsicoverer. The square where it is located has plenty of shops, bars and restaurants. Don't miss the opportunity to enjoy the ambiance.

Other interesting museums are: the Museum of the Dominican Man (Plaza de la Cultura, Santo Domingo. Tel.: 809-686-2145, hosts an excellent collection of pre-Columbian art and also of African tradition with samples of voodoo elements and carnival costumes) and the National Museum of History and Geography (Plaza de la Cultura, Santo Domingo. Tel.: 809-686-2145, showing main features of the first inhabitants of the island, the American Occupation and relationship with Haiti).

But Santo Domingo is not just that: the modern part of the city, full of high-rise apartment towers and malls, is full of animation day and night.
The skyline of Santo Domingo, is dominated by the prominent silhouette of the 31-storey Malecón Center facing the seaside avenue of the same name; and in the outskirts of the city the Botanical Garden has an excellent collection of trees and plants, including some rare varieties that only grow in this island. Among the trees that can be seen there, the national tree: the flamboyán or framboyán.

Food in Dominican Republic

Present day's Dominican Cuisine mixes taino Indian, European and African influences in an explosion of flavors rich in flavors and spices.

Casabe, a kind of flat bread made of yucca by the taino indians, became the bread of Conquistadores tht fed the expeditions that departed from the island to conquer new territories in the continent.

Other staples in the taino culture were corn and potatoes, soon imported into Europe by the Spaniards. And we must not forget the fabulous variety of tropical fruits: pineapple, coconut, passion fruit, papaya, guava and many others.

Among most typical recipes of modern day dominicans the following must not be missed:

  • Mangú, traditional Dominican breakfast, made with cooked, mased plantain and fried onions;
  • Dominican Sancocho , similar to a stew where different meats and vegetables are cooked together forming a thick broth. Most usual ingredients include cow, chicken and pork meat, accompanied by yucca, potatoes, plantains, yautias, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and peppers, all seasoned with coriander and parsley. The actual list of ingredients will depend on the possibilities of each family and availability of the ingredients.
  • The "Bandera" (flag): Chicken or pork meat, rice and beans this forms the basis of most Dominicans nutrition;
  • many rice dishes, as rice is the most important food staple in Dominican Republic : for example: Asopao (a rice soup, with fish or shrimps) Moro de Guandules (rice, boiled with guandules or "pigeon peas", a legume that looks similar to a green pea) , or Locrio (similar to Spanish paella);
  • mofongo, of possible african origin, made with fried plantain and fried pork skins;
  • And Chivo Picante or Chivo Liniero: a spicy goat stew. Unlike other caribbean islands, Dominican Republic cuisine isn't particularly spicy. This dish is one of the few exceptions.
  • A truly Dominican dessert, made especially during Easter: Habichuelas con Dulce ("sweet beans").

In future posts we will be discovering the recipes of these and more Dominican dishes.

Dominican Republic from the air with Google Earth: FREE with the Google Pack: