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Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic. It's the oldest city founded by Europeans in the 'New World'. Santo Domingo was founded by Bartholomew Columbus, the brother of the famous explorer, in 1496. The city thus has a rich past and that is shown by the old, colonial buildings in the center.
The city has over two million inhabitants.
Santo Domingo is located on the south coast of the Dominican Republic, at the estuary of the Ozama River. The old Ciudad Colonial lies on the west bank of the river, with right on the waterfront the Fortaleza Ozama.
By creating free-trade zones and promoting tourism in the country, the Dominican Republic has experienced a healthy economical growth in the last few years. The excellent telecommunications infrastructure was one of the factors contributing to the growth. Santo Domingo is the economic heart of the Dominican Republic, but differences in income are large. Some districts radiate wealth, while Santo Domingo also has sad slums.
The main airport of Santo Domingo is Las Américas International Airport. The airport is situated fifteen kilometers east of town and is easily reachable by rental car. The airport lies right off freeway DR-3, near Punta Caucedo. The route to the airport is clearly signposted.
La Isabela Airport is a smaller airport mainly processing domestic and charter flights. The airport is situated just north of town and can be reached by rental car via the Las Americas Expressway.
Santo Domingo has reasonable public bus transportation, but most inhabitants prefer more informal ways of transportation in the city: motoconchos (motorbike taxis), guaguas (minivans) and carros publicos (taxis carrying several passengers). The city also has a brand new metro line, from Villa Mella via the university to the Centro de los Heroes. A second line is under construction.
Santo Domingo is a busy city and traffic can be chaotic, because most drivers aren't bothered by the official traffic rules. Finding a parking space in the street in the city center isn't easy either. It's also safer to park your car in one of the parking garages in and around the city center. The roads in the capital are in general of reasonable to good quality, but this isn't the case for the inland roads. Watch out for cracks and holes in the roads!
Santo Domingo has a large supply of accommodation. In the old part of town you'll find many cheap hotels and guesthouses, but there is also a large supply of luxurious and midrange hotels. There are also many possibilities to rent an apartment. We recommend booking your accommodation in Santo Domingo well in advance.
For more information about Santo Domingo we recommend Google and the following sources: