Colonial Santo Domingo

Posted by on Oct 15, 2010 in Dominican Republic | No Comments

Immediately after buying the All You Can Jet pass I sat down in front of jetBlue’s route map and tried to find the most interesting cities to visit. Naturally, first on that list was Colombia, but I also wanted to visit one of the Caribbean destinations available. I’m not much of an island-lover since the beach isn’t too interesting for me and all-inclusive resorts even less so. Of all of my Caribbean options, the Dominican Republic appeared to be the most interesting international destination available.

Colonial Santo Domingo

As soon as I started looking for a place to stay I realized I was going to have trouble finding something affordable, even in Santo Domingo itself. Couchsurfing offered few options and the only hostel on the island appeared to be full. I held out hope until the last minute but ended up booking the cheapest hotel that looked descent the night before my flight since I arrived in the evening.

My first night in the capital I found the hostel at an unmarked door in a courtyard off a side street. When I asked how to enter a man nearby told me that it was closed and to try back the following morning. When I came back during the day the door was closed but a small art gallery next door had opened and, after some confusion, the woman offered to show me the room. As I followed her upstairs I realized the hostel wasn’t full, in fact it was totally empty and possibly even closed for the season.

I made arrangements to come back the following day—I would save $50 a night—and went about my day, sightseeing around the zona colonial. Santo Domingo was hot and I enjoyed coming back to my air conditioned hotel room with wifi and cable. When I thought about coming back to the hostel, alone and in the dark, I finally gave in and decided that the hotel was worth the money.

The old town is dotted with colorful houses and ancient churches. However, it seemed that whichever sight I planned to visit happened to be closed when I arrived. I spent a lot of time walking back and forth amongst the plazas filled with Domincans playing chess and drinking beer, trying to see the inside of the museums or restores colonial buildings.

Along one street a woman scolded me for taking a picture of a sign and warned me to look after my bag and camera. I didn’t get an unsafe feeling from the city at all, only a slight discomfort from the men making kissing noises toward me and talking about me, assuming I didn’t understand Spanish. After traveling in Egypt, where I experienced the worst sexual harassment in the world, the comments were easy to ignore.

Malecón Views from Megan Kearney on Vimeo.

Visit the gallery to see more photos form the Dominican Republic.