Recommend Jan 2018 - 23

SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS
Ask hotel staffers in Punta Cana where they grew up, and you'll hear the word
"SANTIAGO" again and again. This city is central to the Dominican Republic, and not
just geographically. Originally a processing center for agriculture, it evolved into a large
metropolis with industries, white collar businesses, and arguably the best merengue clubs
in the country. Serious beisbol, too. In short, Santiago exudes authenticity.
SEE/DO: Learn more about cigars, because connoisseurs consider the ones from the
Dominican Republic to be right up there with the Cuban smokes. At La Aurora Cigar
World, based in a factory founded at the turn of the 20th century, visitors can take a
45-minute tour that demonstrates how tobacco is cured, fermented, and hand-rolled into
premium cigars. If they wish, visitors can also learn a thing or two about the flavors of
various cigars so they can enjoy smokes suitable to them.
SIGNATURE EVENT: The Carnaval de Santiago must be seen, even by people who've
attended the one in Punta Cana, because it's so different from that one. This one is pure
Dominican, with a parade that climaxes at the Monument to the Heroes of the Restoration
of the Republic with competing neighborhood clubs (e.g. Los Pepines, Los Joyeros)
whose dancing marchers wear stylized pig masks, silk shirts and pants, and plenty of
beads and bling.
STAY: Hodelpa Gran Almirante Hotel & Casino is far and away the best place to stay
in Santiago. This is more of a business than a leisure hotel, of course, because the city
itself is not reliant upon tourism. However, its location near Fortaleza San Luis and Parque
Duarte can't be beat, and in addition to offering contemporary decor and free parking and
breakfasts, it has a pool, fitness center, good restaurant, and even a small casino.

FASTFACTS
BEST TIME TO GO:
November through April
GETTING THERE:
Delta flies from Atlanta and New York
(JFK) to Santiago de los Caballeros
and Santo Domingo; and from Atlanta,
Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul,
and New York (JFK) to Punta Cana
ENTRY DOCUMENTS:
Valid passport
CURRENCY:
Dominican Peso
INFORMATION PLEASE:
Dominican Republic Ministry of
Tourism-godominicanrepublic.com

SANTO DOMINGO
The restoration of the colonial heart of SANTO DOMINGO
is one of the great success stories of the Caribbean. What
was once a tarnished jewel has been cleaned, polished, and
made safer, turning this UNESCO World Heritage site into a
wonderful mix of historic buildings (e.g. the oldest cathedral
in the Americas, the palacio where the Columbus family
lived) and new restaurants, cafes, and hotels in centuries-old
mansions.
SEE/DO: Now that the grime is gone from the facade of
the oldest cathedral in the hemisphere, Catedral Santa
Maria La Menor (aka Catedral Primada de America) has
a golden glow. Parts of the cathedral were added on after
1512, so this is one-stop shopping for Gothic, Baroque,
and Plateresque architecture. It's open to visitors weekdays
and Saturdays, and those who'd like to attend mass in the
cathedral may do so on Sundays.
SIGNATURE EVENT: One of the many benefits of Jazz
Night is that it's held every Thursday night from November
through April, so visitors needn't carefully time their visit
to the Dominican Republic in order to enjoy this exciting,
authentic event. Held at the Escalinatas de el Conde each
week at 8 p.m., it attracts both locals and tourists with
excellent ensembles that play merengue, rumba, samba and
son, as well as jazz.
STAY: Casas del XVI is a 16-key boutique hotel composed
of 16th-century homes in the historic district. They come
with butler and concierge service, and each has its own
design, a blend of historicism and modernity. The most
recently opened of the hotel's units is Casa Antilliana, a
large unit with three bedrooms and a private garden with
a plunge pool.
Christopher Columbus statue stands in the center of Parque Colon in Santo Domingo.
23


http://www.godominicanrepublic.com

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