There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Santo Domingo each year. The main ones are listed below.January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday) January 21: Altagracia Day (national holiday)
The feast day of Our Lady of Altagracia, a name for Mary, the mother of Jesus and the patron saint and protector of the Dominican people, is the most important religious holiday in the country after Christmas. Every year nearly 1 million faithful make the pilgrimage to the cathedral in the south-eastern town of Higüey, where Our Lady of Altagracia is believed to have performed a miracle. Those remaining in Santo Domingo fill the city's churches reciting prayers, singing hymns and dancing with great fervour.January 26: Duarte Day (national holiday)
Celebrates the birth on this day in 1813 of Juan Pablo Duarte, one of the three founders of the Dominican Republic, revered as the “father” of Dominican independence from Haiti in 1844. The day is marked with ceremonies at the national pantheon, the Altar de la Patria, where Duarte is buried, profusely decorated with flowers for the occasion.Late February: Procigar Festival (local event)
Held in Santiago, the country's second largest city, known as the “Cigar Capital of the World”, in the eastern city of La Romana and at the resort destination of Punta Cana, this six-day festival attracts cigar aficionados from around the world every year. The programme includes educational seminars and presentations on the industry, tours of tobacco factories, entertainment and leisure activities, plus plenty of opportunities to enjoy some of the world's top-rated cigars.February 27: Independence Day (national holiday)
On this day in 1844, the Dominican Republic gained independence from Haiti, its neighbour, making it the only Latin American country whose commemorations do not mark a break from European colonial rule. Celebrations include not only street parties and military parades, but carnival festivities as well since the day always falls close to the beginning of Lent.May 1: Labour Day (national holiday) September 24: Feast of Our Lady of Mercy (Día de Las Mercedes, national holiday)
Celebrates the Dominican Republic's second patron saint, the Virgen de la Mercedes, who represents the country and the island of Hispaniola as a whole. Numerous religious processions mark this feast every year.December 25: Christmas (national holiday)
|Month||Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Average Rains (MM)||Best Time to Travel|
|January||18/64||28/82||62/2.4||Good period to go|
|February||19/66||28/82||55/2.2||Good period to go|
|March||20/68||29/84||52/2.0||Good period to go|
|April||22/72||30/86||65/2.6||Good period to go|
|May||23/72||30/86||185/7.3||Not the best period to go|
|June||23/73||31/88||140/5.5||Not the best period to go|
|July||24/75||32/90||145/5.7||Not the best period to go|
|August||24/75||32/90||178/7.0||Not the best period to go|
|September||23/73||32/90||180/7.1||Not the best period to go|
|October||22/72||31/88||182/7.2||Not the best period to go|
|November||21/70||30/86||100/3.9||Not the best period to go|
|December||20/68||20/68||70/2.8||Good period to go|
Santo Domingo's Las Américas International Airport is located about 30 kilometres (19 miles) east of the city centre.
Getting around Santo Domingo is rather complicated. It is true that the networks of bus and guagua routes serve the entire metropolitan area, but they can often be dangerously packed at rush hours. As for the city's Metro, it only travels along a few of the major thoroughfares.
Santo Domingo's guaguas can be very useful, especially for short distances. Most of the routes start near the parks in the centre of Santo Domingo, but drivers stop all along their routes to pick up and drop off passengers. You just need to wave to be picked up and call out to the driver in order to request a stop. Most short hops within the city cost less than DOP 20.
Apart from the guaguas, there are also many modern, air-conditioned buses operated by private companies circulating throughout the city. Fares range from about DOP 10 to DOP 15, but the buses are often unpleasantly crowded.
Opened in 2009, Santo Domingo's Metro currently has only two lines running along the city's two main thoroughfares. The first line runs from north to south along Avenida Máximo Gómez amd the second runs from east to west along Avenida Correa y Cidrón. A single ticket costs DOP 20. A rechargeable fare card, the Boleto Viajero, may be purchased for DOP 60, and must be reloaded with a minimum travel value of five rides (DOP 100). Discounts are offered for reloads of 10 or 20 rides.
Due to the rather high fares charged, taxis are not necessarily the best mode of transport in Santo Domingo. When choosing this solution, make sure to negotiate the price before the driver sets off. All taxis in Santo Domingo are unmetered. Also make sure it is understood that the price negotiated is for all passengers in your group!
Renting a car is an interesting option for getting around Santo Domingo easily.
Further information available online for visitors to the Dominican RepublicGuide de voyage du tourisme en République Dominicaine
The official website maintained by the Dominican Ministry of Tourism provides a wealth of information on Santo Domingo.
See your doctor before you travel.Vaccinations
There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to the Dominican Republic.
However, the following vaccines are recommended:
For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:
Drinking tap water in Santo Domingo is not recommended. It is prudent to drink bottled mineral water instead.
As a general rule, foreign nationals must apply for visas before travelling to the Dominican Republic. However, the Dominican Republic has entered into visa exemption agreements with a number of countries.
To find out if you will need a visa for travel to the Dominican Republic, visit the Consular Services website of the Dominican Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://www.consuladord.com/contenidos.aspx?cid=82&lang=ES
Here are a few basic Spanish phrases that will make your stay in Santo Domingo a little easier:
Good day / Good morning: ¡Buenos días!
Good afternoon / Good evening: ¡Buenas tardes!
Good evening / Good night: Buenas noches
Good-bye: Adiós. See you (later): ¡Hasta luego!
No, thank you: No, gracias
Thank you very much: Muchas gracias
I don't understand: No entiendo.
Could you repeat that: ¿Puede repetir?
Please: Por favor
What time is it: ¿Que hora es?
Excuse me: Disculpe (to say sorry) / Con permiso (to get past) / ¡Por favor! (to get attention).
Train station: Estación de trenes
I'm (…): Yo soy (…).
I'm looking for (…): Estoy buscando (…).
How much is it: ¿Cuánto es?
Do you have (…): ¿Tiene (…)?
Where can I find (…): ¿Dónde puedo encontrar (…)?
Where can I buy (…): ¿Dónde puedo comprar (…)?
I'd like (…): Quisiera (…).
And what about tipping?
In Santo Domingo, tipping is not necessarily required, although always appreciated if you are satisfied with the service. It is customary to tip about 10 percent of the bill in restaurants, bars and cafés.