In addition to the historical and touristic sites in Santo Domingo, there were a number of places we found ourselves going back to more than once in our forty-five days there. These ranged from parks to restaurants to stores. Some of these places surprised even me. So here they are, some of our favorite places we went back to numerous times.
Malecon – the Malecon literally means breakwater. In Santo Domingo it refers the shoreline along the Caribbean Sea. The four lane road along the Malecon is Avenida George Washington, but people will also refer to the road as the Malecon. There is a wide sidewalk along the sea.
I would run along the Malecon a few times a week in the morning for exercise. In the evening we liked to go down and have a leisurely walk by the sea. The perfect time to go was around 5:30 or 6:00 PM. That was late enough for things to cool down but still have some daylight.
In addition to the sidewalk, there are a number of piers that you can walk out on and get really close to the sea.
Duarte Park – this is a small, unassuming plaza near the center of the Colonial Zone. In the center of the plaza is a statue of Duarte. Juan Pablo Duarte was one of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic and considered the architect of the independence of the Dominican Republic from Haiti. What we liked about the park was that it was a nice place to sit down and chill for a while. It was on our way from our apartment to the Colonial Zone. Many times we would pick up a coffee or a few things to go from Villa Hermanos Restaurant and walk down and sit on the benches in the park.
Villa Hermanos Restaurant – there are many cafeteria style restaurants in Santo Domingo, it seems like there is one on every street corner. They all have a “plato-del-dia” plate-of-the day for a very reasonable price – somewhere between RD$100-$150 ($2-$3 US). Villa Hermanos (Villa Brothers) restaurant is the most upscale or complete cafeteria style restaurant we found in Santo Domingo. In addition to the traditional cafeteria, they have an onsite bakery and can make espresso drinks. It was about halfway between our apartment and the Colonial Zone, so depending on the time of day, we would stop by for a light breakfast, lunch or to pick up a few sweets from the bakery on our way home in the evening.
Bolos Galleria – Bolos Art Gallery – this was definitely one of Susan’s favorite places to visit. I think we stopped by four or five times. We ended up buying a couple of pieces of art there and shipping them back to the US. I know they are just going to sit in storage for years, but they were some pretty cool pieces of original art.
The owner of the gallery came by one day when Susan had some questions about a few of the pieces and artists. The art is definitely in the modern style, Susan’s favorite.
IKEA – I know this sounds strange, but it had one of the best and least expensive plato del dias in Santo Domingo. We are big IKEA fans anyway, but are not in the market for furniture. The restaurant in IKEA is really good. It has the typical IKEA standby’s like Swedish meatballs, salmon and Swedish deserts. However, they have a greatly expanded menu with Dominican dishes as well. The prices are really good as well. You can get a full meal with a drink for around $3 US. An espresso costs about 75 cents US.
Agora Mall – I am not a mall person. In fact, I must admit that I was a little surprised and disgusted when TripAdvisor ranked the Agora Mall as #3 of 162 things to do in Domingo. A shopping mall!?! Higher than parks, museums, tours!?! Why did these people on Trip Advisor:even bother to leave home? You can go to a shopping mall in the USA and Canada. Why bother travelling thousands of miles to go to a mall?
It is a nice, upscale mall with about 200 stores on four floors.
I actually made about four or five trips to the mall in the 45 days we were in Santo Domingo, more trips that I have made to a mall in the USA in the past ten years. I am still scratching my head a little on this one. I guess I have figured out the following reasons for me going to a mall that often:
- It has a great sit down Napolese style pizza restaurant, Trattoria Pizzarelli. We must have gone there three or four times in the 45 days we were in Santo Domingo
- There are a few good coffee shops with espresso, cappuchino, frappes, etc. in the mall. There weren’t any coffee shops very close to our apartment.
- There is a big Claro (the cell phone company I got a SIM card with) location there. Although I could add minutes at various stores in our neighborhood, this was an official company store and quite large so I had a better chance to get my questions answered with my poor Spanish.
- There is a good grocery store in the mall. We can kill two birds with one stone, take a taxi to do our big grocery shopping and have lunch or an espresso.
So, I have come to the realization that I must confess and admit that I, Carey Brent Mossop did willingly and with forethought go into a shopping mall over five times in less than a month and a half.