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Think outside the all-inclusive box and visit the Dominican Republic right

Too many travelers to the Dominican Republic skip over the country’s capital and head straight for the beaches. But Santo Domingo is full of historically rich offerings that you not only won’t find at an all-inclusive resort, but won’t find anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere.

Santo Domingo’s centrally located historic district, the Zona Colonial, is the oldest continually inhabited settlement in the New World, a status worthy of a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

Set apart from the city’s major commercial and business hubs, it takes no more than a half day to walk the cobblestone streets of this nearly 2-square-mile neighborhood, filled with Gothic, Spanish and Moorish architecture.

Nearly all of Zona Colonial’s sites can be preceded with the descriptor “oldest colonial ____.” These include the Alcazar de Colon (Christopher Columbus’s house) the Convento de Dominicanos, the Catedral Primada de América (the New World’s oldest operating church) and the oldest colonial military structure, Fortaleza Ozama.

Signs of new life in this old city are seen in some of the more contemporary restaurants and clubs, as well as modern stores like Alpargateria, a shop that sells handmade espadrilles in front and in back has a cozy bar-cafe with board games and good drinks.

Fine dining is available, but in the DR, the simpler, the better. Visit any corner store or pharmacy and order a cerveza “vestida de novia” (dressed like a bride) — in other words, a bottle of beer so cold it’s coated in white frost. The country’s preferred liquor is rum, and most Dominicans like to drink Brugal, a typical smooth brand, on the rocks or on ice. You can also order a fruit smoothie (“battita”), which, in the DR, comes with optional evaporated milk for a sweeter experience.

Never skip the traditional Dominican breakfast: two fried eggs, fried cheese, mangu (mashed green plantains with pickled onions on top), fried salami and a piping hot cup of strong, local coffee.

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Category: DR Living |

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Last updated January 21, 2018 at 12:31 AM
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