- Where to Go
- The Best of the Dominican Republic
- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
Jardín Botánico Nacional
The National Botanical Garden (Av. República de Colombia, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. daily, RD$30) is a lush and expansive display of many different kinds of plants—aquatics, orchids, bromeliads, a bamboo garden, many kinds of trees, and even a Japanese garden. This botanical garden is well taken care of, and there is a trolley (RD$15) that you can catch every 30 minutes. It drives you around and you hear explanations of the different areas in many languages.
It is wonderful to enjoy the shady grounds and serenity, which you can’t find in many places in the very frenetic Santo Domingo.
While there, visit the Museo Ecológico (9 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, US$0.35), which has encased displays of the many ecosystems of the Dominican Republic, including the deserts, mangroves, mountains, and beaches. This portion is air-conditioned. Children might enjoy this park, if only for the trolley (it looks like a little train) and the wide open spaces for running.
Parque Zoológico Nacional
The National Zoological Park (Av. los Reyes Católicos, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Tues.–Sun., US$1) is your opportunity to see the extremely rare solenodon, if you missed seeing it in the wild. There is a rather impressive array of endemic and exotic animals.
Watch the aquatic birds in their simulated lake or the crocodiles in a makeshift pond. Visitors without herpetophobia will enjoy the snake exhibit. There is even a bar-less tiger enclosure that makes animal lovers breathe a little easier. But many of the other animals are not so lucky and are in less-than-optimal cages.
Taking a taxi (make sure to arrange for the return trip with the driver) is best as the zoo is in a remote corner of the city.
The Museo Prehispánico (San Martín 176 and Lopé de Vega, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., free) showcases a notable array of Taíno everyday artifacts, such as jewelry made of shell and teeth, pottery, and ceremonial pieces, like an intact duho (throne) for the cacique to use during religious ceremonies.
Sure, the private Museo Bellapart may be located on top of a Honda dealership (Av. J.F. Kennedy and Dr. Lembert Peguero, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Sat., tel. 809/541-7721, www.museobellapart.com, free), but it holds in its permanent collection around 2,000 pieces, which give you a look of the Dominican artistic style from the 1890s through the 20th century within the media of paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings.
Be inspired by the work of key Dominican and foreign artists like Celeste Woss y Gil, Dario Suro, Gilberto Hernández Ortega, Eligio Pichardo, José Vela Zanetti, Jaime Colson, and Enrique García Godoy.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition