Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (Bella Vista)

(2022/2023, 6 WEEKS)

Definitely for experienced travelers only! First time in 7 years of travel someone tried to steal my phone. These people are friendly, mostly. But there's a not-tiny portion of locals that are a combination of unfriendly and hostile. You can sense they don't like you and I'm unsure of the reason. A sheisty culture. Besides that, it's a shitty city. Not walkable but also not a great selection of large malls to hang out in. Dirty, hot. A very nice selection of Airbnbs, but it's an expensive town.

  • WARNING! You're going to see two "taxes" printed on your bills. In fact, one is a tip disguised as a additional tax. Don't give an extra suggested tip unless you want to. You've been warned!
  • I've now been catcalled various times, on the street, women driving cars...que guapo!
  • First Latin American country to declare independence in 1804
  • I must say seeing people riding around without helmets represents a certain type of freedom to me, or at least a government that hasn't yet started overreaching in every facet of life.
  • Larimar is one of the world’s rarest semi-precious stones, unique only to the Dominican Republic and only found from one mine in the province of Barahona
  • The shittiest Ubers!
  • The utter disrespect for the seemingly worldwide trend against plastic bags is...refreshing. I purchased 5 items at the grocery store and got 4 plastic bags.
  • A little shiesty! I heard this before coming. You buy an avocado on the street for 75 pesos and give 100 pesos bill, you'll get back 20 pesos only. Taxi is 250 and you give a 500 bill, expect 200 back. Another example, beard trim 500 pesos. I walk outside and the big sign says 299.
  • One of two Chinatowns in Latinamerica
  • Some cities just have crap barbers. San Salvador was one, but Santo Domingo is definitely another.
  • One of the only places I feel unsafe walking around. Shady vibes for sure.
  • Mamajuana is a special Dominican concoction that is said to be a natural aphrodisiac and herbal healer! It's sold all over the island and usually consists of rum, red wine, and honey that is soaked in a bottle of tree bark, spices, and herbs.
  • Uber drivers will ask you 'where you going?' as if it's not already in the app. Super annoying as they don't drive until you answer.

I've also been to Juan Dolio which was disappointing. It's said to be better than Boca Chica, and having went to BC first, I would assume this to be nearly impossible. In JD, absolutely the bare minimum was done with the beach including plastic chairs. At least in BC there are some nice spots and it's closer to Santo Domingo.

Santo Domningo Compared To Santiago de los Cabelleros

Santiago de los Caballeros is about 40% the size. It's greener, not cheaper, Airbnbs are shittier, the people may be slightly nicer, and the girls don't seem to be cuter than Santo Domingo. It is slightly more walkable in that the sidewalks are actually paved and absent dog shit. Plus it's more enjoyable to walk due to the better climate (not as hot and fewer clouds).

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I choose the items below as they’re generally available everywhere. Thus, easy for comparison. The prices reflect the cheapest option given my standard. In any estination you can find slightly cheaper prices if you wanted to sacrifice convenience (ie going to local market or out-of-town grocery store).
  • Airbnb Nightly Rate
  • Coworking Day Pass
  • 1-Hour Massage
  • 1-Month Gym
  • Beard Trim
  • 16.9oz Water
  • 2KG Wash+Fold
  • Expresso
  • Salmon
  • Chicken Breast
  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Red Wine
  • 3,764
  • 500
  • 8
  • -/KG
  • 1,801/KG
  • 354/KG
  • -/KG
  • -/KG
  • 35/KG
  • 280
  • 64
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 8.50
  • 0.14
  • 0.00/LB
  • 0.00
  • 14/LB
  • 2.74/LB
  • 0.00/LB
  • 0.00/LB
  • 0.27/LB
  • 5
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