Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, 08 – 17 April 2023.

Kingston to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic was a complete circus hahaha. First the Kingston airport is not air-conditioned and with no breezes it is like a sauna. I was on a flight with what appeared to be about a hundred pilgrims from a village in the Dominican Republic returning home. They were all dressed in matching colourful T-shirts and would break into prayer and song every once in a while in the departure area, when they were not praying or singing they were all talking at the same time very loudly. Finally we board the aircraft and sit there, departure time came and went, then there was a roll call and more sitting, the praying and noise continued. After an hours delay the Captain announced that 20 passengers who had checked in were missing and they had to offload their baggage from the hold and all cabin luggage would have to be searched for a Bomb. The baggage handlers turned up with their trailers ready to offload and the cabin crew opened all the overhead bins and then there was a commotion and the 20 missing passengers turned up to the joy of everyone and the noise was deafening, clapping, cheering, praying, hugging and as a bonus a Sermon. We eventually left 90 minutes late around midnight. The flight was only 1:10 hrs but when we got closer to Santo Domingo we flew into bad weather and a very bumpy ride accompanied by screaming and praying hahaha. We had to circle until the thunderstorm subsided and then landed with the rain flying horizontally across the windows. There was a standing ovation to the Almighty from the audience. The baggage took ages to arrive and it was wet and then we had to queue up to put it through a scanner with the Customs Officer playing with his phone instead of watching the monitor. In retrospect it is funny but at the time it was past 01:00 in the morning and I just wanted the nightmare to end. The taxi from the airport to the city costs US$40 and it is quite a distance. I bought a Claro SIM card, there is a shop on El Conde the main pedestrian only tourist street for $6 for 5 days / 5GB and did a recharge 5 days later for $3 for another 5 days. Uber is available here and you can go just about anywhere for less than US$5. Credit cards are also accepted in most places.

Santo Domingo with a population of over 3 million was a surprisingly modern city. To quote Wikipedia “The Dominican Republic has the largest economy (according to the U.S. State Department and the World Bank) in the Caribbean and Central American region and is the seventh-largest economy in Latin America. Over the last 25 years, the Dominican Republic has had the fastest-growing economy in the Western Hemisphere with GDP growth in 2014 – 2016 averaging over 7%. Income inequality, for generations an unsolved issue, has faded thanks to its rapid economic growth. The Dominican Republic is the most visited destination in the Caribbean.”

The main attraction for tourists in Santo Domingo is the old Colonial City, a world heritage site, which houses the first cathedral, castle, monastery, and fortress built in the Americas. They also claim to have some or all of the bones of Columbus in a mammoth Memorial called Faro de Colon. CC’s bones are also located in the Sevilla Cathedral in Spain.

There are 2 modern Metro lines with escalators and a Cable car (Teleferico) which is not a tourist attraction but part of the Public Transport Network. The Teleferico passes over shanty towns where the shacks are so close together that there is no room for vehicles, it is modern and the cars are continuous, no waiting and takes about 30 minutes each way, a very good idea. The Malecon is a very nice sea front walk about 5 kilometers long though the best walks are in Genoa called the Corso Italia and the  Passeggiata Anita Garibaldi which is in a class of its own.

The people in Nassau and Jamaica drove on the left, spoke English and were mainly of mixed African descent but the people in the Dominican Republic drive on the right, speak Spanish and are predominantly of mixed Spanish descent.

I got a stomach bug here and had to take antibiotics which I carry with me as a precaution to get rid of it.



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5 Responses to Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, 08 – 17 April 2023.

  1. Another excellent post! This one I think I’ll enjoy vicariously only!

  2. C’mon! You can’t come so far and not make it to the mainland!

    • I would if I could but I can not get an ESTA because I have been to Iran and Iraq. I have to go through the painful process of applying for a full visa which I have done twice in the past, it is expensive and time consuming. I have to submit all kinds of police clearances and documents. I appealed my ESTA rejection with Customs and Border Protection and they responded a couple of months later saying that they could not override the ESTA system.

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