Im going to the Dominican republic and my ship offers a tour of Santa Domingo, it takes the entire day for this tour, 9 hours Im wondering if it's worth it. Pictures I've seen on the internet seem to suggest it is.
We went to Santo Domingo a number of years ago and yes, by all means take a tour of the city. It is very historic and beautiful in many ways. Do not go off on your own as it is also a very dangerous place. We had a self-appointed guide that attached himself to us and tried many times to steer us to his friends who were waiting to mug us. I know this as I speak Spanish and overheard him talking to his friends about it. Never let on and pretty much played with and frustrated him all day. I don't really recommend that but I was a cop and was able to keep from providing them the chance by my actions. The city itself is really something else to see.
We had booked a ship tour to a beach for our day in Santa Domingo. The CD had advised people not to go out on their own. The day before our arrival, we got a bad sunburn in Grenada, and canceled our tour , decided to stay onboard. After we got there, we decided that we should at least go see the burial place of Christopher Columbus. We found a driver, spoke very good english, and agreed to a price. However, he was not the driver. This man was very nicely dressed standing by a very nice taxi/van. He waved down another car for us. It was pretty bad looking, but we decided it was probably o.k. Our driver did not speak a word of English which we did not know until we left. He pulled up next to another person who spoke English so he could figure out where we wanted to go. Along the way, there were machine-gun holding cops everywhere! A man approached our window and our driver got very loud with him and waved him away! We got to where we were going. On the way back was very scarey. The car we were in started sounding funny so the driver pulled onto a very deserted road...no other cars in sight...and the car went PUT...PUT...PUT...AND DIED! The driver got out of the car and lifted the hood....it was at this point that we thought " This is it...we are going to get mugged and killed!" Thank God, that didn't happen. He got the car started and we were on our way back to the ship!
LESSON LEARNED: If the CD says don't go out on your own due to safety reasons...DON'T!
We will never get off the ship in that port again!
2001- Destiny (week of 9/11 tragedy)
2002- Pride ( February and September)
2003- Glory and Fascination
We were in Santo Domingo a number of years ago and took the ship excursion through the city. Parts of the city are designated a World Heritage Site and are certainly worth seeing. The sites we were taken to included the burial site of Chris.Columbus, his son Diego's home on the harbour, a wonderful museum and a walk through the original streets including the oldest street in the Americas.
However, I would absolutely not go on any tour except a ship excursion. If something goes wrong, the tour operator is in constant contact with the ship.
This country is extremely poor (as you will see while driving to the locations) and many of the people are desperate. While it is sad to see this, I think it opens your eyes and makes you appreciate how lucky some of us are.
Santo Domingo is one place I will never go again. Took a tour from the ship and all the bus driver did was put down the US and talk about how great SD was. Then he goes on to brag that he worked for the state of NY until he could retire and take his pension check back to SD. His kids were planning the same thing.
The only thing he liked about the US was our money!!!
As I said never again. I also didn't feel safe with gun toting police everywhere.
I do not know why people say do not go off on your own in the Dominican. What I mean is it is NOT a dangerous place. Yes it is a third world country and that is a shock alone but the people a very friendly and the children are wonderful. It is not like Jamacia, they WILL take no for an answer if you do not want to buy anything. It is Haiti you have to look out in. We have been to the Dominican many times and it is wonderful. Lots to see and lots to do! I would not go wondering around in the jungle buy myself but with a group layed out excursion you will enjoy it. The beaches are great, relax and enjoy. One tip for you though, bring some school supplies, the children and the adults for that matter will gladly take a pen or crayons as such instead of handing a child a peso! Watch there face light up. I used crayons to barter with when buying things too!
Cruising beats Island get aways any day!