21 Best Things to Do in Santiago Dominican Republic | What to Avoid

The Dominican Republic’s Santiago is named after its stunning landscape, breathtaking beaches, and friendly people. Although Santiago is a relatively small city, it offers a wide variety of things to do in Santiago.

From enjoying the local food and music scene to exploring nearby waterfalls and beaches, Santiago has something for everyone! 

If you are hoping to have a more relaxing getaway or an action-packed vacation, you will find plenty of options on our list of 21 things to do in Santiago Dominican Republic, and the things you should keep away from. So read on and start planning your trip!

Table of Contents

1. Get a Taste of the Local Cuisine

Things to Do in Santiago

It’s not just the beaches and resorts in the Dominican Republic, but there’s also a lot to do in its biggest city. It’s not hard to find delicious food in Santiago, from fresh seafood to traditional Dominican foods.

One of the most popular things in Santiago is la Bandera, which is rice, beans, and meat with salad and fried plantains. It’s available in most restaurants around the city. It’s also popular to eat sancocho, a stew made with chicken, beef, or fish.

  • You can sample some of Santiago’s best freshwater fish dishes at some of its best restaurants.
  • Discover local recipes to tantalize your taste buds.
  • Experience Chilean cuisine at its best.
  • Get a taste of the wide range of flavors and styles.

2. Ride a Zip Line Through the Dominican Countryside

Looking for an exhilarating way to spend a day in the Dominican Republic? Then be sure to ride a zip line through the countryside! It is one of the most thrilling things to do in Santiago DR, and it’s easy to see why.

You’ll get to zip through the refreshing air at high speeds, taking in amazing landscape views below. And best of all, it’s a great way to pump your adrenaline!

  • An adventure tour that will leave you breathless in the Dominican Republic.
  • Experience the thrill of zip-lining through the jungle.
  • Ride an ATV through the mountains or take a safari through an exotic wildlife reserve

So if you want to have an unforgettable experience, be sure to add zip-lining to your list of things to do in Santiago Dominican Republic.

ZiplineSource: @bavaroadventurepark

3. Santiago’s Street Art

Taking a street art walking tour in Santiago is one of the thrilling ways to see some of the fantastic artwork on display. The tours are usually led by local artists who understand the area well. Tours typically last two hours, which is a great way to discover more about Santiago’s culture and art in a short time.

The best thing about the art pieces is that they are deeply intervened in the culture of the Dominican Republic.

Watching this street art is undoubtedly one of the most electrifying things to do in Santiago Dominican Republic, and you will surely enjoy it.

Caution; the creativity of the people might give you goosebumps.

Source: @muralesdeciudadsantiago

4. La Aurora Cigar Factory

In Santiago, you shouldn’t miss the La Aurora Cigar Factory. La Aurora is one of the oldest cigar factories in the Dominican Republic, and it produces some of the world’s best cigars. Tourists count it as one of the most fun things to do in Santiago DR.

During your factory tour, you’ll learn all about the process of cigar-making, including how tobacco leaves are selected, rolled, and blended. You’ll also have the opportunity to try some of the cigars made right there at La Aurora.

  • Get the inside scoop on cigars, from seed to package.
  • Discover how cigars are made on a factory tour.

You want to take advantage of these!

Source: @torresgarciamanufacturing

5. Centro Leon

You don’t want to miss Centro León (the Leon Center), a cultural center founded by Eduardo León Jimenes that’ll give you a closer look at the arts and culture of El Cibao and, more generally, the Dominican Republic.

  • Learn about Dominican culture by immersing yourself in it.
  • Encourage the arts.
  • Support local artists by purchasing their artwork.
  • Experience culture firsthand.

Get a taste of history, and don’t forget to add this to your list of things to do in Santiago Dominican Republic bucket list! If you want more profound experiences with our cultural history, you should take a trip to the closeby ruins of La Vega Vieja.

Source: @centroleonrd

6. Catedral de Santiago Apostol

A combination of Gothic and Neoclassical styles, Santiago’s cathedral was built between 1868 and 1895 opposite Parque Duarte. Ulises Heureaux’s marble tomb is in the cathedral, along with an elaborately carved mahogany altar and stunning stained glass windows by Dincón Mora, an artist. She lived in the Dominican Republic in the late 19th century.

  • Experience a world-renowned architectural masterpiece like never before.
  • Enjoy drinks and food at the cathedral while taking in the breathtaking views.
  • Get to know Santiago’s culture and history.
Source: @grandominicano

7. Zemis Tobacco and Cigars Factory

Zemis Tobacco and Cigar Factory have been famous for making high-quality cigars for over 50 years. There’s also a stop in the tobacco fields, where you can see what plants are grown, and a stop at the factory, where they roll the cigars.

  • The cigar maker here is a former French philosopher and anthropologist who discovered this place in the middle of nowhere.
  • The best stories, hilarious laughs, and incredible cigars are available at reasonable prices.

After tasting a cigar, you can buy your own home, making Zemis Tobacco and Cigar Factory an ideal way to learn about one of the Dominican Republic’s most famous exports.

Source: @torresgarciamanufacturing

8. Monumento a los Heroes de la Restauracion

One of the most popular attractions, as well as the best things to do in Santiago Dominican Republic, is visiting the Monument to Heroes of the Restoration. Around the monument is a nice park, perfect for strolling.

It is located in the center of Santiago, and visitors can climb to see the city from the top. The memorial honors the heroes who fought for independence from Haiti.

  • Discover what the Dominican War of Independence was all about
  • Take a tour of the monument
  • Restaurants and shops within walking distance

You should definitely include Monumento a Los Heroes on your list of must-do things to do in Santiago.

9. Shop till you Drop at Las Colinas Mall

The best shopping experience in Santiago can only be found at Las Colinas Mall. It boasts a variety of high-end designer boutiques as well as local markets, but if you’re looking for the best retail therapy, you have to go there.

The Las Colinas Mall, one of Santiago’s largest and most popular malls, is located in the city center. It has over 300 stores where you can find exactly what you need. Furthermore, there are many restaurants and cafes to relax in.

  • The mall is one of Santiago’s biggest.
  • A large number of stores.
  • There are plenty of brands and products to choose from.

The Las Colinas Mall is not only a wonderful shopping spot but also offers multiple best things to do in Santiago Dominican Republic.

10. Fortaleza San Luis

A picturesque Spanish fort dating back to the 1600s, Fortaleza San Luis is located on a hill in the southwestern corner of Puerto Rico. Today, it is one of Puerto Rico’s most popular tourist attractions.

The maze-like tunnels and the watchtower provide breathtaking views of the surrounding area, or visitors can relax in the peaceful atmosphere as they explore the tunnels.

  • The Fortaleza San Luis offers a glimpse into Mexico’s rich history
  • Discover the ancient walls and towers of the fortress
  • Experience the city’s panoramic view from the towers
  • Visit the museum to see artifacts from the city’s past

Fortaleza San Luis is sure to satisfy your sense of adventure and leave you with lasting memories.

Fortaleza San LuisSource: @museo_fortaleza_san_luis

11. Centro de Recreo

Want to spend the day with your family? Visit Recreation Center! Kids will enjoy the huge play area with slides, climbing equipment, and a ball pit at this family-friendly recreation center. Tennis is available on-site, and you can also take a deep dip in the pool or enjoy a game of tennis. The restaurant is also nearby, so you don’t have to leave your room to eat.

  • A unique architectural and historical heritage
  • The perfect getaway for the weekend
  • The hotel is conveniently located in the Cibao area
  • Provides a wide range of amenities and activities
  • The building was built by Spaniards who immigrated

It’s also conveniently located in the heart of the city, which means you can easily get there by public transportation or on foot.

12. Duarte Park

Many reasons make Duarte Park a local favorite. The park has a playground, a basketball court, a picnic area, and a walking trail. The playground is ideal for young children, with its colorful slides and swings.

There are plenty of exciting games to be played on the basketball court, and a picnic area is a great place to enjoy a sunny day. The walking trail is also a popular destination for dog walkers, joggers, and strollers alike.

Duarte Park also boasts beautiful scenery to go along with its many amenities. There are plenty of trees around the park, and the trail skirts fields of wildflowers.

  • As a lush oasis in the middle of the city, Duarte Park provides a welcome respite from the busy streets.
  • Throughout the year, the park hosts a variety of events, including concerts, festivals, and farmers’ markets.

Both locals and visitors find Duarte Park to be an exciting destination.

Source: @algomio_rd

13. Arena Del Cibao

One of the best things to do in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, is to attend Arena del Cibao, which seats 30,000 people. Since 1955, the stadium has been renovated and upgraded several times, most recently in 2007.

Arena Del is the largest stadium in the country and is used for both baseball and football. Current players include the Santiago Lions of the Dominican Winter League and Cibao FC of the Dominican Republic First Division. As well as hosting the World Baseball Classic, the stadium has also hosted numerous international events.

  • There is no better basketball facility in the city than this one.
  • Championships at the regional, national, and city levels
  • The home of the Metros basketball team
Source: @laligawork

14. La Flor Dominicana

With a reputation for using high-quality tobaccos having unusual shapes and sizes, La Flor Dominicana has been in business since 1994 in the Dominican Republic.

A variety of cigars are available from La Flor Dominicana, ranging from mild to full-bodied, and are available in Connecticut, Maduro and Oscuro wrappers.

As well as this, the company offers a line of cigars wrapped in Maduro. Aside from cigars, La Flor Dominicana also manufactures humidors and lighters.

  • Discover how cigars are made behind the scenes on a factory tour
  • Some of the world’s best cigars are produced by this boutique company
  • Cigars from this company have won numerous awards
  • There are leaf-stripping, fermenting, and aging rooms available for visitors to see
Source: @lfdleo

15. Palacio Del Cine

Among the best things to do in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic is to go to the Palacio del Cine, a movie theater. Known for its unique design, the Palacio del Cine has two large screens, a stage for live performances, and one of the world’s oldest movie theaters.

One of Santiago’’s most famous movie theaters is the Palacio del Cine, which has been around since the early 20th century.

  • An Art Deco movie theater, Palacio del Cine has beautiful architecture.
  • There is both classic and contemporary films screened at the theater.
  • A great place to watch a movie is the Palacio del Cine due to its excellent acoustics.

16. Monumento Natural Pico Diego de Ocampo

This lush, green area is home to countless species of plants & animals, many of which aren’t found anywhere else on earth. Pico Diego de Ocampo Natural Monument is a hidden gem in the Dominican Republic.

The hike through the jungle, swimming in waterfalls and exploring caves formed by an ancient volcano are just some of the things visitors can do in this lush, green area. There are also breathtaking views from Pico Diego de Ocampo’s summit.

  • Experience the beauty of a Dominican national park
  • Hike, watch birds, and picnic
  • View the surrounding mountains and valleys from atop the mountain
  • Explore the diverse flora and fauna of the park

Despite its relative obscurity, Pico Diego de Ocampo Natural Monument is a truly special place.

Monumento Natural Pico Diego de OcampoSource: @natacha_sanchez

17. Imbert Park

Imbert Park is one of the best things to do in Santiago de Los Caballeros. It is a major industrial and commercial center, as well as home to many cultural attractions. As well as a number of monuments and sculptures, the park is also home to a large lake you can go for a swim in or rent a boat on.

  • The park is a great place to relax when you’re tired of the city
  • A variety of activities are available, such as playgrounds, basketball courts, and ponds
  • The tranquil atmosphere and gardens will make you feel relaxed when you visit
  • Easy access due to its convenient location

Imbert Park is definitely one of the best worth-visiting places in Santiago Dominican Republic.

Source: @figureocity

18. Centro de Convenciones y Cultura Dominicana UTESA

The convention center has a lot to offer to visitors. It has a huge auditorium that can hold 1,200 people, which is perfect for conferences, seminars, and conventions. It’s also equipped with cutting-edge audio and video equipment.

  • Two conference rooms of different sizes are available.
  • A fully equipped kitchen is available to cater to all your event needs.
  • Up to 500 guests can be seated in the banquet hall.

Organize your next event in a picturesque and spacious location.

Source: @cccdutesa

19. Casa de Arte

This small gallery is packed with paintings, sculptures, and photography from local artists and is located in the heart of the city. A variety of styles and media are always available at Casa de Art, which has a constantly changing collection of artwork.

  • Explore the work of Dominican artists in an intimate setting.
  • Enjoy elegant, historical settings for theater and music performances.
  • Each visit is unique due to the rotating displays.
  • Enhance cultural enrichment by supporting the arts.
Source: @casadeartesantiag

20. Las Aromas Golf Club

Still, looking for the best things to do in Santiago Dominican Republic? Well, visit the famous golf course in the visit  Las Aromas Golf Club.

Located in the heart of the city, Las Aromas offers a unique golfing experience. This course has a distinctly Spanish feel and features winding fairways and beautiful landscaping.

With a challenging layout and beautiful views, players are sure to have a great time.

  • A great golf architect, Pete Dye, designed the course.
  • The course has four par-3 holes and two par-4 holes.
  • It is an impressive golf course that will put your skills to the test.

Las Aromas Golf Club welcomes beginners and experienced players alike.

Source: @franciscovasquezoficial

21. Blu Lounge

A long day can be easily unwinded at Blu Lounge. With its comfortable seats and calming atmosphere, you won’t need to think about the outside world.

  • Ask friendly bartenders for recommendations.
  • You can customize drinks according to your preferences.
  • Ideal for a date night or a social evening.

Blu Lounge is the perfect place for a quiet night of reading or a lively conversation.

What to Avoid in Santiago

Preventative measures

  • When you’re out and about, keep your valuables close to you and in a safe place. This includes things like your passport, money, and credit cards. Avoid carrying all of these things in one bag, making them an easy target for thieves.
  • Be aware of common scams targeting tourists, such as “free” bracelets or flowers that you then have to pay for or paying too much for souvenirs. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Language & Contact Guide for the Local Area

  • Knowing some basic Spanish can go a long way in the Dominican Republic. It’ll help you communicate with locals and get around more easily. Plus, it can also be helpful in emergencies.
  • If something goes wrong, you’d have a backup plan. A few examples could include having a friend or family member you can contact in an emergency, knowing where the nearest embassy is, and having travel insurance.

Laws that are to b e Followed

  • Use and carry legal drugs only. Drug crimes are punishable by steep fines and long prison terms.
  • You might get arrested if you drive after drinking or using drugs.
  • It is recommended that if you have dual citizenship, you use your Australian passport to travel. If you enter on a Dominican passport, your Australian government might not be informed if you are taken into custody.

FAQs

1. What is the Santiago Dominican Republic known for?

The colonial architecture and gingerbread houses that line Santiago’s streets are remnants of its past, giving the city one of the most European lifestyles in the Caribbean. Its refinement is visible in its up-to-date entertainment areas, upscale shopping malls, and cultural events.

2. Which hotels and Restaurants in Santiago de los Caballeros are the best?

Some well-known hotels in Santiago de los Caballeros include Hodelpa Gran Almirante, Hodelpa Garden Court, and Hotel Casa Jum. No matter what your budget is, you should be able to find a hotel that’s right for you.

3. What are the best restaurants in Santiago Dominican Republic?

The city has a number of great restaurants offering a variety of cuisine, so you’re in luck if you want to eat well. You’ll be able to find anything you’re looking for, including Italian and Chinese food. Santiago has many bars and clubs for an evening out on the town.

Bottom Line

Santiago, Dominican Republic is a melting pot that offers stunning architecture, lively nightlife, and outdoor adventures. With so many amazing options available, it can be tricky to know where to start.

However, with our guide, you’ll have a fantastic time in this city of Afro-Caribbean, Taino, and European cultures, and you’ll know what the most exciting & best things to do in Santiago are. Just be sure to heed our warnings about staying safe!

If you are still perplexed and need to figure out where to go, take our quiz and plan your trip accordingly. Let us help you relax wherever you go!

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