Top 12 Must-Dos In Santiago De Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

things to do in santiago de los caballeros
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The modern, cosmopolitan city of Santiago de los Caballeros, or First Santiago de America as its native nickname goes, is located far from crowded touristy spots yet checks off all the requirements of an amazing holiday destination. Now, isn’t that ideal? With a history that dates back to 1495, the second largest Dominican city holds a strangely alluring charm, with its historical landmarks, excellent food scene, lofty mountain ranges, beautiful parks, an innate craze for baseball, and, of course, the prominent industries of coffee, rum, and tobacco. It also features amazing Airbnb vacation rentals to accommodate travelers of all kinds.

These are the top must-dos when in the cultural and industrial hub of Dominican Republic.

1. Monumento a los Heroes de la Restauracion

Monumento a los heroes de la restauracion - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Luis A. González ... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This hilltop monument on the eastern end of downtown is easily one of the most prominent landmarks in the city. Originally built by dictator Rafael Trujillo in his own honor, the eight-story edifice was later rededicated to the brave Dominican soldiers who fought for independence against Haiti. Large bronze statues of generals line the steps, while the life-size museum on the sixth floor tells the fascinating tale of Dominican history, drawing a lot of footfall, especially that of primary school kids.

Monumento a los Heroes de la Restauracion

Address: Daniel Espinal, Santiago De Los Caballeros 51000, Dominican Republic

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2. Centro León

Built by the eminent Jimenez family, this classical structure is a modern museum, located a few miles east of downtown. A treasure trove of priceless paintings and art exhibits, Centro León traces the evolution of art in this country in the 20th-century. The museum is divided into three neat segments – one showcasing the island’s biodiversity, cultural heritage, and Taino history; second displaying the establishment’s permanent art collection; and third promoting the temporary works of art. Walk down to the gift shop that sells books on Dominican art, culture, and history, and end the tour at the café that serves refreshing drinks and delicious sandwiches.

Centro León

Address: Av 27 de Febrero 146, Santiago De Los Caballeros 51053, Dominican Republic

Website: Centro León

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3. Catedral de Santiago Apostol

Catedral Santiago Apóstol-IMG 0136
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jos1950 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The small but well-kept historic site, located in the heart of Santiago, exhibits a fitting combination of neoclassical and Gothic styles. The cathedral houses the marble tomb of ex-president and dictator - Ulises Heureaux, a beautifully carved mahogany altar, and artistic stained-glass windows designed by a local contemporary artist, Dincón Mora. Because of its excellent location, people mostly gravitate towards the old town nearby, after appreciating this interesting attraction.

Catedral de Santiago Apostol

Address: 30 De Marzo, Santiago De Los Caballeros 51000, Dominican Republic

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4. Estadio Cibao

In a city that breathes baseball, a game in their massive stadium is a sight to behold. Located northwest of the city center, the 18,000-seater Estadio Cibao holds at least two to three games a week in winter. The sports-crazed country has 6 baseball teams, of which Santiago’s Águilas has emerged as the most successful team in the league’s history. Watching one of the games is almost as entertaining as observing the crazy fans rooting for their home team, and is definitely a must-do.

Estadio Cibao

Address: Av. Imbert, Santiago De Los Caballeros 51000, Dominican Republic

Website: Estadio Cibao (in Spanish)

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5. Fortaleza San Luis

Fort San Luis SA - 046
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jos1950 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Inspired by masonry architecture, this fortified structure was a military stronghold in the late 17th-century, until it was converted into a prison sometime in 1970s. Today it’s a small museum showcasing the fascinating military history, and houses ancient weaponry used by the National Army, Navy, and Air Force, 20th-century tanks and artillery used by the men after World War II, as well as a collection of donated items like paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and coins.

Fortaleza San Luis

Address: Vicente Estrella esquina, Calle San Luis, Santiago De Los Caballeros 51000, Dominican Republic

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6. Parque Zoologico Gurabo

Editor’s note: Establishment is permanently closed

Tucked away amid beautiful natural surroundings and home to diverse species of animals, this small, private zoo packs quite a punch. An ideal family destination, the kids can enjoy proximity to the well-kept animals and learn something new too. From the formidable creatures of the cat family to zebras, deer, monkeys, tropical birds, and even ostriches - there’s quite an interesting line-up at Santiago’s zoological park that’s bound to make your visit a fun and educational one. Pony rides are also available for children, and the zoo cafeteria is where you head to for a bit of a breather.

Santiago de los Caballeros

Address: Avenida Caonabo, Santiago de los Caballeros 51000, Dominican Republic

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7. Monumento Natural Pico Diego de Ocampo

The highest point in Santiago province, this mountainous elevation lies an hour away from downtown. The natural attraction offers a stunning, 360-degree view of the entire Cibao Valley as well as parts of the Septentrional mountain system and Cordillera Central. Take a break from the historical and cultural sightseeing, and visit this geographical wonder for a breath of fresh air and mesmerizing sights of diverse landscapes.

Monumento Natural Pico Diego de Ocampo

Address: Palmar Abajo, Santiago de los Caballeros 51000, Dominican Republic

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8. Hotel Matum Casino

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Oasis del Matum un #Paraíso #Terrenal en el mismo centro de la ciudad de #Santiago somos más que una piscina un espacio...

Posted by Matum Hotel & Casino on Sunday, December 4, 2016

For a fun night among chips and roulettes, head to the popular casino housed within Hotel Matum. Boasting a typical Dominican layout, the casino features everything from slot machines to roulette tables to blackjack dealers, while offering free food and drinks while you play. Though not very big, this particular haunt shows you a good time, the best, in fact, if you’re winning. So don’t forget to take your Lady Luck along.

Hotel Matum Casino

Address: Av Las Carreras 1, Santiago De Los Caballeros 51000, Dominican Republic

Website: Hotel Matum Casino

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9. Il Pasticcio Restaurante

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

The famous Italian joint has been welcoming the who’s who of Santiago as well as the visiting bohemians since 1995. Well-liked by the locals, the owner, Paolo, is an extremely interesting personality, which is amply reflected in the décor of his restaurant. His menu, comprising handmade pasta, fresh seafood, and delectable meat, is truly a treat for the olfactory senses. The Fettuccini and the Salmon Carpaccio are clearly the winning dishes and are not to be missed.

Il Pasticcio

Address: Av. del Llano esquina Calle 3, Cerros de Gurabo, Santiago, Dominican Republic

Website: Il Pasticcio

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10. Dao al Pescao

Editor’s note: Establishment is permanently closed

Occupying a refurbished mansion decorated with quirky art and tropical plants, this quaint tapas bar is just the kind of place where you’d want to spend a Saturday evening with your gang. Serving creative Caribbean fare, Dao al Pescao also has live music and innovative cocktails. Some of their must-have items on the menu include mamajuana – a unique drink made with a mixture of dried bark, herbs, wine, rum, and honey – ideally taken with pork, delicious chorizo, and empanadas. Watch their space for information on live music concerts and electronic music parties as the hotspot is known to host quite a few.

Dao al Pescao

Address: Benito Monción, #41 Santiago De Los Caballeros, Santiago, Dominican Republic

Website: Dao al Pescao

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11. Dine at El Tablon Latino

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

El Tablon is a restaurant in Santiago de los Caballeros. The place is easy to find as it’s near the Monumento, the icon of Santiago. The portions are large and the staff are friendly. The dessert is well worth it, so order it ahead of time. One of the favourites is the vanilla ice cream truffle with hot chocolate sauce.

On the menu, you will find a variety of food from mini-burgers for the kids, through to short ribs, chicken, and taco salads. Try their Mofongos, Shrimp Risotto, Arepas, Patacones, Flat Bread, or Ceviche. A cool sangria or coconut drink can round off a delicious meal.

They open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Parking is available and there is WiFi within the building.

El Tablon

Address: Calle del Sol #12, Area Monumental, Santiago de los Caballeros 51000, Dominican Republic

Telephone: +1 809-581-3813

Website: El Tablon

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12. Visit the Ocean World Adventure Park

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

!Día Mundial del Medio Ambiente! Es una de las fechas más importantes para fomentar la acción ambiental, el tema...

Posted by Ocean World Adventure Park & Marina on Sunday, June 5, 2022

Ocean World Adventure Park is not far from Santiago de los Caballeros, and may be found in Cofresi Beach. The Ocean World Adventure Park brings an interactive experience with marine life. There is much to see, including dolphins, sea lions, stingrays, and sharks. There is also an area of rainforest to explore.

You can even swim with the dolphins, which are well cared for by the staff. Most people recommend the sea lion encounter, which staff assure is done through positive reinforcement. There are various shows to enjoy, but if you want, you can also see the rainforest area with amazing birds to spot, like the toucans and parrots. The place is Humane Certified.

Ocean World Adventure Park

Address: Calle Principal # 3 | Cofresi, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic

Website: Ocean World Adventure Park

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Savor the exotic Caribbean flavor at Santiago de los Caballeros

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jabdiel Ventura used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Not quite on the tourist radars, Santiago de los Caballeros is a small Caribbean gem hidden away from the prying eyes and jostling crowds. The culture-rich city boasts an enviable collection of historic buildings and monuments backed by fascinating history of war and trade. If you’re venturing into the land of cigars and rum, head down to the off-the-beaten tracks and sneak a peek into this cosmopolitan yet charming city. Santiago de los Caballeros will not disappoint.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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A spontaneous trip-planner, Diya is a freelancer from India who is now settled in Singapore. She loves reading, sketching, and exchanging travel stories with her friends (mostly for her handwritten...Read more

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