Santiago Dominican Republic
Santiago de los Caballeros, DR road trips
Santiago (Santiago de Los Caballeros) Dominican Republic as destination or a day trip is well worth the trip to see the Dominican Republic countryside away from the beaches and the resorts. This inland city is an important business center and university town close to Dajabon on the Dominican border with Haiti. Santiago is also a baseball town: During the baseball season (December, January), hire a taxi cab at your resort in northern beaches near Puerto Plata to take in a night game.
Travel time from Puerto Plata to Santiago is about one hour each way, depending on traffic. Cab fares from Playa Dorada near Puerto Plata cost about $130 USD round trip. Be sure to get a firm price before getting into the cab, and let your hotel know where you are going, and with whom. Here are some pictures of Santiago, Dominican Republic, on the way to the Waterfalls after the cigar factory tour.
Santiago DR bus to from Cap-Haitien Haiti Caribe Tours (Rue 28A in Carenage, the area in which the Hotel Roi Christophe is located in Cap-Haitien, Haiti) is a DR bus company with daily bus service leaving from Cap 9 a.m. for Santiago, Dominican Republic. Subject to change, so check phone number this page or look for an email on this page.
Highway Route Sign ~ Navarete or Puerto Plata
Day trips via Santiago to the nearby waterfalls are easy to arrange from resorts at Puerto Plata area beaches.
As you head inland (south) from Puerto Plata, you are heading into the usually cooler mountain areas. Not the Alps or Rockies, by any means, but some steep grades in spots.
Santiago de Los Caballeros is 71 kms (44 miles) south of Puerto Plata and the beaches, and 155 kilometres (96 miles) north of Santo Domingo, the capital.Santiago is the country's second largest city, and home to the agricultural sector -- flowers, sugar cane, tobacco and rum.
The DR's main highways are usually in good shape, but heavy rains can quickly flood them, making driving a challenge. I prefer to use a tour company booked at my hotel, and let someone else do the driving.
Outskirts Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic
Here's the view through the front window of the bus of one January evening rush hour traffic on the outskirts of Santiago.
In the distance you can see the trees on the mountainside. That morning, torrential rains had turned mountain roads into fast flowing streams that swept debris onto the main highway.
At 6-7 a.m., on a rainy day, it's pretty dark still; The headlights of our bus illuminated roadside commuters knee deep in water as they waited for their bus to work.
Good driving and taking it easy made for a safe trip up to higher ground. By 10 a.m., the sun was shining.
Rush Hour Vendors in Santiago Domincan Republic
Heading back via Santiago to our resort, the tour bus stopped for a red light.
And out the window, enterprising Dominicans were setting up streetside shops to sell fruit to workers heading home for the day.
Another trip, on another visit had us heading home via Santo Cerro, down mountain roads on the east side of the Cibao Valley.
Then, vendors were selling round cheese balls laid on blankets by the roadside.
More Fruit Sellers on the streets of Santiago DR
Further along the highway through Santiago, we came across more vendors setting up shop from the back of a pickup truck.
Apparently pineapples and papayas were in season (January).
Mangoes, also grown in this fertile area, ripen later in the year; One trip, I bought mangoes at a roadside stand in Haiti, in August.
Highway to Puerto Plata : Great views of the Monument to the Heroes.
This imposing structure was once the Trujillo monument. See the picture below to see how it once looked.
The statue of Trujillo that used to be at the very top of the tower is now gone, and the monument has been renamed to El Monumento a los héroes de la Restauracion.
Santiago's airport -- Cibao International Airport (code STI)-- is not used by most tourists, but mainly for cargo shipments or native Dominicans traveling to and from the US or other Caribbean islands.
Former Monument to Trujillo in Heart of Santiago DR
This statue of Rafael Trujillo (in power from 1930-1961) no longer tops the monument now named Monument to the Heroes of the Restoration of the Republic. Trujillo's legacy includes amassing a personal fortune at the Dominicans' expense.
On an earlier trip, the 67 metres (220 feet) high tower was not open for visitors, so we missed the wonderful views of the valley, and beyond from the observation area.
Time permitting and tour company interest permitting, day trip tours will stop for a short visit of the forecourt and gardens.
Costs: For a full day tour from Sosua and from Playa Dorada, I paid about $65 USD (January, high season) which included lunch. In low season (roughly July, August, September) I paid about $50 USD for the same tour.
There are also separate white-water rafting tours on the Rio Yaque de Norte.
Area roads are paved, and the drive takes in mountain views and lush countryside filled with mango, almond, mahogany, oak palms, tamarind trees. See What to Pack for DR I've listed guidebooks for DR on the books page.
Santiago De Los Caballeros City View
From the forecourt at the monument, there are fabulous views of the city and surrounding countryside.
The area around Santiago is a main area for textile factories and growing flowers for export, as well as a cigar factory.
Once you've taken in the view from the monument, and wandered around the structure, that's about all there is to do here and tours move on.
Santiago is also a main shopping center but I haven't stopped to shop :-) If you do, let me know what you thought.