Santiago de los Caballeros City Guide
*Submitted by Anon (2013). Information confirmed to the best of my ability.
OVERVIEW: The second-largest metropolis in the Dominican Republic. An important area for farming, as well as education. Despite the impressive Spanish architecture from the old colonial days, Santiago is not overrun by tourists.
WEATHER: Tropical wet and dry (20-33 °C).
SAFETY: Reasonably safe in Santiago. You shouldn't have any problems unless you're engaging in unconventional activities like drugs or prostitution.
MUST DO: Dine on Caribbean fare and smoke a Macanudo Maduro.
RENT AN APARTMENT IN SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS: $300.00. You can sneak by on that, but allow for more if you're able.
HOSTEL DORM BED/NIGHT $14.00
NIGHTLIFE IN SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS: 7/10
A college town of any size is likely to have good nightlife, and Santiago is no exception. Although it's not as raging as the resort destinations or Santo Domingo, it is enough to keep you going for a weekend or two.
I recommend: Ahi-Bar Dance Club. Nothing particularly special about this bar. Just about anywhere in Santiago with a crowd is as good as the next. I'll give this place the edge because it is conveniently located in the historic district.
***ONLINE DATING: If you're like me and prefer to set up dates before you arrive in the country, I strongly recommend Dominican Cupid.
BOTTLE OF BEER: $2.00
CHANCE OF HOOKING-UP IN SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS: 7.5/10
You have a very good chance of dominating this Dominican city. However, your success depends on a variety of factors that may not be as important in other countries. Allow me to explain:
First of all, if you're white, you have an advantage. Not sure why, an indication of status, perhaps. Second, if you know Spanish, your odds will shoot up. Not a whole lot of English known here aside from some college girls. Third, if you stay for a long time (or if you say you're staying for a long time) your stock will increase greatly with the women. Fourth, be confident - forward, even. Sex is very normalized here in the DR (you may even be cat-called in the streets... by non-prostitutes!), so don't be aloof.
Some dudes pull like madmen here and others fall flat on their face. Knowing Spanish seems to be the key to the castle here.
ARE GIRLS HOT IN SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS?: 7.25/10.
A good variety. From completely white girls to completely black girls, and all shades in between. There is a bit of a classist thing going on here in that the whiter folk tend not to mix company too much with the darker folk, which is lame but often the case in Latin American countries. Anyhow, you will be able to interact will beautiful women of all colours, shapes and sizes and be well-received. The girls in Santiago are social creatures and always respond well to casual conversation. For the ass-men in our midst: in general, they're not quite as big or nice as Santo Domingo but I'm willing to bet my bottom dollar that they're nicer than in your country.
If you want to meet women in the Dominican Republic, you will need to speak some Spanish. The Pickup Spanish Program is the only course of its kind, designed specifically to teach you Spanish for meeting Latinas in Latin America.
GROCERIES: Milk (1L)= $1.20 Loaf of Bread= $1.40 Eggs= $1.80 Water (1.5L)= $1.00 Cigarettes= $3.00
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Pfft. Buena suerte...
TAXI: $2.00 is a good indicator of what you should be paying. More for long distances (obviously) and more at night.
NOTES: Santiago is a comfortable city. Less dirty and chaotic than Santo Domingo, but just as poorly equipped for rapid population growth. Not too many backpacker-type accommodations, but the low cost of food/drinks should offset the cost of a modest hotel room. Worth a visit.
OVERALL RATING: 7/10
*More city guides from the Dominican Republic here!