Why not to do new year's eve in Santo Domingo

Why Not to do New Year’s Eve in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

I LOVE traveling abroad for New Year’s Eve. It’s such a fun and unique way to bring in the New Year immersed in a different culture. This year I last minute decided to do New Year’s Eve in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to celebrate and to my shock, learned that not every city guarantees a lively celebration. As it was a last minute trip, I found it difficult to find any information on what to do for New Year’s Eve in Santo Domingo online which should have been the first sign. You can stop right here and check out other places to do New Years Eve like Cartagena, Colombia or Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, or if you need to convince a friend why not to go to Santo Domingo for New Years, read on:

1. Uber Availability and the Deserted Streets on New Year’s Eve in Santo Domingo

The first sign that something was amiss was the ease of getting an Uber without any surge pricing. It became apparent that many locals and tourists had chosen to bid farewell to Santo Domingo for the New Year’s festivities, leaving the city surprisingly quiet. Also the price of ubers to go ~15 min distance was less than $5. More on this later.

2. Tame Vibes in High-End Restaurants on New Year’s Eve in Santo Domingo

Despite the city’s charm and the allure of high-end restaurants, the atmosphere on New Year’s Eve was unexpectedly subdued. Visiting three upscale establishments revealed a surprising lack of energy and festivity. The requirement for pre-fix menus, though understandable, came with exorbitant prices comparable to tier 2 cities in the U.S. Something wasn’t adding up to us that our Uber cost $3 but the pre-fix menus at these restaurants cost $150.

3. Historic District in Santo Domingo for New Year’s Eve too Calm and Chill

I was really hoping to find a vibrant atmosphere in the historic district as that’s what I experienced previously in Cartagena, Colombia. Unfortunately, again to my shock, our adventurer was met with a scene that was calm and chill rather than lively. Even in this culturally rich area, I couldn’t believe that the celebratory spirit was missing.

4. Hotel Parties in Santo Domingo for New Year’s Eve

Even some of the high-end hotels, known for their luxury, fell short on the promise of their New Year’s Eve parties. I don’t believe it’s any fault of theirs as it’s the crowd that makes the party and the party we visited was lacking volume. Also, the reality of a ballroom with buffet-style food and DJ left us underwhelmed. Although, watching fireworks from a rooftop was beautiful as you could see them in every direction possible.

After numerous attempts to infuse excitement into their New Year’s Eve in Santo Domingo, it’s clear to me that I will never be going back. The suspicion arose that many people may leave the city for coastal or countryside festivities. From the surprisingly affordable Ubers to the lack of fully booked high-end restaurants, the pieces of the puzzle did not add up for a memorable New Year’s experience. In the end, I learned the hard way that not all destinations are created equal when it comes to ushering in the new year, and Santo Domingo, DR, might be better suited for alternative celebrations like Cartagena and Kuala Lumpur. We definitely made up for it by visiting Cabarete in the DR though 😉 

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