The Dominican Republic provides you with the biggest surprises of your journey. First, Santo Domingo, the capital. One has read often enough of Santo Domingo’s old buildings—the New World’s first cathedral, first university and first hospital.
But one has never quite registered that they combined into what is still a recognizable medieval city, complete with fortifications, a castle, and old stone streets—an ensemble that, if it had been in Europe, would be worth three stars in anyone’s Michelin. Not only that, it has been imaginatively restored and at the same time has managed to avoid the theme park flavor of old San Juan.