Reason 4 to leave Santo Domingo: Typical urban problems, Level 5000

What makes a city a city?

  • Lack of municipal waste disposal
  • Loud noises
  • Architectural chaos
  • Unprofessional sewage and waste water draw-off
  • Concrete jungle
  • Mass poverty everywhere
  • Lack of greenery

One could argue, that these are the typical characteristics of any random city on the continent. I won’t disagree. But what I have seen in Santo Domingo so far is ,unfortunately, the poorest dealing with all of these urban problems.

I can imagine, that a visitor seeing this for the first time would be shocked about that. A 3rd world country has some uncomfortable surprises to showcase its visitors from the first world. It wasn’t as harsh for me, because I was pretty used to a certain level from other Latin American cities. You’ll get a little dull from all you’ve seen.

But the level I saw in Santo Domingo? Jeez, that even took me some weeks to get over it. I’ll be never expecting to really get used to and accept this behavior and treatment of the Dominicans with emissions.

Santo Domingo is unfortunately no big difference from the rest of the country. Everyone talks, sings, honks, plays music, yells with perceived 200 decibels. If you ever happen to find a really quiet spot in Santo Domingo, please call me and share your insider knowledge with me 😀

A different understanding of how to treat mother nature

There are almost no real clean and neat areas in Santo Domingo. No holistic concept of how to treat waste, no recycling methods, no trash bins, and careless people everywhere negatively impact and treat their city in the most terrible way you could imagine. Especially the area around the Malecon (Avenida George Washington) suffers from the reckless treatment of the Dominicans.

NOT what you expected from Caribbean beaches!

Take a closer look

No bottle deposit causes Dominicans to litter their bottles technically everywhere

But these are only a few examples and I don’t know all neighborhoods of Santo Domingo. But all residential areas suffer more or less from the same aforementioned problems.

Santo Domingo is a concrete jungle because of overpopulation

By meaning concrete jungle, I was talking about the following example:

100% concrete jungle – 0% green places

Santo Domingo grew too fast and this growth determined many neighborhoods being terribly planned, not interrelated/connected and entirely gray and dusty.

Compared to how linear and logic and ample the Colonial Zone was planned, the rest of the city is the exact opposite. Completely narrow, obstructed and with a lack of green spaces for the population.

Santo Domingo’s metropolitan area is known as Greater Santo Domingo, extending over a land area of 165 square miles (427 square kilometers). Greater Santo Domingo has 3.6 million residents.

To emphasize this metropolitan area, the following map helps:


…which means too many people in too little space. It’s difficult to be alone or at a quiet place in Santo Domingo. Do you want to know more about the slight green/yellow spots? These are parks and zoos. No one can live there. That’s the only reason for them to be underpopulated.

If that’s not terrible enough, the urban architects were planning the neighborhoods somehow not interconnected and apart from each other. It’s a case of the right architect was not knowing what the left architect was doing.

As a result, Santo Domingo grew exponentially in all directions neglecting to solve opportunely many important urban needs. Sewage systems, public transport, waste disposal organizations are still one of the cities’ urban problems Santo Domingo has to talk about.

Of course, it’s not only the urban architect’s fault. Corruption, lack of funds, the poor policy of decision-makers, and migration from rural inhabitants building illegally their own houses is a collective failure under which the city suffers as a whole.

Don’t expect Santo Domingo as a beautiful Caribbean city. It’s not. If you want to see beautiful Caribbean cities well planned, you should check out the countries of Curaçao or Aruba. But also the Dominican Republic has some beautiful cities to show. I always can recommend the city center of Puerto Plata for a visit.

Next page: Entertainment problems