Botanical Garden Clock

The Botanical Gardens located in Santo Domingo are likely one of the “Must Sees” if you are in the area during your visit. The price to get into the park varies depending if you are a local or a foreigner. Dominicans get in for $50 pesos (about $1.45 USD) anyone else pays ($5.00 USD). If you come in a large group you can haggle for a lower price. My family was with a large group of Dominicans and we all got in for $25 pesos.

The park is huge, so to get much out of it you should plan on spending most of the day and walking a lot. How much you walk will be determined by how many other people are there. In our case the park was mostly empty so only one of the three trains was running. They took us around the park, only stopping at one of the individual gardens, the Japanese Garden. The Japanese garden was pretty big and they only gave us 10 minutes to look around before the train took off again.

When there are not many people you take the chance of there not being another train for a long while so if you don’t get on the same one you may be stuck there for an hour or so, or have to walk back. It turns out that walking back would have only been about a quarter mile or so which would have been worthwhile. We really needed more time in this section.

Apparently if you want to see any of the other gardens you have to take note of where it is and walk there after the train ride. There are street signs but no maps (either printed or in signs). Our group had older ones in it and we were only able to spend 3-4 hours so we couldn’t opt to do the walking.

If you are up to a pretty long walk I would recommend first taking the train around the park to figure out which of the gardens you want to see. Not all were completed. Once you have that figured out. Make sure you have plenty of water (there will be no place to buy it after you leave the front area) and then start following street signs to the gardens you want to see.

I’m guessing that when the park is more crowded the trains run pretty much constantly. So, I would think that you can get off one train, view the garden as much as you want and wait for the next train to take you to the next section of the park. Not as much of an option when the park is mostly empty and you’re not sure if there is going to be another train coming around.

Front Gardens: In the pictures below. All of the brickwork is in the front part of the garden. As well as the clock, fountains (which were not on the day we were there) and a wide variety of other flowers and plants. You can easily spend an hour or so wandering around this area.

Museum: You are given a guided tour through the Museum. It’s not real fancy, but you will get a very good idea of the terrain of the Dominican Republic. They have individual displays showing all of the different regions in the DR along with the plant and animals you will see there. This is definitely the educational part of the park. At least if you speak Spanish. There didn’t seem to be tour guides that spoke other than Spanish, however that may change during on the weekends and during the tourist seasons.

Japanese Gardens: This was the only garden they choose to stop the train at and they only gave 10 minutes to look around. We could have easily spent an hour. This would be worth walking back to if you can handle a longer walk. You will find a lot of pictures below that we took of this section of the park.

Food: We brought our own food however there was drinks and snack items in the snack bar. Prices were pretty close to what you would find outside of the park. This is one of the few places in the Dominican Republic so far that we have found cotton candy which is pretty much a staple in most of the recreational areas in the US.

Gift shop: One of the things I found to be interesting is that there is no gift shop and no maps or brochures. All you bring out is your memories and pictures so, be sure to take a lot of them. This is a little different that any of the places of interest you find in the US. There is pretty much no commercialism within the park except the one location to buy food and drinks.

Would I go again: Yes, in fact my family plans on it. Next time we go, we will start early in the morning. Bring lots of water and make sure anyone who goes with us likes to hike. I expect that we will walk 3-5 miles around the park to see everything we will want to see. Don’t get me wrong, if you can’t walk that much there is still enough to see but we will want to spend more time.