Approximate reading time: 8 minutes
Santo Domingo Pop is a festival about…Well, the pop culture I suppose. Young, for families, colorful, lots of opportunities to have a bite and many local Dominican artists of literature, music, theater, dance and artesian work. The 2020 edition took part in the botanic garden of Santo Domingo and was by far the best festival of the city I attended so far.
What is the Santo Domingo Pop festival?
They describe themselves as:
Un festival de arte abierto, único en su especie.
(A festival of open arts, unique of his kind)How Santo Domingo Pop festival perceives themselves on their Instagram profile
In a former article on my blog I described, that there is a lack in Santo Domingo regarding entertainment. These so called ‘entertainment problems’ make the life in the capital of the Dominican Republic not as interesting as in many other Latin-American cities.
But the Santo Domingo Pop festival is a great exception. I’ve visited before some other festivals. This was by far the most beautiful, best organized and pleasant festival I’ve been in Santo Domingo.
Where is the Santo Domingo Pop festival?
In a beautiful area – the national botanic garden – there is enough space to discover the colorful and odd things throughout the whole day.
The festival was held Saturday and Sunday, February 1 and 2. It started at 3pm and I had a really great time there.
I chose to go there on the Sunday afternoon to avoid the biggest traffic jams. Santo Domingo is a city, where there is always traffic. That makes it quite difficult to get from A to B. A taxi by UBER cost not more than 230 Pesos (4 USD)
First I thought, that I would have with the admission as well entrance to the botanic garden. I visited the botanic garden and really liked the effort and dedication they put into this area. It’s a quiet and peaceful place, maybe I should write another article about it one day.
I think, that you can get a good impression of the whole festival, if you watch the after movie which I created:
Anyway: The festival was held in a fenced area very close to the main entrance. Just from my personal perspective, I need to say, that a little flair and freedom got lost when you realized that you are captured between fences.
How much does Santo Domingo Pop costs?
Uff, it’s not too cheap. Let’s call it like that. But these high costs justify a good festival. Click and check the images below to see the different tickets for Santo Domingo Pop:
Costs for the admission to the Santo Domingo Pop festival:
- Adults: 700 DOP (13 USD)
- Children: 300 DOP (5,50 USD)
- Combo 1 – Two adults and one child: 1.545 DOP (28.70 USD)
- Combo 2 – Two adults and two children: 1.818 DOP (33.75 USD)
- Combo 3 – Two adults and three children: 2.091 DOP (38.80 USD)
- Combo 4 – One adult and three children: 1.455 DOP (27 USD)
- Combo 5 – Four adults: 2.545 DOP (47.20 USD)
What to eat at Santo Domingo Pop?
As a happy food traveler, I must say that there was a lot of variety for the visitor. Of course I couldn’t try it all. My financial and caloric budget per day didn’t allow me to taste all of the great food, snacks and desert. But here are a few of the best munchies I could find:
My new years resolutions are still in progress 🙂
Luckily I can report that I eat definitely less meat than last year. Hence I also tried the vegetarian food I could find at Santo Domingo Pop.
What to do at the Santo Domingo Pop festival
As you can imagine, there were a loooooot of families with children. Hence, the most of the activities you could do during the festival was adapted to the interests of the youngest generation.
But especially the picnic and chill areas were beautifully decorated. Enough space was given for everyone to find a table or picnic rug. And luckily, there was enough shade to find. It was with 30 degrees Celsius quite a hot Sunday.
What I really liked about the Santo Domingo Pop 2020 festival
Okay, I’m not a child anymore. Maybe sometimes. But these activities for children were not what I was deeply interested in.
Everything that had the artesian and handcrafted touch gathered my interest. But what I really liked about the Santo Domingo Pop festival was especially one booth.
These people from Atabey recycle things and fabricate guitars. Not only, that these guitars actually work, they also played some songs with them. And it sounded not too bad!
Not sure, if these guitars were also for sale, but I suppose?! Nevertheless, they made me think about these cowboys and hillbillies who play country songs on their self created banjos. Melancholic childhood imaginations came true!
What I didn’t like about the Santo Domingo Pop 2020 festival
What I personally didn’t really like was the missing opportunity to exit the festival area and get back in. Unfortunately, you haven’t had any chance to reenter, once you left the botanic garden. That’s something unusual, because the majority of festivals I’ve visited allow you to reenter again.
Another thing I really didn’t comprehend was the exhibition of the local zoo. The ‘Parque Zoologico Nacional’ of Santo Domingo came to present themselves and gather some interest from the visitors. Of course a zoo can only be interesting and convincing, if they show some animals. And they really did that, but not in a pleasant manner:
I personally didn’t really see the fit of this whole collaboration. First, you as a visitor are not allowed to bring your own pets to the festival. Strict guideline policy!
But on the other hand, some wild animals are exhibited in far too little cages, boxes or compounds. Regardless to say, that these wild animals are held in the zoo to simulate their habitat. While this is anyway an inappropriate handling, they are taken from their artificial biosphere they got familiar with over years to be shown in a far smaller environment.
Closer contact to the visitor, louder noises, direct impact of the sun and the whole transportation of the animals must’ve stressed them out. This all didn’t really fit to the festivals mantra to be a festival of free arts at the fresh air, if animals are captured in cages.
Is it worth visiting Santo Domingo Pop 2020?
In my opinion, definitely yes. The festival combines a lot of interesting activities and addresses several target groups. Whether you come with your children to let them have fun in the ample area or want to enjoy dancing with friends electronic music during one of the many show acts – Santo Domingo Pop is definitely worth a visit. A little pricy, but a really well-organized festival will be promised the visitor.