If you're flying in, arrivals are at Aeropuerto Internacional Cibao (tel. 809/233-8000; www.aeropuertocibao.com.do), the third-largest airport in the country. The airport lies a 20-minute taxi ride from the center of the city. Because there are no buses, you have to rely on a taxi, costing about RD$700 into the center.
The following airlines service Santiago from Santo Domingo: Air Turks and Caicos (tel. 809/233-8262; www.airturksandcaicos.com); American Airlines (tel. 809/233-8100; www.aa.com); Continental (tel. 809/200-3295; www.continental.com); Delta (tel. 809/233-8485; www.delta.com); and JetBlue (tel. 809/200-9898; www.jetblue.com). Delta Air Lines has daily service departing at 7:15am from JFK to Santiago.
If you would like to rent a car at the airport, you'll find a selection of companies at various kiosks; including Avis (tel. 809/582-7007; www.avis.com); Dollar (tel. 809/233-8108; www.dollar.com); and National (tel. 809/233-8163; www.nationalcar.com).
It's also possible to arrive by bus from either Santo Domingo or Puerto Plata. Metro Buses (tel. 809/587-3837), corner of Avenida Durate and Malmon, east of the center, has buses arriving from Santo Domingo hourly from 6am to 8pm (trip time: 2 hr.). From Puerto Plata, the bus trip takes only 1 1/4 hours, with six departures staggered throughout the day from 9am to 9pm. A similar service is offered by Caribe Tours, Los Jardines (tel. 809/576-0790).
Three major highways, Autopista Duarte, Carretera Duarte, and Carretera Turística, converge at Santiago, leading directly into the city center. If you're driving down from Puerto Plata, figure on about 1 hour; from Santo Domingo 2 1/2 hours.
Santiago lies 147km (91 miles) northwest of Santo Domingo and 32km (19 miles) south of Puerto Plata.
Much of what will interest you lies in the city center, which is easily walked. The heart of Santiago is Parque Duarte, at the corner of Avenida 30 de Marzo and Calle del Sol, two of the largest commercial streets of Santiago. Don't plan on a peaceful day sitting on a park bench here. The park is filled with homeless people who aggressively pursue handouts.
Towering over the city is the Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración de la República, on a hill at the eastern end of the city center. Calle del Sol runs east to this colossal monument.
To head north out of town, take Avenida Las Carreras and Avenida 27 de Febrero. In contrast, Avenida 30 de Marzo goes south to the Yaque River.
The Cathedral lies on the south side of Parque Duarte (you can't miss it). To the west is Palacio Consistorial, the former town hall, which today contains a very minor museum devoted to the history of Santiago.