Much more than beach resorts, the Dominican Republic is one of the Caribbean’s most geographically diverse countries. Santo Domingo (population 3 million), or ‘La Capital’ as it’s typically called, is to Dominicans what New York is to Americans, collage of cultures and neighborhoods, or what Havana is to Cubans, a vibrant beating heart that fuels the entire country. Santo Domingo is an intensely urban city, home not only to colonial era and New World firsts, but also to hot clubs packed, museums and cultural institutions, the best of their kind in the DR; and businesspeople taking long lunches at elegant restaurants. Santo Domingo somehow manages to embody the contradictions central to the Dominican experience: a living museum, a metropolis crossed with a seaside resort, and a business, political and media center with a laid-back casual spirit. It would be easy to forget Santo Domingo is in the Caribbean if it weren’t for the heat and humidity.