A beautiful new space in the Colonial Zone for art, coffee, and book lovers. Opened less than a year ago (and after my submitted manuscript of Moon Dominican Republic), the multipurpose Mamey Libreria Cafe is the latest popular hangout spot for an afternoon cup, conversation and a good book (in Spanish) while in the Colonial City.

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You’ll immediately know you are in Santo Domingo’s most historic area–on photogenic Calle Las Mercedes–from the colonial architecture, starting with the welcoming green fountain courtyard. Walk left to enter the bookstore, or keep straight along narrow, arched hallways that lead you onto an art gallery (with rotating exhibits), before you end up in the open, spacious Spanish courtyard. Grab a seat, enjoy your hot or cold beverage of choice, and maybe snack on hummus if you’re hungry. And of course, there’s Wi-Fi.

I only wish they opened earlier in the week.

A delightful escape from the busier parts of the Colonial Zone.


Calle Las Mercedes 315, between José Reyes y Sánchez. Tel. (809) 688-9111. Open 10am-9pm Wed.-Sun. 

Lebawit Lily Girma

A former corporate attorney, Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning travel writer, photographer, and author of several Caribbean guidebooks for US-publisher Moon Travel Guides, including Moon Belize and Moon Dominican Republic. Originally from Ethiopia, Lily calls herself a “culture-holic”–fluent in four languages, she has lived in eight countries besides the U.S., including Belize, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. Her articles and photography focusing on culture, adventure, and sustainable travel in the Caribbean region have been published in AFAR Magazine, CNN, BBC, Delta Sky, The Guardian, and others. She is the recipient of the 2016 Marcia Vickery Wallace Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism from the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

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