Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Attractions in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: What to do and where to go
The old world and the new world fuse together in Santo Domingo. The mixture of Spanish explorers, African slaves, and indigenous Tainos left behind an extraordinary influence on the architecture, music, cuisine, art, and customs of the people. On traveling to Santo Domingo, you can't miss out on visits to museums, parks, archaeological sites, and everything related to the city's fascinating history.
In addition to the Colonial District and the museums, you will find extraordinary experiences at many nature parks, zoos, and gardens. Don't forget about the stunning Caribbean beaches, whose transparent waters and soft sands have enchanted visitors since the island's discovery. The warm climate will allow you to experience all kinds of activities throughout the year. Without a doubt, Santo Domingo has become one of the best destinations worldwide.
Here you can visit over 250 marine species. The National Aquarium consists of 90 tanks, seven ponds, and a fascinating submarine tunnel where you can closely observe cat sharks, turtles, fish, and other amazing species. Don't miss out on one of the most interesting attractions in Santo Domingo.
Diego Columbus House
This large, 55-room palace was given to Diego Columbus, the oldest son of Christopher Columbus, by King Ferdinand of Spain. The family inhabited the palace until pirates and French colonists invaded the island. Renovations remain true to the original architecture, and decoration includes elements from real Spanish palaces. Today, the Diego Columbus House serves as an interesting museum that exhibits the life of those who discovered the New World.
The small beach town of Boca Chica, famous for its exciting and crazy nightlife, is located just ten minutes from the Santo Domingo airport and 25 minutes from the downtown area. Here, you will find shallow crystal waters, soft white sands, and part of the largest reef in the Caribbean. Visit Boca Chica, an amazing destination in and of itself.
America's First Cathedral
The first catholic cathedral in the New World was built by Spanish colonists. While still offering religious services, the cathedral features original furniture, altarpieces, monuments and tombstones that remain as a testament to Dominican history.
Columbus Memorial Lighthouse
This cross shaped monument houses various museums, documentation centers, a chapel, and an artistic mausoleum, where the remains of Christopher Columbus are supposedly laid to rest. The name refers to the lights around the building, which when turned on at night form a cross shape in the sky. Take time to visit the Columbus Memorial Lighthouse, which hosts many cultural events and expositions each year.
Made up of a series of medieval constructions, the Ozama Fortress formed part of the guard system surrounding Santo Domingo, protecting the city from invasions. Set at the mouth of the Ozama River, the interior contains impressive tunnel systems and dungeons, which held prisoners up until the 1960's. The fortress houses the principal building, the Tower of Homage, as well as the Mayor's House and the Magazine. Built in 1502, it is without a doubt the most important military monument in the city and the oldest on the American continent.
National Botanical Garden
The Dr. Rafael Moscoso National Botanical Garden sits on 450 acres of protected land dedicated to the contemplation and study of nature. Spend the day with your family as you enjoy the tranquil spaces away from the fast city life of Santo Domingo. Make sure you visit the floral clock, the Japanese garden and the herbalist shop. A visit to the beautiful gardens will reconnect you with nature.
Juan Dolio Guayacanes
The tranquil beach of Juan Dolio Guayacanes is only 15 miles from the airport and 25 miles from downtown Santo Domingo. Here, you will find breathtaking scenery and exciting aquatic activities organized by the local hotels. Enjoy Los Martins, an 18-hole golf course, along with casinos, nightclubs, and much more, all set in a true tropical paradise.
The Palace of Fine Arts
Spread out over 43,000 square feet, the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts houses the School of Visual Arts, the Folkloric Ballet, the National Chorus, the School of Dance, the Symphonic Orquestra, the Classical Ballet, the School of Dramatic Arts, and the Fine Arts Theater. Here you can experience extraordinary shows and art exhibitions at any time of year.
One of the Colonial District's historical plazas, Columbus Park served as a venue for high society parties during the colonial era. Today, Columbus Park hosts many cultural activities throughout the year and is considered a World Heritage Site.
Three Eyes Cave
The underground cave system at Three Eyes contains three underground pools fed by internal currents. Despite the depth of the caves, recently constructed stairs and passageways provide easy access. You can explore the stalactites and stalagmites of the caves on a fascinating boat ride.
For many years, walls surrounded the original city of Santo Domingo, now known as the Colonial District. Today, the strongholds remain intact. This area contains the first original constructions built by Spanish colonists on the American continent, including castles, cathedrals, markets, and schools. Declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO, many consider the Colonial District as the true heart of Santo Domingo and the Dominican Republic.
The National Zoo
The National Zoo, known as ZOODOM, covers over 4,000,000 square feet and houses many animal species. Here you will find an exciting snakehouse, an aviary, a children's zoo, and even pony rides. Take time to look around at the beautiful flowers and greenery as you enjoy hours of fun and learning.
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