DR Tourism

Santo Domingo

With over three million residents, the cosmopolitan city of Santo Domingo is possibly the most vibrant place in the entire Caribbean. Santo Domingo features a rich culture and history juxtaposed against modern developments. In the historic Colonial City, newer hotels are located on ancient cobble-stoned streets; luxury cars share the roads with horse-drawn carriages; an avant-garde international cuisine scene thrives amid classic Creole cuisine; and 21st century buildings rest beside 15th and 16th century traditional houses.


As the oldest city in the New World, Santo Domingo's Colonial City boasts the first street, cathedral, university and hospital in the Americas. In fact, visitors usually notice that the well-preserved ancient city, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1990, makes them feel as if they had been transported back to another time.


Furthermore, and thanks to being selected as the 2010 American Capital of Culture, The Cultural Capital Organization, with the collaboration of the Dominican authorities, recently invited the public to help select from among 27 cultural sites, the seven treasures of cultural heritage in Santo Domingo. The seven treasures elected by unanimous vote include the Columbus Palace, the first Cathedral in the New World, the Ozama Fort, the Museum of the Royal Houses, the National Botanical Gardens, the Caribbean seaside boardwalk called the Malecón and the Palace of Fine Arts.


Visit: www.cac-acc.org for a list of all the 27 nominations considered historic treasures in the capital city.



You can find anything in Santo Domingo. The Dominican Republic has free trade agreements with the United States and Europe, evidenced by the wide range of international stores and brands. Among the most popular shopping malls in the capital city are the Plaza Central, Acrópolis, Blue Mall, Megacentro, Mercado Modelo, Calle El Conde, Bella Vista Mall, Avenida Duarte, Plaza Lama, Americana Departamentos, Centro Cuesta Nacional, Jumbo, Sema, Multicentro Churchill, IKEA, among others.


With hundreds of restaurants, Santo Domingo boasts the greatest number of restaurants in the entire Caribbean and Central America. Names such as Mitre, Pat'e Palo, Vesuvio, Sofía, La Marrana, Don Pepe, David Crockett, Fellini, Seasons, Caffe Milano, Pepperoni, Scherezade, Saffron and Marocha are just some of the restaurants that you can select from; all of them are located within a small section of the city.


Museums & culture

An eminently cultural city, Santo Domingo has the greatest number of museums in the Caribbean. Among them are: the Museum of Dominican Man, the Museum of Modern Art, the Columbus' Lighthouse, the Amber Museum, the Larimar Museum and the Rum Museum. It is also seemingly always filled with cultural events, including dance, theatre, opera, film and visual arts.


The Chu Chu Colonial train is a Cultural/educational tour of the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo. The 45 minute train trip takes you back 500 years in history. Starting at the corner of Isabel La Católica and El Conde streets with daily dapartures, every hour from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. During the tour you will listen to facts and stories about the various monuments, colonial houses, parks, museums and churches in the area, in 6 languages​​: English, Spanish, French, Italian, German and Russian. Tickets for sale at the departure site. More information Tel: 809-686-2303



Santo Domingo is filled with grand parks that will impress and amaze any visitor. Its beautiful National Botanical Gardens has a collection of native plant life and a Japanese garden that is as good as any in the land of the rising sun. The city's amazing Zoo features gives you an authentic atmosphere with wild animals moving freely along its trails and great savannah.


Another park is the seaside promenade in Santo Domingo called the Malecon. The Malecon runs along the azure Caribbean Sea with upscale hotels and casinos facing the ocean from the opposite side.


A favorite for thousands of Dominicans is Mirador del Sur Park (South Lookout Park). This four miles of green space in the city is a great spot for friends to meet and go walking, running, bicycling and skating. The park is filled many species of trees and offer views of the Caribbean Sea that you can't find anywhere else.


In the eastern section of the city are two important parks: The National Aquarium and Los Tres Ojos (the three eyes) National Park. The latter features a set of three limestone caves, springs and many stalactites and stalagmites in its grottoes.



With a large young adult population, Santo Domingo is an exciting and thriving city at night.  Discos, bars, cafés and meeting points are found throughout the city.


There is something for every musical taste in the Colonial City including the Spanish Square, Columbus Park and Gustavo Mejía Ricart (an area filled with bars). You will find even more music at the House of Theatre and Bohemian Nights and jazz at Jet Set, where bands play live music on Mondays.


Meanwhile, more traditional musical offerings can be found in the city's great concert halls, which have welcomed the most famous Latin American, European and North American stars.



Baseball in the Dominican is not just a sport, but a national passion. Dominicans are passionate baseball fans and are very proud of the many Dominican-born players who participate in U.S. Major League Baseball. Well-known Dominican talents include Albert Pujols, Alex Rodríguez, David Ortiz, Manny Ramírez, Pedro Martínez, Hanley Ramírez, Robinson Canó and many more. In addition, golf, volleyball, boxing and basketball are other popular sports in the Dominican Republic.

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The Colonial City

Santo Domingo is the city of firsts in the Americas. Located in this metropolis are the first buildings constructed for religious, health, judicial and government purposes after the Spanish arrived. Among them, the first Cathedral of the Americas was erected (1523-1546), with its blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles. Don't miss the beauty of the Alcázar de Colón, the oldest Viceregal residence in the Americas. It was built at the beginning of the 16th century by the son of Admiral Christopher Columbus, Don Diego Columbus. He lived there with his wife María de Toledo, the niece of the King of Spain. Columbus Park is in the center of the city's ancient quarter. It is an "urban living room" where everyone goes to enjoy its tree-lined streets where beautiful buildings date back several centuries.

Alcázar de Colón (Columbus Palace) Museum

This building, which displays items belonging to Columbus' family, was built in the 1500s by the son of Christopher Columbus, Diego and his wife.

Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., from Tuesday to Sunday.

Colonial City in Santo Domingo

Telephone: (809) 682-4750

The Caribbean seaside boardwalk (El Malecón)

The Caribbean Seaside Boardwalk of Santo Domingo's (El Malecón in Spanish) runs along George Washington Street. It's one of the most attractive streets the city has, and goes along the coast for almost half of the city. With an impressive view of the Caribbean sea and beautiful palm trees, this area is famous for nearby restuarants, entertainment, as well as for being the part of the city where most of the major five-star hotels are located.

The Royal Houses Museum

This was the seat of the Supreme Court of the Governor of the 16th century. This museum documents the rich history of Santo Domingo with its tapestries, maps and other articles ranging from 1492 until 1821.

Las Damas Street, Santo Domingo

Telephone: (809) 682-4202

Hours: daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts was opened in 1956 and houses the School of Visual Arts, the National Folkloric Ballet, the National Choir, the National Dance School, the office of the National Symphony Orchestra, the National Ballet, the School of Dramatic Art and the Fine Arts Theater, which presents art and cultural events.


Ave. Máximo Gómez esquina Avenida Independencia (Independence Square).

Tel. 809-682-1325.

Faro a Colón (Columbus’ Lighthouse)

A visit to one of the newest monuments that holds the remains of Christopher Columbus.



The National Botanical Garden

The National Botanical Garden occupies an area of one square mile and was founded to study, preserve and investigate the varied plant life of Dominican Republic. Opened in 1976, the Botanical Garden is named after Dr. Rafael María Moscoso, the first Dominican botanist who wrote a catalog of the plants of the Spanish island in 1943.

It is a sanctuary where animals and plants live in perfect harmony, with roads and trails that will lead you to a personal encounter with nature. It highlights the permanent exhibitions of bromeliads, ferns, palms, orchids, aquatic plants and the Japanese garden. Open daily from 9am - 5pm. Tel 809-385-2611


The Cathedral

The Cathedral of Santo Domingo is also known as the first cathedral of the new world. The building, Gothic style with Renaissance details dating from 1514 to 1546, sets itself apart from its architecture and its great cultural and historical content. Its physical interior has great artwork, paintings and gravestones with the remains of archbishops, antique furniture and many other interesting items dating from the era of colonization. Open Monday to Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM on the corner of Arzobispo Merino street and Arzobispo Noel street. Columbus Park. Tel 809-682-3848.

The Ozama Fort

La Fortaleza Ozama is another historical monument that makes up the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo. It is named after the Ozama river which it looks over. It was built from 1502 to 1508 by Fray Nicolas de Ovando, who was the governor of the island, and was built in order to protect the city from attacks by pirates and conquerors. It was constructed out of stone, and retains its original medieval appearance. Inside, there are tunnels and dungeons where prisoners, including Christopher Columbus, were locked up. Open daily from 9am - 5pm. Calle Las Damas. Colonial City. Tel 809-333-8672.

Los Tres Ojos (the three eyes) National Park

Los Tres Ojos (the three eyes) National Park features a set of three limestone caves, springs and many stalactites and stalagmites in its grottoes.