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April 13, 2022

Top Things to do in Santo Domingo – 2023

Visit Santo Domingo, the iconic capital city of the Dominican Republic. Known as the first city in the Americas, you are sure to find fun things to do and interesting facts to learn. Check out this list of the best things to do in Santo Domingo!

Statue of Christopher Columbus in Parque Colón also known as Columbus Park

1. Zona Colonial

Zona Colonial is the heart of Santo Domingo and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Travelers are highly encouraged to take a guided tour through Zona Colonial to learn about its varied history, sample amazing food, and visit local shops. Since Santo Domingo is the first city in the Americas, you’ll be able to see Catedral Santa María La Menor (the first cathedral in the Americas), Calle Las Damas (the first cobblestone street in the Americas), and Fortaleza Ozama (one of the oldest formal forts in the Americas).

Other “must-see” landmarks in Zona Colonial include:

Map of Zona Colonial in the Dominican Republic

Click the Picture for a larger view!

  • Alcázar de Colón: This monument is one of the most popular museums in the Dominican Republic. It is the former home of Christopher Columbus’ son and the first fortified palace in the Americas.
  • Altar de la Patria: This exquisite white marble mausoleum is the final resting place for Los Trinitarios, alternatively known as the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic.
  • Monasterio de San Francisco: The first monastery in the Americas whose monks went on to establish many cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles.
  • Museo De Las Casa Reales: A magnificent structure built in the early 16th century to house the most important government offices of the new world.
  • Parque Colón: A popular gathering place that is the home of a large bronze statue of Christopher Columbus.
  • Panteón Nacional: Under the orders of dictator Rafael Trujillo, this national mausoleum was originally constructed as a church. Now it is used to honor the most distinguished people in the country and is a national symbol of the Dominican Republic.
  • Museo De Ambar: Visit the museum of Amber to view this semi-precious stone in all its glory and the interesting fossils found within each specimen.
  • Shopping: There are a wide variety of amazing stores and local shops in Zona Colonial if you want to treat yourself or get a souvenir for a loved one.
Picture of the 3 Eyes National Park (Los Tres Ojos) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

2. Three Eyes National Park (Los Tres Ojos)

Three Eyes National Park is one of the most visited attractions in the Dominican Republic for a reason! Put on some comfy shoes and take a stroll through the open-air limestone cave for an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the three crystal-clear azure lakes contained within. There is no swimming allowed in this nature reserve, but, the amazing beauty and intriguing ancestral history are more than worth the trip. Travelers can even choose to take a boat ride to the fourth lake to see the filming site of Tarzan and Jurassic Park!

Picture of the National Botanical Garden (Jardín Botánico Nacional) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

3. National Botanical Garden (Jardín Botánico Nacional)

The National Botanical Garden lies at the heart of Santo Domingo and is the largest botanical garden in the Caribbean. Contained within over 400 acres (two-square kilometers) are over 69,000 botanically classified species ranging from 300 species of orchids, trees native to the island, and an amazing variety of beautiful flowers. One of the most notable attractions is the Japanese garden that provides a wonderful view of many Asiatic plants. Avid bird watchers will be amazed on guided tours sponsored by the Hispaniola Ornithological Society. Stroll through the garden on your own or take the tram that will allow you to relax and fully enjoy the wonderful sights available.

Picture of the Malecón in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

4. Malecón

Visit this waterfront boulevard and enjoy an unobstructed view of the enchanting blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. The Malecón is a perfect location for a nice stroll, brisk run, bike ride, or even rollerblading. Across the street, you’ll find a myriad of luxury hotels, casinos, and great restaurants.

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