Santo Domingo is the capital city of the Caribbean nation of the Dominican Republic. Although the Dominican Republic is best known for its stunning beachside resorts, the capital city of Santo Domingo is noted for being a hub of culture and history. In Santo Domingo, you’ll find several sites of historical significance, as well as a lively nightlife.
Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial is notorious as marking the area where Columbus settled in the New World. Most of the city’s historic sites are located here and are in a small enough location that you can explore on foot. As you explore the cobblestone streets, you’ll find a number of cafes and shops to explore while you’re enjoying the many different historical buildings.
Catedral Primada de America is widely recognized for being the first cathedral of the Americas. This coral and limestone building has a beautiful exterior and an interior that is truly stunning. The Gothic and Baroque architectural of the building is common for the area is one of the aspects of the cathedral that visitors love. As the Catedral Primada de America is still an operational house of worship, you can also attend Sunday Mass.
No visit to Santo Domingo would be complete without also visiting Alcázar de Colón. This palace was the government residence for decades and also the home of Christopher Columbus’s son, Diego Colón. Although the palace was once the center of the Spanish Court, it is now a museum featuring a remarkable collection of medieval and Renaissance art.
The Columbus Lighthouse may not be the most picturesque lighthouse in the Caribbean but it is historically significant. Constructed in the shape of a cross, the Columbus Lighthouse is alleged to be the final resting place Christopher Columbus. You will also find some interesting exhibits and a large library when you visit this historical site.
Fortaleza Ozama is the oldest standing fort in the Americas and is a must-see while visiting Santo Domingo. Not only is this a great place to take some pictures and enjoy a dazzling view of the city, but you’ll also learn a lot of local history. Built in 1502, over the centuries, the fort was used by Spain, England, as well as France, the United States, and the Dominican Republic.
If you are ready for a change of pace after exploring the many historical locations in Santo Domingo, you’ll love the tranquility of the Los Tres Ojos National Park. Here you’ll find three limestone caverns and lakes. The scenery is beautiful and you’ll certainly find relief from the hot Caribbean sun. You will also find vendors selling snacks and drinks.
This modern and picturesque area of Santo Domingo was definitely built for tourists. Malecon is where you’ll find luxury hotels, casinos, fine dining, as well as a bustling nightlife. After a long day of visiting historical sites, you can visit the Malecon area and spend some time gambling, eat a gourmet meal, and dance the night away. If you prefer, there are also a number of seaside areas where you can relax and enjoy the view.