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10 Best places to see in colonial Santo Domingo

If you are thinking of traveling to the Dominican Republic, either on a relaxing trip or on an itinerary around the country, an essential stop is Santo Domingo. The capital of the country has many things to see, the main or best known is the colonial center, known as colonial Santo Domingo, but also in the city is the Columbus Lighthouse, the botanical garden, the zoo and the 3 eyes (national park). which are places that I recommend you visit.

In this post I tell you a bit of history, what to see and the best places you should visit in Santo Domingo.

Although there are several one-day tours from areas such as La Romana or Punta Cana in which you will visit the center of Santo Domingo, but if you have the opportunity to spend 2 or 3 days in Santo Domingo and the rest of your trip in one of its dream beaches is the best option.

que ver en Santo Domingo

The City of Santo Domingo treasures more than five hundred years of history that make it the perfect destination for a cultural trip.

The country's capital, Santo Domingo, was founded by Nicolás de Ovando in 1502. The conquistadors had not yet explored the entire island of Hispaniola when Santo

Domingo, already showed its orderly urbanism of rectilinear streets. It was considered an important advance for the time that heralded the Renaissance taste and that showed that a new society was being forged on the other side of the Atlantic.

If you are thinking of booking a tour from your accommodation location, I always recommend booking it online, it is cheaper than doing it with the hotel. I have left you a link and depending on where you stay there are several options that include transportation, guide, meals...

And now yes, I start with everything that you cannot miss if you are going to visit the city, we start with Santo Domingo Colonial.


1. The Cathedral Basilica of Santa María de la Encarnación

It was built on the same spot where the first conquerors had built a modest wooden church with a thatched roof. The first cathedral in America took almost two decades to build and was consecrated in 1541.

The temple combines various architectural styles, its front façade is one of the icons of the Colonial City.

There are many stories to discover around the Primada Cathedral, where it is said that the remains of Christopher Columbus rested before being transferred to the Columbus Lighthouse.

que ver en Santo Domingo

3. The Church and convent of the Dominicans

It is the oldest Catholic building in continuous use in America located in the city of Santo Domingo, in what we know as colonial Santo Domingo.

The Church and Convent have a colonial-style façade and a very splendor interior doorway, as Gothic, Baroque and Elizabethan Gothic architecture stand out. In the monument are valuable images and statues.

4. The Alcazar de Colon

The Alcázar de Colón or Viceregal Palace of Don Diego Colón, is a palace that is located in colonial Santo Domingo.

From the Alcázar you can contemplate the mouth of the Ozama River.

King Ferdinand the Catholic gave Diego, son of Christopher Columbus, land to build the family home in Santo Domingo. That fortified palace, which watches over the mouth of the Ozama River, is known as Alcázar Colón and today is a museum. Touring its living rooms, bedrooms and offices you can imagine what the life of the viceroy of the New World was like.

5. Pantheon of the Homeland

Panteón de la Patria is a mausoleum where the remains of prominent figures in the history of the Dominican Republic are preserved. It can be accessed without paying, and it is a space guarded and supervised by the military. I recommend you visit this place, not because of what it contains but because of the building that is beautiful inside and has beautiful windows.

6. Colon Park

It is the most important square and full of history of colonial Santo Domingo. I recommend you get here to start touring the city. It is a square full of music, small ice cream stands, sweets and little shops. It is also a good place to eat, there are many restaurants and at a good price.

In this same square there is a bronze statue of Columbus, the town hall,

7. Ozama Fortress

The Ozama Fortress is one of the Historical Monuments of the Colonial City that you cannot miss. It was built by the Spanish during the colonial era in the early 16th century and is the oldest fort built by Europeans in the Americas. Being inside the colonial enclosure you can approach walking and tour the fortress.

que ver en Santo Domingo

The Colonial City is enjoyed walking and running into colonial buildings converted into museums, shops, boutique hotels, restaurants, cafes and terraces. Of course, there are also small shops and galleries where you can buy beautiful handicrafts.

You have the option of visiting museums, I have not added it to the essential places to visit, but if you want to visit one, the Amber Museum is the most beautiful and interesting, something different to do.

One of the typical Dominican products is cocoa. You can visit the Kah Kow & Kah Kow Experience workshop to learn all the secrets of growing and making chocolate. Surely you end up sinning and buying some of its delicacies.

Do not leave Santo Domingo without trying its local gastronomy. Santo Domingo has won for two consecutive years the title of Capital of Gastronomic Culture of the Caribbean, awarded by the Ibero-American Academy of Gastronomy.


8. The Columbus Lighthouse

Without a doubt, you cannot leave Santo Domingo without visiting the Columbus Lighthouse. It is a huge building where the Dominicans affirm that the remains of Columbus rest there. There are many doubts about this fact and for years many have requested that DNA tests be carried out to verify if they really are his remains, obviously the Dominicans to date have refused, since it is an important tourist attraction.

9. The Three Eyes

Los Tres Ojos is a natural park in the center of Santo Domingo that is well worth going to. It is a natural park where you can walk and literally immerse yourself in a hole in the ground and be able to enjoy 3 cenotes. Currently, bathing is not allowed in any of them, but just visiting this place is already a true wonder and a beautiful place.

que ver en Santo Domingo

10. What else to do in Santo Domingo

If you have time and feel like continuing to discover corners of the city of Santo Domingo, a good option is the botanical garden and the zoo. The botanical garden is a real gem with more than 69,000 classified species.


If you want to stay in Santo Domingo, I advise you to do it in colonial Santo Domingo. It is the most beautiful area of ​​the city, full of places of cultural interest and with a very good atmosphere. In addition, there are many boutique hotels located in beautiful colonial buildings.


I hope you enjoy your trip to the Dominican Republic very much and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.

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A hug and see you soon!


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