Spending a Day in Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is a must-visit destination in the Dominican Republic. Not only is it the capital of the country, it’s rich with history, having been founded by Bartholomew Columbus (brother of Christopher Columbus) in 1496. It’s been continuously inhabited ever since.

Historic Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Photo Credit: @davidalaspm

 

Santo Domingo is less than two hours away from Casa de Campo, but you’re going to want to hit the road early in order to experience the highlights of this amazing city. Plan to arrive in Santo Domingo by mid-morning.

Your first stop is the Colonial Zone or Zona Colonial as it’s called locally. This section of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Grab a coffee and then spend some time wandering the neighborhood, enjoying the colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, monuments, public squares, and the pedestrian-only street Calle del Conde.

Calle del Conde in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Photo Credit: @jmercadophotography

 

After spending some time exploring the streets of the Colonial Zone, your next stop is the Catedral Primada de America, built in 1514 it was the first church to be erected in the New World, and still maintains its stunning architecture. Audio guides are available in multiple languages and are useful for touring the cathedral.

Catedral Primada de America Cathedral in Santo Domingo Dominican Republic
Photo Credit: @awjei

 

To learn more about the rich colonial history (and architecture) of Santo Domingo, visit the Alcazar de Colon. Built in the early 1500’s under the son of Christopher Columbus, it’s the oldest Viceroyal home in America. While the home fell into ruin over the centuries, in the 1950’s it was extensively restored and now houses an important collection of European works of art.

Alcazar de Colon Santo Domingo Dominican Republic
Photo Credit: @ed_j_h

 

Upon leaving the Alcazar, head down George Washington Avenue to the Malecon district. This area has a beautiful pedestrian boardwalk along the ocean that’s perfect for strolling and building up an appetite for a late lunch. The area’s many local restaurants offer everything from traditional Dominican cuisine to steakhouses and pizzerias, so there’s sure to be an option to satisfy your hunger.

Malecon district Santo Domingo Dominican Republic
Photo Credit: @jonawerdsbr

 

Following lunch, you’ll cross the Rio Ozama and head to your final stop in Santo Domingo, the 3 Eyes National Park (Los Tres Ojos). Situated in the middle of the city is this incredible urban oasis featuring a series of open-air limestone caves with 3 lagoons fed by underground rivers. Descend down a large staircase to explore the caves, surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites. Swimming isn’t permitted, but you can board a small raft and travel across the last lagoon to feed the fish. 3 Eyes National Park is one of the most popular attractions in the Dominican Republic and is not to be missed!

Los Tres Ojos, The Three Eyes National Park Santo Domingo Dominican Republic
Photo Credit: @bolivarsanchezm

 

To explore the city with the expertise of a local guide, join one of our Santo Domingo historic excursions. Tours depart the resort at 8:15 a.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays and the cost includes transportation and admission fees to the historical sites. After spending a busy day in the city, return back to Casa De Campo Resort & Villas where you can spend the evening at leisure, enjoying the ocean breezes at the marina, or the calm waters of the pool at your private villa, while you reflect on your explorations in Santo Domingo.