The Dominican Republic’s capital city of Santo Domingo is bustling with equal parts colonial charm, bars and people (it’s the busiest city in the Caribbean in terms of population!). Although the best beaches are accessible only by a 45-minute bus, Santo Domingo boasts so much more; impressive historical sites and palaces aplenty, clubs buzzing to the beat of bachata, salsa and merengue and many stop-and-stare photo opportunities.
Here’s our pick of the best things to do in Santo Domingo.
1. Explore the Zona Colonial
Whilst walking around the historical centre of Santo Domingo you’re sure to see something that catches your eye; whether it’s Capilla de la Tercera Orden Dominicana, the only fully intact colonial structure that remains in the city, or Iglesia de Santa Clara – there are plenty of opportunities to fill up your camera memory.
2. Walk the Malecón
The coastal front of Santo Domingo, known as the Malecón, can be traversed perfectly walking, or if you’re feeling fancy, you can also get a horse and carriage. Be sure to stop and take in the art Dominican and Haitan displayed in the exhibition halls on the route, too.
3. Stock up on souvenirs
Clothes, haircuts, souvenirs and fast food can all be bought on Calle Conde which is next to the square (Parque Colon). Just remember to haggle!
4. Check out the Alcazar de Colon
This palace and museum is located in the Colonial Zone was the home of the Colón family. 100 pesos for entry.
5. National Botanical Gardens
This tranquil 200 hectare garden is the largest of its kind in the Caribbean and is packed full of tropical birds and beautiful flowers. 100 pesos.
6. Fortaleza Ozama
The Ozama Fortress is one of the historical Cultural Monuments of the city of Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. It is one of the monuments built by the Spanish during the colonial era or the conquest and colonization.
7. Faro Colon
An impressive monument in the east section of Santo Domingo built in honor of Christopher Columbus.
8. Los Tres Ojos
Accessible by taxi, this stunning National Park is a cave with three freshwater lakes. 100 pesos for entry.
9. See a baseball game
If you’re after a taste of baseball culture in the DR, check out a game at the Quisqueya Stadium in Santo Domingo; it’s lively, safe and lots of fun.
10. Museo de las Casas Reales
This colonial house museum charts the history of the Dominican Republic with informative audio guides. 100 pesos entry.