Santo Domingo

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Top attractions in Santo Domingo

Our most recommended things to do in Santo Domingo

  • From Punta Cana: Full-Day Santo Domingo City Tour

    1. From Punta Cana: Full-Day Santo Domingo City Tour

    During this tour, you will visit key sites, including: the caves at Three Eyes National Park, the Columbus Lighthouse, the walled Colonial Zone, and the National Presidential Palace. Travel between the attractions with ease in an air-conditioned coach. A traditional Dominican lunch is also included. Your tour starts with pickup from your hotel in Punta Cana in an air-conditioned coach. Travel about two and a half hours to Santo Domingo, the oldest city in the New World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit some of the most spectacular places in this rich colonial city, including Diego Colon’s Palace, the Holy Cathedral Primada, the Fortaleza, and the National Pantheon. Walk and take pictures in the Colonial Zone, starting at the Columbus Palace. Completed in 1514, this was the home of Christopher Columbus's son, Don Diego. From the Palace, the tour will go through the historic Plaza ...

    The trip was great! It was a bummer not to be able to go to the cathedral for Three Kings Day, but completely understandable. The transportation was seamless and Anthony was a phenomenal tour guide!

  • From Punta Cana: Santo Domingo Full-Day Trip with Lunch

    2. From Punta Cana: Santo Domingo Full-Day Trip with Lunch

    Join a full-day experience leaving from Bávaro and Bayahibe through the new Autovía del Este. Walk in the cobblestoned historic core of Santo Domingo and visit the cathedral. Observe iconic spots like the Alcázar de Colón Palace, National Pantheon, and Los Tres Ojos. After arriving in Santo Domingo, head to your first stop, the open-air limestone cave and lakes of Los Tres Ojos. Continue the tour until you reach the Colón Lighthouse. Listen to its history and take photos of the view around you. Stroll around the coffee-lined Plaza de España and Colonial Zone. See the Alcázar de Colón palace, now one of the city’s many museums, displaying medieval and Renaissance art. Learn about the past and present of the oldest city in the Americas. Stop for a buffet lunch in a restaurant in the Colonial Zone. Pay homage to the First Cathedral of the Americas. Move on to the first street, Calle de L...

  • From Bavaro: Santo Domingo Colonial City Tour

    3. From Bavaro: Santo Domingo Colonial City Tour

    Take a trip back in time, where you will enjoy an interesting historical recount. Visit the most emblematic museums of the Dominican capital, with architectural designs dating from the time of the discovery of America. Comfortable air-conditioned buses will take you around during this full-day activity. A professional guide will share their knowledge about the history of European colonization in America. After hotel pick-up, head to 3 Eyes National Park, a complex of underground caves and lagoons initially inhabited by the Taino Indians. Next, set out to visit the Colonial Zone, the first permanent European settlement in America. Founded in 1502 by the Spanish colonizers, it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Visit the first Cathedral of America, the Alcázar de Colón or the Palacio Virreinal de Don Diego. Get to know La Calle Las Damas, the first street on the island. E...

  • Santo Domingo: Chocolate Tour + Optional Workshops

    4. Santo Domingo: Chocolate Tour + Optional Workshops

    Start your experience at the Holographic theater where different ghosts from the world of chocolate come to life and tell the whole story of chocolate from the beginning of the time. Find out how cocoa reached Hispaniola and traveled to the rest of the world. Next, continue to the Cocoa Plantation where you will be able to sample some cocoa fruit and feel as if you are in a real forest. Head over to the Fermentation Room where the guide will show you all the processes of fermentation and dried and its importance in creating quality chocolate. After that, be directed to the Sensory Room and be challenged to use your 5 senses for each of the ingredients that make up awesome chocolate. If you guess right, you will have the chance to taste different chocolate percentages of KahKow Organic Chocolate. Finish the tour in the glass box on the Spanish Patio where the tour guide will explain how ...

  • Santo Domingo: The Best of Santo Domingo City Tour

    5. Santo Domingo: The Best of Santo Domingo City Tour

    The Dominican Republic’s capital is full of historic sights and is one of the oldest cities in the Caribbean. Get ready to experience the Dominican Republic from a different perspective as your charismatic local guide reveals interesting facts about the capital’s history. Is Santo Domingo the largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean? Why was Santo Domingo’s colonial area declared a world heritage site? Why is Santo Domingo’s Conde Street a favorite of tourists? What is the official language in Santo Domingo? You will have the chance to discover the historic Zona Colonial, which is surrounded by walls and preserves a legacy that dates back as far as the 1500s. The tour includes stops at the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor, Monasterio de San Francisco, Fortaleza Ozama, Hospital San Nicolás de Bari, and other interesting sights.

    Jise was an excellent guy, he’s friendly , Knowledgeable and speaks English extremely well!

  • Punta Cana: Full-Day Santo Domingo Tour

    6. Punta Cana: Full-Day Santo Domingo Tour

    Discover the oldest permanent city established by Europeans in the Western Hemisphere, Santo Domingo. ‘La Capital,’ as it’s typically called, is a collage of cultures and neighborhoods with the Colonial Zone, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, at its heart. On this day trip, explore the city with a local guide, and pay a visit to the Ron Barceló Rum Museum on your way there. After pickup at your hotel in the Punta Cana area between 6:30 AM-7:15 AM, make your way first to the Ron Barceló Museum in San Pedro Macoris. Once there, take a 45-minute tour with a specialized rum guide. See the barrel areas and learn about the bottling process, as well as the history of the Caribbean rum industry. At the end of the tour, kick off your morning with a bang with an open tasting bar. Next, head to Santo Domingo and its Colonial Zone for your guided tour of the city. Walk along iconic and unique streets ...

  • From Santo Domingo: 1-Way Private Hotel Transfers

    7. From Santo Domingo: 1-Way Private Hotel Transfers

    Save yourself the hassle and uncertainty of finding a reliable local taxi in Boca Chica and book ahead. You will be met by a uniformed driver who will take you on the comfortable drive to your destination in Boca Chica in a modern air-conditioned van. The shuttle ride to most local hotels should take no longer than 30 minutes. This service is for round-trip transportation.

  • Santo Domingo: Full or Half-Day City Tours

    8. Santo Domingo: Full or Half-Day City Tours

    Here is where the first Cathedral was built, where the first Bishop was sanctified, where the first Governor resided, and where the first hospital opened. The city has a lot of cultural attributes and architectural sites of interest, like nowhere else on the Hispaniola island. The walking tour starts in the historic colonial part of the city, which is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site. The trip includes palaces, forts, museums, churches, and plazas. During the stroll, visit the Palace of Diego Columbus, the first Cathedral of the New World. Walk on Calle Las Damas, the first cobblestone street, and stroll down the pedestrian street El Conde.

    My guide was great. They picked me up on time and he knew his history. Lots of walking and love the musuem head phones. It was great

  • Santo Domingo: The Battle of Santo Domingo 4D Attraction

    9. Santo Domingo: The Battle of Santo Domingo 4D Attraction

    The Battle of Santo Domingo is an unforgettable 4D Experience that takes you to the invasion of the walled city of Santo Domingo by the pirate Sir Francis Drake in 1586. The Battle of Santo Domingo was awarded the 'Das Goldene Stadttor' at the ITB Berlin Films Festival 2016. The first film designed for the platform 4D tells us the story oh how a fearsome pirate put his eyes on the city of Santo Domingo, his journey to get to the island, the attack, the take of the city and finally his departure, experienced from a fascinating, fun and educative perspective from his street, monuments and its symbolic cultural heritage.  We will take the audience through this journey, where they will have to Dodge fired cannon balls... Avoid being hit by the sharp swords of the pirates...Fly through the walled city of Santo Domingo... They will see the city burn and feel the heat in their faces.

  • Dominican Republic: 4-Hour Chocolate Lovers Tour

    10. Dominican Republic: 4-Hour Chocolate Lovers Tour

    If you are a chocolate lover, you have the opportunity to enjoy this extensive educational session about chocolate. On this tour you have the benefits of the plantation tour with additional information from the chocolate experts. On this tour, the experts will guide you through each one of the steps necessary to make quality cacao. It starts with the sowing, where you can sow your own cacao plant, and continue learning about the harvest, cutting, and extraction of the grains in a cacao pod. Continue with the post-harvest process: fermentation and drying, which are determining factors in the quality of the chocolate. Learn about the Dominican Republic ecosystem and what allows it to have the perfect conditions for growing fine cacao which evolves into the best quality chocolates. After an excellent local lunch, you attend a session where you learn how to taste chocolate with your five s...

Frequently asked questions about Santo Domingo

What top attractions are a must-see in Santo Domingo?

Planning Your Visit

  • When to Visit?

    The city is ideal to visit all year long, as there is always a warm tropical climate. However, in the summer months it can get very hot indeed, and is sometimes prone to hurricanes, so if you don't like it too hot, a visit in the winter months might be more up your alley!

  • How long to visit?

    Two or three days is a perfect amount of time to see all the tourist spots and still have enough time to relax and enjoy the city. Most people combine a trip to Santo Domingo with a visit to the nearby Punta Cana.

Good to know

  • Language
    Spanish
  • Currency
    DOP ($ or RD$)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-04:00)
  • Country Code
    +1
  • Best time to visit
    If you don't like intense heat and possible hurricanes, try to visit in the winter, when the temperatures are still warm and tropical.

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Santo Domingo

The capital of the Dominican Republic is often overlooked when organizing a dreamy trip to this paradise island, but according to travel blogger Check Out Sam there is plenty to experience here too! After living here for several months, he knows the in- and outs of the city and shares his best tips with you all.

What should I do on my first trip to Santo Domingo?

Head out to the Zona Colonial and explore the beautiful squares, colorful streets and rich history of Santo Domingo. Parque Colón is -in my opinion- one of the cosiest places in the old town. Plaza España is bigger and much more touristy, but oozes holiday vibes. From the latter you also get some superb views over the rest of Santo Domingo.

What are some hidden gems to see in Santo Domingo?

Want to explore Santo Domingo from above? Hop on El Teleferico! This cable car takes you along a very cheap sightseeing tour above some of the many neighborhoods of the capital city. If you want to see nature, but don't want to venture out too far away from the city, I suggest you head to Los Tres Ojos National Park. Climb down the limestone caves and see the three underground lakes of Santo Domingo.

How much time should I spend in Santo Domingo?

You can see the highlights of Santo Domingo in two days and in that time you also have enough time to relax and unwind at some of the cozy restaurants or bars. Most sights and activities take place in the Zona Colonial. If you want to organize day trips to Punta Cana, Samana or elsewhere, keep in mind that you will at least lose one full day.

What food is Santo Domingo known for? 

I'm a sucker for mangú (plantain mash) and tostones (fried plantains), but there are many more Dominican specialties where you can feast on. Make sure to try some of the spicy chicken recipes. I have no idea how they do it, but they always are tasty!

What is the best way to get around Santo Domingo?

If you only stay in the historical center, you can easily walk everywhere. If you also want to discover other parts of the city, make use of Uber. It's cheap, reliable and safe.

What are the best months to visit Santo Domingo?

Try to come outside the summer, because that also means hurricane season. Around April and May there are also less tourists, so if you want to avoid the crowds this is the time to come. During winter, there will be more visitors escaping the cold in their home countries.

What are the best neighborhoods for food? 

In the Zona Colonial you will find restaurants that cater to every taste. They are often a bit more high end (but still dirt cheap!) and thus offer clean and original seating areas, but also delicious food. Also worth mentioning: the cocktails in the historical city center are great pretty much everywhere you go!!

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

The best shopping possibilities are outside the Zona Colonial (unless you want to buy souvenirs). Around the Piattini neighborhood there are a lot of malls where you can find boutique stores, famous brands, but also crafts, electronic shops, etc. Make sure to visit Agora Mall: the biggest shopping mall in the Caribbean.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Santo Domingo?

Zona Colonial. You'll be closest to most sights, wake up in a true Caribbean setting every morning and be in a very safe area.

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Santo Domingo?

Go to Parque Colón and jump into the Chu Chu Colonial. This little train takes you along the most famous sights in the historical city center and gives you fun facts along the way.

What is the best thing to do in Santo Domingo for solo travelers?

Plan a few day trips (or longer!) to other regions of the Dominican Republic. It's the best way to meet other solo travelers and also a great way to explore the beauty of the Dominican Republic. I recommend going to Samana (Los Haitises, whale watching, El Limon Waterfall, ...) or beautiful Puerto Plata.

What is the best thing to do in Santo Domingo for couples?

Enjoy one of the many rooftop bars in the Zona Colonial while waiting for a famous Caribbean sunset. It really can't get more romantic!

What are the best areas for outdoor activities around Santo Domingo?

Near Santo Domingo, Los Tres Ojos National Park is the only area where you'll find some unspoiled nature. If you don't mind doing a day trip (but preferably longer), head to the Samana Peninsula for stunning hikes and spectacular wildlife. To the west (bordering Haïti), you can find the most unspoiled nature of the island.

What are the best beaches around Santo Domingo?

You are in the Dominican Republic, baby. Most beaches here are stunning! But, admittedly, the prettiest ones are not so close to Santo Domingo. If you don't mind taking the Uber or bus a little further: head to Boca Chica or Juan Dolio. Both beaches have pearly white sand and see-through water. Just what you want to see during a holiday in the Caribbean!

Other Sightseeing Options in Santo Domingo

Want to discover all there is to do in Santo Domingo? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Santo Domingo

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 38 reviews

Friendly and personalized treatment by the responsible agency, very well prepared local guide, delicious food. Yes, to walk a lot haha

Great trip, very interesting! We were able to rebook spontaneously by phone for the next day. Thank you!

Jise was an excellent guy, he’s friendly , Knowledgeable and speaks English extremely well!

We had a really great tour, with a lovely guide who explained everything very well :)

Very cool and very exciting. We learned a lot! Highly recommended!! :-D