The largest city of the Caribbean in terms of population, Santo Domingo is bustling with things to do. With its Spanish colonial history and its beautiful landscape, the city has a hybrid of past and present things to explore and discover. The tropical city is the perfect place to relax or sightsee. We take a look at the top 10 things to do and see in Santo Domingo.
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National Botanical Gardens
Initially made to explore and preserve the natural plants of Santo Domingo, the National Botanical Garden is a beautiful and stunning setting in which you can appreciate the scenery and tropical environment of the Dominican Republic. It should be one of top things to do if you are visiting Santo Domingo. The gardens have many varieties of exotic and aquatic plants, orchids and tropical palms. There is also a Japanese garden section that you can visit.
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The 3 Eyes National Park
With its beautiful ponds, and even bats that live within its caves, the 3 Eyes National Park is a stunning place to visit in Santo Domingo. It is an absolute must-see if you are visiting the Dominican Republic. It is a natural landscape of three lakes, which are situated within limestone caves. During the tour you can learn how the lakes were formed. The steps themselves are natural rock and you can access a fourth lake, which is not thought of as one of the three eyes, via a boat across the second lake.
Alcazar de Colon
The Alcazar de Colon is a Dominican Republic UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a site or dwelling, which is the oldest viceregal edifice in America. It contains exhibits of medieval and Renaissance artwork and many other historical collections. Find in the palace, the rooms, garden and courtyards of the Spanish colonial period. You can take a group tour around this heritage site and learn about the historical significance of the colonial period. It is a fascinating location for anyone interested in the history of the Dominican Republic.
Museum of the Royal Houses
A place of historical significance, the Museum of the Royal Houses is a perfect place in which to learn more about the history of the Dominican Republic. The houses are a fine example of the Spanish colonial architecture in Santo Domingo. Of the buildings, the first contains the offices of government and the Royal Court. The second building was used for government officials. There are many artefacts and antique weapons contained in the museum, too.
Plaza de España
Located just outside of the Alcazar de Colon is the Plaza de España, a large open public space. Here you can find many different restaurants and quaint antique houses. You may visit the plaza on the way to the Alcazar de Colon (see below). The colonial atmosphere extends to the Plaza de España, in which you can immerse yourself in the city. The plaza is also particularly worth visiting during the night with its pretty surroundings and up-beat ambiance.
An old square located in the center of the colonial city district of Santo Domingo, Parque Colon dates back to colonial times. At the south of the park you can find the Catedral Primada de América (the First Cathedral of the New World), and surrounding the park you can find the Alcázar de Colón, the Calle Las Damas and may other restaurants and cafes. This is a hotspot in the Santo Domingo location that is packed with history, which is reflected in the architectural sculptures nearby.
The National Pantheon
Located in the colonial zone of Santo Domingo, the National Pantheon was in the first place a Jesuit church. The edifice was renovated in 1956 by Javier Borroso, a Spanish architect. Now the edifice is the final resting place of the revered people of the Dominican Republic – it holds the tombs, which are protected by the national guards. Famous people buried at the Pantheon include: Gregorio Luperón, who was the leader of the Dominican Republic’s restoration after the Spanish annexation, and Eugenio María de Hostos, who was a Puerto Rican educator. Tour guides are available and provide detailed information about the Pantheon.
Catedral Primada de América
With its remarkable architecture, this cathedral is a great place to visit to immerse yourself in the historical elements of the city. The oldest cathedral in the Americas, the edifice was completed in 1540. The cathedral is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, being the first Catholic bishopric in the New World. There are Baroque elements of the cathedral as well as Gothic styles throughout. An interesting fact about the cathedral is that Christopher Columbus’ remains were once kept at the cathedral prior to the final resting place at the Faro a Colon.
Juan Dolio and Guayacanes
Close to Santo Domingo city centre, Juan Dolio and Guayacanes are great places for a vacation or day out. These beaches provide the perfect place to relax, and the restaurants are great locations to eat. The beaches are less crowded, more segregated and very beautiful areas to explore and relax upon. You can also recline in one of the rentable chairs and umbrellas or swim in the beautiful, clear water.
If you are a baseball fan, the Quisqueya Stadium in Santo Domingo is the must-visit location for you. It is home to the Licey Tigers and hosts the Escogido Lions, so it always has very good attendance. It is known to serve as a stadium for various other uses. It seats approximately 14,400 people since its renovation in 2007. For an enthusiastic atmosphere in sport, the Quisqueya Stadium is the perfect place to visit: bring some friends or family and watch the baseball at this energetic stadium.
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