Santo Domingo Attractions
Warm and hospitable people, diverse terrain with eye-pleasing scenery, incredibly beautiful sandy beaches with clear ocean waters that gently dance against the shoreline-facing resorts, are the principle banners of the Dominican Republic. This Caribbean island nation is worthy of vacation exploration. This is indeed a tropical destination that enables you to discover your adventurous-getaway soul — Teresa & Paul Lowe
Santo Domingo is highlighted by beautiful European stone buildings and cobblestone streets. It is one of the oldest cities in the Americas. The heartbeat of the Dominican Republic, this cosmopolitan city of 3 million offers a great deal for both denizens and tourists alike. One of its most interesting aspects is that it is an amalgamation of old world buildings and customs, and modern luxuries and amenities.
Popular attractions here include Parque Colón (Columbus Park) located in the Zona Colonial (Colonial Zone) and named after Christopher Columbus. A focal point in the city, the park is truly the place to see, be seen, relax and enjoy the Dominican ambiance. Everyone from families to business people, couples and the elderly flock here to just chill on the inviting benches or stroll amidst the beautiful tree-lined streets. At the center is an impressive bronze statue of its namesake. Also located here is possibly the first cathedral in the Americas (many of the cathedrals here claim to be the first), Cathedral Metropolitana Santa María de la Encarnación, or more commonly known as Catedral Santa Maria (Santa Maria Cathedral). Originally built as a hut constructed of royal palm, it is now an extraordinary structure occupying an entire city block.
Any day of the week there is an abundance of pleasurable adventure to experience. If you like to party, the nightlife is described by many locals as “way over the top.” Some of the best Salsa and Meringue bands in the world play here. There’s exquisite fine dining, world class shopping, golfing, water and city walk excursions, zip lining and even fishing for deep-sea anglers. There is ample opportunity to do absolutely nothing, should you choose to “just chill” and allow the day to blissfully whisper past you.
Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic, is a place like few others on the planet, featuring astounding natural settings, a history of colonial America and cultural experiences-music, art, museums, a massive botanical garden and unique and colorful local festivals.
Venture to the southwest coastal area you discover an atmosphere, not at all like the well manicured resort neighborhoods of Punta Cana. In the contrasting area of Barahona you find trail roads that make their way along waterways and jungle. Continue your travels along the roadways for fantastic vista views.
A visit to Dominican Republic should include a sampling of the culturally delicious foods, and perhaps even a local baseball game. You never now, you just might see a future Major League Baseball star. Be sure to try some of the sugar cane rum, chocolate, and coffee. After downing a cup or two of the rich coffee or a shot or two of rum, you might feel an urge to dance your own version of the merengue.
If you truly enjoy the taste of great rum, local cabbies suggest a stop at the Ron Barcelo Distillery, located just a short drive outside of Santo Domingo. There you’ll not only get to sample fine rum made from sugar cane, but you can take in a tour of how this particular kind of rum is formed in the Caribbean region. A rum aficionado might tell you that rum made with pure sugar cane, compared to rum made with molasses, has a smoother taste … a taste that’s similar to fine tequila.
Alcázar de Colón
Columbus Palace is a tribute to Don Diego, Columbus’ son. Historical accounts vary as to whether the elder Columbus had it built for his son, or if it was Diego’s enterprise. Nevertheless, this impressive 22-room fortress built during the early 1500s is after decades of abandonment then loving restoration, a country landmark. Constructed in a combination of Baroque, Gothic and Plateresque styles, the Catedral de Santa Maria la Menor, again, possibly the oldest cathedral in the Americas, was completed in 1540. Architecturally stunning inside and out, the cathedral encompasses a coral-limestone façade, silver-chiseled high altar, funerary monuments, an extensive art collection, jewelry, period furnishings and more.
A very popular sport in the Dominican Republic, many nearby golf courses offer breathtaking views of distinctive destinations in both boutique and major towns all over the island. You’ll also find signature courses by some of the world’s greatest golfers like Robert Trent Jones, Jack Nicklaus and others. Santo Domingo courses encompass Santo Domingo Country Club, Las Lagunas Country Club, Santo Domingo Country Club – Los Robles Course, Naco Golf & Country Club and Isabel Villas Country Club.