With its shiny white sand beaches, luxury resorts, rocking nightlife and plenty of activities to do, the picturesque Dominican Republic keeps attracting millions of tourists from worldwide endlessly every year. Santo Domingo, its capital city, is simply great to visit and offers a complete holiday experience. So, why not book flights to Santo Domingo today to see the exact spot where the first settlement in the Americas was founded by Christopher Columbus and all that this city has to offer.
The city is home to many attractions. Some of the famous attractions worth visiting here include Colonial City, Plaza de la Cultura, National Aquarium, Los Tres Ojos National Park, Columbus Lighthouse Monument, Cathedral of Santa Maria, Museo de las Casas Reales, Monasterio de San Francisco, La Casa del Cordón and Alcázar de Colón. Let us now explore all these attractions and get an insight into them.
The Colonial City is a historic enclave spread in an area of one square mile. It is situated in the old part of the city and is fortified by walls. You will discover several historical buildings and heritage sites, including monuments, statues, plazas, parks, churches, museums, forts and palaces. The walking tour through cobbled streets leading to these magnificent buildings will require you to spend more than 3 hours. The streets of this historic place have seen the likes of legendary figures like Christopher Columbus, Francis Drake and Fernando Cortez traversing them.
Plaza de la Cultura
The Plaza de la Cultura is a huge green square situated right in the heart of the city. It prominently serves as an artistic and cultural showcase. This area is home to four museums. These include the Museum of Dominican Man, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of History and Geography, and the Museum of Modern Art. Apart from these museums, the iconic National Theatre is also found here. It is the major venue to host drama performances, musical shows, ballet and opera.
The National Aquarium in the city is presently among the best aquariums in the Caribbean region. It is situated nearly one mile to the east of the historic Columbus Lighthouse monument. Varied types of marine life such as Tamaury, sharks and angelfish are found here. The clear glass sea-tunnel in the aquarium provides an awesome experience to see the enclosed sea life.
Los Tres Ojos National Park
The Los Tres Ojos National Park or the ‘Three Eyes’ park is situated on the Ozama River’s east bank. The park with its several huge natural caves consisting of fresh water lagoons offers a fascinating experience to the visitors. The caves were used by the pre-Columbian Taino Indians for conducting religious ceremonies.
Columbus Lighthouse Monument
The Columbus Lighthouse Monument is a huge structure constructed during the early 1990s on the Ozama River’s eastern shore. This monument was built to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World and also to commemorate the status of Santo Domingo as the oldest European city in the Americas.
Cathedral of Santa Maria
The Catedral de Santa María la Menor or Cathedral of Santa Maria is the New World’s first Catholic cathedral. Its construction first started in 1514 and was finally concluded during the mid-1540s. The cathedral has coral façade and made of limestone. It is one of the best examples of Baroque and Gothic architecture. The handcrafted silver altar aptly commemorated the Age of Exploration and is a testimony to the city’s rich history and culture. While visiting the cathedral, the visitors are required to be appropriately dressed.
Museo de las Casas Reales
The Museo de las Casas Reales or Museum of the Royal Houses provides a fascinating insight into the Dominican Republic’s glorious history and colonial past. This 16th-century palace was restored and prominently showcases maps, tapestries, suits or armor, and an impressive collection of artifacts belonging to pre-Columbian days until the early 19th century. Among other highlights of the museum include a viceroy’s throne room replica, a restored colonial courtroom, and treasures retrieved from Spanish shipwrecks.
Monasterio de San Francisco
The Monasterio de San Francisco is the first ever monastery to be built in the Americas. The monastery was constructed to commemorate the arrival of the first influx of permanent colonists who finally made the New World their abode. The monastery is though in ruins, but is still spectacular and a popular attraction.
La Casa del Cordón
The La Casa del Cordón is the first Spanish-style house to be built 20 years after the voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492. It was constructed by Spanish colonists and explorers. This famous attraction was the first residence of Diego Columbus, the son of Christopher Columbus. Later on, Diego moved to the Alcazar de Colon palace. A small museum is also present here.