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Things to do in

Santo Domingo

Our most recommended things to do in Santo Domingo

Punta Cana: Santo Domingo Day Trip with Tickets and Lunch

1. Punta Cana: Santo Domingo Day Trip with Tickets and Lunch

Santo Domingo is a magical city, full of history, culture and amazing landscapes. Explore the oldest Capital of the “New” World, Santo Domingo, the first city founded in America. This sightseeing tour shows you a city full of history and culture. A great activity for the whole family. - We will pick you up at your Hotel to start an incredible trip to Santo Domingo, during the trip you will see incredible details about the Culture of the Dominican Republic. - Upon arrival in Santo Domingo you will visit the incredible cenotes of Los Tres Ojos National Park, especially natural and magical. - You will visit the most important monuments of the City: The 1st Cathedral of America, the Alcázar de Colón and the National Pantheon, El Faro a Colón. - We will take a walk through the Colonial Zone, a romantic street, the first in America, “The Ladies”. Enjoying an ancient but picturesque panoramic view. It operates every day. Its approximate duration is 10 hours.

From Bavaro: Santo Domingo Colonial City Tour

2. 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. Travel in the comfort of an air-conditioned bus while a professional guide shares their knowledge about the history of European colonization in America. After your hotel pickup, 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.  Enjoy panoramic visits to the National Palace and the Columbus Lighthouse, a monument built in memory of Christopher Columbus and where his remains rest.

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

3. 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 Las Damas, and other colonial monuments from the 15th and 16th centuries. Take in a panoramic view of the modern city, residential areas, and the Presidential Palace. Enjoy free time to take a walk around El Conde where you can see old buildings or go shopping.

From Punta Cana: Full-Day Santo Domingo City Tour

4. 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 de Espana and on to Calle Las Damas (the first paved street in the New World). Keep walking to the National Pantheon where heroes were laid to rest. The colonial tour will culminate at the First Cathedral of the New World.

Santo Domingo: Half-Day City Tours

5. Santo Domingo: 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.

Santo Domingo: Chocolate Tour + Optional Workshops

6. 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 all the machines in the factory work to produce the final product. Upgrade your experience by adding on an optional workshop to the end of your tour. In the Soap Workshop, learn how to make your own soap with a cacao butter formula made by the workers at La Esmeralda. Add a special touch with your preferred aroma. Alternatively, choose the Chocolate Workshop and create your own chocolate bar.

Santo Domingo: Full-Day Tour from Punta Cana

7. Santo Domingo: Full-Day Tour from Punta Cana

Explore the history and culture of the Dominican Republic on a full-day tour of Santo Domingo, the 1st city of the Americas. Following a transfer from Punta Cana, stroll through the narrow walkways of the historic center and unravel the story of Santo Domingo; from its humble beginnings as the oldest colonial city of the 15th-century to the modern metropolis it is today. Pay homage to the First Cathedral of the Americas, birthplace of a fervent Catholic faith. Visit the National Pantheon (Pantéon Nacional) in a former Jesuits church and see the remains of notable Dominicans. Wander the rooms of the Mueso de la Casas Reales to see an alluring display of colonial artifacts. Then, walk across the Alcazar de Colon and be transported back to the days of the original Spanish conquistadors. After a delicious lunch of typical Dominican flavors, go to the the Malecon for views of the Caribbean Sea on Santo Domingo’s lovely boardwalk. Marvel at the modern architecture, such as the Fine Arts Palace, National Theatre and Presidential Palace. Visit the lighthouse that was built in 1992 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus landing in the Americas, and now the site of his remains.

City Tour of Santo Domingo

8. City Tour of Santo Domingo

Spend the day exploring Santo Domingo, the first Spanish colony in the Americas, on a guided tour. Visit places such as Parque Colón, the National Palace and the Alcázar de Colón to discover the wealth of monuments and historic buildings in the city, the Parque de los 3 Ojos and the Faro de Colón. Its tour begins in Los Tres Ojos Park, its formation begins in an underground cave with three natural lakes, it is a natural phenomenon rarely seen. This magnificent natural process has been carried out for thousands of years. Apart from the presence of the three lakes with their crystal clear waters, here there is a rich fauna in which we can find a great variety of fish, bats and the largest ferns on the island that measure up to four meters in height. Enjoy a fascinating typical lunch with an explosion of flavors in one of the oldest sites in the colonial city. Then visit the Alcázar de Colón in the 15th century Colonial Zone. Once home to Diego Columbus, the eldest son of Christopher Columbus and the Spanish viceroy who ruled the island, the palace now houses a museum filled with furniture, artwork, and artifacts from the city's early years. From there, take a stroll down Calle Las Damas, one of the oldest streets in the Western Hemisphere and the first in the city of Santo Domingo. Pass the National Pantheon, the central Parque Colón, and the first Catholic cathedral in the Americas before heading to the Columbus Lighthouse, where the activity culminates. An extraordinary day of history and culture, discovering Santo Domingo, the first city in America.

Punta Cana: Full-Day Santo Domingo Tour

9. 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. Next, head to Santo Domingo and its Colonial Zone for your guided tour of the city. Walk along iconic and unique streets such as Las Damas, El Conde, Arzobispo Meriño, Isabel La Católica, and more. Enjoy included entry to emblematic monuments such as the National Pantheon; the only known residence of a member of Christopher Columbus' family, Alcazar de Colon; and the oldest cathedral in the Americas, Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor. At 1 PM, savor a delicious Dominican buffet at one of the most famous restaurants in town, El Conuco. At 2:15 PM, enjoy 45 minutes of free time to explore the Colonial Zone at your own pace. At 3 PM, visit the famous Malecón boulevard, then the Faro a Colón lighthouse, a memorial to Christopher Columbus. Begin your journey back to Punta Cana between 4 PM-4:15 PM and finish the tour with drop-off at your hotel.

Santo Domingo: One-Way Private Transfer from Airport

10. Santo Domingo: One-Way Private Transfer from Airport

Take the stress out of airport commutes by pre-booking your own private airport transfer to or from Santo Domingo Airport. Rest back knowing you will be dropped off anywhere between city center and airport conveniently, safely and in comfort. Whether you are traveling in a bigger group or with extra luggage, tailor your private transfer to your needs by indicating what you need when you book. To ensure a relaxed transfer experience, you will receive a text message shortly before your scheduled pickup with your booking reference, our customer service number, and your driver's name and contact details. When you book your private transfer, remember to include your flight details. Your driver will track your flight so that no matter whether your flight arrives early, late or on-time, your driver will be there to greet you on arrival. Your driver will pick you up from the arrivals hall or agreed meeting point in the airport and help you to the vehicle with your luggage. Feel secure knowing that our customer service line runs 24/7 to support you in whatever you need. Sit back, relax and enjoy the views. Please be aware that in order to ensure a smooth travel, you will need to provide us your flight number as well as your drop off destination and pick up time.

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

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What people are saying about Santo Domingo

Overall rating

4.0 / 5

based on 226 reviews

The 2 hours bike tour is the best way to start the visit in Dominican Republic, but just Santo Domingo. The tour will teach a lot about origins of the country, traditions and history from arrival of Tahinos till the independence from Spanish and Haiti. All in a very simple and pleasant way, while riding around the colorful and vibrant streets of the colonial zone. The tour guide is very knowledgeable and he will give lots of incredible recommendations about local habits as well as nightlife and local restaurants tips. Thanks to this tour we discovered how fascinating, colorful and at the same time full of controversies this country can be. The ride through the barrio outside the colonial zone is eyes opening. We were amazed by the colonial zone and the culture surrounding us. I would definitely do the bike tour again and I highly recommend anyone to get the gist of the Dominican culture through this ride, even if only visiting town for one day!

My husband was vacationing in Boca Chica and had all kinds of issues with his phone and was unable to pretty much communicate. The staff at this company was phenomenal in their service and helped me help him all the way from Cleveland Ohio and making sure he was able to make his transport connections. I absolutely don’t know what we would have done without their assistance. They definitely rate a 10+ in my book!

Nice experience, the guide David was really nice and spoke different lenguajes, everyone in our group enjoy the time and we learning a lot about the history of the city

Santo Domingo is a really nice place to go and our guide, Fransisco was very informative too. Thank you!

We had a very good day also thanks to the tour guide Radi! The lunch was also very good.