Things to do in
Santo Domingo

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Our most recommended things to do in Santo Domingo

From Bavaro: Santo Domingo Colonial City Tour

1. 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. Enjoy panoramic visits to the National Palace and the Columbus Lighthouse, a monument built in memory of Christopher Columbus and where his remains rest.

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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 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.

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From Punta Cana: Full-Day Santo Domingo City Tour

3. 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.

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Santo Domingo: Private Airport Roundtrip Transfer

4. Santo Domingo: Private Airport Roundtrip Transfer

Start the vacation in style with a private air-conditioned transfer with uniformed driver. No need to hang-around wasting precious vacation time waiting for others. Book now to save the hassle and uncertainty of finding a reliable taxi on arrival. Comfortable award-winning private transfer to resorts, villas, condos in Boca Chica. The provider has been operating quality Dominican airport transfers for over 25 years.

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Punta Cana: Full-Day Santo Domingo Tour

5. 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.

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Santo Domingo: The Best of Santo Domingo City Tour

6. 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.

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Santo Domingo: Chocolate Tour + Optional Workshops

7. 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.

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From Santo Domingo: 1-Way Private Hotel Transfers

8. 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.

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Puerto Plata One-way to Santo Domingo/Samana/Punta Cana

9. Puerto Plata One-way to Santo Domingo/Samana/Punta Cana

Travel in comfort with our one way transfer to your accommodation in Santo Domingo, Samana or Punta Cana. You will be met by a uniformed driver who willl drive you to your chosen destination.  You will be travelling in a late model air-conditioned mini van and you will be able to enjoy a smooth air conditioned ride to your accommodation and enjoy the local surroundings. We are one of the leading incoming tour operators in the Dominican Republic, and we are headquartered in Punta Cana with a brach office in Puerto Plata, thus covering the whole country. Get where you want to go - book your transportation now!

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Santo Domingo: The Battle of Santo Domingo 4D Attraction

10. 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.

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Frequently asked questions about 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

Very interesting activity if you want to know the history of the country. For purchases I advise you to pay in cash. I had a bad experience at one of the tourist sites (Los Tres Ojos caves). I wanted to buy some small souvenirs, the seller inflated the prices (telling me the total in pesos) when I asked for the conversation in $, it was worth 172 $ (For 3 necklaces and two mini statuses). I declined saying I didn't think it was going to be over $ 30. The seller told me Ok, I will do this for $ 30, so I paid by card in pesos (seeing my bank statement I had 128 euros). A word of advice, be firm but not harsh. They only live on tips and selling these products. But be careful and do the math yourself. Before arriving on site the guide tells you the price of the pesos, make a cross product if you do not have internet. 1 euro = 64 pesos

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

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

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

Excellent excursion, exhausting but I recommend it 100%