There are several Santo Domingo Tour options but this tour combines the best of both the “Tour of Santo Domingo” and the “Tour of the Colonial Zone”. We threw out all the boring parts and packed this tour full of the best that Santo Domingo and the Colonial Zone have to offer. There is no better way to see the city and its history.
Start your Santo Domingo Tour off by visiting the Park of the Three Eyes and Faro Colon. They are both close to each other and are walking activities. After you have enjoyed these locations, cool of in the vehicle while being driven the malecon (the seaside) to see some of the sites of Santo Domingo that you can’t walk to -government buildings, the theater, etc. Snap a few pictures at the Palacio Nacional (the President’s Office) and then, if you want to buy some souvenirs, now would be the time as the Palacio Nacional is close to the Mercado Modelo -a great and inexpensive place to buy souvenirs.
Afterwards, we will take you to the Colonial Zone where you can start exploring the streets, buildings, and museums in the oldest city in the new world.
An open are cave system created centuries ago when the roofs collapsed and formed 3 bowls that filled with water. This is one of the most visited tourist sites in the Dominican Republic. It’s a surprising must see!
Both a mausoleum and museum it is dedicated to Christopher Columbus and the building is in the shape of the cross to signify the Christianization of the New World (the Americas).
Moved from the Colonial Zone in 1947 and built on the grounds of the old Presidential mansion, it is the current offices of the President. With the backdrop of the Palacio Nacional this is an excellent stop for taking photos .
The Colonial Zone is an obvious must see. Santo Domingo is the first city in the New World and is what Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering. The part of the city that was inhabited in the 1500’s in now called the Colonial Zone or in Spanish, Zona Colonial. This area is rich in history and with its museums, architecture, buildings, cafes, restaurants, and bars this should be a sure stop for everyone’s tour of Santo Domingo. With each step you walk on Calle Las Damas you will feel yourself going back in time until you feel like you are walking along side Christopher Columbus or Sir Francis Drake themselves.
Built in the early 1500’s for the son of Christopher Columbus (Diego Columbus) this is the oldest viceregal residence in the new world. It has been restored to Colonial times and is the most visited museum in the Colonial Zone.
This was the main gathering area in the Colonial times. On one side you will see Alcazar de Colon (Diego Columbus’ house) and the other side has 8 restaurants that used to be warehouses for the products being shipped back to Spain.
One of the eight restaurants located in Plaza Espana. This is the oldest still running restaurant in the new world started by a wooden legged pirate. Sir Francis Drake ate here back in the 1586 and you can to.
Established in 1511 to protect the Spanish crown’s interest in the new world, this building in colonial times housed both the first courthouse in the new world & the management for Spain. Later it was used as the offices of the President of the Dominican Republic until 1947.
Built for Nicolas de Ovando the 3rd Governor of the West Indies in 1502, this is one of the oldest houses in the new world and is located in the heart of the Colonial Zone on Calle Las Damas. It is now a being used as a hotel.
Originally built in 1746 to house a Jesuit church, it was later changed to a tobacco warehouse in the 1700’s and then in the 1800’s a theater. Then in 1956 the Dominican dictator Rafeal Trujillo converted this building into a national mausoleum.
The oldest street in Santo Domingo and the Americas, this street received it name because of women of high-society would walk down this street after church and on their way to lunch. Calle Las Damas translates to the street of the women.
Built in 1502 to protect the city of Sant Domingo and named after the river it overlooks, Ozama, it is the oldest European designed fortress in the new world.
Located in the center of the Colonial Zone this vibrant park was later renamed to honor Christopher Columbus in the 1800’s when this statue was added. Located on the sided of the park are the 1st cathedral in the new world and Calle Conde, the commercial heart of the city in the colonial times.
The oldest cathedral in the Americas is a still an operating church and a museum. It is located on the side of Paque Colon and until 1992 Christopher Columbus’ remains were here. With its coral-limestone walls, 12 chapels and immense history, this is a must see when visiting Santo Domingo.
Built in the early 1500’s this was the monastery for the Franciscan Fathers. This is one of the most important ruins of the new world and is awe-inspiring to see in person. These ruins are still here after hurricanes, earthquakes and being pilfered by Sir Frances Drake in 1856.
Construction started in 1502 at the request of the governor of Santo Domingo, Nicolas de Ovando and it officially become a ruin in 1908 when the walls caved in. This hospital was the 1st of the new world and was one of the most modern hospitals of its time.
Ken and his staff are, to put it simply, THE BEST! I contacted him at the last minute (the night before we wanted to hire him) to inquire about getting a driver for the day to see several sights in Santo Domingo. Not only did he respond quickly, but he also responded thoroughly. He not only provided prices, but also gave a well-thought out itinerary that included all the sites we wanted to see, along with his input as to time and cost for the attractions. When he found out that none of us spoke fluent Spanish, he also informed me that he would come with us to get the day started and make sure things went smoothly. He ended up staying with us the whole day, and even joined us for dinner. He's a delight to be around, and very knowledgeable about the area and the attractions. We were a group of 10 that included 4 adults, 4 teens, and 2 kids and everyone had a blast. I had a broken ankle at the time and he was super helpful in assisting me, too. His prices were more than fair (quite reasonable, actually) and his service (and that of the driver we had) was spectacular. My family and I travel a lot and have hired many guides and Ken was one of the best we have ever had. He has my highest recommendation.
We took the Colonial Zone/City of Santo Domingo Tour. We were picked up by Ken and his driver at 7 am and didn’t get back until almost 5 pm. We had a wonderful day with Ken, who became an instant friend to our family. He proved himself to be very knowledgeable about the history of DR and also fun to be around. He was very flexible with the tour, explaining the different points of interest that were available and letting us make the final call as to what we wanted to focus on. We mostly went with his suggestions and are glad we did.
I recommend seeing the Colonial Zone, Faro Colon and definitely the Park of the Three Eyes. We also very much enjoyed seeing the house that belonged to Diego Columbus, Christopher’s son. This house has been made into a museum and is very interesting to see. We saw many other places along our tour and found everything very intriguing. We cannot thank Ken enough for taking such good care of our family. He made the day very special for us. He is a really good guide and all-around great person. I highly recommend his company. You will not be disappointed.
-Fred B. Pennsylvania