Santo Domingo Tourist Attractions
Top Tourist Attractions in Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic's capital and largest city, is the oldest surviving European settlement in the Americas. As the first city to be established in the New World, UNESCO lists it as a World Heritage Site.At its core is the colonial zone with coral-rock alleys and cobblestone streets. The colonial city is home to the America's first cathedral, fort, hospital, monastery and university.The modern part of Santo Domingo has contemporary buildings, restaurants, shopping malls and a lively nightlife accompanied by the problems of pollution, congestion and inadequate utilities.Santo Domingo has a population over 2 million inhabitants.
Plaza De La Cultura is the site of several museums and heritage buildings in an extended park area.
The Dominican's National Aquarium is a scientific and educational facility exhibiting marine life in one of the best aquariums in the Caribbean.Its star attractions are a clear plexiglass sea tunnel and the orphaned manatee Tamaury.
Dr Rafael M Moscoso National Botanical Garden
The Dr. Rafael M. Moscoso National Botanical Garden is the largest botanical garden in the Caribbean. Its 178ha /445 ac include a Japanese garden, various plant-filled pavilions, a natural river bed, an arboretum, an enormous floral clock plus fish ponds and fountains.It features a display of 300 species of orchids, as well as hanging and exotic plants, bromeliads and ferns.A guided tour through an Ecological Museum features impressive dioramas depicting the Dominican Republic's main ecosystems.Small trains leading from the bougainvillea-festooned Central Square near the entrance tour authentic representations of a Caribbean tropical forest.
The Faro a Colón (Columbus Lighthouse) is an impressive cruciform structure constructed to mark the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas in 1492.It houses the explorer's remains, museums and exhibits donated by several countries. The 157 laser beams that emanate from its roof project a cross that can be seen from kilometers/miles away.
La Caleta Park
Parque La Caleta is a green space along the highway with a popular beach and the Museo la Caleta, a small building containing the remains of Taíno tombs discovered during the construction of the airport.Offshore, La Caleta National Underwater Park is the Dominican Republic's best area for reef and wreck diving.
Mercado Modelo, Plaza Criolla, El Conde Street, Las Atarazanas, and Casa de Bastidas feature a wide choice of crafts made by local artists.Santo Domingo's main shopping centers are Diamond Mall, Plaza Central, Plaza Naco, Plaza Andalucia, Plaza Catalu-a and Plaza La Lira where items from around the world can be purchased.
The animals at ZOODOM / Parque Zoologico Nacional Manuel Valverde Podestá, live in areas that resemble their natural habitat in a vast environment of semi-freedom.The 1,250,000 sq m/13,450,000sq ft of park and 8 km/5mi worth of roads cover a Great Plains area, a large aviary, a snake pavilion and a pony-ride area.
The Museo Bellapart in Santo Domingo is a private art gallery displaying the work of some of the most famous Dominican painters from 1844 to the 1960's.This museum is located on the fifth floor of an award-winning modern building.
Church Convent of las Mercedes
Designed in a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles, the soberly decorated Las Mercedes was constructed between 1527 and 1555 and contains a beautiful baroque altar.
Duarte Olympic Center
Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center was built for the 2003 Pan-American Games This venue has an 8-lane 400m/.25 mi synthetic track. The ground floor has facilities for VIPs, athletes and the public plus a cafeteria, restrooms and medical services.
Fort Santa Barbara
The ruins of Fortaleza Santa Barbara c 1574 along with the church of Santa Barbara rebuilt in the early 17th C are the only combined church-fort colonial building in Santo Domingo.
Las Americas Airport
Also known as George Washington Avenue, El Malecón is a waterfront boulevard lined by bistros, bars and discos and is the location of the Dominican Carnival celebrated during in February.
Numismatic and Philatelic Museum
Museo Numismático y filatelico shows the evolution of Dominican currency. Its collection of antique coins, bills and stamps dating back to 1865 are said to be the most comprehensive and valuable in the Caribbean.
Center of the Heroes
Centro de los Héroes in Santo Domingo commemorates those who fought against Trujillo's dictatorship. Various government buildings surround the center.
Chapel of Our Lady of Remedies
The Chapel of Our Lady of Remedies is a small stone 16th-C chapel used before the cathedral was erected in Santo Domingo.
The University of Santo Domingo, dating from 1538 is the oldest university in the Western Hemisphere.
Garcia Arevalo Collection of Pre-Hispanic Art
Model Market in Santo Domingo is a busy market showing off a wide variety of goods. It is perhaps the best place in Santo Domingo for handicrafts.
Paseo de los Indios
Runners, bikers, and families are found along Paseo de los Indios a wedge-shaped park which runs for 13km/8mi on the western edge of Santo Domingo.
Many of Major League Baseball's biggest stars got their start in Quisqueya Stadium, home of the of the Dominican League.
Ruins of San Nicolas de Bari Hospital Church
San Nicolas de Bari c 1520 was simultaneously a church and an infirmary. The ruins feature elliptical arches and strong cylindrical buttresses.
Santa Clara Church and Convent
The 16th C Convent of Santa Clara was the first convent of the order of Franciscans established in the Americas.
Theater of Fine Arts
Classical ballet, theater plus concerts by popular artists are staged at Santo Domingo's Theater of Fine Arts.