Santo Domingo City Tour
Duration: Full Day
Enjoy a cultural day out during your holiday in the Dominican Republic, exploring Santo Domingo, the capital and oldest city in the Americas. This fascinating tour will show you some of the highlights of this majestic south coast city, including ancient streets and colonial architecture, colourful Dominican markets and the house belonging to Christopher Columbus’s son.
A unique blend of both the old and new, Santo Domingo is a delight to explore. The cobbled alleyways and ancient Spanish colonial architecture are stark reminders of the fact that this is the oldest city in the New World, where the settlement of all the Americas began.
The city dates back to 1496 when the first Europeans settled there, shortly after being discovered by Christopher Columbus. His brother Bartholomew Columbus founded the settlement and named it after Saint Dominic. The original part of the city can still be appreciated today in the “Zona Colonial” (Colonial Zone). Located close to the Ozama River, this small district was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990 due to its wealth of historical ruins and landmarks, many of which were erected during the colonial period of Spanish ruling.
Some of the highlights in this area include the beautiful Cathedral of Santa María la Menor, the oldest cathedral in the Americas; the Ozama Fortress, the oldest fortress in the Americas and Calle de Las Damas, the oldest street in the Americas, dating back to 1502.
We will also visit Alcázar de Colón, also known as Columbus Alcazar (Columbus Palace). A wonderful blend of Gothic and Moorish architecture, this beautiful coral-stone mansion was the home of Diego Columbus, son of Christopher, and his family whilst he was governor of the Spanish colony. Now a museum, the Alcázar is filled with colonial art and interesting artifacts.
Another famous landmark not to be missed in Santo Domingo is Faro a Colón (Columbus Memorial Lighthouse). Built in the shape of a cross, this impressive monument was constructed to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas in 1492. His remains are reputedly entombed here. At night, powerful lights project the image of the cross into the sky, which can be seen for miles around the city.
Last but not least, we will visit a bustling Dominican Market, where you can enjoy bartering with the stallholders and pick up a bargain. This tour is a wonderful introduction to one of the most bustling and diverse cities in the Caribbean.
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