Santo DomingoDominican Republic

Image for Columbus Lighthouse showing a lighthouse and a monument

The Caribbean’s first city is a thriving metropolis that has colonial buildings and modern masterpieces, captivating museums and a lively boardwalk. 

Santo Domingo is a fast-growing city known for its colonial architecture, modern art and an oceanfront boardwalk lined with restaurants and cafés. The Caribbean’s first city has had a turbulent history. Since it was founded by the brother of Christopher Columbus in 1498, Santo Domingo has been raided by pirates and slaves and ruled by a dictator. Today, the city reflects this past with colonial architecture and looks to the future with a growing cultural scene.

Spend your mornings around Santo Domingo’s El Malecon. Restaurants, cafés and parks line this popular oceanfront boardwalk. Sip espressos and people-watch at outdoor tables.

Towards the Santo Domingo Port, find the city’s UNESCO protected colonial zone. Here you can visit the city’s most significant historical landmarks, including the Alcázar de Colón, the former home of explorer Diego Colón. Catch your breath in the shady Colón Park before continuing to the National Pantheon, with its neoclassical façade. Visit the Ozama Fortress, which once protected the city from pirates. Climb to its balcony for a panoramic view of the city.

West of the colonial zone, explore charming residential suburbs and museums around the Plaza de la Cultura. Delve into historical books at the adjacent National Library or reserve a seat for a dance, opera or drama performance at the National Theater.

Nearby, the Museum of Modern Art displays the best of new Dominican artists in temporary exhibits. Learn about the pre-Columbian life of Hispaniola’s native Taino Indians at the Museum of the Dominican Man. Visit the Palace of Fine Arts to appreciate its vast columned façade with a bright Caribbean color scheme.

In the evenings, return to El Malecon and pick a terrace restaurant along the lively George Washington Avenue. Listen to karaoke, salsa and Merengue drum beats of street performers, particularly around carnival when parties reach their peak.

Santo Domingo is located on the south coast of the Dominican Republic. Fly into the city’s international airport then get around using public buses, taxis and públicos (private minivans).

Where to stay in Santo Domingo

Fort Ozama featuring heritage elements

Zona Colonial

4/5Very Good!(583 area reviews)

Zona Colonial is known for its ample dining options, and you can make a stop by Cathedral of Santo Domingo and Parque Colon while in the area.

Zona Colonial
Mermaid pool
trover photo by Mary Ryan

Downtown Santo Domingo

4/5Very Good!(445 area reviews)

Downtown Santo Domingo is a destination travelers like for its shopping, and you might hop aboard the metro at Freddy Beras Goico Station or Juan Ulises Garcia Station to explore sights like Blue Mall.

Downtown Santo Domingo
Plaza de la Cultura which includes a square or plaza

Gascue

4/5Very Good!(434 area reviews)

The abundant dining options and seaside views are just a few top-rate features of the neighborhood. Make a stop by Museum of History and Geography or National Palace while you're visiting, and jump aboard the metro at Casandra Damiron Station to get around town.

Gascue
Beautiful beach in Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic! Just an hour and half outside of Santo Domingo. It is a big beach with lots of space and good swimming. Lots of places to eat around the corner. Loved it!
trover photo by Jenessa Peters

Juan Dolio - El Pueblo

3.5/5Good!(6 area reviews)

If you're looking for some top things to see and do in Juan Dolio - El Pueblo and surrounding area, you can visit Guayacanes Beach and Guavaberry Golf and Country Club.

Juan Dolio - El Pueblo
@dominicanrepublic
trover photo by Demetrio Prota

Villas Del Mar

4/5Very Good!(87 area reviews)

Though Villas Del Mar might not have many top sights, you can venture to the surrounding area to see attractions like Guavaberry Golf and Country Club and Guayacanes Beach.

Villas Del Mar
Dominican Republic featuring general coastal views

Reparto Ibarra

3.5/5Good!(31 area reviews)

While Reparto Ibarra isn't home to many top sights, Boca Chica and Nautical Club of Santo Domingo are some notable places to visit nearby.

Reparto Ibarra

Top Hotels in Santo Domingo

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
El Embajador, a Royal Hideaway Hotel
El Embajador, a Royal Hideaway Hotel
5 out of 5
Ave Sarasota 65, Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional
Free Cancellation
$94
per night
Feb 28 - Feb 29

Located in the heart of Santo Domingo, this luxury resort is 1.2 mi (2 km) from Acropolis Center and within 3 mi (5 km) of Blue Mall and Embassy of the United ...

4.3/5Excellent! (1,249 reviews)

"Very good Cleaners and workers am completely sure I come back to this hotel"…"

Reviewed on Feb 11, 2020

El Embajador, a Royal Hideaway Hotel
Barceló Santo Domingo
Barceló Santo Domingo
4 out of 5
Maximo Gomez-Esq 27 de Febrero, PO Box 1915, Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional
$76
per night
Mar 17 - Mar 18

Located in Miraflores, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Museum of Modern Art and Museum of the Dominican Man. Eduardo Brito National Theater and Centro ...

4.1/5Very Good! (1,871 reviews)

"Very professional staff members and beautiful hotel"…"

Reviewed on Feb 14, 2020

Barceló Santo Domingo
Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino
Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino
4.5 out of 5
Avenida George Washington 367, Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
$103
per night
Feb 28 - Feb 29

Located in Gascue, this luxury hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Mercado Modelo, Cathedral of Santo Domingo, and Parque Colon. National Pantheon (Pantheon Nacional) ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (581 reviews)

"I liked everything about this property. The pool was very nice, the breakfast was excellent and the staff were very friendly."…"

Reviewed on Feb 12, 2020

Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino

Popular things to do in Santo Domingo

Calle Las Damas
Image for Calle Las Damas

Calle Las Damas

4.5/5(149 reviews)

During your trip to Santo Domingo, you can find the perfect gifts to bring home at Calle Las Damas. While you're here, you can savor the top-notch restaurants.

Top activities in Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo Electric Trikke City Tour
Image for Santo Domingo Electric Trikke City Tour

Santo Domingo Electric Trikke City Tour

$50

Explore the historic city of Santo Domingo aboard a 3-wheeled electric scooter, or “Trikke.” Learn more about the city's colonial heritage from your friendly and knowledgeable guide as you visit a number of impressive monuments, and even delve into the production of Dominican rum and chocolate.

Santo Domingo Sightseeing Tour
Image for Santo Domingo Sightseeing Tour

Santo Domingo Sightseeing Tour

$50

See the many aspects of Santo Domingo ranging from the 15th-century Colonial Zone to the modern buildings of The Malecon, a waterfront shopping district. The Columbus Lighthouse and Los Tres Ojos Park are among the many other sights you explore on this guided tour of the city.

Guided Santo Domingo Sightseeing & Old Town Tour with Lunch
Image for Guided Santo Domingo Sightseeing & Old Town Tour with Lunch

Guided Santo Domingo Sightseeing & Old Town Tour with Lunch

$80

Travel into the past with a day trip to Santo Domingo—the capital of the Dominican Republic. Admire architecture from the 16th century in the Old Town, also known as the Zona Colonial.

Full-Day Santo Domingo City Tour from Punta Cana
Image for Full-Day Santo Domingo City Tour from Punta Cana

Full-Day Santo Domingo City Tour from Punta Cana

$95

Get ready to board a comfortable air-conditioned bus and immerse yourself in our culture and heritage. Come with us and discover the first city of the new world. Our expert tourist guide will take you to the First City of the Americas, learning the diverse history of this modern-day metropolitan city.

Santo Domingo Handmade
Image for Santo Domingo Handmade

Santo Domingo Handmade

$40

Santo Domino Handmade takes you into the roots of hand-made Dominican local production. Experience the precious and tasty local production. Follow us walking trough the streets of the Old Town where sights can be appreciated along the way.

Santo Domingo Airport to Cabarete-Sosua Area
Image for Santo Domingo Airport to Cabarete-Sosua Area

Santo Domingo Airport to Cabarete-Sosua Area

$33

We will meet you at arrival and take you in comfort and safety where you want to go.

Reviews of Santo Domingo

4.3

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
692
5 - Excellent 50%
4 - Good
525
4 - Good 37.933526011560694%
3 - Okay
130
3 - Okay 9.393063583815028%
2 - Disappointing
28
2 - Disappointing 2.023121387283237%
1 - Terrible
9
1 - Terrible 0.6502890173410405%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Feb 12, 2020

Beautiful island with unique & sophisticated history. The people are the best and what make this Island so special. Their friendliness and love of life. The only sad thing I witnessed was the amount of plastic waste by the beautiful beaches.

5/5 - Excellent

Ron

Feb 11, 2020

Love the city most people are kind and happy

3/5 - Okay

Ness

Feb 8, 2020

I think the government should work on alternate routes to ease traffic flow

5/5 - Excellent

Pablocastacillo

Feb 7, 2020

Great place to be affordable, plus or less safe with a lot to enjoy

5/5 - Excellent

Richard

Feb 4, 2020

Excellent place to visit.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Feb 4, 2020

We have lived there the only problem we have is the traffic

Other places like Santo Domingo

Santiago de los Caballeros
Image for Santiago de los Caballeros
Santiago de los Caballeros
Puerto Plata
Image for Puerto Plata
Puerto Plata
Samana
Image for Samana
Samana
Kingston
Image for Kingston
Kingston