Santo Domingo in 1 Day
Most visitors who plan to spend most of their vacation at the beach resorts devote only 1 day for sightseeing in Santo Domingo. To make the most out of that limited time, here are some suggestions.
You can spend an entire morning exploring the Zona Colonial of the old city, a 12-block area where Spanish civilization in the New World was launched. Columbus walked these narrow, cobblestoned streets, as did Ponce de León and Cortés. Begin by taking a stroll up:
1. Calle Las Damas, or "Street of the Ladies." -- The aristocratic ladies of the Spanish empire used to parade up and down this street.
Near the top of the street you can visit:
2. Capilla de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios -- This chapel was constructed in the Gothic style in the 16th century.
The major attraction in the old town is:
3. Alcázar de Colón -- The palace constructed for Columbus's son, Diego, in 1517. You'll need at least an hour to explore it.
After a visit continue north to:
4. Museo de las Atarazanas -- This museum is filled with treasures rescued from Spanish wrecks. You'll learn much about life aboard the Spanish galleons that used to sail through the West Indies.
Cut south again until you reach:
5. Catedral Primada de América -- The oldest cathedral in the Americas, completed in 1540.
After visiting the cathedral, take a taxi to:
6. El Faro a Colón (Columbus Lighthouse) -- Across the river, a chapel in the center of this structure is said to contain the bones of Columbus, although this claim is disputed by the Seville cathedral in Spain.
With another hour to spare, visit:
7. Acuario Nacional -- The grandest aquarium in the Caribbean.
With the time remaining in the afternoon, climax your day of sightseeing with a visit to:
8. El Mercado Modelo -- The national market where you can easily spend an hour or two. It closes at 6pm daily, however.