4.5 star rating: Recommended 57 Reviews

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  • Location:Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  • Duration:12 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

Santo Domingo Sightseeing Tour from Punta Cana

Discover the rich history, natural landscapes and magnificent colonial architecture of Santo Domingo on a full-day sightseeing tour from Punta Cana. Travel by coach with an informative guide to the Zona Colonial (Colonial Zone) – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and explore the past in the formerly named Hispaniola. Visit the natural wonders of Los Tres Ojos along with several famous monuments – the Columbus Alcazar, the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor and the Columbus Lighthouse – and see where Spanish dames once strolled along the Calle de las Damas.


  • Full-day city sightseeing tour of Santo Domingo
  • Explore a cavern housing Los Tres Ojos and find three beautiful lagoons
  • View historical monuments in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Zona Colonial, the oldest district in the Americas
  • See one of Santo Domingo’s oldest buildings – the Columbus Alcazar
  • Visit the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor, the first cathedral in the ‘New World’
  • Stop at the Columbus Lighthouse and venture down the Calle de las Damas
  • Lunch and round-trip coach transport from Punta Cana included

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Santo Domingo Sightseeing Tour from Punta Cana

Explore the streets of Santo Domingo

Your guide will meet you at your hotel in Punta Cana and transport you by comfortable coach to Santo Domingo – the Dominican Republican’s capital and its largest city. Founded in 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus (Christopher Columbus’ brother), who colonized the indigenous Tainos, Santo Domingo was the first Spanish settlement in the ‘New World’ and is regarded as the oldest continuously inhabited European city in the Americas!

Discover the riches of the colonial city on your sightseeing tour, starting with Los Tres Ojos (The Three Eyes) – thee lagoons, or ojos, located in an open-air limestone cave in Parque Mirador del Este (Eastern Lookout Park). Climb the rock staircase to the lagoons and follow your guide on a walkway through the cavern – one of the country’s most popular attractions. Admire the beautiful colors and mineral formations amid lush vegetation surrounding the cave as your guide informs you about its natural features.

Next, head to Ciudad Colonial (Colonial City) – known as Zona Colonial – Santo Domingo’s historic central neighborhood, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, visit the Columbus Alcazar (Alcázar de Colón), a Spanish colonial mansion built around 1510 by Christopher Columbus’ son, Diego, when he became viceroy of Hispaniola and the Indies. Once housing fifty rooms amid gardens and courtyards, the restored palace boasts an impressive museum collection, including period furniture and Caribbean works spanning the 15th to 17th centuries. Hear from your guide about the Spanish expeditions and conquests planned onsite, and learn what happened when explorer Sir Francis Drake came to the island.

Continue to the Catedral Primada de América, more commonly known as Cathedral of Santa María la Menor, completed in 1540 and the oldest cathedral in the Americas. Located next to Columbus Park, the coral limestone walls appear to be tinted with gold. Admire the Gothic and Baroque architectural styles and the lavish treasury filled with old woodcarvings, silver, jewelry, furniture, sculptures, retablos (devotional paintings) and even tombstones. (Please note: Shoulders and knees must be covered to enter this national monument.)

Afterward, stop at the Columbus Lighthouse (Faro a Colón), a 680-foot (207-meter) concrete monument built to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the first colony in the Americas. Then, head to Calle de las Damas – the oldest street in the ‘new world.’ Bisecting the middle of the Colonial Zone and following the shoreline of the Ozama River, the street was named alter the 30 or so ladies of the Spanish court – including Maria de Toledo, the niece of King Ferdinand – who strolled up and down the avenue on their way to mass. Your guide will point out other historically significant landmarks as you travel down this famous street before returning you to your hotel in Punta Cana.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

This was a great day - long but you do get a stop over both ways. The city of Santa Domingo is beautiful and is improving every year.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

The guide was very informative and provided all of the details effortlessly in English, Spanish, and French. We were able to see multiple historic sites inside the capital city and never felt rushed by the guides at any point. There is time available for shopping around the historical plaza as well, which was adequate.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

My husband and I enjoyed the tour. We had a very knowledgeable tour guide. It was worth the money. Pamela and Edward Marshall

United Kingdom

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

This excursion was a great way to see and learn more about this wonderful country, away from the beach resorts. We discovered so much about the original Latin American history and how the country was established. It was great to see it in real life and meet real people around the city.

It is important to consider that this is a very long day, with an early 6am pick-up and 3 hour coach ride to Santo Domingo from Punta Cana. It was well worth it! I have done this trip twice now and would do it again in future years. The journey progresses well on the new roads, the pace of the day is also good. The guide provided excellent commentary, demonstrating thorough knowledge of the country during the long coach ride. On the outward journey we stopped at a cigar outlet and tourist superstore with a large range of products, better priced than hotel shops.

Once in Santo Domingo we saw a great deal around the fascinating Zona Colonial area, one of the oldest parts. We were taken on the mini-train around the city. This was a great way to see most of the best parts without walking all day in the hot sun. We got an audio tour of the Columbus house Alcázar de Colón and the cathedral: Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor, the oldest cathedral in all of the Americas! We also stopped at the National Palace government building for photos.

For lunch we enjoyed a delicous chefs taster menu style Dominican lunch in a restaurant opposite the Alcázar de Colón, with a fantastic view overlooking Plaza. There was also the opportunity for about 1 hour free-time walking around the city and checking out some shops and local sights.

During our journey back to Resort we also stopped at underground cenotes, Tres Ojos 3 eyes I think. There we had a guided tour of the lovely blue underground lakes. Our guide also stopped the coach and hailed over a local guy selling freshly cut coconuts for 1, a delicious refreshing drink for the journey back.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

This tour was outstanding and everyone on their first visit to the Dominican Republic should make time to see some of ther rest of the country. The beach at Punta Cana is makes a pleasant vacation, but in no way represents the country of DR. There is so much history in Santo Domingo and our guide was very knowledgeable in pointing out the site.

We were picked up at our hotel on time by a van and taken to a local shopping center to board the large air conditioned bus with the rest of the tour group, about 30 people. The ride to Santo Domingo was abou 2 1/2 hours with one stop for restrooms and a few minutes shopping. I got a coffee which was great, other had soft drinks and snacks. Before arriving in the main part of the city, we stopped at Tres Ojos which is a series of lagoons in a open cavern, there are a number of steps down to the lagoons but it was not necessary to go all the way to the bottom to see some of the scenery. It was a worthwhile stop and glad we did it at the beginning of the tour.

In the city, we saw the lighthouse and Christopher. Columbus mausoleum built in 1992 to celebrate the 500 year anniversary of Columbus Discovery. Very impressive! Also toured Columbus's son's palace which he used as governor. The train is only a name for a small motorized shuttle pulling cars through the narrow streets of downtown Santo Domingo. But it is fairly comfortable ride and you do see much more of the city than you would walking.
Lunch was a buffet on the second floor of a large modern souvenir shop. Food was OK, restrooms were very clean, but it was crowded with other groups and tourists. It was on the main plaza or square and we had about an hour to walk around and shop or explore the area.

We toured the oldest cathedral in the new world, which was very nice. The guide had a radio microphone and we were given earphones which worked well.

The tour does require a certain amount of walking, but nothing strenuous.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

The tour was great. The tour guide Fausto provided information in both Spanish and English. Santa Domingo is a very historic city and it is a must see while in Dominican Republic.
The choo-cho ride around the city was nice as it was very hot and a walking tour would have been miserable.
In all, the places visited on this tour is as described.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

Highly recommended!! Very historic place!!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

Well worth your time, guide was very informative and the highlights of Santo Domingo were well represented.
Really enjoyed the train ride through the streets. Ample time and frequency for rest periods given the climate can be exhausting. Highly recommend as a must do.

Maggie M
United States of America

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

Tour was great. Guide provided info in both English and Spanish. It was a long day but very interesting for the most part. The caves at the beginning weren't that appealing to us. The food at lunch was very good. There was appropriate amount of time to walk around on our own. The bus has A/C!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

This was an all-inclusive sightseeing tour which was worth the price. I enjoyed all facets, including the cave, Columbus Lighthouse monument, Cathedral, train ride, lunch, Columbus museum. The tour guide was informative and the ride to Santa Domingo was on a nice motorcoach. I would do it again.

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Tour code: 2476PUJSANTO


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