4.5 star rating: Recommended 28 Reviews

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

Highlights

  • 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

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 December 2014

It was a long trip to Santo Domingo but it was worth it. The tour was smooth from start to finish, enough breaks in between to use the restroom, sightseeing and shopping. The tour guides were knowledgable and provided good history of the places visited. Highly recommended for visitors wanting to learn more about Dominican Republic. We purchased additional tours with another tour company but very dissatisfied with the outcome where we have to cancel the other half of the excursions and we now have to try to get a refund. We recommend that you buy your excursions ahead of time with Viator if you know where you want to visit or do, work around your schedule, to avoid problems in the future.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2014

This is a must do while you are in Dominican Republic! I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Our tour guide Fausto #2 was very informative and showed us the true beauty of Dominican Republic from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo. I would recommend taking snacks to have with you on your trip, we didn't stop to eat lunch until around 2pm and the tour started pretty early. Also, a lot of other reviews mentioned the people selling items on the streets and yes there were a lot but if you said no and kept walking they weren't a problem and they didn't get in the way of the tour which was great. I would also recommend you wear comfortable shoes. There's a lot of walking and the cave had many up and down areas that would bother you if you wear sandals.

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Tour code: 2476PUJSANTO

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