Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Passport: Your weekly travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration

Santo Domingo Travel Guide

  • Photo: hessbeck / shutterstock

Plan Your Santo Domingo Vacation

Parque Independencia separates the old city from modern Santo Domingo, a sprawling, noisy city with a population of close to 2 million. The 12 cobblestone blocks of Santo Domingo's Zona Colonial contain most of the major sights in town. It's one of the most appealing historic districts in the Caribbean and is best explored on foot. The Zona ends at the seafront, called the Malecón.


civilization in the New World began in Santo Domingo's 12-block Zona Colonial. As you stroll its narrow streets, it's easy to imagine this old city as it was when the likes of Columbus, Cortés, and Ponce de León walked the cobblestones, pirates sailed in and out, and colonists started settling. Tourist brochures claim that "history comes alive here"—a surprisingly truthful statement. Almost every Thursday to Sunday night at 8:30 a typical "folkloric show" is staged at Parque Colón and Plaza de España. During the Christmas holidays there is an artisans' fair and live-music concerts take place. A fun horse-and-carriage ride throughout the Zona costs $25 for an hour, with any commentary in Spanish. The steeds are no thoroughbreds, but they clip right along. You can also negotiate to use them as a taxi, say, to go down to the Malecón. The drivers usually hang out in front of the Hostal Nicolas de Ovando. You can get a free walking-tour map and brochures in English at the Secretaria de Estado de Turismo office at Parque Colón (Columbus Park), where you may be approached by freelance, English-speaking guides who will want to make it all come alive for you. They'll work enthusiastically for $25 an hour for four people. At the time of this writing, the major reconstruction of so many of the streets in the Zona is expected to come to an end soon. Yet simply put, the Zona is not as safe as it once was—particularly at night and during festivals. Don't carry a lot of cash or your passport (leave them in the hotel safe).

Read More



Book Your Trip

Compare Sites:

Compare Sites:

Compare Sites:

Trending Stories
Trip Finder

No Thanks

Love To Travel?

Get FREE e-mail communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

How we use your email

Thank You

Now sit back, relax, and check your inbox to start planning your next travel adventure.

Please tell us more about the type of travel you're interested in. Check all that apply.