Why choose a cruise to Santo Domingo?

This atmospheric, urban capital is one of the oldest cities in the New World. It’s stunning Colonial Zone is a UNESCO world heritage site, full of 500-year-old Spanish mansions, majestic churches, cobbled streets and shady plazas. It also boasts numerous art galleries and museums.

But Santo Domingo also has an intensely modern side. You’ll find hip modern neighbourhoods filled with cafés and restaurants, glitzy high-rises and shopping complexes. At nights the bars pulse with the sounds of merengue and bachata music. There’s never a dull moment in this city.

dominican republicA guide to Santo Domingo’s hotspots

Santo Domingo’s most impressive buildings are located in the beautiful Colonial Zone. Explore the Fortaleza Ozama, a stunning medieval fortress in a scenic riverside location. Marvel over Christopher Columbus’s House, a colonnaded stone palace which contains an intriguing museum. History buffs will have to be dragged away.

Escape the hustle and bustle of the streets in Parque Mirador del Este. This sprawling park is popular with joggers and cyclists. It’s also renowned for its limestone caves. The most popular are Los Tres Ojos, or ‘the Three Eyes,’ three scenic caverns where stalactites and stalagmites surround turquoise lakes.

Mercado Modelo, located in downtown Santo Domingo, is the capital’s largest market. Vendors sell paintings, Cuban cigars and handmade jewellery. There are even stalls where you can pick up love potions!

If you want to spend your Santo Domingo cruise on the beach, no problem. A 25-minute drive from the city centre is pretty Boca Chica. The golden sand is fringed with palm trees, and the lagoon-like waters are great for swimming and snorkelling. There are plenty of beach shacks serving delicious food and refreshing cocktails, too.

santo domingoCruise lines that sail to the port of Santo Domingo

The best time to visit Santo Domingo

The best time to visit Santo Domingo is in January and February, when the weather averages 25°C and the skies are clear. February is carnival month, so expect parades, fireworks and street parties.

In the months of July and August there’s a lull in the rainy season, and temperatures average a sizzling 28°C. See if you can time your visit with the annual Merengue festival, where people dance in bars and on the beach, and there are handicraft exhibitions and food stalls lining the seafront.

Did you know?

· In the Colonial Zone you’ll find a ‘4D’ movie theatre that introduces weather, smells and motion seats into its historic films

· Santo Domingo’s Calle Las Damas is the first street built in the New World

· Meanwhile, its Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor is the New World’s first cathedral

· Santo Domingo is the birthplace of merengue music