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Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic, lies within boundaries of the Distrito Nacional. It is considered one of the oldest Caribbean cities, with buildings and cobblestones dating back to the 1500s. The city is inhabited by more than three million people according to the last census survey. Santo Domingo serves as the centre of cultural, financial, political, commercial, and industrial sectors in the Dominican Republic, with most of the industries’ operations being carried out in the city. It also serves as the chief seaport of the country as its harbour accommodates cargo vessels and handles both passenger and freight traffic. The city proper of Santo Domingo is subdivided into incorporated areas called “Sectores” which are each served by the municipality mayor's office. Sector regions include older parts of town, urban outskirts, and Ensanche, which refers to modern parts of the city. The city is the centre of economic activity in the Dominican Republic, where political-related events usually take place. Due to its geographic location, many national and international firms have built their headquarters or regional offices in the city, while many other international firms and franchises are attracted to investing in the city as well.

What to see & do

This vibrant and cosmopolitan city has a lot to offer than historical sites and shopping boutiques, a wide range of places ideal for travellers looking for adventure can be found here. Some also say the nightlife along the Malecón is the best in the Caribbean.

Catedral Primada de America is the oldest cathedral in the Americas, dating back to 1540. It is easily accessible with its location in the main square. Tourists will see numerous architectural styles used in the cathedral including Gothic and Romanesque. The cathedral features a vaulted ceiling, 14 interior chapels, and a bell tower. There are tickets being sold to visitors of the cathedral in the south-eastern corner of the site. An audio guide in a variety of languages is also available.  

The 3 Eyes National Park is a 50-Yard open-air limestone cave in the Mirador del Este park. This attraction features three lakes in a cave that is illuminated by coloured lights at night time. Turtles can be seen on the lakes which are composed of fresh water with a depth of over 20 metres. A fauna with fish, bats, and turtles surrounded by rich vegetation can also be seen in this attraction. The park is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Zona Colonial is the historic central neighbourhood of Santo Domingo. It is the oldest European settlement of the New World. It is an important section of the city as it contains a large number of popular landmarks including Alcázar de Colón, Fortaleza Ozama, Catedral Primada de America, and others. Cultural venues can be found in Zona Colonial. This includes churches and religious buildings, notable houses, and museums.

How to get around within Santo Domingo

Travelling around Santo Domingo is made easy with attractions located in close proximity to each other in the Distrito Nacional. Public transportation in the city includes an underground and elevated rapid transit metro system, considered to be the most extensive metro in the Caribbean and the Central American region. Collective taxis or ‘guaguas’ are also common in Santo Domingo, which has a predetermined route and can pick up and drop off passengers along the way. You may also opt to travel around by foot along major thoroughfares in Santo Domingo.

How to get there

You can fly into Santo Domingo by plane to Las Americas International Airport, which is only around 15 minutes from the greater metropolitan area. Other airports serving Santo Domingo include La Isabela International Airport, Punta Cana International Airport, and La Romana International Airport, among other airports.

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