My inner history buff did a lot of research in preparation for stopping in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on my latest cruise. I was beyond excited to see the oldest city in the Americas! This week I am sharing my top 3 spots to see in Santo Domingo!
Thankfully we were docked on the Ozama river and all three of these spots were not only within walking distance, but we could see our ship on the river almost at all times. There is a sense of security being able to see your floating home while exploring a foreign city.
1. Cathedral of Santa María la Menor
Our first stop didn’t take long to find as it was only about three blocks in. Right in the front courtyard is a statue of Christopher Columbus the founder of this beautiful city pointing the way back to our ship. This is the FIRST and OLDEST Cathedral in the Americas completed in 1540, and it is GORGEOUS! A lot of the architectural elements reminded me of the cathedrals that I saw in Italy with the basic layout, use of stonework, vaulted ceilings and the amazing arches. This church was built with limestone and you can see hints of the Caribbean lifestyle throughout the cathedral.
Between the art, the chapels and the vaulted ceilings this church is definitely a must in my book! I had a blast sharing all of my knowledge of architecture, art, and cathedrals with my family as the unofficial tour guide!
2. Fortaleza Ozama
This conveniently located medieval military fort was built in the 1505 and is the oldest of European design in the Caribbean. It was built right off of the Ozama river to protect the city and was also used as a prison until the 1960s. I had a blast exploring the Tower of Homage which appears to look like a castle. I climbed the many spiral stone staircases to the top where I found amazing views of the city.
3. El Museo de las Casas Reales
A straight walk down Calle Las Damas (The oldest paved street known as “Ladies Street” named after the elegant ladies of the court) from the fortress is the Museum! It’s the old governor’s office and home of the Royal Court built in the Renaissance style that tells the story of Columbus’s discovery there, shipwrecks and other colonial artifacts. Make sure to keep an eye out in the courtyards for some peacocks roaming around.
Have you been to Santo Domingo? What do you recommend for my next visit? Have a great week y’all!