Santo Domingo

An old colonial section
Plaza de la Cultura complex
Salto de Socoa

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Santo Domingo

A throbbing capital

A stop at the Dominican Republic during an MSC cruise to the Caribbean, Cuba and Antilles means experiencing the everyday life of Santo Domingo.

Earthquakes and pirates have erased most of the city constructed by the Spanish in the 16th century

In spite of this, the old colonial section of the city still contains some important well-restored examples of buildings from the period, which you will be able to easily visit once disembarked from your cruise ship. Some of the most important architectural sites include the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor and Alcázar de Colón, the former residence of the island’s governor, which overlooks the nearby Rio Ozama

Five hundred years ago, the entire city of Santo Domingo fit into this small neighbourhood, which was restored and filled with bars and shops in the second half of the 20th century. Traces of the antique city walls as well as its entrance, Puerta de la Misericordia, can still be seen. Beyond the walls, Santo Domingo offers its visitors some enchanting spots. To the west of the colonial sector and to the north of Malecon, there is the district of Gazcue: a quiet residential area shaded by trees that plays host to the Plaza de la Cultura cultural complex. 

Here, four museum stand within a short distance of each other: the Museo del Hombre Dominicano, the Museo de Arte Moderno, the Museo de Historia y Geografia and the Museo de Historia Natural. About 70 km from Santo Domingo, there is a popular natural tourist destination, a waterfall so perfect that it seems unreal, the Salto de Socoa. Santo Domingo is famous of its waterfalls, but this one is the closest to the capital and the most easily accessible of all; this MSC excursion to the Province of Monte Plata will let you experience first hand the marvels of the island’s interior covered with lush vegetation. Keeping to the coast, another excursion will take you to the clear waters and white sands of Boca Chica, located just 40 km outside Santo Domingo. 

Must see place in Santo Domingo

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    Dominican Republic

    Where the sun always shines
    Where the sun always shines

    A world-famous magnet for sun worshippers, the Dominican Republic is the Caribbean’s most visited holiday destination – yet it still holds plenty of surprises.

    There’s the geographic diversity, for starters – how many outsiders know that the country boasts five distinct mountain ranges, seemingly endless swathes of rainforest, regions of cactus-strewn semi-desert, plus the Caribbean’s largest metropolis, highest peak and biggest lake? Or that the capital, Santo Domingo, is the oldest colonial city in the Americas? For a country significantly smaller than Scotland, it certainly packs a lot in. A cruise to the Dominican Republic will take you to its celebrated coastline – all 1000km and more of it – where you can count on hundreds of beautiful, white-sand beaches, 166km of coral reefs and 325 square kilometres of mangroves.

    Besides rainforest there are vast tracts of pine forest, much of which can be found in the country’s many national parks and nature reserves. Occupying gentler plots of land are the manicured greens of over 25 designer golf courses, complementing the countless locations for other outdoor pursuits, including one of the world’s best kitesurfing spots in Cabarete, and the largest breeding ground for the North Atlantic humpback whale population in the Samaná Bay, providing the scene for some of the most unforgettable nautical excursions anywhere.