Close to Santo Domingo
The National Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the Caribbean, exhibiting more than 250 marine species. Highlights include sea turtles, sharks and manatees, as well as a long underwater tunnel where visitors are surrounded by marine life. The aquarium is set in a picturesque location with beautiful views of the Caribbean.
Av. España 75, Santo Domingo Este
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Faro a Colón (Columbus Lighthouse)
Columbus Lighthouse is a cross-shaped monument and museum that purportedly houses the remains of Christopher Columbus. The monument was inaugurated in 1992 in celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the discovery of America. The lighthouse features 157 spotlights that, when illuminated, project a giant cross in the sky that can be seen from as far away as Puerto Rico.
Av. España (near the airport)
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9 am – 5:30 pm
Los Tres Ojos (The Three Eyes)
This open-air limestone cave is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. The cave contains three beautiful lakes that are fed by an underground river and surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites. The caves and waters are home to a variety of fauna, including turtles, bats and fish. Movie buffs will be interested to know that the lakes formed the backdrop for several scenes in Jurassic Park.
Please note that the area is accessed via a long stairway in a narrow tunnel. The tour takes approximately one hour. Official tour guides are available.
Av. Las Américas, Santo Domingo Este
Parque Mirador del Este
Hours: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
There are several tour companies that offer organized day trips to fascinating national parks, spectacular pristine beaches and remote islands, as well as sugar and cocoa plantations.
These excursions are available as both group tours and private tours. A few examples of destinations follow.
The Dominican Republic’s largest island, this is a natural paradise featuring coastal lagoons, unspoiled beaches and mangrove forests. The island offers a wealth of interesting flora and fauna, and even has a sea turtle sanctuary. Soana Island is one of the most popular excursion destinations from Santo Domingo.
The largest lake in the Caribbean, this saltwater lake is surrounded by mountains that reach heights of 6,500 ft. Nature enthusiasts will be delighted by the wildlife, which includes crocodiles, iguanas, flamingos and many other tropical birds. One of the lake’s three islands – Cabrito Island – is a national park.
National Park of the East
The country’s second largest park, it offers visitors unspoiled nature, hiking trails, spectacular caves with underground rivers and Pre-Colombian art. The park’s western coastline provides excellent diving opportunities, while the southern tip has mangroves and saltwater lagoons, making it an ideal location for birdwatching.
Located at the foot of a mountain range and just an hour away from Santo Domingo, the Jima River and waterfalls provide a wonderful break from the city. The river features many natural pools where you can cool off with a swim.
Altos de Chavon
This re-creation of a Medieval Mediterranean village is perched high above the Chavon River. The unique destination features artisan workshops, art galleries, shops selling locally-made crafts and restaurants. There is also a 5,000 seat amphitheater that hosts concerts and theatre performances.
Tour a sugar plantation and cocoa plantation. During this fascinating educational tour, visitors learn all about how cocoa is grown and processed, seeing all stages of its production first hand.
Companies offering excursions from Santo Domingo:
Office: Gustavo Mejia Ricart No.43 Suite 209 (Naco)
Colonial Tour and Travel
Arz. Merino 209 (Colonial Zone)
Dominican Travel Network
Calle El Conde 154 (Colonial Zone)