Parque Colón (Columbus Park)
This shady park next to the cathedral is the perfect place to take a break from sightseeing. Popular with locals as well as tourists, it offers plenty of opportunities for people watching.
Parque Colón is also a good place to find an official tour guide (look for photo ID badge) who can give you an informative tour of the Colonial Zone.
Calle El Conde, corner of Arzobispo Meriño
Across the street from the Convento de los Dominicos, this small Colonial Zone park is a good choice for a relaxing break. Offering shady benches under trees, it is a popular meeting place for locals. The sculpture in the center of the park depicts Juan Pablo Duarte, one of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic.
Calle Padre Bellini, corner of Av. Duarte
Located at the end of Calle El Conde and surrounded by busy streets, the enclosed Parque Independencia commemorates the Dominican Republic’s struggle for independence. The park contains the Altar de la Patria, built by Trujillo to hold the remains of the country’s founding fathers: Juan Pablo Duarte, Matías Ramón Mella and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez.
As an interesting side note, this park is also the ‘kilometer zero’ marker, the geographical point from which all distances on roads and highways are measured.
Calle El Conde and Calle Palo Hincado
Hours: 8:30 am to 6 pm
Jardín Botánico Nacional
This beautifully maintained botanical garden has over 2 sq. km. of lush vegetation native to the island. The park can be explored on foot or by electric train. Highlights include the Japanese garden, the flower clock, aquatic plants, orchids, ferns and more.
There is also an Ecology Museum where visitors can learn more about the country’s different ecosystems, with information on mangrove forests, cloud forests and pine forests, as well as coastal environments.
Av. República de Colombia
Hours: Every day, 9 am – 6 pm