Travel Guide to the Colonial Zone, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo is the oldest city in the New World, founded by Christopher Columbus and his younger brother Bartholomew Columbus in 1496. The part of the city inhabited in the early 1500s was called the Colonial Zone (Colonial Colonia Zone in Spanish). The colonial zone is rife with many firsts for the New World. The first paved street, university, cathedral, castle, monastery, hospital and fortress – to name a few. With its beautiful architecture and rich history, the Colonial Zone is a must visit during your visit to Santo Domingo. UNESCO has classified the colonial zone as a World Heritage Site.

In the colonial zone, along with the beauty of historic buildings, you will find: hotels, restaurants, cafes, museums, bars, shops, etc. The two most famous streets in the colonial zone are Calle Las Damas (Woman Street) and Calle Conde. Calle Las Damas was a street that women from high society walked the church on their way to lunch. Calle Las Damas is an incredible street by day, but at night it becomes even more amazing when the street lights turn the walls of the buildings with beautiful orange hues. With each step the first concreted New World street, you travel deeper in time until you feel like you are on a 1500 hike past Christopher Columbus himself.


There are many hotels to choose from and they offer a wide range of prices from economical to elegant. What is nice about budget hotels in this area is that they are clean and staff with friendly people – with many who speak English. Please note that these are old buildings and, although they are clean, most rooms are small and have Old Building editions. Still, for the price I think they offer a great experience in a large area. There are many of these hotels and many offer different special offers at different times, so it is difficult to recommend one particular hotel. The reason I like hotels in this area is that when you walk out the door of a hotel, you don't have to pay a taxi to take you to a location to enjoy. You are already at destination # 1 in Santo Domingo.

On the higher end, there are several hotels to enjoy, but I'll talk about Nicolas De Ovando's Hodelpi. This hotel has spacious guest rooms, a nice courtyard behind which you can enjoy in the evenings, a small bar, good buffet breakfast and a great menu for dinner, but the best two aspects of this hotel are its history and its history. architecture. Nicolas de Ovando, a companion of Christopher Columbus, was the third governor of India, and this hotel was once his home, dating from 1502. This hotel is located on Calle Las Damas (the first paved street) in one of the first houses built, so to me there is no better place to stay so you can immerse yourself in the culture of the oldest city of the New World. But don't worry if the hotel is out of your budget, you can visit it and enjoy a cocktail in the bar or in the backyard.

Things to do and see

Walking tour

I warmly suggest you take a stroll through Calle Las Damas and make it the first thing you do when you arrive in the colonial zone. Once you understand the buildings and their history, you will be able to enjoy them more. For example, if you sit in Plaza Espana and enjoy a pleasant evening as you look across the square and see the stone building, it will no longer be just a stone building, because after a walk, he will realize that this is the house of Christopher Columbus, Diego's son, Diego. Columbus.

When walking the Calle Las Damas, you will be approached by tour guides who will offer you a walking tour. So far, I have taken each tour with guides who spoke excellent English. The walking tour usually takes two hours. I usually talk to a tour guide before and ask them to stand out and try to convert for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The cost of the tour is usually around $ 1,000 of Dominican Pesos ($ 20), but you can try to negotiate a lower price. The tour guides work great and are caring, so I think they earn $ 1,000 Pesos.

The next section will talk about some buildings worth looking at, and many of them will be included in the tour.

Buildings, museums and historical attractions

The Cathedral of Santa Maria / The Cathedral of Santa Maria– Built in 1514, it is America's first cathedral. This cathedral is an active cathedral and conducts services and has 7 beautiful chapels.

Alcázar de Colón is the home of a son, Christopher Columbus. This home has been turned into a beautiful museum with some original furniture and some reproductions of original furniture. A stroll through this museum will give you a sense of how Columbus lived in the 1500s.

Plaza de España is a large, open meeting place with 8 restaurants overlooking the square on one side and Alcazar de Colon (home of Diego Columbus, son of Christopher Columbus) on the other. It is located at the end of Calle Las Damas.

Calle Las Damas is probably the most historically significant street in the city. It was America's first paved street, and it was a street of high society women walking around the church to attend lunch. The street is filled with buildings dating back to 1500 that have now been turned into museums, hotels, restaurants, etc. Draw in history as you walk this street.

Calle Conde is probably the 2nd most important street in the city. This street is closed to cars and is filled with shops, cafes, restaurants, hotels, and in the middle there is a small park (Parque Colon) and on the other side of this street is Parque Independencia.

Fortaleza Ozam is a 16th century mansion built above the Ozama River in the colonial zone. This is the oldest European design fortress in America.

Ruinas de San Francisco is the rest of the monastery built in preparation for the Franciscan Fathers 1508. This is considered an important ruin and is the work of Governor Nicolas de Ovando.

Stranteon de la Patria originally a church to the Jesuits, it was later transformed into a mausoleum containing the remains of some of the most prominent national, civilian and military heroes of the Dominican Republic.

El Parque Colon (Columbus Park) it was the main gathering place for ceremonies in the colonial era and it is today. Located on Calle Conde opposite the Conde Hotel and bordering Santa Maria Cathedral, it is a great place to sit on a bench in a park under a tree and take a break from touring museums and ruins to soak in the beauty and culture.

Restaurants, cafes, cafes and night clubs

There are plenty of restaurants, bars, cafes and nightclubs in the colonial zone. I will focus on those that have historical significance, those I have enjoyed and some that our past clients have enjoyed.

Overlooking Plaza Espana (Spanish Square) and Alcázar de Colón (Deigo Columbus House), there are 8 restaurants in a row. Each has a menu located in front of the Spanish and English restaurants. All 8 restaurants are elegant and the longest New World restaurant is one of these 8. The Pate Palo (wooden leg) once owned by the one-legged pirate is the 500-year-old restaurant that Sir Francis Drake once ate. Whether you have eaten for Pate Palo or one of the other 8, you cannot go wrong when choosing one of these.

There are several restaurants at Calle Conde to choose from. They are casual dresses for lunch and casual or upscale casual at night. Segrefrados Italian Restaurant is a great location not only for food but also for people watching it. They have great coffee in the morning to kick off their day of rest, and their drinks are great too. For more traditional Dominican cuisine, you can visit the first floor of the Conde Hotel. This restaurant has a patio overlooking Parque Calon and Santa Maria Cathedral.

At the end of Calle Conde is a very famous cafe / dining room called Grands, formerly Pacos. This restaurant is open 24 hours a day and is a great place to have a coffee and breakfast to start your day off. This is not a fancy place but an ordinary cafe that will see people gathering every day of the week to enjoy a good conversation with their coffee and Dominican style food, regardless of the hour.

The LuLus Tasting Bar is a great place to enjoy a cocktail and dinner. It is a very trendy site that is upscale casual.

Onnos is a nightclub located in the heart of the colonial zone where you can hear your favorite country music (Bachata, Merengue and Salsa).

As I mentioned before, there are many more restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs to choose from, but I wanted to give you a list of what we consider to be a popular choice. As you walk around you will see many others, and if you see one you like, just come in and enjoy.

In conclusion

Between history, museums, great restaurants, cafes and nightlife, the Colonial Zone should be communicated to anyone visiting the Dominican Republic. This is a friendly area of ​​English that is very safe to walk around as a tourist.