Day Trips at Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana: Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is a vibrant city that has been thriving since the year it was settled in 1496.  Today, this city is the capital of the Dominican Republic and has an unbelievable amount of rich history and modern-day culture, which makes it a fun and worthwhile day trip for guests staying at Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana – if you can part with relaxation at the lovely resort of course!

You will definitely be hard-pressed to fit all of Santo Domingo’s rich experiences into a single day trip, so we are going to highlight our favorite sights, restaurants and nightlife options so you can narrow your options down to one day.

Santo Domingo is a great place for architecture buffs. The city has the first cathedral and castle built in the Americas, which are still in great condition for visitors today.  The Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor was built between 1512 and 1540.  The structure mixes Baroque and Gothic styles, creating a truly stunning interior and exterior.  It also houses an impressive art collection of ancient woodcarvings furniture, monuments, tombstones and jewelry.

Photo courtesy of Lonely Planet

Photo courtesy of Lonely Planet

Columbus Alcazar was built by Diego Colon, Christopher Columbus’s son, and is the first castle that was ever built in the Americas.  Today, the palace is home to a museum with many impressive works of art and tapestries spanning from the 15th through 17th century.

If you like people watching, we suggest you stop by Parque Colon, which is one of the city’s main gathering places.  Right in the center, you will find an impressive sculpture of Christopher Columbus.  It is a great place to buy souvenirs from locals and is surrounded by great restaurant choices.

Photo courtesy of PPS

Photo courtesy of PPS

A great place for lunch or dinner in Santo Domingo is Pat’e Palo European Brasserie.  The restaurant offers excellent food and service in the historic part of town.  The menu has a wealth of delicious options combining local flavors with European culinary tradition.  One of the best parts about this restaurant is the outdoor seating, so you can sit outside in the gorgeous historic city and enjoy the Caribbean air.

Finally, for everyone that still has enough energy to dance the night away after a day full of wonderful food and breathtaking sights, we recommend a visit to Guacara Taina.  This is a huge nightclub located in an actual cave!  The club mostly plays Merengue music but does include an occasional Salsa tune.  And the great part about being located in a cave:  Caves stay cool year-round!  If you are visiting this club, aim for later rather than earlier, because this club tends to have a later crowd.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

We hope you the opportunity to enjoy a day trip to Santo Domingo while staying at Secrets Royal Beach, so you can get a glimpse (and taste!) of all of the sights and flavors of this beautiful historic city.

Contact your concierge to help you plan a day trip you won’t forget!

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