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!

Guest Experience at Secrets Royal Beach

We recently had the pleasure of hosting Philadelphia native, Jackie Turchi, and 25 of her closest family members at Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana! Upon returning home, Jackie was kind enough to share some details about her adventurous, yet relaxing group vacation at our resort. Take a look at what she had to say:

 Was this your first time to Punta Cana?   Yes, this was my first time to the Dominican Republic and Punta Cana. However, I traveled with 25 other people. Four of them had visited a couple years prior to our trip and wanted to return.

What type of suite did you stay in? There were 26 of us all together and we needed 11 rooms.  Our group booked every style room the hotel had to offer except the honeymoon suites. My boyfriend and I stayed in the Garden Terrace room. We were on the first floor with sliding glass doors which lead to the gardens of the resort. On every patio there is a sunken Jacuzzi.  There was not a bad room in the place. The entire hotel was impeccably clean.

What was your favorite part about Unlimited-Luxury®?  Unlimited-Luxury® is the way to travel. If you live on a budget, it takes the stress out of making sure you have enough money throughout your trip. Unlimited-Luxury® allows you to enjoy yourself stress free. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and all the cocktails you could ever want is included.

What was your favorite meal during your stay? All of the food was delicious, however I have to say Bordeaux, the French restaurant, was the best dinner I had. It is a 5 course meal which allowed you to enjoy a little bit of everything. My filet mignon was fabulous and the dessert was out of this world. We also did the lobster night on the beach. This is not included in the Unlimited-Luxury® package but we thought it was reasonably priced at $30.00 per person. All you can eat lobsters on the beach under the stars…it was an awesome experience!

Did you take advantage of any resort entertainment or excursions?  Yes, we attended a wine tasting, live entertainment performed by Chris Blizzard and I participated in a Karaoke contest and won! Also, we did the Banana Boats, Parasailing and the Party Boat.  The Party Boat is more than a party. The boat takes you out for 3 hours. The first hour you snorkel with tropical fish and coral reefs; the next 2 hours they dock in shallow water where everyone gets off to have fun in beautiful crystal clear water all while they supply you with delicious cocktails.

What facilities did you use at Now Larimar Punta Cana? My boyfriend and I had a couples massage at the spa at Now Laimar.  We used there pool on some days. Also, we ate at the Italian restaurant Capers and stopped by Eclipse Night Club one night.

Will you go back? Yes! While staying at Secrets Royal Beach, we were treated like royalty. The staff could not have been more accommodating. They are very hard working people who wore a smile on their faces every single day. The food, drinks and beach were amazing. For the price of the trip and a 3 hour flight from Philadelphia, it beats going to the Jersey shore any day!

Jackie’s experience was so exceptional that she is already talking about organizing a group of friends to join her next year! If you enjoyed reading about Jackie’s family vacation and parasailing, snorkeling, couples massages or dinning under the stars sounds like something you would like to do, then book your stay now at Secrets Royal Beach for a getaway of your own!  

The group of 26 vacationers in the lobby of Secrets Royal Beach