Being the first European settlement in the New World, Santo Domingo exudes Old World charm, an engaging quality that combines beautifully with its modern sophistication.
Depart from the pier in a motor coach for the nearly 2-hour drive to Santo Domingo. Your picturesque drive through the southern Dominican Republic features a beautiful landscape graced by small villages, fertile farmland and a classic Caribbean coastline. Arriving in Santo Domingo, you'll stop at the mammoth, cross-shaped Columbus Lighthouse monument, built in the 1990s to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the explorer's arrival in the New World.
It's a wonderful introduction to the city, which was founded in 1496. Traveling to the Colonial Zone, you'll find historic pride is everywhere and perhaps best expressed in your next stop, the Alcázar, a coral-stone palace built on the bluffs of the Ozama River for Columbus' son, Diego. Exploring the interior, you'll follow in the footsteps of other distinguished guests, including Cortés and Ponce de León.
The guided walking portion of your tour begins with a short walk to The National Pantheon which stands as another historic landmark. Once a Jesuit monastery, it now commemorates the country's heroes of independence, and the eternal flame inside burns in their honor. From here, it's on to the glorious Cathedral of Santa Maria, which was built in 1523 and served as Sir Francis Drake's headquarters when he captured the city later that century. Then, walk to the colonial market where you will enjoy free time for shopping or perhaps lunch on your own, before re-boarding your coach for the nonstop, scenic drive back to La Romana.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 90-minutes of moderate walking, plus any additional walking at the guests' discretion during free time. The streets in the Colonial Zone are mainly cobblestone and there are uneven surfaces, steps and stairs to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and not considered suitable for those with mobility concerns. Light-weight clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.