The area of Santo Domingo is the largest, at 1,401 square kilometers and a population of 2,193,046, followed by the San Pedro de Macorís region, with its 1,255 km2 and 220,368 inhabitants. La Romana covers an area of 654 square kilometers for a population of 166,550.
Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic, enjoys the privilege of being the first city of the New World and cradle of the evangelization of America. It was founded by the honorable Bartolomé Colón, brother of Admiral Christopher Columbus, on the eastern bank of the Río Ozama, August 4, 1496.
As the first-born of America, Santo Domingo boasts the first cathedrals of the New World, the first university, the first hospital, the first monastery and the first town hall.
In 1990, Santo Domingo’s colonial city was declared a “World Heritage Site” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The visitor can stroll through the cobbled streets and view the historical monuments. Beginning on Las Damas street, the oldest on the continent, one arrives at the Torre del Homenaje, constructed from 1503 to 1507 by Nicolás de Ovando, continues to the Casa de Bastidas, and follows the road to the house of Hernán Cortés, the Panteón Nacional, which houses the old Iglesia de las Jesuitas, the Museo de las Casas Reales and the Palacio de los Gobernadores.
Continuing the journey, one can observe the Reloj del Sol, a sundial constructed in 1753 by Francisco Rubio de Peñaranda that still tells the exact time. Just next to the clock, one finds the Iglesia de Los Remedios and a few meters beyond, the majestic and imposing Alcázar de Diego Colón and the First Viceroy Palace a mix of Gothic and Spanish and Italian Renaissance styles that was restored in the late 50s.
From the balconies of the Alcázar one can see to the other side of the Río Ozama, where the imposing Faro a Colón lighthouse rises from the ground, constructed on the last decade of the XX century (October 1992), where the remains of the discoverer of America, sir Christopher Columbus, rest, and from which 21 avenues begin, one for each country of the New World, all meeting on the Avenida de Las Américas. Anchored on a hill, surrounded by gardens, it projects, to the heights of the Caribbean sky, the beam of light that is considered the illumination of the New World.
Other points of interest in the city are: the Botanic Gardens, with an entrance on the Avenida Colombia; the zoo, on the Avenida Reyes Católicos and the national aquarium on the Avenida de España. Also, other tourist sites are the Mercado Modelo (the main handicraft center of the country, located on Mella avenue), the Plaza de la Cultura that limits the Avenida Máximo Gómez and César Nicolás Penson and Pedro Henríquez Ureña streets, the Parque del Mirador del Sur, with exuberant tropical vegetation and walking paths, which borders the Avenida Anacaona and Avenida de la Salud, frequented by cyclists, runners and walkers, among others.
Upon leaving the Dominican capital, toward the east, by the Autopista de Las Américas, one can visit Los Tres Ojos, subterranean caverns with a subterranean river of clear, blue-green waters that glisten like precious gems.
Beaches, palms and hotels
After passing the entrance to the modern Aeropuerto Internacional de Las Américas Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez, one arrives at Boca Chica, one of the most beautiful beaches on the seaboard. Its shallow aquamarine waters, with its fine white sand, accompanied by a tropical breeze, make Boca Chica that most frequented beach by those that live in the capital, and it offers all the alternatives of structured tourism to visitors, with multiple services.
Upon continuing along the road, one can visit the Caribe, Juan Dolio, Guayacanes and Villas del Mar beaches, bordered with coconut palms and different options in the tourism infrastructure for rest and vacation enjoyment.
A few short minutes from the Villas del Mar beach is San Pedro de Macorís, founded in the early 19th century by Arab and European immigrants. Some buildings of the city have a Neo-classic and Victorian style, which was popular at the time. The abundance of fertile land and the work of the women and men of the region combined to produce what is today known as the “Danza de los Millones”, a period of economic prosperity, which was a product of the cultivation and commercialization of sugar cane and its industrialized products.
This bonanza brought with it the immigration of a qualified work force from neighboring English islands, descendants of Englishmen and Africans, called cocolos, which populated various sugar refineries that operated in the area and exchanged culture and customs with the inhabitants of the place.
The road continues to La Romana, nestled between cattle ranches and sugar plantations. Crossing the Río Dulce, one finds Casa de Campo, the most complete tourist resort in the Caribbean and one of the 10 best in the world. The Aeropuerto Internacional of La Romana opens the doors of this tourist paradise to the world.
The visitor to this place can choose among a wide variety of options for her recreation, both spiritual and physical. Casa de Campo has various golf courses, among them “Los Cajuiles”, one of the most beautiful in the world. Those that enjoy sailing can find the modern Marina de Chavón, which facilitates access to the place that shares a name with the marina. Altos de Chavón houses “La Ciudad de los Artistas”, located on a plateau among thousand-year-old forests, which offers multiple services to its visitors and a scenic lookout point where one can view the beauty of the Río Chavón, bordered by vegetation.
The beaches of Bayahibe are an important tourist attraction, whose clear skies allow bright stars to reflect their radiance across the waters, whose waves break over a soft, snow-white sand. An excellent tourism infrastructure offers all the comfort needed for a pleasant stay.