Santo Domingo

An old colonial section
Plaza de la Cultura complex
Salto de Socoa

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Santo Domingo

A throbbing capital

A stop at the Dominican Republic during an MSC cruise to the Caribbean, Cuba and Antilles means experiencing the everyday life of Santo Domingo.

Earthquakes and pirates have erased most of the city constructed by the Spanish in the 16th century

In spite of this, the old colonial section of the city still contains some important well-restored examples of buildings from the period, which you will be able to easily visit once disembarked from your cruise ship. Some of the most important architectural sites include the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor and Alcázar de Colón, the former residence of the island’s governor, which overlooks the nearby Rio Ozama


Five hundred years ago, the entire city of Santo Domingo fit into this small neighbourhood, which was restored and filled with bars and shops in the second half of the 20th century. Traces of the antique city walls as well as its entrance, Puerta de la Misericordia, can still be seen. Beyond the walls, Santo Domingo offers its visitors some enchanting spots. To the west of the colonial sector and to the north of Malecon, there is the district of Gazcue: a quiet residential area shaded by trees that plays host to the Plaza de la Cultura cultural complex. 


Here, four museum stand within a short distance of each other: the Museo del Hombre Dominicano, the Museo de Arte Moderno, the Museo de Historia y Geografia and the Museo de Historia Natural. About 70 km from Santo Domingo, there is a popular natural tourist destination, a waterfall so perfect that it seems unreal, the Salto de Socoa. Santo Domingo is famous of its waterfalls, but this one is the closest to the capital and the most easily accessible of all; this MSC excursion to the Province of Monte Plata will let you experience first hand the marvels of the island’s interior covered with lush vegetation. Keeping to the coast, another excursion will take you to the clear waters and white sands of Boca Chica, located just 40 km outside Santo Domingo. 

Must see place in Santo Domingo

Discover our excursions

6 results found

Limited number of guides in languages different from English. Should your language be not available the tour will be performed in English.
  • SANTO DOMINGO CITY TOUR

    CITY TOUR

    SDQ01

    A chance to discover the civic beauty of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, is the main item on the itinerary of this appealing half-day tour, which begins with a panoramic view of the late 20th-century Columbus Lighthouse. Next up is the busy Plaza de España, then the Zona Colonial to see the Alcázar de Colón – an early 16th-century vice-regal residence – and the royal houses. Scenic impressions follow of the 18th-century National Pantheon, Calle Las Damas (the main drag of the Zona Colonial), Ozama Fortress and the Cathedral of Santa María le Menor, two 16th century buildings. After some free time for shopping, you’ll leave the Zona Colonial and head for the historically important Centro de los Héroes. Then it’s on to the upscale neighbourhood of Gazcue, one of the city’s oldest with a profusion of Art Deco buildings. Feast your eyes on the Palace of Fine Arts, then look forward to a stop at the Plaza de la Cultura, home to the National Theatre, museums and other cultural institutions. After a final photo stop at the National Palace, you’ll return to the ship.
      • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Easy

      • Duration
        3 h

      • AdultsR835Price per person

      • ChildrenR595Price per person

    • WONDER CAVE & SAN PEDRO

      NATURAL WONDERS

      SDQ13

      Marvellous views of both a nature-given and a civic kind await you on this extended half-day outing, which begins with your transfer to the southeast of Hispaniola to reach the so-called Cueva de las Maravillas, or the Cave of Wonders in English. Located at a depth of about 80 ft./25 m and approximately 875 yds./800 m in length, the cave complex features vast caverns, oddly shaped stalagmites and stalactites as well as – most importantly – numerous petroglyphs and pictographs left by the island’s Taíno natives more than 500 years ago. After your trip around this underground world, you’ll move on to the small coastal town of San Pedro de Macorís, a place known for its superb sea views and sugarcane farming. After visiting the nearby Cigar and Rum Museum, you’ll also have some free time to wander around the colonial town before you return to the ship.Please note: the tour involves over an hour of transit by bus to/from the Cave of Wonders. Guests are recommended to wear comfortable clothing and shoes for walking. All sites are accessible for guests using wheelchairs, however the tour may not be suitable for guests with limited mobility.
        • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

          Difficulty Level
          Strenuous

        • Duration
          5 h

        • AdultsR935Price per person

        • ChildrenR885Price per person

      • PANORAMIC ZONA COLONIAL BY TRAIN

        SCENIC ROUTE

        SDQ12

        A scenic trip around Santo Domingo’s famous Zona Colonial awaits you on this tour, but not on a coach and not on foot, nor even on a regular train. Instead, you’ll board a wheeled and open-sided choo-choo lookalike that will familiarise you with the 500 years of history that make Santo Domingo’s historical quarter so special. And an included audio guide will ensure you don’t miss a thing on the route around the Zona. Look forward to splendid views of the quarter’s lovely monuments, buildings, parks, churches and cityscape in general. Your round trip of Santo Domingo’s cultural gem comes to a close with your return to the ship. Please note: there are no stops on the train ride, which includes only the route through the Zona Colonial plus audio guide narration. The audio guide is available in the following languages: English, Spanish, French, Russian, Portuguese, and Italian.
          • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

            Difficulty Level
            Easy

          • Duration
            1:30 h

          • AdultsR665Price per person

          • ChildrenR495Price per person

        • RELAX AT BOCA CHICA BEACH

          SEA & SUN

          SDQ08

          Situated about a 30-minute drive to the east of Santo Domingo – the capital of the Dominican Republic – lies one of the nation’s most popular beaches in the charming seaside town of Boca Chica. This is the perfect spot to swim, relax and enjoy the amenities of the Be Live Resort Hotel, which was purpose-built to be a holidaymaker’s delight. Grab a beach chair and hit the beach for some time in the sun. A 500-m reef closes off the bay to the sea and forms a natural pool whose beauty has to be seen to be believed. The mill-pond stillness of the water here is an open invitation to jump in and indulge in all sorts of water-based fun. Food and drinks are also available at the resort at an additional charge. Your beachy day out comes to a close with your return to the port and your ship. Please note: Umbrellas are available for rent.
          • Drink included

          • Possibility of swimming

          • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

            Difficulty Level
            Moderate

          • Duration
            5 h

          • AdultsR1225Price per person

          • ChildrenR835Price per person

        • CHOCOLATE TOUR

          SOMETHING SPECIAL

          SDQ02

          In taking you to discover the wonders of one of the Caribbean’s largest organic cocoa processing plants, where only the most exquisite raw materials are used, this tour is sure to appeal to your inner chocolate connoisseur. Continuing along the chocolate theme, the second leg of the tour will see you visit to a cocoa farm to witness how a team of highly-skilled chocolatiers roasts and grinds the cocoa beans to produce the finest hand-made chocolate for your personal enjoyment. The third leg will then give you an opportunity to watch artisan potters while they recreate the kind of pottery their ancestors used to make. To add a savoury note to this chocolaty tour, you will enjoy a typical local snack before you return to the port and your ship.Please note: in general, children must be at least 8 years of age and accompanied by a parent to take part, but exceptions can be made at the discretion of the parents of children under the age of 8. The maximum age for participation is 75. Max. weight per guest is 250 lbs; max. height is 6’4”. You are recommended to take sunscreen, comfortable shoes and insect repellent.
          • Snack included

          • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

            Difficulty Level
            Moderate

          • Duration
            4:30 h

          • AdultsR1225Price per person

          • ChildrenR835Price per person

        • DOMINICAN SHOW & LUNCH AT EL CONUCO

          SOMETHING SPECIAL

          SDQ11

          This outing is not just sure to spice up your day with a delicious lunch prepared in traditional Dominican Republic style, but also with a sizzling performance put on by suitably spirited – and talented! – locals. Your tour begins with a drive past the Zona Colonial and along the lovely oceanfront boulevard known as the Malecón to reach the El Conuco restaurant. Decked out in cheerful colours and full of Caribbean flair, the restaurant provides a fun setting to enjoy a buffet lunch and, of course, the promised floor show of dancing and stunts performed on such unlikely things as a bottle of rum. And if you want to join the dancers in shaking a leg, you’ll be made very welcome on the dancefloor. After all this fun, the short transfer back to the ship will give you time to catch your breath.Please note: guests are recommended to wear comfortable shoes and clothes. This tour is not recommended for guests using a wheelchair.
          • Lunch or dinner included

          • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

            Difficulty Level
            Easy

          • Duration
            2:30 h

          • AdultsR1105Price per person

          • ChildrenR765Price per person

        The excursions in the programme above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
        Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
         
        Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

        Dominican Republic

        Where the sun always shines
        Where the sun always shines

        A world-famous magnet for sun worshippers, the Dominican Republic is the Caribbean’s most visited holiday destination – yet it still holds plenty of surprises.


        There’s the geographic diversity, for starters – how many outsiders know that the country boasts five distinct mountain ranges, seemingly endless swathes of rainforest, regions of cactus-strewn semi-desert, plus the Caribbean’s largest metropolis, highest peak and biggest lake? Or that the capital, Santo Domingo, is the oldest colonial city in the Americas? For a country significantly smaller than Scotland, it certainly packs a lot in. A cruise to the Dominican Republic will take you to its celebrated coastline – all 1000km and more of it – where you can count on hundreds of beautiful, white-sand beaches, 166km of coral reefs and 325 square kilometres of mangroves.

        Besides rainforest there are vast tracts of pine forest, much of which can be found in the country’s many national parks and nature reserves. Occupying gentler plots of land are the manicured greens of over 25 designer golf courses, complementing the countless locations for other outdoor pursuits, including one of the world’s best kitesurfing spots in Cabarete, and the largest breeding ground for the North Atlantic humpback whale population in the Samaná Bay, providing the scene for some of the most unforgettable nautical excursions anywhere.