A throbbing capital
A stop at the Dominican Republic during an MSC cruise to the Caribbean & 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.