Top 5 Must Do's in Santo Domingo

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1. La Caleta is a scuba divers dream! These small islands off the coast present scuba enthusiasts with a fantastic spot to explore the coral reef. The waters at La Caleta are less rough than in most areas around Santo Domingo, making underwater visibility optimal and much more safe. There are two shipwrecks located off La Caleta, and no shortage of tropical and colorful fish to enjoy underwater. Divers from all over the world come to the Dominican Republic to take in the excellent diving at La Caleta.

2. Museo Bellapart offers great insight into the history of the island through its vast collection of artwork. Arguably one of the largest private collections of artwork in Santo Domingo, this Museum exhibits work spanning more than a century of political and cultural evolution. This collection showcases four important periods of art in the Dominican Republic: The Precursors, the First Masters, the Exiled, and the Vanguard. From neoclassical to romantic works this museum does not let down.

3. Acuario Nacional is flanked by the Caribbean Sea, and features a large plastic tunnel in which visitors are surrounded by water, sharks, stingrays, and eels. One of the most popular family attractions in Santo Domingo, this exhibit shows off a wide array of colorful fish and marine environments. This open and airy National Aquarium offers guest a first hand look at the Caribbean's diverse and beautiful sea life. The aquarium boasts more than 3000 marine inhabitants, including an orphaned manatee. Feel free to explore the National Aquarium on your own, or take a guided tour.

4. The Zona Colonial is the historic heart of Santo Domingo. Walk along the Called de las Damas to retrace the steps of the first Spanish conquistadors, who used Santo Domingo as their base for their conquest of Latin America. The square mile area is littered with cobbled streets, shady squares, many shops, restaurants, cafes, and beautiful colonial buildings. Don't miss a look inside the Cathedral, a mix of Gothic and Classical touches dating back to 1540, and is reputedly the resting place of Christopher Columbus

5. The Dominican Alps are approximately 50 miles from Santo Domingo, and form the island's spine. The central region is a nature lover's paradise of national parks, and valleys. Here you can visit the agricultural village of Jarabacoa, a popular summer retreat for sports enthusiasts, or take in the spectacular Salto de Jimenoa, a 131 foot waterfall that is reached via a narrow suspension bridge that is likely to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

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