Fortaleza Ozama#5 in Best Things To Do in Santo Domingo
The Fortaleza Ozama is the oldest formal standing fort in the Americas — reason alone to swing by for a visit — but travelers also describe it as a great place to learn a bit of local history while snapping photos of Santo Domingo. Built in 1502, the fort served the military interests of Spain, England, France, Haiti, Gran Colombia, the U.S. and, of course, the Dominican Republic until it was decommissioned and reopened for public use in 1970. Once you've soaked up the landmark's rich history and are ready to take in the view, just climb to the top of the coral rock Torre del Homenaje (or Tower of Homage) that stands in the center.
Prior travelers said the views offer the perfect backdrop for top-notch photographs, although some caution that the lack of consistent maintenance leaves this fort looking dirty and uncared for at times.
You'll find this fort at the southern end of Calle Las Damas. You can visit from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. On Sundays La Fortaleza closes at 4 p.m. Admission costs approximately RD$70 or $1.55 USD.
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#1 Zona Colonial
Partially barricaded by stone walls, accented with baroque architecture and lying on cobblestone streets, Santo Domingo's Zona Colonial marks the area where Columbus settled in the New World. Visitors say it's definitely a must-see, considering the city's best known historic sites are located here. But this UNESCO World Heritage Site also shelters many hotels, bars and restaurants. Best of all, you can explore the area entirely on foot: For all that's crammed inside, there's really only 11 blocks worth of sights.
So where should you start? Perhaps the Catedral Primada de America, which is located near the heart of the zone (look for the statue of Christopher Columbus). From there you can trek a little farther west to Fortaleza Ozama, located along the mouth of the Río Ozama in the southeast quadrant. Next, walk along the Calle Las Damas (the oldest street, a pedestrian-only zone) to the Alcázar de Colón palace and museum.
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