Los Tres Ojos#6 in Best Things To Do in Santo Domingo
For those looking to take a break from the city's rich history, consider exploring Santo Domingo's tranquil Los Tres Ojos (which translates to "The Three Eyes" in English). This national park — which sits about 5 miles east of the Zona Colonial and is best reached by taxi — houses three limestone caverns, each of which features a lake. (Just keep in mind, though, that swimming is not allowed in any of the lakes.) Once inside the caves, you can either explore by foot or by boat (an additional $0.55 USD fee applies).
However, claustrophobic travelers may want to skip a visit to Los Tres Ojos. Although the caverns are quite spacious upon arrival, the deeper you venture into the caves, the more compact they become. Additionally, if you have mobility issues, traversing the entrance's long staircase may be troublesome.
Even though Los Tres Ojos is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, some visitors recommend planning your visit around opening or closing to avoid overcrowding from tour groups. Should you desire a guide (although many previous visitors note that one’s not required), several are located within the caves to show you around for a small fee. In addition to the scenery, explorers can also find restrooms, a gift shop and drink hawkers within the caves. A RD$100 (or $2.21 USD) entrance fee is required.
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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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