Get to know the real Dominican Republic by spending a day exploring its culturally rich capital and discovering the Santo Domingo that locals love. Soak up the city’s rich colonial history, visit local markets, snack on some of Santo Domingo’s must-try treats, then end the day with an icy-cold Dominican beer.
Leave your beach chair behind for a while and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, history, and flavours of Santo Domingo, the largest city in the Caribbean and the Dominican Republic’s captivating capital. This is your chance to experience the best Santo Domingo has to offer, alongside a local guide who can take you where the guidebooks can’t.
You’ll start in Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone, the oldest European settlement in the New World and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Have your cameras ready — there’s history everywhere here and architecture that will leave you speechless. In Billini’s Park, in front of Casa del Tostado, you’ll hear one of the most romantic stories of colonial times.
We’ll see the Caribbean side of the old city, admiring the many historic monuments, parks, and colonial fortresses as we walk, eventually getting to the old city walls that once protected the city from pirates. The walls will lead us to Independence Park, an important landmark commemorating the Dominican Republic’s struggle for independence.
As you walk, you’ll learn about the rich history of Santo Domingo, such as how Spanish and Arab immigrants brought their influence to the island, and how a rich commercial exchange has been established between the Dominican Republic and neighbouring Haiti. Take a walk through Little Haiti and explore the small, picturesque businesses selling Haitian products.
Along the way, you’ll also have the chance to explore local markets. Get ready for sensory overload — the local markets are filled with fruits, vegetables, grains, and spices, and are an explosion of vibrant colours and flavours. Learn about the most varied fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as the spices used in Dominican cuisine.
At the famous Mercado Modelo, one of the city’s largest markets, browse paintings with colourful Caribbean motifs, as well as leatherwork, jewellery made from local stones such as amber and larimar, traditional musical instruments, and many other locally made handicrafts. If you’re getting hungry, our walk takes us to one of the most traditional local cafeterias and bakeries in the city, where you can try much delicious and locally loved Dominican sweets.
Next, we get to one of the most colourful and dynamic areas of the city, the Chinatown of Santo Domingo, a community made up of the children and grandchildren of Chinese citizens who came to the Dominican Republic during the 19th and 20th centuries. Here, we’ll visit a local Chinese store and try some delicious Chinese refreshments that locals love.
We’ll then follow the local pulse of merengue and bachata music to reach Calle El Conde, a bustling pedestrian-only street filled with colourful storefronts and small restaurants where we’ll stop for one final break, in the form of a cold Dominican beer. We end the day at Columbus Park, where you can feel free to further explore the sights, or we can give you tips on which restaurants to visit and even more secret local spots to check out.
Note that the food samples may vary from tour to tour depending on what is available that day
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Walking food tour This was a very interesting experience. I wasn’t expecting to go to a Chinatown but as my wonderful guide Lewis... read moreThis was a very interesting experience. I wasn’t expecting to go to a Chinatown but as my wonderful guide Lewis explained the food reflects the history. He told me about immigration policies and their influence on food. The tour was good but when I explained I was having trouble with ATMs he went above and beyond helpful. He took me to banks I didn’t know about. He took me back to the office to ring the card centre. He didn’t leave me until it was resolved. As an older woman travelling solo with only English it can be very stressful dealing with problems. Lewis was calm and courteous. Thank you again Lewis. You are the best More read less
BRILLIANT experience with SD Urban Adventures I did two tours this weekend with Santo Domingo Urban Adventures--City of Firsts, and Sights, Sounds, and Tastes--and both were... read moreI did two tours this weekend with Santo Domingo Urban Adventures--City of Firsts, and Sights, Sounds, and Tastes--and both were absolutely brilliant! Miguel (City of Firsts) and Rainer (Sights, Sounds, and Tastes) were fantastic guides. It's the low season for tourism right now in the DR and so for both tours I was on my own, but from the start it was like hanging out with old friends. I am so impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm of Miguel and Rainer, and with their evident love of their city and passion for sharing it with others. I knew very little of the history and culture here before these tours, but now feel like I have seen Santo Domingo through the eyes of experts. I would highly recommend both tours for anyone who wants to see the real Santo Domingo and have a very memorable experience this fascinating city. More read less
A full and fun custom tour Jose organized a custom tour for our massively large group, more than two hundred people, organized into nine groups that... read moreJose organized a custom tour for our massively large group, more than two hundred people, organized into nine groups that traveled different routes, but all ending up at the same buffet in a beautiful, colonial hotel.We learned about the history and culture of the place, walking past various buildings, plazas, and monuments, visited the chocolate museum where we got many interesting tastes of different types of chocolate, took a fun respite in the 4D cinema, and got to experience local music and Carnival characters, diablos cojuelos.Jose was an enthusiastic organizer and guide, finding fun extra things to include in our program. The food was very good and the rum and other drinks quite enjoyable.The size of our groups was way too big -- I'd thought we'd agreed on 24 person groups but ended up in 48 person groups where it was impossible for everyone to hear the guide -- and a small number of people didn't get to try everything on the buffet, but overall we were very well taken care of and I'm happy to recommend Jose and his team. read less
Great & Wonderful Tour! My husband and I took three of these tours. Trikke, First of Santo Damingo, & Walking tour w/Jose and Rainer... read moreMy husband and I took three of these tours. Trikke, First of Santo Damingo, & Walking tour w/Jose and Rainer and we were glad we did. They both made each tour very informative and personable. We highly recommend all of their tours you won't regret it!!! read less
Mon – Sat 8.00 – 18.00