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  • Writer's pictureCindy Van Dyck

Santo Domingo: 3 must-do activities in Zona Colonial

Updated: Jul 28, 2023


Picture at KahKow Experience in Santo Domingo, Zona Colonial
Picture Credits: Cindy Van Dyck

Do you have a trip planned to the Dominican Republic? Then a visit to the Colonial Zone, also known as Zona Colonial, is a must-do on your list. The area is characterized by its charming cobblestone streets, well-preserved colonial architecture and historical significance. There are three must-do activities for visitors to the Colonial Zone and we'll tell you which ones they are.


It's better to see something once, than hear about it a thousand times.

Zona Colonial, the historic district in the heart of Santo Domingo, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered one of the oldest European settlements in the Americas, having been founded in 1498 by Bartholomew Columbus, the younger brother of Christopher Columbus. Not only is it a beautiful area where you can soak up a tremendous amount of history, culture and atmosphere. It is also the perfect opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of your hotel and discover more of what the Dominican Republic has to offer.


#1. KahKow Experience Museum

Do you love chocolate? Then visit the KahKow Experience Museum. It is a fascinating destination for chocolate and history lovers. Because if you didn't know, the Dominican Republic is known for its high-quality cocoa, and this museum offers a unique insight into the rich history and production process of cocoa and chocolate!


Visitors can learn about traditional growing and harvesting techniques and the transformation of cocoa beans into delicious chocolate products. The museum also offers interactive exhibits, tastings and workshops, making it an engaging and educational experience for visitors of all ages.


Not a fan of making your own chocolate? Then you can also visit the many Kahkow coffee bars across the island. For example, in Blue Mall Santo Domingo and Punta Cana, and you can also visit them in Santiago. Or you can pick up your favorite chocolate bar in the local supermarket.


Price for the experience: about 20€, or RD$ 1200

Open Monday through Sunday between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Address: C. Las Damas 102, Santo Domingo 10210


Picture at KahKow Experience in Santo Domingo, Zona Colonial
Pictures Credits: Cindy Van Dyck

#2. Museum of Rum

For those interested in learning more about the Dominican Republic's most famous drink, a visit to the Ron Museum is a must. This museum celebrates the history and craftsmanship of Dominican rum, which has received international recognition for its exceptional quality.


The museum shows the production process of rum, from sugar cane cultivation to distillation and aging. Visitors can also explore the cultural significance of rum in the Dominican Republic and its impact on the country's economy and social life. Of course, no visit is complete without a rum tasting to enjoy the different flavors and blends produced in the region.


And to give you the full experience: in the evening, the museum opens its doors as a local bar to dance Salsa, merengue and bachata while enjoying a delicious glass of rum. Our favorite is the coffee and pineapple flavored rum.


Price: Between RD$ 1500 pesos and RD$ 2000. Which is approximately 25€

Open Tuesdays through sans between 9 a.m. and 2 a.m.

In the evening, you can have a nice dinner at Plaza España first, before heading to the bar around 9 p.m. to dance for a few hours. The entrance to go dance is free!

Address: C. Isabel La Católica 261, Santo Domingo 10212


Pictures taken at Museum of Rum in Santo Domingo, Zona Colonial
Pictures Credits: Cindy Van Dyck

#3. Visit Historic Buildings

In addition to local delicacies and delights, you can spend hours wandering around. For the Colonial Zone is home to an array of beautifully preserved historic buildings and monuments that reflect the city's colonial past. Some of the notable sights visitors should explore include:


- Alcazar de Colon: This impressive building served as the residence of Diego Columbus, the son of Christopher Columbus and viceroy of the Indies. Its architecture and artifacts offer a glimpse into the life of the colonial elite.


- Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor: The oldest cathedral in the Americas, this iconic structure is a testament to the country's strong religious heritage and architectural strength.


- Fortaleza Ozama: Built in the early 16th century, this formidable fortress is a reminder of the city's military history and offers stunning views of the surrounding area.


Pictures taken at Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo
Pictures Credits: Cindy Van Dyck

 

A stroll through the streets of the Colonial Zone reveals many more hidden gems, including quaint cafes, local artisan stores and lively plazas. Exploring these historic sites is an excellent way to immerse yourself in Santo Domingo's rich cultural heritage. Do you need more inspirations about activities? Then read this article too and enjoy your visit!


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