Seeing the Sights in Santo Domingo
My first trip to Santo Domingo was off to a crazy start, walking a mile, seeing hundreds of people in line at the US Embassy and then experiencing the guagua for the first time. Our first stop after Jonathan got his US visa was Tres Ojos National park which is situated in the middle of Santo Domingo. When you see these pictures you will never believe it is smack dab in the middle of a city with a population of 4 million people! ‘Tres Ojos’ in spanish means three eyes and the park is such named for the three lagoons that were formed thousands of years ago when caves collapsed, creating sink holes that ultimately filled with water.
Once you enter the park, you descend a set of stairs to enter the first lagoon, you immediately forget about the bustling city above because you are surrounded by beautiful natural lagoons with crystal clear turquoise water, and caves lined with stalactites. We meandered around the park for a while, trekking up and down staircases to reach each of the three lagoons. Note: if you plan to make a stop here, I would recommend sneakers or comfortable walking shoes as there is quite a bit of walking and stair climbing.
The visit to tres ojos ended with a short raft ride through a cave to visit the last lagoon. For a donation of 25 pesos a person (50 cents) two gentleman would pull the raft through the cave where you could then disembark and make the journey to the last lagoon. This lagoon happens to be one that you can also see from above in the park, so it was fascinating to see it from two viewpoints.
After lots of stair climbing and the intense Dominican heat we were ready to move on. We made a quick stop at the Columbus Lighthouse Monument. We got some great pictures of the outside of the monument and were on our way in when a nice man greeted us and walked us in. He then realized we hadn't paid and directed us to the ticket office. At this point we were hot, tired and hungry so we decided to forgo exploring the inside and headed for our next stop, where we could hopefully find some ice cream!
The final stop on our sightseeing tour was Colon, a beautiful little historic town with old fascinating buildings and statues. Our mission here was to find ice cream. It was late in the afternoon and we were in need of something to eat and considering the temperature, ice cream was what we craved. We found a cute little ice cream shop where we were able to cool down and enjoy some amazing ice cream bars, before we began the journey back to Luperon.
I had a great time, and enjoyed all of the stops, but I have to say I can't imagine myself heading back there anytime soon, too many people, cars and traffic! I was ready to go back "home" to quiet Luperon and enjoy a nice relaxing day on the boat.