Beautiful architecture, and an excellent mix of history and modern Dominican life is what draws visitors to Santo Domingo. This charming capital city is pretty much everything you’ve romanticized about a sleepy colonial town in the Caribbean. Relatively compact and easy to explore on foot, it is a true gem overflowing with charm and character. It’s where old men gather around a game of dominos slowly sipping on their rum, palm trees cast their shadows on the old wooden bench you’ve found to watch the world go by and crumbling walls so beautiful you forget they are, in fact, still crumbling. At the heart of the city is the Zona Colonial, where you’ll find one of the oldest churches and the oldest surviving European fortress, among other New World firsts.