With a striking coral and white stone baroque façade—with ceramic designs—the Convent of the Dominican Order stands tall on Calle Padre Billini. Built in the 16th century around the same time as the city’s first cathedral, it was home to 15 friars sent here from Spain, who eventually established the adjacent first university in the Americas. One of them, Fray Antón de Montesinos, became the first advocate of human rights in the Americas by speaking out against the abuses suffered by the Taino Indians. The interior of the convent reveals a stunning Roman and Gothic design, with vaulted ceilings, ornate chapels, a mahogany altar with gold leaf trimmings, and a statue of Santo Domingo de Guzmán, founder of the order.

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Other attractions in Santo Domingo

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Boca Chica

A forty-minute drive east of Santo Domingo, this white sand beach town offers authentic Dominican bustle: hotels and restaurants line the sand, vendors hawk wares, and fry fish shacks sell plates of red snapper, tostones, and yaniqueques.

Santo Domingo, Family-Friendly

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