The rustic, dramatic walled ruins of the San Francisco Monastery occupy large blocks of the Colonial City—between Calle Duarte and Calle Hostos—and double as a fantastic merengue concert stage every Sunday. But any other day of the week, the sprawling, unoccupied ruins offer a stunning backdrop for photo lovers and serve as a reminder of the former, first-ever 16th century Franciscan monastery in the New World. It went through several disasters, including a fire caused by Sir Francis Drake, and a couple of earthquakes, before it was eventually used as a mental asylum until the middle of the 20th century.

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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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