Where is it: Santo Domingo
What is it: This near-perfectly intact, walled central neighbourhood of Santo Domingo is where the New World began. Unesco-protected and home to several important landmarks – including the Alcázar de Colón palace, Fortaleza Ozama fort and Catedral Primada de America – you haven’t really experienced the Dominican Republic until you’ve walked its bustling streets.
Why go: Come for the history, but stay for the vibe. Galleries, cafés, and chic restaurants abound, while the architecture ranges from stately 15th-century townhouses to art deco abodes. Walking tours are available if you’re looking to learn more about the city, but you can’t beat just wandering the streets yourself. Stop in the shadow of a church for a coffee, beside locals playing dominoes.