Photo Credit: Puroticorico

Before setting off an adventure to the Domincan Republic, vacationers may want to brush up on some Santo Domingo facts in order to gain a better appreciation for this capital city. Located off the southern coast of the central portion of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo is the Caribbean nation’s largest city and the is the oldest continually inhabited European settlement in the Americas, having been founded by Spanish explorer Bartholomew Columbus in 1496.

The city has served as the capital of the Dominican Republic since its founding, and has earned an interesting history because of it. Santo Domingo spent more than 30 years named Ciudad Trujillo, after the dictator Rafael Trujillo who ruled the country from 1930-1961. Upon his death the city reverted to its original name, which it still bears to this day.

In fact, the city’s old town, a popular tourist attraction thanks to its wealth of Spanish colonial architecture, earned distinction as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1990. History is not the only compelling factor surrounding the city, as the coastal waters of the Dominican Capital are the birthplace of roughly 85 percent of all humpback whales found in the North West Atlantic.