You Don't Have to Go to Cuba...To see some of the most colorful, old, colonial architecture in the Caribbean, it is not necessary to get a difficult-to-procure ticket to Havana. Of course, Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic is not the only Caribbean city with narrow streets, colorful buildings and history. But, it holds the oldest cathedral of the Americas and is slightly less traveled despite its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
While in Santo Domingo with a friend who was living there, we checked out the ruins which is not difficult to do in the Zona Colonial area of the city. The Ozama Fortress on the Ozama River is one of the largest that visitors can walk through. The large flamboyan and jacaranda trees in the fortress's center spews its colorful petals on the grounds surrounding the ruins making for a beautiful setting to spend an afternoon.