Category Archives: Monuments of Colonial Zone

Monuments of Colonial Zone

Buildings/Edificios – Monuments/Monumentos
CASA CABALLERO
CASA DE BASTIDAS
CASA DE JUAN VILORIA
CASA DE LOS DÁVILA / CAPILLA DE LOS REMEDIOS
CASA DE LOS JESUITAS
CASA DE LAS GÁRGOLAS
CASA DE LOS MEDALLONES
CASA DEL CORDÓN
CASA DEL SACRAMENTO
CASA DEL TAPAO
CASA DEL TOSTADO
CASA DE LAS ACADEMIAS
CASA HERNÁN CORTÉS
CASA REALES AND MUSEO
COLEGIO DE GORJÓN
COLONIAL CULVERTS
COLUMBUS PALACE
PALACIO DE BORGELLÁ
SUN DIAL
RUINS OF THE SAN FRANCISCO MONASTERY
*Monuments from old html web site not yet added to the new site:
Alcazar de Colón/ Columbus Palace
Altar de la Patria/ Altar of the Nation
Atarazanas (Las)/ The Atarazanas
Fortress of Santo Domingo also known as Fortaleza Ozama
Monument to Fray Anton de Montesinos
Palacio Consistorial
Puerta el Conde/ Door of the Conde
Puerta de la Misericordia/ Gate of Mercy
Puerta de las Atarazans
Puerta de San Diego/ Gate of St. James
Residencia de Ovando/ Governor Nicolás Ovando’s Residence
Ruinas (ruins) El Hospital San Nicolás de Bari

CHURCHES / IGLESIAS
CAPILLA DE LA TERCERA ORDEN DOMINICA
CASA DE LOS DÁVILA / CAPILLA DE LOS REMEDIOS
CATEDRAL DE SANTO DOMINGO
CHAPEL OF THE ROSARY
ERMITA DE SAN ANTÓN
IGLESIA ALTAGRACIA
IGLESIA – FUERTE SANTA BARBARA
IGLESIA LAS MERCEDES
IGLESIA LOS DOMINICOS
IGLESIA NUESTRA SEÑORA DEL CARMEN
IGLESIA REGINA ANGELORUM
IGLESIA SAN LAZARO
IGLESIA DE SANTA CLARA
LA CAPILLA DE SAN ANDRÉS
LAS MERCEDES
CAPILLA DE LA TERCERA ORDEN FRANCISCANA
IGLESIA DE SAN MIGUEL
PANTEÓN NACIONAL / NATIONAL PANTHEON

FORTS AND FORTALEZAS
FUERTE CARINA AND ANGULO
FUERTE SAN GIL
IGLESIA – FUERTE SANTA BARBARA
*Forts from old html web site not yet added to the new site:
Fuerte Invencible
Fuerte de la Caridad/ Fort of Charity
Fuerta de la Concepcion
Fuerte de San Anton
Fuerte de San Gil/ Fort of San Gil
Fuerte de San José/ Fort of St. Jose
Fuerte de San Lazaro
Fuerte de San Miguel

MUSEUMS/MUSEOS
CASA DE BASTIDAS – Trampolín, Museo Infantil
CASA DEL TOSTADO – Museo de la Familia Dominicano
CASA DE LOS MEDALLONES – Museo Numismático Dominicano
COLEGIO DE GORJÓN – Centro Cultural de España
CASA REALES AND MUSEO
COLUMBUS PALACE – MUSEO ALCAZAR DE COLÓN
*Museos from old html web site not yet added to the new site:
Amber World Museum
Larimar Factory
Larimar Museum
Museo del Tabaco/ The Tobacco Museum
Museo Naval de las Atarazanas/ Naval Museum of the Atarazanas
Museo de la Porcelana/ Museum of Porcelain
Museo de Juan Pablo Duarte/ Museum of Juan Pablo Duarte
Museo Alcazar de Colon
Memorial Museum of Dominican Resistance / El Museo Memorial de la Resistencia Dominicana
Museo del Ron y la Caña / Museum of Rum and Sugar Cane
Museum of Telecommunications / Museo de las Telecomunicaciones (CCT)

PARKS AND PLAZAS
CEIBA DE COLON
*Parks and Plazas from old html web site not yet added to the new site:
Cementerio Nacional de la Avenida Independencia/ National Cemetery Avenue Independencia (Picture album – Cementerio Nacional)
Malecón – The seaside road
Park or Plaza of Fortelaza San Jose
Parque Colón/ Columbus Park
Parque Duarte
Parque Independencia/ Independence Park
Parque Maria Trinidad Sanchez
Plaza de España or Plaza de Armas
Plaza de la Poesía/ Plaza of the Poetry
Plaza María de Toledo
Plaza Pellerano Castro
Plaza at Ermita de San Anton and Fort San Francisco
Plaza Bartolomé de las Casas
Plazoleta Padre Billini
Plazoleta y Callejónde los Curas/ Plaza and Alley of the Cures

STATUES

STREETS/CALLES
CALLE EL CONDE
*Streets and Calles from old html web site not yet added to the new site:
Calle las Damas – Escaleras de las Damas/ Street and Stairs of The Ladies
Calle Hostos

Fortaleza Ozama – Inside The Walls

Inside the Fortaleza Ozama

The history of all the buildings, walls and monuments inside the coral walls of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fort Ozama.

Fortelaza Ozama | Fortaleza Ozama – Inside The Walls of Fortaleza Ozama | (1)La Puerta de Charles III/ The Gate of the Fortress | (2)The Statue of Oviedo | (3)The Tower of Homage/ Torre del Homenaje | (4)The Arsenal/ Armory Polvorín de Santa Bárbara | (5 & 6)The Low and High Shooting Platforms | (7)The remains of the First Fort/ Primera Obra | (8)Old Army Barracks | (9)The Fort of Santiago/ Fuerte de Santiago | (10)Casa de Bastidas | (11)Muralla de Felix Benito | Fortaleza Ozama in 1910 | Picture Collection over 300 pictures of the Fortaleza Ozama |

Map Inside Fortaleza Ozama Numbered 1

Map Inside Fortaleza Ozama Numbered 1

(1.) La Puerta de Charles III

La Puerta de Charles III, The entrance to Fortaleza Ozama.
La Puerta de Charles III, The entrance to Fortaleza Ozama.

La Puerta de Charles III / The Gate of Charles III and El Portal de la Fortaleza/ The Gate of the Fortress – 1787

The original entrance to the Fortaleza Ozama dates from 1557-1564. The doors, The Gate of Charles III, that are still here now came almost 2 centuries later in 1787 and was named after King Charles III of Spain. Made from imported African ebony these were built during the reign of the king for which it is named. Built when there was much economic prosperity thus their elaborateness. They wanted it to be impressive as this was main entry to the fort, the first thing all visitors saw.

Looking inside the Puerta de Charles III to the interior courtyard of the Fortaleza Ozama.
Looking inside the Puerta de Charles III to the interior courtyard of the Fortaleza Ozama.

When entering this magnificent gate you can’t help but to be impressed. Just imagine how it might have felt to enter those gates into the grand arcade and garden. Beyond was the imposing tower and military buildings. Plus all the activity that might have been going on inside the fort during its hey day.

It is interesting to note holes in the doors. These holes are from bullets fired during the United States second invasion of Dominican Republic in 1965 U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson sent 42,000 marines and soldiers to protect their interests during the Revolución de Abril de 1965 when the country was in a state of civil war.

(2.) The Statue of Oviedo – 1977

The bronze Statue of Governor Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés.
The bronze Statue of Governor Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés.

The bronze Statue of Oviedo was created in 1977 by Spanish artist Joaquín Vaquero Turcios to honor Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés. Oviedo was governor of the fortress and also warden of the prison from 1533 to 1557.

Under the administration of Oviedo Santo Domingo reached its most brilliant period in the settlements history. Because of Oveidos geographical and administrative knowledge, every captain, military person, chief, discoverer and conqueror visited his office for advice. The legend states that when he was killed he held the keys to the gate. These keys had to be pried from his dead hand. Oveido was the first chronicler of the Indies and had an official title and salary. He wrote “Historia General y Natural de las Indias” while holding his paid post under His Majesty Charles V.

(3.) La Torre del Homenaje – 1503.

Torre del Homenaje resembles a medieval castle
Torre del Homenaje resembles a medieval castle.

Torre del Homenaje / The Tower of Homage, resembling a medieval castle, was build inside the fort by Nicolás de Ovando in 1503. Ships were hailed from the top of this monstrous looking building. It has very little ornamentation and looks very serious and sobering. This tower, with its 2-meter thick walls, was the tallest building (18m) in the entire colony in the 16th century. It was the only building of its type in the New World.

Fortaleza Ozama Torre de Homenaje Interior Stairs
Fortaleza Ozama Torre de Homenaje Interior Stairs

The main gate faces north where is the remains of the coat of arms of Charles V that the Haitians tried to remove during their occupancy, but somehow this was saved.

The Tower has served many purposes in its long history. Don Diego Colon, Admiral Christopher Columbus’ son, and his wife, Doña Maria of Toledo (she was a relative of King Ferdinand the Catholic) stayed here while their new home, The Alcazar de Colon, was being built. The family lived on the second floor and the servants lived on the first.

Torre del Homenaje interior courtyard.
Torre del Homenaje interior courtyard.

Entering the towers main floor there is a small courtyard. On the far side is an opening where you can look down into a brick dungeon. This is where Juan Pablo Duarte was held during the Haitian occupation in 1836. It was also a prison where many political figures were jailed. Peña Gómez, Juan Bosch and Bienvenido Peynado all had the distinction of being incarcerated there. The north wing was the residence of the warden. The South wing held an arsenal and a cistern.

Ojo magico. You can see out but no one could see in.
Ojo magico. You can see out but no one could see in.

The window like openings in the tower are called ojos magicos/ magic eyes. Through these openings the person on the inside could watch the comings and goings on the outside without being seen. These openings provided a great advantage when it came to defending the area. It was easy to shoot out the small “eye” and very difficult trying to shoot into the thin line from the outside.

(4.) Armory Polvorín – 1787

Armory Polvorín de Santa Bárbara
Armory Polvorín de Santa Bárbara.

Armory Polvorín de Santa Bárbara / The Arsenal is a rectangle shaped building and was constructed in 1787. The walls are 3 meters thick and there is only 1 door. Above the door is a small niche that holds the figure of Santa Bárbara, the patron saint of the gunners. The door is topped with a coat of arms picturing the Golden Fleece, the royal emblem of Charles 3. The Armory was surrounded with its own defenses of which one can see only its remains. Inside the armory is a large vault where gunpowder, weapons and ammunition were stored. The polvorín was intended to resemble a church to mislead the pirates.

Shooting Platforms

Plataforma de Tiro Baja y Alto / Low and High Shooting Platforms.
Plataforma de Tiro Baja y Alto / Low and High Shooting Platforms.

(5.) Plataforma de Tiro Baja / The Low Shooting Platform – 1570 , built in 1570, has a series of embrasures for the cannons and other arms for battle. This platform was used to protect the port with low-level fire. The ramp let the cannons be moved to where they were needed most.

Fortaleza-Ozama Plataforma de Tiro Baja / Low Shooting Platform
Fortaleza-Ozama Plataforma de Tiro Baja / Low Shooting Platform

(6.) Plataforma de Tiro Alta / The High Shooting Platform – 1650 provided protection to the port from a high range of shooting. Note: All the cannons here now came from ships that were sunk during the colonial period.

(7.) La Primera Obra

The remains of la Primera Obra/ The First Fort constructed inside Fortaleza Ozama.
The remains of la Primera Obra/ The First Fort constructed inside Fortaleza Ozama.

The remains of la Primera Obra/ The First Fort Constructed, all that is left of the first or provisional fort can be seen. This was built in the beginning of the 16th century at the same time the tower was erected. All that can be seen now is the shape of 3 chambers (two small and 1 large) within the outline. The cannons laying inside the remains are not from the original fort. They were all removed over the years, probably sold for their iron.

(8.) The Old Army Barracks

The Remains of the Old Army Barracks
The Remains of the Old Army Barracks

When Spain sent a strong battalion around 1789 new and stronger quarters were built along Calle Las Damas. The old surrounding wall, dated around the 16th century, was integrated with the new parallel wall. The remains of the second wall can still be seen. These walls supported the roof of the barracks.

(9)El Fuerte de Santiago – 1567

All that is left of the Fuerte de Santiago.
All that is left of the Fuerte de Santiago.

Fuerte de Santiago / The Fort of Santiago was the first line of defense for the Fortress. It was built with stone and brick in 1567. All that remains are four arches and a small part of the original floor. Inside the fort you can block out the surroundings and really imagine what it might have been like in the late 1500’s.

Fortaleza Ozama Garita Ozama
Fortaleza Ozama Garita Ozama

The original sentry house/ Garita Ozama on the farthest point inside the fort is still there.

(10.) Casa de Bastidas

Casa de Bastidas
The Casa de Bastidas

Casa de Bastidas/ House of Bastidas was built next to the Tower of Homage/ Torre del Homenaje in the early 16th (XVI) century around 1505. This 3 thousand square meter home has beautiful arches, a large patio and a long corridor along with Roman columns. Rodrigo de Bastidas, who was Honorary Mayor / Alcalde Ordinario of Santo Domingo in 1512 and the founder of many different South American cities. After his tragic death in Cuba his son Bishop Rodrigo de Bastidas and grandson lived in the house. It was occupied by the family heirs for more than a century.

The building was redone and updated in the eighteenth century (XVIII) when a small image of the virgin Santa Barbara was added. Now is is beautifully restored bringing back, for all to see, the marvelous times of colonial Santo Domingo. It is not the home of the Museo Infantil Trampolín.
More information about the Casa de Bastidas.

(11.) Muralla de Felix Benito

Muralla de Felix Benito
Muralla de Felix Benito

There are 2 different walls surrounding the Fort. The inside stone wall is the original. The coral wall bordered on the Rio Ozama and the Caribbean Sea (you can see the picture below dated 1910). The waters edge came very close to the old walls. This wall is not as thick as the interior walls. If there was an explosion the wall would fall outward to the river restricting any possible damage.

The higher, newer wall dates only to the time of Trujillo. This wall was constructed by the Puerto Rican Félix Benito. The purpose of the wall was to separate the fort from the newly constructed port facility. The road on the outside of this tall wall was made from river fill when they dredged the Rio Ozama to create the access road around the old city and to create new larger port facilities. Much of the old structures were lost in the creating of the port and the road Aveneda George Washington also known as the Malecon.

Old Picture

Fortaleza Ozama as seen from Rio Ozama in 1910.
Fortaleza Ozama as seen from Rio Ozama in 1910.

This is a picture of the Fortaleza Ozama as seen from Rio Ozama in 1910. This is before they made the road around the Colonial City, Avenida George Washington, and put up the stronger walls for safety for the road.

A complete picture collection of the Fortaleza Ozama

Fortaleza Ozama

The Fortress of Santo Domingo also known as Fortaleza Ozama

The Fortaleza Ozama is considered to be one of the oldest forts of its kind on the entire American continent. It was built between 1502 and 1508. Built with coral brought from the sea that were skillfully cut into blocks that fit tightly together. This fort extended from the eastern to the western bank of the Rio Ozama / Ozama River (Ozama is the Taino word for navigable waters or wetlands). It is one of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites inside the Colonial City.

Sun Rise Over Fortaleza Ozama
Sun Rise Over Fortaleza Ozama

Fortelaza Ozama | Fortaleza Ozama – Inside The Walls of Fortaleza Ozama | (1)La Puerta de Charles III/ The Gate of the Fortress | (2)The Statue of Oviedo | (3)The Tower of Homage/ Torre del Homenaje | (4)The Arsenal/ Armory Polvorín de Santa Bárbara | (5 & 6)The Low and High Shooting Platforms | (7)The remains of the First Fort/ Primera Obra | (8)Old Army Barracks | (9)The Fort of Santiago/ Fuerte de Santiago | (10)Casa de Bastidas | (11)Muralla de Felix Benito | Fortaleza Ozama in 1910 | Picture Collection over 300 pictures of the Fortaleza Ozama |

Map Inside Fortaleza Ozama Numbered 1

Map Inside Fortaleza Ozama Numbered 1

Governor Ovando

The Governor Frey Nicolas de Ovando, the founder of the city of Santo Domingo, is the person who personally chose this spot for this military instillation. The fort was built by the labor of the African and Taino slaves, as were most of the buildings of this era.

The strategic location of this fort gives it a perfect view of any ship or person trying to gain entry into the city of Santo Domingo. From high on the steep bank the fort overlooks both the Ozama River and the Caribbean Sea. This is where all the departures of the great expeditions to other regions of the Americas began. The strategic location was a perfect way to defend the city against attack by marauder and pirate, common occurrences at this time. The perfect placement of the fort made it a very formidable stronghold. It was never seized by force, even though many attempts were made. Considered to be “The Axis of the Conquest” Fortaleza Ozama was built by the Spaniards after they finished exploring the entire island.

Master builder Gómez Garcia de Varela was responsible for the building of this fort in all its stages. First was the erection of the tower. Then came the shooting platforms and the main defensive fort. As time passed new facilities were added and old ones modified as needed.

Etntrance To The Fortaleza Ozama
Etntrance To The Fortaleza Ozama

The Walls

The walls encompassing the fort are three meters thick with exception of the wall bordering the river. The river wall is only one meter thick. This was done so that if there was an explosion the wall would explode outward to the river. This restricted maximum possible damage.

The outer new wall, The Muralla de Felix Benito, was built when Port Santo Domingo and the sea road, the Malecon, was created. The dredge that was taken out of the port was used to make the land on which the highway now runs.

Visiting the Torre del Homenaje you will notice that it is very cool inside. This is because of the towers thick walls. This makes the climb to the top of the tower a pleasant experience even when done during the mid-day heat. The coral rock, which is what the buildings are made of, is a good moisture absorber. The cement holding it all together was made of gypsum, clay, lime and the blood of animals. This strong cement became stronger as time went on.

The Back Gate Wall of Fortaleza Ozama
The Back Gate Wall of Fortaleza Ozama

Fort Ozama was used as a prison up to the 1960’s. It housed many of the Dominican Republics political prisoners as well. In the 1970´s the fort was retired from military service. At this time the fort was restored and opened to the public.

In the outside wall of Fortaleza Ozama hear the main entrance is a Cannonball embedded in the wall.
In the outside wall of Fortaleza Ozama hear the main entrance is a Cannonball embedded in the wall.

Visiting Fortaleza Ozama

When visiting the fort be sure to take some time and walk the grounds to see the entire fort. Walk the perimeter of the wall that is lined with cannons. At the far corner of the back wall is an old look-out tower that has a Gothic feel. If the gate is open you can go down the old ramp to the lower shooting platform. If your visit coincides with mango season you might be able to pick a mango off one of the many trees along the back wall.

A few times I walked and took my time I found pieces of pottery and porcelain that are very old and I was told some pieces are from Portugal. Some pieces match the styles in the Museo of Casa Reales.

Sherd of history on the dirt  inside Fortaleza Ozama.
Sherd of history on the dirt inside Fortaleza Ozama.
Sherds from old pottery found on the grounds of the Fortaleza Ozama
Sherds from old pottery found on the grounds of the Fortaleza Ozama

Tour guides hang out at the gate if you would like a guided tour. You can go in unguided but a guide can explain so much of the history it is worth the small price you will pay. It costs $60 pesos per person (RD$20 for students and children) to enter and about $300 for a guide to take you, more or less. (price as of 5/2013)

The Entrance To Fortaleza Ozama on Calle Las Damas
The Entrance To Fortaleza Ozama on Calle Las Damas

Location

Located on Calle Las Damas and Calle Pellerano Alfau, Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo. Walking on Calle el Conde towards the river take a right onto Calle las Damas and it will be about 1 block down on the left.
Telephone: 806-686-0222

See the picture slideshow of the Fortaleza Ozama. Picture Collection over 300 pictures of the Fortaleza Ozama

Continue to the 2nd page – Fortaleza Ozama – Inside The Walls of Fortaleza Ozama

Panteón Nacional

Panteón Nacional, República Dominicana/ National Pantheon, Dominican Republic

The Panteón Nacional, also know by the names Panteón de la Patria, National Mausoleum or Pantheon of the Homeland, was originally a Jesuit Convent. The National Pantheon is now the mausoleum that houses the remains of many of the national heroes of the Dominican Republic.

The Panteón Nacional
The Panteón Nacional of Dominican Republic with it’s Neo-Renaissance style.

Church of the Jesuits

Constructed between 1715 and 1745 this Rococo style building was originally the Jesuits Convent/ Convento de San Igancio de Loyola for the Jesuits. It was the Jesuits home until 1767 when they were expelled from the country.

After the church was closed the building was used as a tobacco warehouse, a theater and a government office building.

The Panteón Nacional, Dominican Republic.
The Panteón Nacional, Dominican Republic. The back window.

Restoring The Building For Trujillo

The Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, in 1958, had the building repaired. Spanish architect Javier Barroso was hired to restore the building so it could be used as Trujillo’s personal mausoleum.

Trujillo planned on having his remains interred in the restored building when he died. His dream never happened. In 1961, after his assassination, Trujillo’s body was removed from the country. The building never held his remains.

The National Pantheon, Dominican Republic.
The National Pantheon, Dominican Republic interior

National Mausoleum

In the 1970’s the old Jesuit Convent was converted into the Panteón Nacional. A national mausoleum where many heroes of the Republic are laid to rest, including Trujillo’s assassins.

The architectural style of this majestic looking building is Neo-Renaissance. The facade of the building is very impressive with the bell tower and the Dominican Coat of Arms beautifully sculpted above the door.

Panteón Nacional, República Dominicana. Front of the building.
Panteón Nacional, República Dominicana. Front of the building.

The interior of the Panteon has a Baroque style. The red carpet down the center with a guard on duty watching over the persons interred and the eternal flame both provide a very reverent feel when entering the building. The light coming through the large glass window in the rear of the building adds a lovely light to the solemn interior. The copper chandelier in the center ceiling of the mausoleum, donated by Francisco Franco (a Spanish head of state), is quite elegant.

The National Pantheon, Dominican Republic mural
The National Pantheon, Dominican Republic mural of the Ascension to Heaven

Painted on one of the vaulted ceilings is a stunning mural. This impressive sacred art is called “Ascensión a los Cielos” / “Ascension to Heaven” and “El Juicio Final” / “The Last Judgement” by Spanish painter Rafael Pellicer.

The National Pantheon, Dominican Republic chandelier
The National Pantheon, Dominican Republic. The chandelier donated by Francisco Franco

Heroes Interred (2012)

The Panteón Nacional contains the remains of many of the national heroes of Dominican Republic.

Independence Heroes (from Spain and Haiti): General Juan Sanchez Ramirez, Jose Nunez de Caceres, Juan Nepomuceno Ravelo, Pedro Alejandrino Pina, Juan Isidro Perez, Felix Maria Ruiz, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, Socorro Sanchez, Balbina de Pena, Admiral Juan Alejandro Acosta, Admiral Juan Bautista Cambiaso, Concepcion Bona, General Jose Joaquin Puello, General Jose Maria Gabral, Gabino Puello, Angel Perdomo, General Pedro Santana.

The Panteón Nacional
The Panteón Nacional of República as seen from Rio Ozama.

Heroes of the Restoration (Independence from Spain): General Gregorio Luperon, General Benito Moncion, General Santiago Rodriguez, General Gaspar Polanco, General Antonio Batista, Colonel Jose Pierre Thomas, Colonel Carlos de Lara, Commander Jose Vidal Pichardo, Ulises Francisco Espaillat, Lieutenant Ambrosio de la Cruz, Eugenio Perdomo, Pedro Ignacio Espaillat, General Jose Antonio Salcedo, Pedro Francisco Bono and Benigno Filomeno de Rojas.

Presidents: President Francisco Henriquez Carvajal and President Francisco Gregorio Billini

Historians: Jose Gabriel Garcia, Antonio Delmonte y Tejada

Panteón Nacional located on Calle Las Damas.
Panteón Nacional located on Calle Las Damas.

Location – Hours

Location: From Calle el Conde turn north onto Calle las Damas. Pass the small Plaza Maria Toledo on the left side of the street. The wall of the Panteón runs along the end of the plaza.

Hours: 9 to 4:30 daily except holidays. Entrance is free. Proper dress is required (no shorts, short skirts, tank tops…) and they expect reverence when you enter the building.

Front of the Panteón Nacional before it opens
Front of the Panteón Nacional before it opens with the tour guides preparing for their day.

Be aware of the tour guides outside the building. They tell you that it does not cost money to enter. If you do use their guide services they expect to be paid but usually do not tell you that they expect to be paid until after the tour. You can enter without a guide but if you do want to use a guide ask about how much he wants paid in advance.