Are you planning a trip to the Dominican Republic? If so, you’re in for a treat! This Caribbean paradise is teeming with culture, outdoor adventure, and beautiful scenery. From lush tropical jungles to stunning white-sand beaches, the Dominican Republic has something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll cover some of the top attractions and things to do in the Dominican Republic, giving you an insider’s look at all the must-see spots. So if you’re ready to experience the beauty of the Dominican Republic, get ready for an unforgettable journey!
Dominican Republic: Overview and Quick Facts
The Dominican Republic is a vibrant country located in the Caribbean. It is known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lively culture. The country is home to a population of approximately 10 million people, with Spanish as the official language.
The Dominican Republic occupies two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti. The country’s capital is Santo Domingo, which is also the oldest city in the New World and home to the first cathedral, university, and castle in the Americas.
The currency used in the Dominican Republic is the Dominican peso, and the country has a tropical climate with an average temperature of around 80°F. The best time to visit the Dominican Republic is between December and April when the weather is dry and mild.
The Dominican Republic is a popular destination for tourists and offers a range of activities and attractions. From stunning beaches and natural wonders to historic landmarks and vibrant nightlife, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Whether you are looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an adventure-filled trip, the Dominican Republic has it all. With so many things to see and do, it’s no wonder that it is a top travel destination in the Caribbean.
Best Beaches in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, and here are some of the best to visit:
- Playa Bavaro: This stunning white sand beach is located in Punta Cana and is considered one of the best in the country. It stretches for over 10 kilometers and offers plenty of opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
- Playa Grande: Located in Rio San Juan, Playa Grande is another stunning beach that’s popular among surfers. Its clear waters, golden sand, and beautiful scenery make it a must-visit spot in the Dominican Republic.
- Playa Rincon: Located in Las Galeras, this remote and unspoiled beach is perfect for those looking to get away from the crowds. It’s turquoise waters and powdery sand offer a true slice of paradise.
- Playa Punta Cana: This beach is known for its crystal-clear waters, soft sand, and swaying palm trees. It’s a popular spot for snorkeling, swimming, and lounging under the sun.
- Playa Dorada: This beautiful beach is located in Puerto Plata and is known for its calm waters and great snorkeling opportunities. It’s surrounded by hotels and restaurants, making it a great spot to spend a day or two.
No matter which beach you choose to visit, you’re sure to be blown away by the natural beauty of the Dominican Republic’s coastline.
Delicious Food and Drink to Try in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is known for its delicious and flavorful cuisine which is a blend of Spanish, African, and Taino influences. The island nation is home to a range of unique dishes that you won’t find anywhere else, and the locals take great pride in their culinary traditions.
One of the most popular dishes in the Dominican Republic is “La Bandera,” which means “the flag” in Spanish. This dish consists of rice, beans, and meat (usually chicken, beef, or pork), and is typically served with fried plantains and salad. Other traditional dishes include “Sancocho” (a hearty stew made with beef, yucca, and plantains), “Mofongo” (a mashed plantain dish with garlic and pork cracklings), and “Empanadas” (deep-fried turnovers filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables).
The Dominican Republic is also famous for its tropical fruits, which are used in a variety of dishes and drinks. Some of the most popular fruits include papaya, mango, guava, and passionfruit. You’ll find these fruits used in everything from smoothies and cocktails to salads and desserts.
No trip to the Dominican Republic would be complete without trying some of the country’s famous drinks. The most popular beverage is “Mamajuana,” a concoction of rum, red wine, and honey infused with herbs and tree bark. This drink is said to have medicinal properties and is often served as a digestif after meals. Other popular drinks include “Presidente” beer (the local beer), “Ron Barceló” rum, and “Morir Soñando” (a refreshing drink made with orange juice and milk).
In addition to the traditional dishes, the Dominican Republic has a thriving culinary scene that incorporates international flavors and techniques. You’ll find a range of restaurants serving everything from sushi and Thai food to Italian and French cuisine. Whether you’re looking for street food or fine dining, there’s something for everyone in the Dominican Republic.
Plan a Vacation to the Resort Destination of Punta Cana
If you’re looking for a luxurious vacation with plenty of amenities, then Punta Cana is the place for you. This resort town boasts a long stretch of pristine white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and luxurious resorts with all-inclusive packages. Some of the best things to do in Punta Cana include:
– Relax on the Beach: Punta Cana’s beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world. With crystal clear waters, soft white sand, and palm trees swaying in the breeze, there’s no better place to unwind and soak up the sun.
– Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: The waters around Punta Cana are home to an abundance of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and even sharks. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or just a beginner, there are plenty of options for exploring the underwater world.
– Golfing: With several world-class golf courses, Punta Cana is a popular destination for golf enthusiasts. Many of the resorts offer golf packages, making it easy to tee off in paradise.
– Day Trips: While Punta Cana is a destination in itself, it’s also a great base for exploring the rest of the island. Some popular day trip destinations include Santo Domingo, the capital city, and Saona Island, a pristine nature reserve.
– Spa Treatments: If you’re looking to unwind and indulge in some pampering, Punta Cana has a variety of spa services available. From massages and facials to body treatments and hydrotherapy, there’s no shortage of ways to relax.
Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a little bit of both, Punta Cana has something to offer every traveler. So why not plan your next vacation in this stunning resort town?
Visit Puerto Plata & Playa Dorada
Puerto Plata, located on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, is a beautiful and historic city that’s a must-visit destination for travelers. One of the top attractions in Puerto Plata is Playa Dorada, which is known for its stunning golden sand beaches and crystal-clear waters.
This popular resort area offers a variety of activities for visitors, including snorkeling, windsurfing, and parasailing. Playa Dorada is also home to a golf course and a casino, making it a great place to unwind after a day of sightseeing.
Aside from the beach, Puerto Plata has many other attractions worth exploring. Take a ride on the Teleferico cable car, which takes you up to the top of Mount Isabel de Torres, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding landscape. You’ll also find a botanical garden and a statue of Christ at the peak.
History buffs will enjoy visiting Fort San Felipe, a 16th-century Spanish fortress that played an important role in the area’s colonial past. And if you’re looking for a cultural experience, check out the Amber Museum, which showcases the region’s unique amber deposits and the ancient life forms preserved within them.
When it comes to dining and nightlife, Puerto Plata has plenty of options. The city offers a range of restaurants serving traditional Dominican cuisine, as well as international fare. And if you’re looking for a night out, head to one of the area’s many bars or clubs, which offer live music and dancing.
Whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or a little bit of both, Puerto Plata and Playa Dorada have something for everyone. So if you’re planning a trip to the Dominican Republic, be sure to put this beautiful city on your itinerary.
Walk through Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial
The historic district of Santo Domingo, known as Zona Colonial, is a must-see for visitors to the Dominican Republic. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site that boasts 16th-century architecture and is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas.
As you walk through Zona Colonial, you’ll see cobblestone streets, beautiful plazas, and a plethora of historic landmarks. Be sure to check out the Catedral Primada de América, the first cathedral built in the Americas, and the Alcazar de Colón, the former residence of Christopher Columbus’s son.
While strolling through the area, you’ll also find many museums, art galleries, and boutique shops. For a truly unique experience, stop by the Museo del Ambar Dominicano, which displays an impressive collection of amber jewelry and fossils.
If you’re interested in trying local cuisine, Zona Colonial has a range of restaurants serving traditional Dominican dishes. Try a plate of sancocho, a hearty meat and vegetable stew, or a mofongo, a dish made with mashed plantains.
Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking to soak up the atmosphere of a charming colonial district, Zona Colonial is a must-visit spot in the Dominican Republic. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning architecture and vibrant culture.
Enjoy the Beaches and Beachside Restaurants in Cabarete
If you’re looking for a relaxed beachside getaway, look no further than Cabarete. This charming town boasts some of the most stunning beaches in the Dominican Republic, along with a variety of beachside restaurants serving up fresh seafood and delicious drinks.
One of the most popular beaches in Cabarete is Kite Beach, which is known for its consistent winds and excellent conditions for kitesurfing. Even if you’re not an avid kitesurfer, Kite Beach is a great place to lounge and take in the breathtaking views.
Another popular spot is Playa Encuentro, which is considered one of the best surf spots in the country. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, Playa Encuentro offers a fun and challenging experience.
After a day spent soaking up the sun and surf, be sure to check out some of Cabarete’s beachside restaurants. From casual cafes to upscale eateries, you’ll find a wide range of delicious dining options. Some favorites include The Beach Club, which offers a variety of international dishes and cocktails, and Gordito’s Fresh Mex, which serves up tasty Mexican fare.
Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or try your hand at a new water sport, Cabarete has something for everyone. So grab your sunscreen and hit the sand for a day of fun in the sun!
Lounge on the Beaches in Las Galeras
If you’re looking for a quiet, laid-back beach vacation in the Dominican Republic, Las Galeras is the perfect spot. Located on the northeastern coast of the Samaná Peninsula, this small fishing village has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.
One of the most popular beaches in Las Galeras is Playa Rincon, a stunning crescent-shaped beach with crystal-clear water and soft, white sand. The beach is surrounded by lush greenery, and there are a few small beachside restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat or a drink.
If you’re looking for a quieter spot, Playa Frontón is a secluded beach that can only be accessed by boat or by hiking through the forest. The beach is surrounded by rocky cliffs and has some of the best snorkeling in the area.
Another great option is Playa Grande, which is known for its towering coconut palms and clear blue water. The beach is relatively quiet and peaceful, with few vendors or restaurants, making it a perfect spot to relax and unwind.
Overall, Las Galeras is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a quiet, beach-focused vacation. The beaches here are some of the most beautiful in the Dominican Republic, and the small town has a relaxed, laid-back vibe that’s perfect for unwinding.
Kiteboard on Cabarete’s Kite Beach
If you’re looking for some adrenaline-fueled fun during your Dominican Republic trip, head to Cabarete’s Kite Beach for some world-class kiteboarding. This spot is known as one of the top destinations in the world for the sport, with ideal wind conditions and plenty of space to ride the waves.
Several kiteboarding schools in Cabarete offer lessons for beginners or those looking to brush up on their skills. These schools can provide all the equipment you need, including kites, boards, and safety gear.
Kiteboarding on Kite Beach is an unforgettable experience, as you glide over the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea with the wind at your back. The views of the coastline and surrounding mountains are breathtaking, making this an ideal spot for photographers as well.
In addition to kiteboarding, Kite Beach also offers other water sports such as surfing and paddleboarding. And when you’re ready to take a break from the action, there are plenty of beachside bars and restaurants where you can relax and enjoy the laid-back Caribbean vibe.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, kiteboarding on Cabarete’s Kite Beach is a must-do activity during your Dominican Republic vacation. Just be prepared to get hooked on this exhilarating sport!
Go Whale Watching in Samaná Bay
One of the most awe-inspiring activities you can experience in the Dominican Republic is whale watching in Samaná Bay. Every year between January and March, humpback whales migrate to the warm waters of the Caribbean from the North Atlantic to breed and give birth. This makes the Samaná Bay one of the best places in the world to spot these majestic creatures up close.
Whale-watching tours are organized by several operators in the area and last around three hours. You will be taken on a boat ride to different parts of the bay where whales are known to congregate. Once you spot a whale, your boat will stop and you will be able to observe them from a safe distance as they jump out of the water and make a splash with their massive tails.
Not only is whale watching in Samaná Bay a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it also has a conservation angle. By taking a whale-watching tour, you are supporting local conservation efforts that protect these incredible animals and their habitat.
Some tips for a successful whale-watching experience in Samaná Bay:
– Book in advance as tours can sell out quickly during peak season.
– Wear comfortable clothing and bring sunscreen and a hat.
– Bring a camera with a zoom lens to capture the best shots.
– Listen carefully to your guide’s instructions and follow the guidelines for responsible whale watching.
– Be patient and enjoy the experience of being in the presence of these magnificent creatures.
Visit Las Terrenas
If you’re looking for a peaceful and serene place to visit in the Dominican Republic, then Las Terrenas should be on your list. This town is located on the northeastern coast of the country and offers visitors the perfect opportunity to relax and unwind.
One of the biggest draws to Las Terrenas is its beaches. You can spend the entire day lounging on the sand, soaking up the sun, and taking a dip in the warm, crystal-clear waters. Some of the most popular beaches in Las Terrenas include Playa Bonita, Playa Coson, and Playa Las Ballenas.
In addition to its beaches, Las Terrenas is known for its diverse and vibrant community. Many French and Italian ex-pats have made this town their home, which has influenced its culture and cuisine. Make sure to take some time to explore the local markets, where you’ll find fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and handmade crafts.
If you’re up for some adventure, then head to El Limon waterfall, which is just a short drive from Las Terrenas. You can hike to the waterfall and swim in its refreshing pool, or take a horseback ride through the surrounding countryside.
Overall, Las Terrenas offers a unique and relaxing experience that is worth adding to your Dominican Republic itinerary.
27 Waterfalls of Damajagua (27 Charcos)
One of the most popular attractions in the Dominican Republic, the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua (also known as 27 Charcos) is a must-visit spot for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. Located near Puerto Plata, this adventure-filled excursion involves trekking through the jungle and scaling the cascading waterfalls, which range in height from 7 to 30 feet.
To experience the 27 Charcos, you’ll need to join a tour group or hire a guide, who will provide you with safety gear and lead you through the challenging terrain. Along the way, you’ll be able to swim in natural pools, slide down rock formations, and jump into crystal-clear waters from heights of up to 25 feet.
While the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua can be a physically demanding experience, it’s a thrilling and unforgettable adventure that’s perfect for those who love the great outdoors. Whether you’re traveling with friends or family, this is a bucket list activity that’s sure to make your Dominican Republic trip all the more memorable.
Bahia de Las Aguilas
If you’re looking for an untouched paradise in the Dominican Republic, Bahia de Las Aguilas should be on your must-visit list. This stunning and secluded beach is located in the Jaragua National Park, near the border with Haiti. It’s a bit of a trek to get there, but the journey is worth it for the crystal-clear turquoise waters and pristine white sand.
To get to Bahia de Las Aguilas, you can either take a boat tour or drive to the nearby village of La Cueva and then hike for a couple of hours. The hike is not easy, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water. But the reward is a beach that is so remote and peaceful, it feels like you have discovered your own private island.
One of the highlights of Bahia de Las Aguilas is the sea turtle sanctuary, where you can observe the protected animals nesting and hatching. The beach is also ideal for snorkeling, swimming, and sunbathing, as there are hardly any crowds to contend with.
It’s recommended to bring your own food and drinks, as there are no facilities at Bahia de Las Aguilas. And don’t forget to pack sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses, as the sun can be intense.
Overall, Bahia de Las Aguilas is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories of a lifetime. If you’re a nature lover or just looking for a peaceful escape, make sure to add it to your itinerary.
Isla Saona and Parque Nacional de Este
For those looking for a tranquil and scenic escape, Isla Saona and Parque Nacional de Este offer the perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Situated off the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic, Isla Saona is a dreamy tropical island with crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, and coconut palms swaying in the gentle breeze. Visitors can explore the island on foot, relax under a palm tree with a book or drink, or swim and snorkel in the warm, inviting waters.
The island is only accessible by boat, but it’s worth the trip as you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the coastline and surrounding islands along the way. If you’re lucky, you may even spot dolphins or whales on your journey. Once you arrive, you’ll be welcomed by friendly locals who will offer you fresh seafood and refreshing drinks.
In addition to Isla Saona, the Parque Nacional de Este (Eastern National Park) offers a wide variety of natural wonders and ecological diversity to explore. Covering more than 300 square kilometers, the park is home to more than 500 species of flora and fauna, as well as lagoons, coral reefs, and mangrove forests. Visitors can hike through the park’s trails, swim in its clear waters, or even spot wildlife such as manatees, turtles, and crocodiles.
One of the highlights of the park is the Laguna de Oviedo, a vast lagoon that is home to over 60 species of birds, including pink flamingos. You can also take a boat tour through the lagoon and explore its various cays and islets.
Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, Isla Saona and Parque Nacional de Este have something for everyone. From its pristine beaches to its vibrant wildlife, the area offers a chance to connect with nature and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Dominican Republic. Don’t forget to bring your camera and capture the memories of this breathtaking location!
For those who love the outdoors, Jarabacoa is the perfect destination. This small town, known as the “city of eternal spring”, is surrounded by beautiful mountains, rivers and waterfalls, and offers plenty of outdoor activities to choose from.
One of the most popular things to do in Jarabacoa is rafting on the Yaque del Norte River. The river is perfect for rafting with class III and IV rapids, making it a thrilling adventure for beginners and experienced rafters alike.
If rafting isn’t your thing, you can go canyoning in one of the many waterfalls in the area. Canyoning involves rappelling down waterfalls, jumping into natural pools and hiking through lush forests. The most popular waterfall for canyoning in Jarabacoa is Salto Baiguate.
For those who prefer a more relaxed experience, horseback riding and hiking are great options to explore the beautiful scenery of Jarabacoa. The area is also home to several zip-lining courses, offering a unique and thrilling perspective of the landscape.
When it comes to accommodation, Jarabacoa has a variety of options, from luxury resorts to cozy cabins in the mountains. The town is also known for its delicious cuisine, especially its hearty stews and grilled meats.
Overall, Jarabacoa is a great destination for those looking for adventure and nature. It’s a perfect addition to any itinerary when exploring the Dominican Republic.
If you’re looking for a spot that is not too crowded with tourists, then La Romana is the perfect destination for you. This quaint city offers plenty of things to see and do, without the hustle and bustle of some of the more popular tourist spots.
One of the main attractions in La Romana is the Altos de Chavón, an artisan village modeled after a 16th-century Mediterranean village. Here, you can browse art galleries, shop for unique souvenirs, and even take a tour of the historic amphitheater.
If you’re a history buff, then you’ll also enjoy visiting the Museo Arqueológico Regional, which houses a collection of artifacts from the Taíno civilization that once inhabited the island. And if you’re up for a bit of adventure, you can take a trip to the nearby Catalina Island, which offers great snorkeling and diving opportunities.
Another must-see spot in La Romana is the Marina Casa de Campo, one of the Caribbean’s most prestigious marinas. Here, you can enjoy a stroll along the waterfront, dine at one of the many restaurants, or take a yacht tour of the nearby islands.
And of course, no trip to La Romana would be complete without a visit to one of the area’s stunning beaches. Bayahibe Beach is a popular spot for its crystal-clear waters and soft white sand, while Dominicus Beach offers a more relaxed atmosphere, with plenty of shade from palm trees and umbrellas.
Overall, La Romana offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and relaxation, making it a must-see spot on any trip to the Dominican Republic.
Cable Car (Teleferico) in Puerto Plata
One of the best ways to experience the beauty of the Dominican Republic is to take a ride on the cable car, also known as the teleferico, in Puerto Plata. This cable car takes you up to the peak of Mount Isabel de Torres, offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and ocean.
The ride to the top of the mountain takes around 7 minutes, and you can admire the lush vegetation and diverse wildlife as you ascend. Once you reach the peak, you can explore the beautiful botanical gardens and visit the famous Christ the Redeemer statue, which offers even more incredible views.
Aside from the stunning scenery, the cable car ride itself is a unique experience. You’ll be riding in a gondola that holds up to 6 people, with windows all around that allow you to take in the breathtaking views. It’s a great way to escape the heat and humidity of the lower elevations and enjoy a cooler, more refreshing climate.
Make sure to bring your camera along for this unforgettable experience, and don’t forget to stop at the gift shop on your way back down to pick up souvenirs and local handicrafts. The Teleferico is open every day except for Mondays, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly.
Overall, the cable car in Puerto Plata is an essential stop for anyone looking to explore the beauty of the Dominican Republic. Don’t miss out on this incredible experience!
The Three Eyes National Park
For a unique adventure, head to the Three Eyes National Park located in Santo Domingo. The park boasts four interconnected caves with crystal-clear lagoons. These lagoons are illuminated by natural sunlight, creating a breathtaking display of colors that reflect on the water’s surface.
The park’s most famous attraction is the Three Eyes Cave, also known as Tres Ojos in Spanish. The cave’s name refers to the three lagoons within the cave, each with its unique charm. Visitors can take a guided tour of the cave and its surroundings, learning about the caves’ history and importance in Dominican culture.
Aside from the Three Eyes Cave, the park has several walking trails, beautiful gardens, and a petting zoo, perfect for a family day out. The park’s scenic beauty makes it a popular destination for photographers, with Instagram-worthy photo opportunities at every turn.
Visiting the Three Eyes National Park is an excellent way to immerse yourself in Dominican culture and history while experiencing the country’s natural beauty. It’s the perfect stop for nature lovers and anyone looking for a unique adventure while exploring Santo Domingo.
Los Haitises National Park
If you’re looking to get in touch with nature, Los Haitises National Park is a must-see destination. Located on the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic, this national park spans over 80 square miles and boasts a stunning landscape of lush forests, pristine mangrove swamps, and rocky cliffs.
One of the highlights of Los Haitises National Park is its vast network of caves. These stunning natural formations are home to an array of exotic creatures, including bats, tarantulas, and iguanas. The park also boasts a diverse array of birdlife, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise.
One of the best ways to explore Los Haitises National Park is by taking a boat tour through its intricate network of waterways. During your tour, you’ll have the opportunity to see the park’s famous Taino Indian caves, which feature ancient petroglyphs and carvings. You’ll also be able to spot the park’s abundant wildlife, including manatees, dolphins, and sea turtles.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also take a hiking trail through the park’s lush forested areas. Along the way, you’ll encounter hidden waterfalls, babbling streams, and stunning vistas. Be sure to bring your camera, as you won’t want to miss the breathtaking views.
Whether you’re a nature lover or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Los Haitises National Park is an incredible destination that’s not to be missed. Make sure to add it to your itinerary on your next trip to the Dominican Republic.
Nightlife and Entertainment Options in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is known for its vibrant nightlife scene and diverse entertainment options that cater to all types of travelers. Whether you’re in the mood to dance the night away, catch a live performance, or simply enjoy a few drinks with friends, you’ll find plenty of options throughout the country.
One of the most popular areas for nightlife is Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial. This historic neighborhood comes alive after dark, with countless bars and clubs offering everything from salsa music to hip-hop and EDM. Some popular spots include La Espiral, Parada 77, and El Sartén.
For a more laid-back vibe, head to the beach towns of Cabarete and Sosua. Both of these areas offer a more relaxed atmosphere, with beachside bars and restaurants serving up tropical cocktails and live music.
If you’re looking for something more cultural, check out a live performance of merengue or bachata music. These traditional Dominican styles of music can be found in clubs and venues throughout the country, with many of the top artists hailing from the DR.
And if you’re looking for a truly unique experience, consider attending a baseball game. Baseball is the national sport of the Dominican Republic, and attending a game is a great way to experience the local culture firsthand.
No matter what your preference, you’ll find plenty of options for nightlife and entertainment throughout the Dominican Republic. Just be sure to pace yourself – the party here often goes until dawn!