One of the Caribbean’s most geographically diverse countries attracts visitors with its tropical climate, fabulous beaches, astounding nature, intriguing history and rich culture. Known for warm and hospitable people, this hot and exotic island boasts stunning mountain scenery and reminiscent colonial architecture.
Located on Hispaniola (the second largest island in the Caribbean after Cuba), this country shares its land boundary with Haiti on the west. The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern five-eighths of the island. Before independence, it was known as Santo Domingo.
Puerto Plata is home to one of the best adventure trips in the Caribbean, the 27 Charcos. The Damajaqua Cascades offer a series of canyons and plunge pools that are perfect for gorge walking excursions. Trips to the truly beautiful section of the Damajaqua River often involve scaling the rocks and plunging into cool mountain ponds in the jungle. You hike all the way up and then come down through a series of caves and water slides. Along the way you can admire the colourful birds and exotic creatures. It's a great adventure spot for families who enjoy nature, rivers and jumping down waterfalls.
You can also head to Cascada El Limón, located near Las Terrenas. Surrounded by peaks covered in lush greenery, is the 52m-high waterfall with a swimming hole at the bottom can be a perfect spot to wash off the sweat and mud from the trip here.
Photo: Ramona Heim, Shutterstock
How to get there:
Take a look at the flight deals to Dominican Republic:
- LAST MINUTE: Non-stop flights from Cologne to the Dominican Republic for only €243 >>
- Non-stop flights from Manchester to Punta Cana or Cancun from £300 (full service airline) >>
- LAST MINUTE: High season non-stop flights from Brussels to Dominican Republic for only €299.98 >>
- All inclusive 7 nights at 4* RIU beach resort in Punta Cana + flights from Amsterdam for only €514 >>
- All Inclusive 7 nights at top rated 4* resort & spa in Punta Cana + flights from Amsterdam for €655 >>
- HIGH SEASON! Non-stop from Paris to Punta Cana for only €401 >>
- Air France flights from many UK cities to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from only £356 >>
Where to stay:
In Punta Cana we’d recommend you to book 4* Karibo Punta Cana with reasonable rates and good reviews. Set within White Sands Golf Course, this 4-star hotel offers outdoor pools, gardens and free transport to Arena Blanca Beach, just 900 m away. Each air-conditioned apartment is decorated in stylish white, and offers views of the pool and gardens. All apartments have free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV with international cable channels and a bathroom with free toiletries. You can prepare meals in your fully equipped kitchen, which includes a dining area, coffee maker, oven and ceramic hob. You can also enjoy international cuisine in the Karibo’s restaurant. A lobby bar and terrace can also be found on site. Free wifi and parking available.
In Santo Domingo we suggest you to stay at 5* Dominican Fiesta Hotel & Casino with excellent reviews. Located next to Mirador Park, this 5-star hotel and casino features an outdoor pool with swim-up bar, and a well-equipped spa. It offers comfortable rooms, a 10-minute drive from the city centre. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout. Guests staying at the Dominican Fiesta Hotel and Casino can enjoy a variety of on-site gambling, including slot machines and card tables. There is a sports centre with 7 tennis courts, and the spa includes a sauna, hot tubs and a steam bath. The hotel has a number of bars and a rooftop lounge with ocean views, where there is live jazz music every Friday. The restaurant serves international cuisine and offers show cooking. There are buffet and à la carte options.
What to do:
Go scuba diving and enjoy beautiful coral reefs. In the sandy beaches with aquamarine seas you can snorkel, swim or kayak. If water sports is not your thing, you can choose hiking, biking, horseback riding, and many more experiences to delight your senses, or simply enjoy a pina colada served inside a pineapple.
Dominican Republic also offers world class golf courses that are set along the breathtaking coast.
Explore Los Tres Ojos (The Three Eyes) – three subterranean lakes hidden in a natural limestone cave.
Visit Los Haitises National Park, which is home to coastal mountains and deep valleys filled with virgin rainforest. Explore the hiking trails to see the pelicans and hutia rodents in the swaying mangrove swamps. There are also a number of caves to see, complete with mysterious petroglyphs. You can explore about 200 meters of Cuevas de las Maravillas (Caves of Wonders), covered in ancient paintings created by the Taino people, the indigenous residents of the island.
Discover Hoyo Azul, a hidden cenote located at the foot of a 75-metre-high cliff with the most astonishingly turquoise waters nature can offer. Swim in the cool and refreshing pool, or enjoy zip lines and trekking in the island’s lush forestry.
Head to the hills of the Cordillera Central and hike or bike along its rumbling trails.
Climb Pico Duarte, the highest peak in the Caribbean, with 3,087 meters altitude.
Between December and March you can spot giant humpback whales in the Bay of Samana.
The Dominican Republic is also home to a threatened species of lizard – rhinoceros iguana.
Party the night away at one of the top nightlife spots in the Dominican Republic. In this country dance and music are an integral part of everyday life. Merengue is the most popular style. You can also learn how to dance bachata or take part in El Carnaval de la Vega, the largest pre-Lent festival in the Dominican Republic.
Visit the Amber Museum in Puerto Plata to see a huge piece of amber with a prehistoric mosquito preserved inside of it. It was replicated and made famous by the movie “Jurassic Park”.
A little town of Altos de Chavon, near La Romana, is certainly worth a visit. Designed by an Italian architect in the 1970s and 80s, it is supposed to mimic the look and feel of a 16th-century European settlement.
A cable car in Puerto Plata will take you to the top of the flat-topped Pico Isabel de Torres (799m). On clear days there are spectacular views of the city and coastline. There is the Christ the Redeemer statue atop the mountain, similar to the monument overlooking Rio de Janeiro.
Enjoy the exotic and delicious Caribbean flavours. Dominican food an exciting mixture of native Taíno, African and Spanish elements. “La Bandera” (“The Flag”) is the name of a traditional meal of stewed meat, red beans, and rice. “Tostones” – small, fried plantain patties – are often a side dish at meals.
Coffee, sugar, and tobacco are the island’s main sources of income. The Dominican Republic is also one of the top 10 producers of cocoa in the world and annually harvests more than 47,000 tons. Dominican Republic is also known for producing excellent rum. You can visit a cigar factory or a sugar cane or cocoa plantation.
Buy precious stones that are endemic to the Dominican Republic. Dominican Amber and Larimar can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
The Dominican Republic is a popular destination for weddings and honeymoons.
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