Dominican Republic
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Things to do in the Dominican Republic

Things to do in  Dominican Republic

Welcome to Dominican Republic

There's far more to the Dominican Republic than sandy beaches and rum bars, as the country also boasts a diverse array of natural landscapes, with scenery that swings between fertile farmland, forest-shrouded waterfalls, and majestic mountains. Punta Cana, the country's easternmost tip, entices travelers with idyllic beaches and luxury resorts. It's also an ideal jumping-off point for a handful of adventurous day trips, and active travelers will love the variety of recreation-based tours available. Explore off-road terrain in a dune buggy, take a catamaran cruise to Saona Island, go for a swim at El Limón Waterfall, or careen through the treetops on one of the longest ziplining circuits in the Caribbean. Tours to Catalina Island, where you can snorkel above a pristine coral reef, depart from Punta Cana, too. The island capital of Santo Domingo, home to a colonial Old Town that's a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is just two hours from Punta Cana. Sightseeing tours that include transportation allow visitors to hit many of its top attractions such as Calle de las Damas, Columbus Lighthouse, and Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor (Catedral Primada de América) in one day. Santo Domingo is also a logical gateway to Lago Enriquillo and Isla Cabritos National Park (inhabited by crocodiles, flamingos, and iguanas), and tours that combine both mean you don't have to choose between them.

Top 15 attractions in Dominican Republic

Macao Beach (Playa Macao)

Macao Beach (Playa Macao) is one of the Punta Cana region’s least-crowded public beaches, set away from most resort hotels. A favorite among locals, this stretch of white sand is considered one of the Dominican Republic’s most beautiful coastal escapes, with clear blue waters and a beach break known for its surf-friendly waves.More

Amber Cove

Amber Cove is one of the newest cruise ports in the Caribbean, but its nearby attractions are far from rookie. Built by Carnival Cruise Lines for the use of their cruise ships along with other large-capacity liners and located on the Dominican Republic’s so-called Amber Coast, Amber Cove is the gateway to Puerto Plata, a popular Dominican Republic vacation destination.More

Los Haitises National Park

Los Haitises National Park is a hidden gem full of fascinating caverns, unspoiled beaches, and mangrove forests. Visit to enjoy hiking, kayaking, and caving, as well as some of the Dominican Republic’s best bird watching. The park is also home to caves full of carvings made by indigenous Taíno Indians.More

Damajagua Falls (27 Charcos)

Hidden in a lush Dominican Republic jungle, Damajagua Falls—otherwise known as the 27 Waterfalls of Rio Damajagua or 27 Charcos—are a series of 27 cascading waterfalls that were discovered in the 1990s. Located in the midst of sugarcane fields in the Northern Corridor mountain range, the hidden falls are a true off-the-beaten-path experience.More

Saona Island (Isla Saona)

Saona Island (Isla Saona) is the Dominican Republic's largest coastal island, clocking in at 15 miles (25 kilometers) long and three miles (5 kilometers) wide, with a population of little more than 300. Part of the National Park of the East, the island features plenty of photo-worthy white sands, swaying palm trees, and turquoise waters.More

Bavaro Beach (Playa Bavaro)

In Punta Cana, an idyllic resort town on the Dominican Republic’s east coast, all roads lead to Bavaro Beach (Playa Bavaro). Visitors flock to this beach not just for its aquamarine waters, white-sand strip, and coconut palm forest, but also for its abundance of fun—from water activities to watering holes.More

Los Tres Ojos National Park

Los Tres Ojos National Park—one of Santo Domingo’s most unique natural attractions—is an open-air limestone cave that’s home to three beautiful lakes (hence the name “The Three Eyes”. An impressive network of stalagmites and stalactites surround the lakes and make a visit to Los Tres Ojos feel like stepping into another world.More

Hoyo Azul Lagoon

Don’t let the name fool you, because Hoyo Azul Lagoon has more to offer than its simple moniker belies. This famous turquoise-water cenote (natural pool) in Punta Cana—the unexpected existence of which at the base of a 200-foot (61-meter) cliff surprises and delights visitors—is one of the Dominican Republic’s top destinations for the swimming, ziplining, nature tours, and other nearby activities.More

Coco Bongo Punta Cana

Travelers looking to dance the night away while sipping tropical cocktails under flashing lights with thumping beats will love the classic island party experience at Coco Bongo Punta Cana. This lively disco combines the best of a Las Vegas stage show with the music and dance floor of a contemporary club.More

Columbus Lighthouse (Faro a Colón)

Like much of this capital city, Faro a Colon, a bold and imposing cross-shaped structure, serves as a tribute to one of the world’s most famous explorers. Built in a style that’s more urban office building than coastal treasure, this mausoleum and museum does have one distinct feature that’s responsible for its namesake. Columbus Lighthouse projects a unique cross-shaped beam with a light so bright it can be seen from the shores of Puerto Rico.Travelers who venture to this concrete structure can explore a vast collection of Columbian jewelry, an ancient boat from Cuba and what locals say are the remains of Christopher Columbus.More

Ciudad Colonial (Zona Colonial)

The lively streets of Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial—one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods—are ripe with the sights, smells, and sounds of Latin America. This tiny enclave is filled with traditional European-style architecture, well-kept parks, cobblestone streets, and artistic nods to adventurers past.More
Santiago de los Caballeros

Santiago de los Caballeros

Santiago de los Caballeros, or simply Santiago, is located in the Cibao Valley, and with nearly 1 million residents, it’s the second-largest city in the Dominican Republic. Santiago’s origins date back to 1495, when Christopher Columbus built a fort on the banks of the Yaque del Norte River. Santiago was once named Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros (Saint James of the 30 Knights), a nod to the 30 Spanish aristocrats who helped form the original community.Many people refer to Santiago as the “heart city,” as it’s located at the center of what was once Hispaniola. Santiago has a large arts and culture scene. Do not miss the Museo del Tabaco (Cigar Museum), where visitors can learn about the art of making cigars and purchase some of the most famous brands. Other museums of note include Museo Folklórico Yoryi Morel, which features exhibits related to Santiago’s Carnival, and Museo Histórtico Fortaleza San Luis, which once served as a municipal prison.Sports are also a popular aspect of life in Santiago. Baseball and basketball are the most popular sports in the city. A number of notable Major League Baseball players are originally from the Dominican Republic. Fertile lands in the region support Santiago. Items like cigarettes, rum, furniture, soaps, leather goods and pharmaceuticals are produced in this region. Foods like cacao, dairy, coffee and milled rice are also staples in Santiago. While not typically a tourist destination, the city is seeing a slight increase in tourism.More

Alcázar de Colón (Columbus Palace)

This UNESCO World Heritage site located in Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone, is the oldest Viceroy residency in all of the Americas. Once the home of the famous Columbus family, the symmetrical structure was built by the famous explorers son is 1515.This historic site, which is now home to the Museo Alcazar de Diego Colon, was once an architectural constellation of fifty rooms, gardens and courtyards. While this once impressive palace is today approximately half the size, the artifacts, tapestries and documents on display in the museum showcase a rich and colorful history that grants travelers a deeper understanding of the culture and stories of Santo Domingo, as well as one of the world’s most well-known explorers.More

Fort San Felipe (Fortaleza San Felipe)

Built under the orders of King Philip II of Spain, Fort San Felipe(Fortaleza San Felipe) has been guarding the waters off Puerto Plata for more than 450 years. It was designed to protect the town from pirates as well as European invaders and later served as a prison. Today visitors come to tour the ruins and to enjoy the sweeping sea views from its ramparts.More

El Limón Waterfall (Cascada El Limón)

The trails that lead to El Limón Waterfall (Cascada El Limón are towered over by mountains, and lined with coffee and cocoa plants. If the picturesque Caribbean landscape isn't enough, a crystal-clear natural pool at the foot of the falls provides a place to cool off after a mountain hike.More
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Recent reviews from experiences in Dominican Republic

Great way to see the real Dominican Republic
Christopher_E, Mar. 2023
Half-Day Small-Group Cultural Tour in Dominican Republic
Really enjoyed the trip and a great way to see the real Dominican Republic.
Highly recommended!
Larisa_S, Feb. 2023
Monkeyland and Plantation Safari Tour from Punta Cana
Monkey land was exciting, but there was so much more to see and learn about!
Best tour guide ever!!
Stephanie_H, Dec. 2022
Full-Day Small-Group Saona Island Tour
It was wonderful to visit multiple parts of the island with two snorkel stops.
Really amazing experience. I recommend you :)
Tania_D, Nov. 2022
Half-Day Adventure: 4x4 ATV, Water Cave and Dominican Culture At Punta Cana
Really amazing experience, it was fun and great to see some Dominican Republic sites differently.
Damajagua Waterfalls excursion was awesome!
Martin_O, Mar. 2023
Amber Cove Shore Excursion: 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua / Cruise Ship Passengers
The hike to the falls was fun and beautiful, and the falls experience was exhilarating and memorable.
Incredible Excursion
Brittany_H, Mar. 2023
Full-Day Small-Group Saona Island Tour
We loved stopping to see all the starfish!
One of the top highlights of our trip!
Shari_M, Mar. 2023
Half-Day Nature Culture Excursion, Tropical Taino Garden Tour
It's such a great place to visit.
A lot of adventure packed into four hours
RHIAN_T, Mar. 2023
Wild Buggy Eco Adventure AT Punta Cana
You get to visit several locations and experience a number of activities that the Dominican Republic has to offer.
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People Also Ask

What is the Dominican Republic known for?

The Dominican Republic boasts hundreds of miles of beautiful beaches, all-inclusive resorts, warm tropical weather year-round, and a diverse landscape of rugged mountains, lush rainforests, and desert dunes. It’s also home to the oldest European settlement in the Americas and has rich culinary, music, and dancing traditions, including merengue and bachata.

What is the most popular part of the Dominican Republic?

Punta Cana is the most popular part of the Dominican Republic. Located on the southeastern end of the island, it’s home to numerous resorts and nearly 20 miles of white sandy beaches, clear waters, and plenty of beach and water activities. Santo Domingo, Santiago de los Caballeros, Puerto Plata, and La Romana are also popular.

How many days do you need in the Dominican Republic?

For a quick beach getaway, two to three days is enough time. But to experience a few different areas, you’ll want at least a week to visit historic Santo Domingo, a beach resort town such as Punta Cana or La Romana, and the mountainous Cordillera Central.

What are some cultural activities in the Dominican Republic?

Explore the UNESCO-listed Zona Colonial as well as more than a dozen museums in Santo Domingo. Learn to dance the merengue, salsa, and bachata, or take a cooking class. Visit the plantations and factories to learn about some of the country’s top exports, such as chocolate, cigars, and rum.

Is the Dominican Republic part of the US?

No, the Dominican Republic is not part of the US. It is a sovereign nation located on the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola island (shared with Haiti). The US has had close diplomatic relations with the Dominican Republic since 1884 and staged several interventions and occupations in the country during the 20th century.

When is the best time to go to the Dominican Republic?

Expect the best weather between December and March, with warm and dry days. Winter also brings humpback whales, and the month-long Carnival in February. It’s also peak tourist season, so expect crowds and higher prices. For the best weather and smaller crowds, visit in April and May. Hurricane season runs from June to October.


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