As Dominican Republic prepares to celebrate the 175th anniversary of its independence on February 27, the time to explore this Caribbean oasis is now! From hiking trails to undiscovered beaches and cultural activities, there is so much more to Dominican Republic than meets the eye.
Pick and choose from the following destinations, experiences and activities to create the ultimate Dominican excursion for you and your loved ones. No matter where you go, you won’t be disappointed.
Dominican Republic’s capital city is the most modern and dynamic metropolis in the Caribbean. Affectionately called “La Capital,” Santo Domingo epitomizes the pulse of Dominican culture. Here, the old and new converge seamlessly — from centuries-old architecture and history, to large shopping malls, art galleries, an electric nightlife, and a thriving culinary scene.
Each year in February and early March, Dominican Carnival showcases the vibrancy, spontaneity and creativity that makes this country’s annual festivals unlike any others. From Santo Domingo’s annual parade along the Malecon, to Punta Cana’s energetic festivities, to Puerto Plata and La Vega, Carnival atmosphere takes over this sunny island nation each winter.
From gastronomy and dancing, to rich history and colorful streets, a visit to the Colonial Zone (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is a must for any Dominican adventure.
Nicknamed “La Perla del Sur,” or “The Pearl of the South,” this region is geographically removed from the country’s primary tourist destinations, but its remoteness has many perks. Barahona has the most biodiverse reserve and parks in the country, as well as surfing beaches, fresh water swimming parks, birding havens tucked amid mountain ranges, and plantations producing some of the country’s finest coffee.
Playa San Rafael
This signature Barahona pebble beach features panoramic views with river pools, and cascades that run all the way to the shore. On your way there, be sure to stop at the lookout point for a view of one of Dominican Republic’s best-kept secrets.
Sierra de Bahoruco National Park
Lace up your hiking boots and explore the lush terrain in this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This impressive range of ecosystems is home to several unique species. Highlights of this picturesque park include rivers flowing down to meet pebble beaches, towering bluffs with coastal scenery unlike anywhere else in Dominican Republic, and caves tucked amid thick fern forests that lead to blue sinkholes for a refreshing dip in the Caribbean.
Perched at an altitude of 1,736 feet, this scenic mountain resort town is a favorite escape among Santiago and Santo Domingo city dwellers. An eco-tourism hub easily accessible via modern highways, Jarabacoa — meaning “place of waters” in Taino — has a variety of charming accommodations, from riverside ranches and eco-lodges to luxury vacation villas perched in the mountains.
Yaque del Norte
This mountain-fed river boasts Class 2 rapids that are perfect for a range of skill levels. Year-round temperatures in the 70s and 80s mean it’s always a good time for an adventure, especially along the longest river in the Caribbean!
Climb the tallest mountain in the Caribbean! Standing at 10,125 feet and housed within the Armando Bermúdez and José del Carmen Ramírez national parks, Pico Duarte offers incredible views over the Cordillera Central mountain range.
This area is Dominican Republic’s secluded slice of paradise, featuring pristine beaches, coconut plantations and rainforests. Its rolling mountains and valleys form crystalline rivers that feed into the Atlantic, and cascade toward brilliant white sand beaches stretching hundreds of kilometers all around the peninsula’s rocky coastline.
See these beautiful mammals first-hand when approximately 2,500 humpback whales migrate to Samaná Bay from January through March to mate, birth and bask in the glorious tropical scenery. Whether you’re ready to get up close and personal with a guided boat tour, or watch from the shore, you’re sure to love celebrating the country’s glorious visitors!
Los Haitises National Park
This rainforest is one of the crown jewels of Dominican Republic’s national park system. With extensive mangroves, cays that are home to multiple bird colonies, and a series of caves known for having one of the highest numbers of petroglyphs and pictographs in the country, Los Haitises is the perfect destination for nature lovers and history buffs alike.
The pristine beaches and resorts of Dominican Republic are gorgeous, but be sure not to miss out on exploring the culture of the country as well. Museums, festivals and specialties like cigars, rum, chocolate, coffee and merengue await — and with eight international airports, paradise is more accessible than you’d think. So what are you waiting for? Start your Dominican Republic adventure today!