The Dominican Republic is the most popular destination in the Caribbean and it is no surprise why.
The Dominican Republic is on an island that is shared with Hispaniola and Haiti and it sees over 6 million visitors a year. This results in 2 million more than Cuba. This Caribbean destination has a lot more to offer visitors than your run-of-the-mill resort. The Dominican Republic has a lot more to offer than just resorts.
With warm weather year round, the high season is typically between December and April. Some of the things that set the Dominican Republic apart from the other Caribbean islands is its diverse geographic terrain including rainforests, beaches, savannahs, and highlands. The D.R. is also home to Pico Duarte–the Caribbean’s tallest mountain.
Here are some great things to see on your trip
Scenic Locations and National Parks
Lake Enriquillo- Lake Enriquillo is the only saltwater lake throughout the Antilles. It is located in the center of the Parque Nacional Isla Cabritos and is a haven for wildlife. It is one of the largest natural reserves for the American crocodile.
Eastern National Park- This World Heritage Sites is one of the largest marine parks in the Caribbean. Rhinoceros iguanas, bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, and manatees are just some of the amazing wildlife that visitors will get to experience when they visit Eastern National Park.
Bahia de las Aguilas and Jaragua National Park- The picturesque turquoise waters that line this 6-mile stretch of beach is best accessed by boat from the small village of La Cueva. Its’ marine life and amazing views will make for memories that you couldn’t possibly forget anytime soon.
Jarabacoa- Jarabacoa is best known as an area ripe for ecotourism and the location of the Dominican Republic’s only whitewater river, the Rio Yaque del Norte. The terrain, rivers, and waterfalls make it perfect for adventurous activities like hiking, climbing, and mountain biking.
Samana Peninsula and Bay- This peninsula and bay are lined with beautiful mangroves, caves, rock formations, and one of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic. It is also home to the Parque Nacional Los Haitises. Marine life is present in this area year-round including mother humpback whales giving birth in January and February.
Basilica of Our Lady- The Basilica de Nuestra Senora de la Altagracia is an amazing example of modern architecture. This is one of the leading sites of pilgrimage in Latin America as it hosts a huge mass every January 21st.
Santo Domingo- This is the bustling capital of the Dominican Republic. It is a mix of its’ Spanish colonial past and the present times. Visitors here can see the oldest cathedral in the Western Hemisphere, aptly named, the First Cathedral of America. There is also the World Heritage Site known as Zona Colonial (Colonial City). Its’ cobblestone streets and colonial architecture make it a site to be seen. For more modern viewings, there is the Plaza de la Cultura where you can see the Palace of Fine Arts, the National Palace, and the Museum of Modern Art.
Suggested tour options
- Horseback riding on the beach
- Zip-lining adventure
- Catamaran snorkel cruise
- ATV in the wilderness
The resorts may be a great place to stay when visiting the Dominican Republic, but they surely are not the end all be all. If you are looking to get a real sense of what the country has to offer, you will need to leave the resort. Do some research before leaving on your trip so that you can find some great things to see that are near where you will be staying.