In recent years, the Dominican Republic has become a hub for international tourists. For anyone who has been to the island, this comes as no surprise. The Dominican Republic has everything required to create a relaxing yet memorable vacation, from picture-perfect beaches and luxury resorts to unique historical architecture, amazing restaurants, and plenty of tourist attractions.
When planning vacations to the Dominican Republic, some people prefer to stay at one of the island’s all-inclusive resorts, relaxing by the pool or on the beach and soaking up the sun. For more adventurous travelers, though, that sounds like a bore. Those who want to create amazing memories and really get to know the island can read on to find out about the top things to do in the Dominican Republic.
1. Explore Punta Cana
Since most visitors to the Dominican Republic stay in Punta Cana, their first priority is usually to explore close to home. The good news is that there’s plenty to do right in town, from shopping downtown at the mall to checking out the Hard Rock Casino or satisfying that sweet tooth at the ChocoMuseo chocolate museum.
Punta Cana has a decent public transit infrastructure, but most tourists prefer to avoid the bus. The best way to tour Punta Cana and get around in style is to book a private chauffeur with Transekur.
2. Hit the Beach
Even adventurous souls who generally prefer to keep busy creating unique memories need to check out at least a few of the Dominican Republic’s amazing beaches. There’s more to do than just relaxing on the sand, so don’t assume it will be boring. Relax, head out for a dip in the ocean, and think about scheduling lessons with a surf school or heading out whale watching.
Most visitors start by hitting Bavaro Beach, right in the heart of Punta Cana, but that’s not the best place to go for a quiet getaway or a day of local adventuring. To get a little further off the beaten path, try:
- Playa Grande
- Playa Los Minos
- Playa Rincon
- Playa Los Patos
- Playa Boca Chica
3. Check Out Los Tres Ojos
Los Tres Ojos, known in English as the 3 Eyes National Park, gets its name from the three beautiful lagoons found on-site. They formed in the roof of the area’s underground limestone caves, then became filled with water over time to create one of the island’s most famous natural attractions.
4. Stroll Through the Zona Colonial
Located in Santo Domingo, the Zona Colonial is a truly unique place where the hustle and bustle of modern life play out amongst centuries-old buildings dating all the way back to colonial times. One of the most popular places to go in the Zona Colonial is the Calle El Conde, which is home to restaurants, shopping, and other tourist attractions, but don’t be afraid to explore a bit. The whole area has plenty to offer.
5. Take Up Kiteboarding
Always dreamed of taking up a new water sport, but not into surfing? Head to Cabarete’s Kite Beach and take some lessons in kiteboarding. Even visitors who aren’t into hitting the surf themselves will be sure to enjoy watching the kiteboarders descend on the beach each afternoon as the wind picks up.
6. Hike to the 27 Charcos
Real adventure-lovers can’t afford to miss the 27 Charcos, or 27 Waterfalls of Damajaqua. Intrepid adventurers can book guided tours that allow them to ascend to the top of the falls via a harrowing climb up a narrow gorge, then jump off each one into the pools below. Needless to say, this attraction is certainly not for the faint of heart, but it’s a must-see for anyone who loves to swim and isn’t afraid of heights.
7. Visit the Altos de Chavon
The Altos de Chavon can be found outside of La Romana, yet another of the island’s popular resort towns. This replica of one of the island’s 16th-century artisan villages has a vibe all its own, and its home to a plethora of unique cigar, clothing, and jewelry shops, art galleries, and fine dining establishments. While visitors are there, they should take the time to check out the St Stanislaus Church for its unmatched views over the river.
8. Ride the Teleferico in Puerto Plata
The Teleferico, or cable car, in Puerto Plata offers amazing bird’s-eye views of the entire northern coast. The car ascends almost 800 feet from sea level up to the top of the mountain, where visitors can check out the Pico Isabel de Torres, see the famous Christ the Redeemer statue, and take in the views. Just keep in mind that it’s best to plan a Teleferico ride for early in the day before the afternoon clouds roll in.
9. Visit Jarabacoa
Jarabacoa is like an outdoor adventure playground for adults. Adventure-loving visitors will find all kinds of opportunities for exploration, from hiking and biking to rafting, and more. The town is a bit off the beaten path, too, so it’s a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the island’s most popular cities.
10. Relax and Unwind at the Parque Nacional del Este
The Parque Nacional del Este is best known for being home to the beautiful beaches of Isla Saona, but there’s plenty of other natural beauty and unique habitats to check out at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. It may be something of a tourist magnet thanks to its proximity to premier destinations like Punta Cana and La Romana, but there’s not a single resort on the island. Instead, tourists take catamarans or speedboats to the shore to relax, soak up the sun, and take in the amazing scenery.
Get Planning Today Not everyone is lucky enough to have weeks to spend in the Dominican Republic, so vacation planners should choose the outings and attractions that appeal the most to them. Consider the list above a good place to start, but don’t be afraid to ask for other recommendations. There’s plenty to do in the Dominican Republic at all times of the year.