An insatiable Spanish flavour and infectious buzz radiates from its capital, the Unesco World Heritage City of Santo Domingo. Renowned for its charming cobblestones, colonial-era architecture and bars blaring the heady rhythms of merengue music, the city exudes old world Latin America. Contemporary hotels sit on ancient bougainvillea –lined streets, and behind wrought-iron window grilles, chic restaurants serve international cuisine alongside traditional Dominican street vendors.
The La Romana region lies along the Dominican Republic's sugar-cane lined southeastern coast. Founded in the early 19th century as a commercial port for the export of sugar and wood, today the region is steeped in colonial history yet its tropical forests and enticing waters make it an ideal destinations for families, honeymooners and adventure-holiday goers alike. Golf enthusiasts have four magnificent courses to choose from, while the marina boasts a number of internationally renowned restaurants and boutiques. Bayahibe, a fishing village near La Romana, is the center of what’s widely regarded as the country’s best scuba diving, and snorkelers have offshore reefs to explore as well. It is also home to the country's national flower, the Bayahibe rose.
The lavish, yet laid-back resort region around Punta Cana on the east coast offers world-renowned golf courses, all-inclusives and family fun. Nestled across 100 miles of beautiful beaches lapped by turquoise waters and dotted with swaying palm trees, it is the picture-perfect paradise - and popular with holiday-makers from all over the world as a result. Year after year, this region, where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean Sea, hosts international fishing competitions and a wealth of water sports.
Ultra-luxe properties are now emerging in some of the country’s most alluring and unspoilt locations – most recently making way for the esteemed Amanera amid the natural preserve at Playa Grande, where stunning beaches meet 60-foot cliffs and rolling hills. Dominated by its eponymous mile-long beach and the more intimate Playa Preciosa, this virtually untouched area of natural beauty is framed by soft green mountains lush with native trees and royal palms thanks to underground springs supplying the area with abundant fresh water.
While canyons and coastline cater for mountain bikers, windsurfers, hikers, climbers and whale-watchers. For party people, it doesn't get much better than sipping tropical cocktails on the nearby Cabarete’s beachfront or a leisurely sundowner on Puerto Plata’s Malecón. The city’s old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.
In a fertile valley walled in by towering peaks, the charming mountain village of Constanza is one of the Dominican Republic's most breathtaking spots. Nicknamed 'the Switzerland of the Caribbean' and with a rich agricultural tradition that dates back to the influx of Japanese farmers in the 1950s, the surrounding region is a veritable cultural melting pot, and a cool, mountainous micro-climate lends the area a distinctly un-Caribbean feel. Four national parks bursting with nature and wildlife make these stunning surrounds a must to witness the contrasting sides of this enigmatic island.