There’s more than meets the eye at this lush island paradise. The Dominican Republic is scattered with a collection of cultures as well as the celebrated laid-back Caribbean vibe.
Covered with coconut-palm-scattered beaches, exotic rainforests and the highest mountains in the Caribbean, this diverse landscape hosts a number of surprises. To discover the rural beauty on offer, venture to the centre of the island. Draped in lush foliage and fertile valleys, the cloud-blanketed mountains of Constanza are an untouched treasure straight from Europe.
Infused with a Spanish flavour and infectious buzz, the capital, Santo Domingo, is renowned for its charming cobbled streets, saccharine buildings and colonial architecture. The first city of the New World; it isn’t any wonder why it’s recognised as a World Heritage Site.
Guests seeking adventure can head to Puerto Plata to explore canyons and partake in watersports; while Punta Cana is ideal for golf-enthusiasts, hosting 11 exceptional courses. Punta Cana is also a popular choice for honeymooners and families, and is home to modern, Caribbean-cool resort, Eden Roc at Cap Cana. A top-tip for first-timers, visit the Avenida Venezuela in Santo Domingo for authentic Latin music and dancing.
The Dominican Republic is an enticing year-round destination, with temperatures averaging 28°C-30°C. The winter months, between December to February, are the most popular months to visit in addition to whale-watching season from mid-January to mid-March. The summer months, from May to November, tend to be hotter and more humid with regular showers and the possibility of tropical storms.
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.
The Dominican Republic is one of the Caribbean's most geographically diverse countries, with stunning mountain scenery, desert scrublands, evocative colonial architecture and beaches offering all manner of escape for every type of traveller. Exploring is a must, to do justice to this deservedly popular destination - and thanks to recent investment in infrastructure, it is more than possible to travel between destinations in one well-planned itinerary. Where to start? Allow us...
Seemingly endless coconut-palm-scattered beaches flank exotic rainforests on this lush island paradise; with planeloads of tourists making a beeline for the picture-perfect stretches of white sand around Baváro and Punta Cana and the long ocean corridor stretching from Monte Cristi to Rio San Juan. That said, the Dom Rep is far more than a fly and flop beach destination. The north coast and the area surrounding the Peninsula de Samaná is considered something of a mecca of water sports in the Dominican Republic, with wakeboarding, kitesurfing, canoeing and everything in between on offer. Surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving options are plentiful, active travelers will find it all here, as well as a community of experienced pros to show beginners how it’s done.
The heart of the Spanish empire’s original seat in the New World is chockablock with museums, sights and courtly looking plazas surrounded by exquisitely restored 16th-century buildings. Ordinary life contrasts its colonial-era backdrop at every turn - contemporary hotels sit on ancient cobblestone streets lined with wrought iron and bursts of bougainvillea.
Much of the country’s reputation as an indulgent holiday destination emanates from the resplendent Punta Cana region. Most of the stereotypes are true, and there's something very intoxicating about having every indulgence, food, drink, pools and beachfront, close at hand - and charming personnel on hand to reach anything you can't.
The contrasts between the colonial and the cosmopolitan continue into the country's culinary offerings. Contemporary restaurants serving exotic cuisine compete with street vendors specialising in traditional Dominican fare; and the plato del día often means feasting on locally caught seafood with a haute cuisine twist alfresco on the balcony of an ancient building.
Wild swimming around waterfalls and in cenotes, snorkelling stunning reefs, hiking or horse riding through verdant hillside are just some of the ways to enjoy the Dominican Republic's natural landscape. For those looking to get the adrenaline pumping, the varied topography on offer across the Dom Rep lends itself as an ideal setting for a range of extreme sports. Be it kiteboarding, paragliding, ballooning, rafting, surfing or mountain biking, action sport aficionados have every opportunity on offer to get their fix. Traverse the stunning mountain scenery on two wheels, surf the biggest barrels you dare 350 days of the year, and view the dramatic natural skyline from above with the aid of a parachute.
The Dominican Republic is a golfer's dream, with no less than 26 meticulously manicured courses set against stunning scenery and shoreline. Play courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Fazio and Robert Trent Jones in a year-round tropical climate that beckons golfers during every season.
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