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Top 10 Things to See and Do in the Dominican Republic

Top 10 Things to See and Do in the Dominican Republic

Picture of Shimon Brathwaite
Updated: 14 May 2017

The Dominican Republic is the most visited Caribbean country and for good reason. Here you can find a wide variety of attractions and activities that all sorts of visitors enjoy, from surfers to animal lovers to cyclists to cultural enthusiasts and much more. However, unlike other Caribbean countries, the Dominican Republic is too large to completely explore in just one trip, which is why we have provided a condensed list of some of the best attractions the country has to offer.

Go Whale-Watching

Samaná is home to the Sanctuary of the Humpback Whales and is where, every year between December and March, about 2,000 humpback whales come to reproduce in the warm waters near the shore. Studies show that all populations of Atlantic humpback whales come to reproduce in these waters. Humpback whales can grow up to 40 tons and perform many acrobatics acts while mating such as jumping out of the water and some males will sing ‘songs’ to attract females to mate with.

Visit the Zona Colonial

Zona Colonial is a small town located in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. This area is home to many important historical buildings such as the first cathedral, monastery, university, customs house and hospital in the ‘New World’. On top of the historical attractions, the Zona Colonial has a wide variety of restaurants and is also well known for its clubs and lively nightlife.

Stay at the Costa Del Coco

Costa Del Coco is known as the Dominican Republic’s Resort Haven. La Costa del Coco is located at the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic and is a long coastline of white sand and palm trees, home to a large cluster of all-inclusive resorts.

Party in Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic, the most visited country in the Caribbean, and the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas. Here you’ll find some of the largest and most pristine beaches in the Caribbean as well as the highest concentration of all-inclusive resorts. The city is a mix of old-world colonial charm combined with modern day Latin architecture. Santo Domingo is known for having a very lively nightlife with a huge number of clubs and lounges to choose from.

Explore Constanza and the Dominican Alps

The Dominican Alps are found 80km away from the city’s capital, Santo Domingo. This mountain range forms the spine of the island. The center area of the Alps is a paradise for nature lovers; it is home to protected national parks, streams and valleys. Here you will find some of the greatest views the country has to offer. The high altitudes will give you a break from the intense heat you will experience in the rest of the country. The cooler climate encourages the growth of fruits like strawberries, hard to find anywhere else in the country. The highest mountain, Pico Duarte, is filled with green meadows and pine forests, a rare sight in the Caribbean.

See Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata is a beautiful area filled with pristine beaches and an amazing mountain backdrop. While there, you will have access to some of the best watersports in the country. Cabarete, one of the towns within this region, is known as the windsurfing capital of the country; the beaches in this area have waves that attract surfers from all over the world. Puerto Plata is also well known for its lively nightlife and very rich culture, and is a great place to learn about some of the traditions of the country.

Head to Los Haitises National Park

Haitises means “mountainous land” and this is one of the few remaining tropical forests in the Dominican Republic. The park has an enormous amount of mangroves that cover an area of 1,600km/sq. Los Haitises is home to many caves – the jungle was used in the making of the movie Jurassic Park – as well as a large assortment of wildlife, such as the endangered Ridgway’s hawk, the Hispaniolan piculet, the Hispaniolan Woodpecker, the Spanish Emerald, pelicans, frigate birds, herons and many other majestic birds in flight. The hills within the park can reach up to 40 meters and provide amazing views for those willing to do some climbing.

Sightsee at Lake Enriquillo

Lake Enriquillo is the largest lake in the Caribbean and is home to a very diverse set of wildlife, including but not limited to saltwater crocodiles, pink flamingoes and lizards. It’s a great place to visit if you are interested in animals. We highly recommend that those interested in visiting book a tour with a legitimate touring agency due to the possibility of running into dangerous wildlife and because it is a fairly remote location near the Haitian border.

Sail to Saona Island

Saona is a tropical island located to the southeast of the Dominican Republic. Isla Saona is a great place for a day trip. It has a population of about 300 people, making it a great place for tranquility and relaxation. You can take long quiet walks, relax in the shallow waters or sunbathe on the white sand. It’s considered to be one of the most beautiful island excursions the Dominican Republic has to offer. Boats leave from Bayahibe every morning, and round trips (including hotel pick-up) can range from $50 to $80.

Experience the Damajaqua Cascades

The Damajaqua Cascades, or the 27 Waterfalls, are among the biggest attractions for nature lovers in the Dominican Republic. Over 50,000 people come every year to visit these waterfalls, take pictures and swim in the natural pools formed below. The 27 waterfalls are found in the hills of the Northern Corridor mountain range, crafted by Mother Nature out of solid limestone.