20 Unmissable Attractions in the Dominican Republic

As well as an amazing selection of beaches, the Dominican Republic offers a host of must-see attractions
As well as an amazing selection of beaches, the Dominican Republic offers a host of must-see attractions | © Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Shimon Brathwaite
30 November 2020

The Dominican Republic has one of the most varied landscapes of any Caribbean nation. Aside from the warm beaches, you’ll find mountainous terrain, large lakes and sand dunes that allow for a rich variety of attractions to all be found within one small country.

Ocean World Adventure Park, Marina and Casino

Amusement Park, Park
Map View
meeting dolphins up close
© May Manzur / Unsplash
Ocean World Adventure Park is not your usual water park where guests just observe the animals. Rather, it prioritizes interaction between the guests and the animals through several different programs. Next to the marina is the Ocean World Casino, a four-story aquatic themed casino with mosaics of whales, dolphins, and tropical fish.

Sirenis Aquagames Punta Cana

Amusement Park
Map View
© Iker Urteaga : Unsplash
© Iker Urteaga / Unsplash
Sirenis is a massive water park that covers an area of 12,000 square meters and comes with a vast array of services and features. It has a swimming pool in the central area of the park, a restaurant area with grills, hamburgers, and pizza, a ten-meter high tower with a free fall twister, four-lane speed slides, a Caribbean pirate themed children’s area, and a nursery for those traveling with very small children.

Zona Colonial

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Colonial Zone (Ciudad Colonial), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The Colonial architectures of the Palacio Consistorial.
© mauritius images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
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 the 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.

Humpback whales

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Thomas Kelly Humpback Whale
© Thomas Kelly / Unsplash

Samana 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. Humpback whales can grow up to 40 tons and perform many acrobatic acts while mating, such as jumping out of the water, and some males will sing songs to attract females to mate with.

Gri Gri Lagoon

Natural Feature
Map View
Dominican Republic, Rio San Juan, Boats at Laguna Gri Gri
As well as an amazing selection of beaches, the Dominican Republic offers a host of must-see attractions | © Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
This lagoon is known for having amazing crystal clear blue waters and being a great spot for rest and relaxation. While relaxing here you will likely see turtles at the nearby springs, as well as many different species of birds and fish.

Damajaqua Cascades (27 Waterfalls)

Natural Feature
Map View
Mathis Jrdl Waterfall
© Mathis Jrdl / Unsplash
Damajaqua Cascades, or the 27 Waterfalls, is one of 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.

Catedral Primada de America

Cathedral, Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View
Portal of the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor, Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
© imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo

This is the first cathedral to be built in the Americas, dating back to 1514 with the intention of being a center for religious proselytizing in the New World. This is a great attraction for people interested in architecture, as it has elements of the Gothic style that was predominant in Europe at the time.

Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park & Reserve

Zoo
Map View
alexis-antonio-awKTWHx2wHE-unsplash iguana
There is an iguana habitat at Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park | © Alexis Antonio / Unsplash

This is a massive, 1,500-acre private reserve owned and maintained by the Ecological Foundation. This reserve is filled with many endangered and rare species of animals such as the Ridgway Hawk. Here you can also find 12 freshwater lagoons and an abundance of birds, reptiles, insects, and several local species of plants.

Parque Nacional Los Haitises

Natural Feature, Park
Map View
Hiking at Los Haitises National Park, Los Haitises National Park, Dominican Republic
© Reinhard Dirscherl / Alamy Stock Photo

Haitises means “mountainous land” and this park is one of the few remaining tropical forests in the Dominican Republic. This park has an enormous amount of mangroves that covers an area of 1,600sqkm. Los Haitises is home to many keys and caves; the jungle was used in the making of the movie Jurassic Park.

Dunas de Bani

Natural Feature
Map View
balazs-busznyak-8GueQmJBuWM-unsplash Sand Dune
© Balazs Busznyak / Unsplash

This place is a sand dune facing the Caribbean Sea. It has sand made of volcanic rock and gray sand and offers you the chance to see something very rare to find in the Caribbean, and take some excellent sunset pictures. There are also some high peaks that you can use to go sand surfing. Lastly, you can see special species living here, like lizards and dessert goats.

Teleferico Puerto Plata Cable Car (Pico Isabel de Torres)

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
Map View
coast of puerto plata from pico de isabel del torres
© chriss73 / Alamy Stock Photo
Teleferico Puerto Plata is a cable car service that takes visitors to the top of the mountain, Pico Isabel de Torres, which stands at 2,600 feet or 792.5 meters tall. On a clear day you will be able to see spectacular views of the city and coastline. In order to make the most of the view we suggest you go early in the morning before the mountain starts to cloud up.

Outback Safari Adventure Tour From Punta Cana

Natural Feature
Map View
a variety of animals can be seen on the safari
© Lukas Marek / Unsplash
Outback Adventures is an adventure tours company that provides safari tours in several different regions of the Dominican Republic. The tours will be tailored according to both your hotel location and your desires. In addition to this, tours can provided in several languages other than English, such as French, German, and Spanish.

ChocoMuseo Punta Cana

Museum
Map View
erwan-hesry-OlQ-NaEyVmQ-unsplash
© Erwan Hesry / Unsplash

ChocoMuseo is a chocolate museum located in Punta Cana; here you can taste a wide assortment of ice creams and chocolates to your hearts content. In addition to enjoying all of the free samples, this museum is only steps away from the Don Lucas cigar factory. There, you can learn about the history of the Dominican Republic’s cigar trade.

Monkey Land Explorer and Zip Line Adventure From Punta Cana

Natural Feature
Map View
Zipline in Dominican Republic
© Víctor Gómez / Alamy Stock Photo

This tour takes you into the Mountains of Anamuya, where you can meet squirrel monkeys that have been trained to interact with humans. The second part of the tour is the Zip Lining Adventure. Here you will get to experience the sensation of flying through the air as you zipline between 16 platforms for over two miles of mountain ranges and forestry.

These recommendations were updated on November 30, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.