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
Shimon Brathwaite

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.

1. Ocean World Adventure Park, Marina and Casino

Amusement Park, Park

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.

2. Sirenis Aquagames Punta Cana

Amusement Park

© 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.

3. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana

Hotel

Hard Rock Hotel
Courtesy of Hard Rock Hotel / Expedia
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is an all-inclusive resort, home to the largest Casino in the Caribbean. It is also known for having its own its own nightclub and a wide variety of bars to choose from.

4. Zona Colonial

Architectural Landmark

Colonial Zone (Ciudad Colonial), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The Colonial architectures of the Palacio Consistorial.
© ClickAlps / 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 and culture.

5. Humpback whales

Architectural Landmark

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.

6. The 3 Eyes National Park (Los Tres Ojos)

Natural Feature, Park

Los Tres Ojos - series of three lakes located in limestone cave in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
© Mariusz Świtulski / Alamy Stock Photo
This park gets its name from the lagoons (eyes) that were formed in the roof of the underground limestone caves. Over time sinkholes became filled with water and thus formed the three lagoons that make up this famous attraction.

7. Gri Gri Lagoon

Natural Feature

Dominican Republic, Rio San Juan, Boats at Laguna Gri Gri
© 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.

8. Cabarete

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark

surfing
© Austin Neill / Unsplash
Cabarete is known as the surf haven of the Dominican Republic. Cabarete is a small, laid-back beach village about 20 minutes away from the Puerto Plata International airport. Cabarete provides a great combination of relaxed and adventurous lifestyles.

9. Bavaro Beach

Natural Feature

White sand of Dominican Republic
© Courtney Hall / Unsplash
Bavaro beach is considered a beach paradise; it is filled with white sand beaches and has a large concentration of all-inclusive resorts. Here you will be able to enjoy a wide variety of water sports, such as jet skiing, parasailing, and banana boat rides.

10. Damajaqua Cascades (27 Waterfalls)

Natural Feature

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.

11. Catedral Primada de America

Cathedral, Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

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.

12. Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park & Reserve

Zoo

alexis-antonio-awKTWHx2wHE-unsplash iguana
© 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.

13. Parque Nacional Los Haitises

Natural Feature, Park

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.

14. Dunas de Bani

Natural Feature

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.

15. Teleferico Puerto Plata Cable Car (Pico Isabel de Torres)

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark

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.

16. Outback Safari Adventure Tour From Punta Cana

Natural Feature

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.

17. Punta Cana Small-Group Sailing and Snorkeling Catamaran Tour

Natural Feature

maja-novak-bAQ5mKCgIZo-unsplash
© Maja Novak / Unsplash

This sailing experience will give your group of up to 16 people a chance to sail the waters surrounding Punta Cana for up to three hours. You will also get the chance to go snorkeling with hundreds of tropical fish.

18. ChocoMuseo Punta Cana

Museum

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.

19. Monkey Land Explorer and Zip Line Adventure From Punta Cana

Natural Feature

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.

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