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Island Adventures : 6 Things to Do in Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is the third largest of all countries bathed by the Caribbean waters, only after Cuba and Haiti. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world due to its surreal beauty and awesome uniqueness.

There are a host of fun things you can do in the Dominican Republic! It could be the sweetest spot for your next tour. The Dominican Republic was the first island the Europeans discovered and settled in. Christopher Columbus named it La Española and later, it went on to become the richest colony in the world.

Today, Dominican Republic’s pleasant weather allows a healthy growth of diverse landscapes- including tropical forests, beaches of crystal clear water, lofty mountain ranges, fertile valleys, and stunning mangroves; and are only some of the reasons for tourists to flock to the island.

1. The Breathtaking Punta Cana

A resort town in the easternmost region of the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana has the maximum number of fun things to do in the Dominican Republic due to its ever-widening tourist potential.

With over 30 miles of captivating beaches, natural reserves, world-class golf courses, casinos, a long list of exciting watersports, adventure parks, underground caves, magical cenotes, fun buggy rides through the countryside, coral reefs, water parks, and many more, Punta Cana offers you what no spot can ever offer.

1.1. Explore Bavaro in Punta Cana

aerial drone view of caribbean resort bavaro punta cana dominican
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Bavaro is located in the La Altagracia province of Punta Cana and is generally famous for its clean beaches and spectacular resorts that provide you with a taste of real luxuriousness. It has places that offer you lots of things to do in the Dominican Republic.

Barcelo is the oldest resort hotel in Bavaro whereas the newest one is Now Larimar. You can also play golf at the local Cocotal Golf club which is a well-known golfing venue among world-class golfers.

Plaza Bavaro road has several gift shops as well, whereas Plaza Palma is a shopping mall that offers both local as well as branded products. The three famous beach bars of the Bamboo bar, Soles and Umi are good for quick drinks break amid your day trip!

Some of the many adventure parks in Bavaro are the Bahia Adventure park, Patquesito, and the Manati Park, likable to both kids and adults. The Bavaro adventure park is among the supreme tourist attractions.

1.1.2 Bavaro Beach

Hailed as one of the three best beaches in the world (as per UNESCO), the Bavaro Beach is truly a tropical paradise. It is the most beautiful beach stretch in the whole of Punta Cana and one of the most visited spots on the entire Caribbean island. The four Bavaro Beach public access points are Bibijagua, Jellyfish, Corales, and Cortecito.

Bavaro and Bavaro beach, more specifically are spots you’d want to see at least once in your lifetime, and then come back for more!

1.1.3. Macao Beach

Macao Beach is a beautiful beach in Punta Cana. It is the perfect place to get a taste of Dominican culture. It’s the place to sink your toes in the fine-grain white sand, dip your feet in its refreshing blue water, or snack on local fresh seafood.

The beach is where you can click pictures worth a lifetime, against the photogenic backdrop of where light blue waters meet the deep blue skyline, among other things.

A horseback excursion enables you to see and admire the picturesque views from the saddle and take photographs. Most of the best things to do in the Dominican Republic are offered on Macao beach.

1.2 Punta Cana Dolphin Excursions

boat trip in the fjords from musandam oman to meet
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One of the things to do in the Dominican Republic is to go on dolphin excursions. During your stay in the Dominican Republic, you can enjoy a great swim with dolphins at Punta Cana, in its warm Caribbean waters.

There are several dolphin water parks in Punta Cana, such as Dolphin Explorer, Dolphin Island Park, Dolphin Discovery Punta Cana, etc. The parks are also great places to play water sports even without dolphins.

1.3 Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve, Punta Cana

The Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve consist of large acres of land consisting of sub-tropical forest, dedicated to environmental conservation and scientific research.

The Ecological Park and Reserve are known for their many freshwater lagoons, out of which many are actually swimmable for tourists. One can visit this Park to explore the iguana habitat, sugarcane exhibition, and a petting zoo where domestic animals in the Dominican Republic are kept.

Hiking on the trails of this reserve is a great experience in itself. If you wish to jump into one of the lagoons here, don’t forget to carry your swimwear!

1.4. Whale Watching in Punta Cana

The whale watching season in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, is from mid-December to late March, where thousands of humpback whales congregate in the warm waters off the coast of the Dominican Republic.

There are several boat tour agencies that take you on whale watching tours. These include El Tour Caribe Punta Cana, EcoReef Punta Cana, and Punta Cana best Excursions. Bookings are available on spot, but an online booking is the better option.

2. Santo Domingo

historic city center plaza with skyline of colonial buildings and
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The largest city, Santo Domingo is also the capital of the Dominican Republic. Its rich colonial history and the marvelous Zona colonial which has mysterious archaic buildings make it one of the top places among lovers of history. It also has places that offer you lots of things to do in the Dominican Republic.

The best time to visit Santo Domingo would be November through March since the temperatures are not too hot during this time of year. The weather is generally sunny and dry with lower humidity than the stark summer season.

2.1. The Zona Colonia

For tourists, the highlight of the city of Santo Domingo is the Zona Colonia which is where most of the significant tourist places are located. Zona Colonia is a delightful mix of the history and modernity of Dominican life as it is. Crumbling ruins of the 16th-century, strewn among the wonderfully restored colonial buildings are a constant reminder of Santa Domingo’s rich, indelible history.

Discovered by Christopher Columbus in the late 1400s, this first city of the New World is where the Italian explorer lived and is buried today.

The entire colonial district of Santo Domingo, the Zona Colonial, has been honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Santo Domingo’s countless historic buildings, museums, restaurants, and hotels reflect the city’s historic core.

The area of Zola Colonia is relatively close-packed, the tourist attractions are near one another. It is easy to explore on foot, perfect for a full-day tour.

2.1.1. Panteón Nacional

the national pantheon of heroes and oratory of the virgin
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The Panteón Nacional, or the National Pantheon of the Dominican, was originally constructed as a church. In 1956, the building was converted to the national mausoleum under the orders of dictator Rafael Trujillo in an attempt to honor the country’s most important people.

Famous names such as Francisco Gregorio Billini, Gregorio Luperón, Eugenio María de Hostos, and José Gabriel García are notable related to Santo Domingo’s Rich past.

The interior of the Panteón Nacional is marvelous, its white or colored marble tombs along the walls are jaw-droppingly beautiful. Its ornately painted ceiling and the huge Gothic-style chandelier are some of the top attractions in the entire tour of Santo Domingo.

Opposite the entrance, at the end of a long, decadent red carpet is an eternal flame that burns rising from the floor.

The exact location of Panteón Nacional is Calle Las Damas, one block south of the Museo de las Casas Reales in Santo Domingo

2.1.2. Parque Colón

Parque Colón or the Columbus Park is located at the heart of Santo Domingo and is the most animated and fun place in the Dominican Republic you can visit.

It is where you see street musicians and street performers, cobblers set up along the sidewalk, and children chasing pigeons around the statue of Columbus, among many other things, even around the area.

The Catedral Primada de América, the first cathedral built in the Americas, is near Parque Colón, in its South. Running along the north side of the Parque Colón is the city’s main pedestrian street, Calle El Conde.

There are a bunch of restaurants with outdoor tables that look onto the park which could be the best place to sit and appreciate the sights and sounds around you in this beautiful square.

In case you want to take a tour around from here to other places in Santo Domingo, the Chu Chu Colonial tourist trolley reaches from the east side of the square. It is one place that presents you with lots of things to do in the Dominican Republic!

If you can’t cover the square in a day trip, you can base yourself in the quaint Boutique Hotel Palacio, built in an ancient style with a beautiful courtyard and the old-town charm. The hotel offers a variety of luxury to mid-range rooms that differ in size and price.

2.1.3. Choco Museum Santo Domingo

prague czech republic june 29 2015 choco story museum in
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If you are in the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, you must visit the Choco Museum which is one of the best places to see. It is more than just a tasty stop in the Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo.

Set in a 16th-century styled building, the museum and chocolate factory is a fun & educational experience tourists don’t want to miss in the Dominican Republic. You can learn about the cacao and chocolate industry there.

They even let you sample pieces of chocolate and chocolate drinks or try out cacao-based beauty products! Beyond the Sample, Counter is a small museum that displays elements history of cacao and the manufacture of cacao seeds and chocolates. In the front part of the place, there’s a shop where you can purchase all kinds of chocolate products.

Displays are labeled in both English and Spanish, and some of the staff even speak English.

2.1.4. Parque Nacional Los Tres Ojos

Just five miles east of Santo Domingo, is a beautiful national park, the Los Tres Ojos National Park (English- The Three Eyes National Park). It marks a chapter in history, as it offers a solid glimpse of the Taino’s underground caverns which were once used for refuge or rituals.

A winding entrance staircase leads to a series of caves in the national park, with pathways hugging three freshwater and very beautiful clear blue lagoons or “eyes” as the Taino called them, owing to their oval shapes.

There is a fourth lagoon which is accessible via a solemn wooden barge. It reveals a gorgeous, open-air scenery of water and a rocky landscape amid the lush, green vegetation.

2.2 Day Trips from Santo Domingo

Speaking of day trips, there aren’t any good ones in Santo Domingo itself. However, if you want crystal clear waters and beach fun, you can visit the nearby beach of Isla Saona.

2.2.1. Isla Saona

Saona Island is a tropical island located on the southeast coast, in La Altagracia province of the Dominican Republic. It is a government-protected nature reserve and is part of the Dominican Republic’s Parque Nacional Cotubanamá.

Saona Island is a popular destination for tourists from all over the Dominican Republic and the world who get there in fleets of catamarans and small motorboats on organized full-day trips.

The island is known for its white-sand beaches laced with mangroves and palm trees. Its shallow water is also home to gorgeous coral reefs and starfish.

A certain subtle fishing village, Mano Juan is located near the Flamingo Lagoon where tourists get to see many colorful shacks and a turtle sanctuary. Around its west, the Cave of Cotubanamá preserves many pre-Columbian rock art forms

This is one of the top places Santo Domingo boasts of, so make sure your tour includes it!

3. Things to Do in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata or simply Puerto Plata is the third-largest city in the Dominican Republic. The city rises abruptly from the Caribbean sea, making it almost completely visible from the port. It is bordered on the north by the Atlantic Ocean and to the south and southwest by the hill Isabel de Torres.

The major tourist attractions of Puerto Plata include Playa Dorada and Costa Dorada, located to the east of San Felipe of Puerto Plata.

The city houses a total of 100,000 hotel beds in the city and a number of “all-inclusive resorts”. We list some below.

3.1. Cabarete

Cabarete Dominican Republic Highway Sign
Image Source: depositphotos

Speaking of tourist attractions in Puerto Plata, Cabarete can easily get the top place. Cabarete City used to be a quaint fishing village. Now, however, it’s a high-geared getaway for the jet set. Tours to Cabaret include planning a day or two’s worth of activities which include kitesurfing and windsurfing in its white-sand beaches and indulging in its smattering of bars and restaurants.

Cabarete is also known as the adventure sports capital of the Dominican Republic. Cabarete is an ideal spot to explore the rest of the Dominican Republic, as it is near and around every major tourist attraction in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Cabarete is a friendly, slightly raucous beach town, where you can meet different people in a hubbub of mixed languages as you walk down the main street in Cabarete where many restaurants, hotels, and shops are located.

3.1.2. The Beautiful Beaches

Take a trip to Kite Beach, the big claim to fame in the town of Cabaret. Other popular spots include Bozo Beach which is around downtown Cabarete and Encuentro Beach. Although most of the surf breaks are too rough for first-time surfers, Cabarete also has many kitesurfing schools where you can learn the craft.

Visitors on tours love watching the kite surfers, as well as lounging on the gorgeous beaches of Cabaret. There are also many places to enjoy local seafood and enjoy one or two beach cocktails.

3.2. Playa Dorada

beautiful cloudscape over the sea sunrise shot
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Playa Dorada or Golden Beach is the best beach in the Puerto Plata area, and all the major resorts are located along its shores.

Besides sunbathing and admiring Mount Isabel de Torres in the distance, you can do several things like getting windsurfing, snorkeling, and even fishing in the water along Playa Dorada. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants that serve local snacks and drinks. You can also try your hand at any number of sports in Playa Dorada.

3.3. Playa Sosua

Located to the east of the Playa Dorada, Playa Sosua is a popular stretch of sandy beach adored by visitors for its soft, khaki-colored shore, shallow waters, and ample beach fun. You can peruse the many restaurants and bars that line the beach area.

Playa Sosua is one of the most beautiful beaches in Puerto Plata to hang around with family and friends on your tour and you will want to come back immediately after you leave. However, keep in mind that the Playa Sosua can get pretty crowded in the afternoon.

3.4. Puerto Plata Cable Car

No trip to the Dominican Republic was successful before riding the teleférico–the only complete cable car ride in the whole Caribbean region. It is truly one of the best things to do in the Dominican Republic.

The ten-minute-long ride takes you soaring in a cable car 800 meters (2,625 feet) above Puerto Plata from the sea on your north to the lush, plains that eventually lead you to the other end of the cable, at Mount Isabel de Torres.

See the nature reserve and botanical gardens along the way, while reveling the ride back down by cable car once more before heading out.

4. La Romana

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La Romana is a beautiful city on the Dominican Republic’s Caribbean coast. It also serves as a gateway to nearby resort areas in the Dominican Republic and it is a place that offers you lots of adventure.

Dominican Republic’s most ideal destination, La Romana offers many things to do in the Dominican Republic for families, honeymooners, divers, and golfers alike.

The city is home to the famous Casa de Campo resort, several internationally acclaimed golf courses, a world-class marina, and the Altos de Chavón, a beautiful replica of a 16th-century artisan village.

The Bayahibe area near La Romana offers picturesque beaches, chic and comfy accommodations, scopes for the best water sports, notable attractions, and splendid scopes for ecotourism. Visitors can enjoy stunning Saona Island, Cotubanamá National Park, and many more nearby places.

5. Things to Do in The Dominican Republic: Province of Samana

Samaná (Santa Bárbara de Samaná) is a town on the Samaná Peninsula, in the Dominican Republic. Overlooking the Samaná Bay, this town serves as a home to thousands of humpback whales during winter’s mating season.

The Whale Museum is the prime attraction here, which preserves a huge whale skeleton. The town’s waterfront promenade, the Malecón, has many restaurants and bars. Around Samana, Cayo Levantado is a tiny island known for its palm-lined beaches in the republic.

5.1. Las Terrenas

famous island of dominican republic city samana las terrenas and
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Located on the northeastern coast of the Samana Peninsula, Las Terrenas is a small town that offers miles of protected inshore blue waters and beautiful, undeveloped white sand beaches, lined with tall palm trees and bright-colored boats.

Trade winds and the warm temperature of the sub-tropical Atlantic Ocean winds influence the weather of Las Terrenas town which is balmy all year round. Exploring the vast stretches of beaches, and enjoying the food and drinks which are a part of the Dominican Culture are the best things to do in Las Terrenas.

Significant beaches include Playa Las Ballenas, Playa El Portillo, and Playa Bonita. They provide the space for many things to do in the Dominican Republic on your tours.

5.2. Los Haitises National Park

Los Haitises is one of the numerous national parks in the Dominican Republic. It is situated in a beautiful town of beaches- Samana. Its prime attraction consists of a limestone karst plateau with conical hills, sinkholes, and caverns.

You should also see the large area of mangrove forest on the coast of Los Haitises. Other parts of the park are clothed in subtropical humid forests. The park contains a number of different habitats and consequently has a great diversity of mammals and birds, including some rare species endemic to the island.

Los Haitises Park has become a popular ecotourism destination but the number of tourists allowed to visit has been kept limited.

6. Bahia de las Aguilas

Man Sunbathing Seaside Resort Summer Vacation
Image Source: depositphotos

The Bahia de las Aguilas, (The Eagle’s Bay) is one of the top beaches in the whole of the Dominican Republic. It is located in the Pedernales district and shares its border with Haiti.

The main reason you should visit Bahia de las Aguilas is due to its location in seclusion, away from the busy city of Santo Domingo. It is part of the Jaragua National Park, also in the Pedernales district, Dominican Republic.

A local village called La Cueva (due to its numerous caves) is located near Las Aguilas. Here visitors can hire one of the local villagers to take them on a trip to the beach bordering the coast on a small motorboat, by foot.

Bahia de las Aguilas is truly a tropical island paradise, and due to its isolated location, one of the top places to spend quality alone time in.

10 Awesome Things To Do in the Dominican Republic

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USA Tales


Arunima Pal

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