Major Tourist Attractions: Bavaro, Casa de Campo, Puntacana, Catalina Island, Los Haitises National Park
As the home of the fast-paced merengue dance, the guitar-based bachata, and the curious natural aphrodisiac drink called Mama Juana; the Dominican Republic knows how to spice things up during your vacation. This country is as sensually intense as it is geographically diverse, with its tropical rainforests, alpine ranges, cave systems, desert regions, and mangrove swamps.
Eco-tourists and adventure seekers will feel at home with the diverse nature that is easily accessible and the amount of outdoor sports available, like mountain biking, trekking, caving, watersports, and more. Also, let’s not forget the beautiful beaches that have made this country so famous, including the resort areas of Punta Cana and Juan Dolio, to name a few. Accommodation is available to all kinds of budgets; from luxury hotels, to budget all-inclusive resorts, to simple guesthouses.
If you’re craving for some history, head to the capital city of Santo Domingo. Its remarkable architecture and extensive history go all the way back to the very beginnings of colonization in the Americas.
For foodies, this is the place to be. Traditional Dominican cuisine blends their native Taino dishes with some Spanish influences, adapted with local produce. Mangú is one of the most popular local dishes, but also try La Bandera, which is the quintessential Caribbean-style dish with rice, red beans, stewed meat, salad, and fried plantains.
Beyond food, here are more suggestions of what to try and experience in the Dominican Republic:
- Watch a baseball game – the national sport.
- Visit Columbus Lighthouse – A monument to Christopher Columbus, a museum, and where the remains of the explorer are kept.
- Go mountain biking in the Cordillera Central.
- Visit the Old Town of Puerto Plata and its Fort San Felipe, first built in 1540 by the Spaniards.
- Walk through the Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo to see impressive old buildings, including Christopher Columbus’ son’s home.
- Dance, dance, dance! Merengue and bachata until you can dance no more.
- Go whale watching in Samana headlands between mid-January and mid-March.
- Be pampered in an all-inclusive resort by the beach.
- Go bird watching at Lago Enriquillo near the Haitian border, where countless flocks of tropical birds reside.
- Hike up Mount Isabela de Torres to gain an exceptional view of the ocean and surrounding landscape (or take the cable-car up).
- Go diving to experience the colorful Caribbean underwater world.
Address: “La Esperilla” section of Santo Domingo,
on the corner of César Nicolás Penson Street and Máximo Gómez Avenue
Phone: (809) 221-2171 (business hours);
Afterhours: (809) 221-2171