Dominican Republic Vacations - Destination Guide

Dominican Republic vacations are among the most popular Caribbean beach vacations. And for a good reason - Dominican Republic is an affordable country, with an enormous number of attractions, activities, and, best of all - all-inclusive resorts. The most popular vacation spots here are Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, Samana, La Romana, and the country's capital Santo Domingo. While the first four are tropical destinations appreciated for their white-sand beaches and all-inclusive resorts, Santo Domingo is more of a cultural destination. Because of the country's size and the poor state of the roads (unlit and too narrow and rough), it's not advisable to rent a car to explore it on your own unless you must, but rather stay inside your hotels or take guided tours.

  • dominican-republic-vacation-destinations-map

    Click map to see Dominican Republic vacation destinations

    In Red we marked the most popular destinations in the Dominican Republic, and in Green - small destinations within these areas.

    Dominican Republic vacation spot - Punta Cana

    Punta Cana province is, hands down, the most popular beach destination in Dominican Republic, also known as La Costa del Coco. Located in the eastern part of the island, Punta Cana is washed by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Beaches here are long, white or yellow sand, water is turquoise and warm. Bávaro, the popular tourist destination in Dominican Republic, is located in Punta Cana.

    Punta Cana is a famous Dominican Republic vacation spot for its white-sand beaches adorned with coconut trees, clear waters and all-inclusive resorts. Multiple activities await tourists choosing Punta Cana as their vacation destination: 4WD and ATV tours, Zip lines, water sports, swimming with dolphins and stingrays, zip lines and many more adventures. Many Dominican Republic attractions are either located in Punta Cana, or are easily accessible: the nearby Parque Nacional del Este and Isla Saona, Bavaro Adventure Park, Marinarium, Dolphin Explorer, Manati Park and Isla Catalina in the nearby province La Romana.

    Dominican Republic vacation spot - Puerto Plata

    Puerto Plata province is another attractive beach vacation spot. Puerto Plata is located in the southern part of Dominican Republic, with access to Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea. However, the water here is calm and warm, great for swimming and beachgoers, although sand might be not as white as at other destinations. The best beaches in Puerto Plata are located in the touristic area known as Playa Dorada. Other great beach vacation spots in Puerto Plata are located in the resort towns of Cabarete and Sosúa.

    Most famous attractions in Puerto Plata are Mount Isabel de Torres and a medieval Fort San Felipe (Fortaleza San Felipe), built in 1564, and Ocean World Adventure Park. Puerto Plata is a Dominican Republic vacation spot thanks to multiple activities such as sailing, dolphin swims, ATV and 4WD excursions, and Ziplines.

    Dominican Republic vacation spot - La Romana

    La Romana is a another beautiful beach vacation destination in Dominican Republic. La Romana is located in the southeastern part of Dominican Republic, and it faces the Caribbean Sea. Beaches here are gold and white, water blue and calm. All-inclusive resorts are affordable and luxurious. The famous Bayahibe area is located only ten miles from the city of La Romana, and attracts tourists thanks to its beautiful beach, with diving and snorkeling opportunities.

    Vacationers in La Romana have access to multiole tourist attractions that make the city a great Dominican Republic vacation spot. The picturesque medieval-style village Altos De Chavon, Cueva de las Maravillas, Isla Catalina (Catalia Island) and the famous Parque Nacional del Este are located close by. La Romana offers many beach activities such as cruises, sailing, snorkeling and diving, as well as many popuar activities such as ziplines and ATV rides.

    Dominican Republic vacation spot - Samana

    Samana Province is another popular beach vacation destination in Dominican Republic. Samana Province is a peninsula, located in the northeastern side of Dominican Republic, washed by the Atlantic Ocean. Most popular vacation destinations in Samana Province are Playa Las Terrenas, village of Las Galeras, and the province's capital Santa Barbara de Samana. Samana is quieter than other Dominican Republic vacation spots, but it offers several all-inclusive resorts. Best white-sand beach in Samana is Playa Rincon, and many visitors of Samana take a boat trip to the nearby island Cayo Levantado to enjoy its white sand beach and azure water.

    The most popular natural attraction in Samana is El Limon Waterfall. Los Haitises National Park is located very close to Samana peninsula and is a popular eco-adventure. Samana also offers cruises and whale watching tours, as well as a zipline and horseback riding excursions.

    Dominican Republic vacation spot - Santo Domingo

    Santo Domingo, is a popular Dominican Republic vacation destination, because it's a cultural treasure. "La Capital" of the Dominican Republic is one of the oldest cities in the Caribbean, and still has well-reserved Spanish colonial architecture. Zona Colonial is Santo Domingo's most popular tourist attraction, and UNESCO heritage site. Santo Domingo is a thriving and dynamic capital city and a business and political cente. It offers lots to do, rich night life, great restaurants, historical architectural sites to see. Tourists should, however, exercise caution when choosing Santo Domingo as their next vacation destination. While violent crimes are very rare in the Dominican Republic in general, petty theft is not unheard off. You don't have the comfort of security like in all-inclusive resorts - in Santo Domingo you are on your own.

    Santo Domingo does not offer your typical "beach vacation" in the Dominican Republic. You will not find all-inclusive resorts in Santo Domingo, and no beaches. There are plenty of great hotels. For beaches, people go to the nearby areas - Juan Dolio and Playa Boca Chica - which are the area's most popular beaches and which have all-inclusive resorts. Other than beaches, there's not much to do in these areas.

    Best time to go to Dominican Republic

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    Solicitation in Dominican Republic

    Just like other Caribbean countries, many locals in Dominican Republic live off the tourism, so it's quite typical to see vendors on the beach and outside of the resorts trying to sell their products. Some of them can become too pushy, but if you are not interested in purchasing anything, just say "no Thank You" and walk away. It could become irritating, but keep it cool and let them know you are not interested in their merchandise. After all, you are there to relax and have the best vacation.

    Safety in Dominican Republic

    Unlike other Caribbean places, Dominican Republic is a developing country and experiences poverty especially in more deserted areas.

    Do not try to be flashy, wear or carry expensive items. Always lock up your valuables in the hotel/resort safe, and check your surroundings when leaving a bank or a casino. Do not leave the resorts unaccompanied, and definately do not attend any establishments outside of your hotel late at night. Neighbourhoods far from the resort are more prone to poverty; therefore, petty theft is common there. Stay within the resort boundaries or take a guided tour, after all you want to have a fun and safe vacation.

    Another factor to consider when travelling to Dominican Republic is that local mosquitoes can become a nightmare and they also may contain a desease called malaria, a bug repellant will become extremely handy to avoid mosquito bites and to stay healthy and safe during your vacation.

    Water in Dominican Republic

    Water in Dominican Republic is not safe if consumed from the tap, especially for those with sensitive stomachs. However, bottled water is availabe throughout the island on all of the resorts, but purchasing food, water and juices from the street vendords should be at your own risk, since the weather is hot and the produce spoils in the sun very quickly. Purified and totally potable water is used to make the ice, so that is also safe.

    Please remember, local water in Dominican Republic contains some microbes that are not detected in the water supply in other countries; therefore, it might affect some people if the water is consumed directly from the tap. When taking a shower, watch so the water doesn't get into your mouth, and it's best to use bottled water to rinse your mouth and toothbrush after brushing your teeth.

    Electricity in Dominican Republic

    Voltage in Dominican Republic is between 110-120 volts (60 cycles) just like in the United States and Canada. In some other parts of the island the voltage can be between 220-240 volts. When packing your electrical devices, please remember that a transformer and an adapter plug will be needed in order to charge and use your devices.