The Best of the Dominican Republic – The Dominican Republic has around 1,000 miles of gorgeous beaches lined with coconut palms. The sands vary with pearl-white beaches, to golden brown, to volcanic black. The Dominican Republic offers some of the cheapest and best-value beach holidays in the Caribbean. Most visitors stay in large all-inclusive hotels, where dozens line the magnificent beaches. The Dominican Republic takes up the eastern half of the island of Hispaniola, and is the most visited tourist destination in the Caribbean. You can happily spend your days on sandy beaches with crystal-clear waters, and fill your nights with merengue and dark rum. It is the most geographically diverse Caribbean island, with an alpine wilderness, tropical rain forests and mangrove swamps, cultivated savannas, vast deserts and and much more. The opportunities for ecotourism and adventure travel are readily available. In a single week you could scale a 150 m waterfall on a rope, mountain bike along remote dirt tracks, ride the best windsurfing waves in the hemisphere, trek to the top of a 3000 m mountain and head out in a fishing boat to marvel at the humpback whales crashing about in the bay of Samaná. Dominican Republic vacations can take you on a very diverse journey, a vacation made of memories. For more information on the Dominican Republic’s beautiful beaches, visit our Greater Antilles Travel page, or visit us on Pinterest.
Dominican Republic Weather – Best Time to Visit the Dominican Republic
Many people time their vacation to the Dominican Republic around the weather patterns. The most popular times to travel to the Dominican Republic are the late winter and early spring months of February, March, and April. At this time of year, the average temperature during the day ranges 82-86 °F. There is also less rainfall during these months. This seems to be about perfect for some people. However, if you are looking for higher temperatures, your best bet are the months of June and July and it rains less during these summer months than in the fall. December and January are pretty dry on average as well and the temperatures still quite warm if you are staying on the coast, as most tourists do. This is probably why an increasing number of people are visiting the Dominican Republic during their winter break and Christmas holidays.
Best Dominican Republic Beaches
A long, broad, tawny beach with aquamarine water on one side and a thick fringe of palm trees on the other. The stark, white cliffs at this Río San Juan location jut out into the ocean in the distance. A surf school here offers lessons.
Playa Los Mino
This sweet little stretch of sand in Rio San Juan must be one of the DR’s best village beaches, easily accessible from the road under Bahía Blanca. White sand, a green fringe of vegetation dappling the sunlight and azure waters seem to radiate chill even to the toddlers roaming around the sand. The local vibe here is light-years away from the all-inclusives.
Bavaro Beaches/Punta Cana
The beaches along the coastline from Punta Cana to Uvero Alto rival those anywhere else in the Caribbean, both in terms of their soft, white texture and their warm aquamarine waters. Despite a lack of restraint on development, especially in the geographically-central area of Bávaro, the resorts and beaches here still manage to offer an idyllic Caribbean seascape for a seemingly endless crowd of sun seekers.
Pitch-perfect Playa Rincón in Las Galeras, with its soft, nearly white sand and multi-hued water good for swimming, stretches an uninterrupted 3km (1.9mi). Several restaurants serve seafood dishes and rent beach chairs, making this beach a great place to spend the entire day.
Playita (Little Beach)
Playita (Little Beach) is easy to get to on foot or by motoconcho (motorcycle taxi). It’s a stretch of tannish sand and mellow surf, backed by tall, dramatically-leaning palm trees. On the main road just south of Las Galeras, look for signs to Hotel La Playita pointing down a dirt road headed west. Beach chairs are available for rent.
Best Dominican Republic Restaurants
Passion by Martín Berasategui $31 – 60
Passion’s dinner menu can best be described as a lovely marriage of French, Mexican and Basque flavors. The defining experience is the indulgent, decadent seven-course tasting menu that showcases the chef’s passion and creativity with plates like smoked tuna tartare with black garlic, tepid lobster salad and Kobe flap meat with liquid Brie cheese spheres. Expect a mix of the chef’s signatures, plates from his Restaurante Lasarte in Barcelona and local dishes. Although the menu does feature à la carte meals (like foie gras and mushroom ravioli with rich truffle sauce), the tasting menu paired with the sommelier’s wine recommendations offers a unique dining experience. Telephone: 34 943 366 471 Web: Passion by Martin Berasategui.
El Meson de la Cava $11 – 30
The restaurant, considered one of the most distinguished in the area by both residents of and tourists to the Dominican Republic, is tucked into a natural limestone cave created by waves over billions of years. In addition to provisions from the OAS, the restaurant displays several of the valuable belongings found in the cave from previous occupants. While some might expect that the restaurant relies on its unique environs to draw visitors in, the Meson de la Cava is known for preparing some of the region’s best cuisine. Local, hand-selected ingredients are brought in daily, as is a catch from the Caribbean Sea. The diverse menu is focused around Spanish-influenced modern classical French and local Caribbean cuisine. Telephone: 809 533 2818 Web: El Meson de la Cava.
Eze Bar & Restaurant $11 – 30
Eze Bar is not visible from the main drag, and unless you approach it from the beach, to get there you must walk through a windsurfing shop. The place is small but chic, with a fairly unoriginal Miami Beach vibe, so it’s a bit of a shock when the Italian food arrives and blows your mind. The tuna tartar might be the best in all the Caribbean, with mouthwatering morsels of fresh fish, avocado and an unusual ingredient – black olives. The dorado is a flaky dream, and the menu also features exquisite salads, healthy wraps, homemade pastas and meat dishes. The Italian chef is known around town for opening ambitious restaurants but this is his first home-run. It’s pricey but worth it, and happy hour is every day from 5pm to 7pm. Telephone: 809 571 0586 Web: Eze Bar & Restaurant.
Mares Restaurant & Pool Lounge $31 – 60
Distinguished chef Rafael Vasquez-Heinsen has converted his elegant home into a candlelit destination for foodies. Top Chef and food channel fans won’t be disappointed. The kitchen turns out what elsewhere might be defined as haute fusion cuisine – dishes that creatively combine Dominican ingredients with other culinary traditions: try Dominican goat marinated with rum (RD$600). Reservations recommended. Telephone: 809 224 1999 Web: Mares Restaurant & Pool Lounge.
Taberna El Conde $11 – 30
This casual but enchanting establishment is constantly raising the culinary bar in Sosúa with its craft cocktails and innovative gastronomy. The incredible honey suckle smoke cocktail is made with rum, lime, orange and a cinnamon-smoked glass (tastes just like honeysuckle!) and dishes are things like Tandoori mahi mahi with mango chutney. Also, everything is totally under-priced (don’t tell the owner/chef). Telephone: 829-868-0909 Web: Taberna El Conde.
Best Dominican Republic Nightlife
Coco Bongo Punta Cana
At Coco Bongo, revel in a high-voltage environment of one-of-a-kind entertainment, pulse-pumping music, nonstop dancing in a sea of balloons and confetti—all while being taken care of by an amazing and attentive staff who keep your glass full with an unlimited number of drinks. Telephone: 809 466 1111 Web: Coco Bongo Punta Cana.
Drink Point Punta Cana
To enjoy a night of drinking and dancing with locals, head over to Drink Point. Unlike some clubs that are only busy around the weekend, Drink Point is crowded every night of the week, so you can party on a Tuesday if you want to. The club caters to locals by playing more traditional Caribbean and Latin music, such as bachata and merengue. If you can’t manage to pick up the moves, order rum and coke at the bar and just sit back and enjoy the show. Telephone: 809 552 0920 Web: Drink Point.
Jellyfish Beach Restaurant
Located on Bibijagua Beach in Bávaro, Punta Cana, Jellyfish Beach Restaurant is the perfect place to watch the bright Caribbean day fade into a vibrant Caribbean night. There’s a dining room inside but be sure to check out the restaurant’s stunning beachfront terrace that is lit up at dusk to take in the ocean views. Enjoy an island-inspired cocktail and revel in the company while steel drums play in the background. Telephone: 809 840 7684 Web: Jellyfish Beach Restaurant.
Captain Cook Bar
Sitting right on El Cortecito beach, Captáin Cook Bar has been a favorite among visitors to Punta Cana for some time, earning a number of prestigious awards and accolades. Captáin Cook is most famous for its open grill and huge platters of seafood. Patrons are able to choose their preferred catch as well as its preparation to guarantee maximum satisfaction. Popular options include lobster, red snapper, and Creole-style langoustines (a type of large shrimp). Wash it all down with a few shots of mamajuana, a powerful rum-based liquor native to the Dominican Republic. Telephone: 809 552 0645 Web: Captain Cook Bar.
Don Queco Cigar & Rum Bar
Located in the Westin Puntacana Resort & Club, the Don Queco Cigar & Rum Bar, is the perfect place for those who enjoy the finer things. Relax on one of the leather chairs in the dimly lit indoor seating area, or outside on the bar’s patio, and enjoy a menu featuring a robust selection of the best Dominican rum and cigars. A far cry from the crowded clubs most visitors associate with the Punta Cana nightlife scene, this one is more refined and relaxed than anywhere else in town. Telephone: 809 959 2222 Web: Don Queco Cigar & Rum Bar.
Top Dominican Republic Hotels
You know I’ve thought about visiting the Dominican Republic but after reading your post, I do now! There are so many things to see and so much fun to be had there. The pictures just make you want to go the more.
You made it so easy for the reader to pick and choose just where they would like to go. You made it a vacation spot in the future for me.
Thanks, wonderful post.
You are very welcome Eric. Glad I could help make up your mind. You will have a wonderful time. Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.
This is very good and detailed information on the Dominican Republic. It is kind of coincidental as I have recently began looking into possible expatriate destinations and of course this is one destination that is being suggested.
I realize that is a much different situation than just a vacation destination but this thorough and detailed information on all of the locations is very helpful to anyone considering the Dominican Republic.
Fantastic information about the attractions, tours, and especially the restaurants.
I have been on a couple cruises to the Caribbean and this definitely looks like an interesting and fun destination to consider for a much needed vacation.
Oh I couldn’t agree more Doug. I just came back from a cruise and have decided that I am done with them. I prefer to just go to a destination as a vacation so that I can take the time to see and do everything. Dominican Republic will not disappoint for sure. Such beauty and culture as well.
This sounds world-class. And the bait is there are complete island activities that seem endless in a day from sailing, biking, windsurfing, trekking, of course, fishing, snorkeling also watching or gazing at sharks and rays to parasailing. It is awesome to know they are all available. These complete the activities. But the restaurants are awesome. from $11/- to 30/- range though there are some as high as $60/- seem still ok for people who really want to wind up and forget the bustle and hustle of the city life. This is where we could really get refreshed with wonderful available bars and night activities around, vacation in the Dominican Republic is no brainer. I really wanted to go soon, hopefully.
Great 🙂 You will love it. Thanks for visiting my Dominican Republic Vacations post. Let me know if you need any additional information.
Wow! The Dominican Republic looks absolutely gorgeous!! I hadn’t considered adding this place to my dream travel destinations before, but just wow. And can I just say, Jellyfish Beach? I’d have to visit that just for the name! And Monkeyland and Plantation Safari? That would be the highlight of the trip! Thanks for all the amazing places you wrote about!
You are very welcome Jade, and I am glad you enjoyed my Dominican Repuplic Vacations guide. Thanks for stopping by!
Ok, first of all, that kind of heat in winter sounds AMAZING! I didn’t realize that the Dominican Republic was the spot to go during that time.
Secondly, the whole -motorcycle taxi thing sounds terrifying.
Samana sounds like the perfect place for me. I already love hiking around and finding waterfalls.
t Samana is the perfect place. I love the peace and tranquility, the beauty, the flora and fauna, and then to visit an exquisite waterfall is just amazing. And I do agree, I am not going to get on a motorcycle taxi, but then I don’t like motorcycles period LOL. Thanks for visiting the Dominican Republic Vacations. Hope you can get to the DR one day soon!
This was a very informative article about the Dominican Republic. I would love to see black sand beaches.
The fact that it is a geographically diverse island and in the Carribean is a plus for me. Seeing humpback whales is on my bucket list. Of all the places you described I think I would love to go to Cabarete and Punta Cana. The video was informative and beautiful. I better dust off my passport!
doYes, you better dust it off! And I have to agree that Punta Cana is a must see/do place while in the DR (Dominican Republic). I have see the humpback whales many times, and they are just majestic and beautiful to watch. Do a whale watching tour, which some this is spendy, but so well worth it!
I have always wanted to travel. Being 18, I don’t have the money, obviously. I would love to see all different places including the Dominican Republic. Thank you for this wonderful post on everything you need to know before going here. I look forward to more great travel posts and I will be back for more.
Thank you for visiting Jade. You will travel to the Dominican Republic one day, and I am sure you will fall in love with the country. Thanks for visiting my site and reading all about the wonder Dominican Republic!
Thanks so much for sharing, it`s like this post came at the right time and written with me in mind.
Dominican Republic is a place I went to past and really enjoyed, the weather, the beaches the people, the food, nothing I could wish for in a vacation was missing.
Unfortunately, it`s been some time since then(over 10 years to be exact).So while thinking of places to go for my husband`s big birthday, we were discussing places to go and not able to choose a destination, my search brought me to your site.
Now you mentioned Motoconcho and found myself thinking well, this could be a quick way to get around and not pay too much,my only worry is, do the drivers have extra helmets for passengers?I`d be worried being a passenger on a motoconcho (scooter) without a helmet.
Now my last visit was to a tourist hotel so the language was not a problem as they have international visitors, this time around, we are planning to stay longer so it will have to be in untouristy areas to make the money go further but still have some luxuries.
My worry is, do you happen to know if there is a chance of being able to communicate in English when in untouristy areas? I don’t speak Spanish apart from few words I have picked during my holidays in Spain.The only other language I speak is German but I still want to be able to get around or order food at a restaurant.
Thanks so much, really informative and well written.
You are very welcome. If you are going to ride a motoconcho, in most cases, you will not be provided a helmet. That is one danger/concern with riding them. However, they can be a very economical choice compared to a rental car or even a taxi. With language in the DR, you will find English spoken pretty much everywhere. You will not have to worry when you do travel to untouristy areas. I am glad I could help provide you with information that you can use. If you have any additional questions, or need help in planning your trip to the Dominican Republic, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Thank you for visiting !
Oh! Wow! I couldn’t think of a better vacation. Thank you for describing this so thoroughly. Looks like there is something there to appeal to everyone! Lazy days at a hotel or on the beach – but adventurous enough with the hiking and bike riding. The fishing experience with the humpback whales sounds amazing! One day…
Yes, one day you will have to go! Dream big and fulfill them….that’s the way I think 🙂 Thanks for reading BeachTravelDestinations.com!
The Dominican Republic sounds like a wonderful place to go for a vacation. It is absolutely beautiful. The water looks so clear. It sounds like maybe the taxis and buses would be the safest way to travel. The sand looks amazing. This may be a dumb question but what kind of critters do they have there?
You are going to find geckos, iguanas, frogs, hispaniolan solenodons (looks similar to a large shrew), and lots of different varieties of birds. And yes, it is an amazing place! Thanks for reading Dominican Republic Vacations!
I will definitely save your site! Great reference for beaches. I love the beach and I can come to your site when ready to go again. Especially for out of the states.
Good, glad you enjoyed and yes I love beaches too. I like to plan ahead where I want to be when visiting different destinations 🙂 Thanks for reading Aquinda!
Awesome article! I love beaches! I have been wanting to go to the Dominican Republic, so this post has so much information that I can use! Thank you for all the detailed information.
You are very welcome! I am glad you can use this for your trip planning to the Dominican Republic. Please let me know if you need any additional information. Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!
I have always wanted to visit DR. I have a friend who grew up there and he was always telling me about the beautiful beaches. The video is fantastic. There are not only great beaches to visit, but cultural experiences to enjoy also. Punta Cana is where I would go. Do you know when hurricane season is? It might be best to avoid during that time. Do you know who colonized DR? I am wondering if it was the French, my friend speaks French, so I think he learned that growing up. Thank you for sharing, I really want to go now!
Hurricane season runs from June to November. With the large amount of them this year, I know a lot of people are wary of traveling to this area. It is so worth it though. Just plan ahead. It was first colonized by Spain and then the French. I am glad you want to go, you will love it! Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for visiting Dominican Republic Vacations.
Wonderful post. Lots of good information and advice. I really want to go to the Dominican Republic now. Beautiful pictures too. Isla Soana sounds like heaven.
Yes, the Dominican Republic is beautiful, no doubt about that! Glad you enjoyed reading and visiting Dominican Republic Vacations!
Wow..you got me hooked with that first image. That captivating blue water, sky and the mountain. no other place would be more perfect. Your site giving me some serious travel goals!
Great! That is the whole intent 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed reading. Thank you for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!
Fantastic guide! You’ve really outlined everything there is to in the Dominican Republic, from sights to see, places to stay and things to do you have left no piece unanswered. Thank you for that you’ve gave me some great ideas
I am glad that I could help Kourtney. Please let me know if you need any additional information! I would love to help plan your trip. And thanks for visiting Dominican Republic Vacations.