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.
Dominican Republic Weather – When to Visit
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.
Dominican Republic Attractions
Punta Cana is the land of rest and relaxation. Where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean, large resorts offer all the comforts of modern living right on the beach. Punta Cana is a golfer’s destination, with 11 courses located all along the strip. Most of the resorts cater to families and have developed miniature entertainment parks for children. Families have it easy at the big all-inclusives with activities, meals and drinks included. Dream weddings are also held here, with the best photographic memories against a backdrop of silky-fine white sand and beaches with coconut palms. Everyone gets a vacation.
Santo Domingo is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. The beautiful setting along the Caribbean Sea and exceptional weather make the city and its nearby beaches a prime tourist destination. The Colonial Zone is the oldest European settlement in the New World. Another interesting attraction is the Santo Domingo Malecón, the promenade that runs along the Caribbean. This area features many hotels and restaurants, and is the setting for important events like Carnival. Santo Domingo offers a variety of restaurants that serve local and international cuisine. The city also has seemingly limitless options for nightlife, live music and events. A visit to Santo Domingo is a unique opportunity to see the oldest city in the New World while also experiencing a dynamic Caribbean cultural and business center.
Samaná is a natural treasure. Wild, verdant, with coves, bays, waterfalls, mountains and awe-inspiring views – there is lots to explore. It is known for its wading and body-boarding beaches, nature trekking and whale-watching. Samaná offers a European vibe, where French and Italian are at least as useful as Spanish. The majority of visitors come to gasp at the North Atlantic humpback whales doing their migratory song and dance from mid-January to mid-March. Sophisticated Las Terrenas is the place for those who crave a lively social scene, but has an easygoing beach town feel, with some great shops, restaurants and bars. Las Galeras boasts several of the best and most secluded beaches in the Dominican Republic.
Cabarete is a small, laid-back Caribbean beach village located only 20 minutes away from the Puerto Plata International Airport on the northern shore of the Dominican Republic. It’s a perfect tropical vacation spot. With its charming, hip ambiance and a combination of relaxed and adventurous lifestyles, most visitors can barely resist the spontaneous temptation of extending their stay and just hang around for a little longer. Cabarete is spread out across the center of a gorgeous, semi-circular beach of golden, sun-soaked, sand. Just behind, limiting its size, lies a tranquil lagoon, backed up by richly verdant hills overflowing with luxurious tropical vegetation. Cabarete an exceptional location not only for water-sports such as kite boarding and windsurfing, but for regular surfing at El Encuentro beach as well. And Cabarete’s nightlife (restaurants, bars, discos and casino) is legendary.
If you are in the Dominican Republic (DR) and considering whether to do a trip to Isla Saona, GO! You cannot miss it if you have made it to the Dominican Republic. Saona is a tropical island located on the southeast tip of the Dominican Republic and is part of the Parque Nacional del Este. The island has no hotel and the only establishment on the island is Mano Juan (pop. 300). One cannot stay overnight (unless you crash with the locals in Mano Juan) and most tourists arrive on a day trip. The typical excursion includes a catamaran ride from Bayahibe to the island, dancing and drinking on the boat, buffet lunch, a stop at piscina natural (shallow sandbank with clear water), and a speedier motorboat trip back.
Dominican Republic Tours & Activities
Four Adventures: Parasailing, Snorkeling Cruise, Sharks & Rays from Punta Cana
Experience the thrill of four adventures in one with this epic tour from Punta Cana. Relax aboard a double-decker catamaran, discover wonders of the sea, and enjoy close encounters with marine life. You’ll snorkel in a spectacular barrier reef surrounded by tropical fish and experience the fun of an interactive marine show complete with sharks and stingrays. This popular tour option includes unlimited drinks on the best party boat around and is perfect for fun with family and friends. After you get a taste of life underwater, explore it from above with a thrilling parasail 500 feet above the surface of the water! Read more about Parasailing, Shark, Catamaran, Snorkeling from Punta Cana
Punta Cana Small-Group Sailing and Snorkeling Catamaran Tour
Set sail on the crystal blue waters surrounding Punta Cana on this small-group experience that’s limited to just 16 guests. Swim in a nature reserve, snorkel in the seas and enjoy drinks aboard your comfortable catamaran. Relax in one of the boat’s hammocks and let the crew paper you with strong tropical cocktails. Anchor in a sandbar and enjoy beverages from a floating bar as part of this wonderful water experience. Read more about Punta Cana Sailing and Snorkeling Small-Group Catamaran Tour
Monkeyland and Plantation Safari Tour from Punta Cana
Observe squirrel monkeys on this trip to Monkeyland, deep in the Dominican Republic’s jungle. Ride a safari truck on this 5-hour tour through local coffee and cacao plantations, then visit the monkey sanctuary and and its botanical gardens. You’ll learn about the local farmers’ organic farming methods, taste freshly picked tropical fruit, and see and feed 20 monkeys that have been raised to be comfortable around people. Round-trip transportation from Bavaro and Punta Cana hotels is included. Read more about Monkeyland Safari and Coffee Plantation Tour from Punta Cana
Saona Island Day Trip From Punta Cana
Visit Saona Island, an idyllic speck of sand and palm trees in the blue Caribbean, during a 10-hour tour from Punta Cana. Board a small speedboat for the thrilling ride out to the island, including a stop at a natural swimming pool where you can see starfish. Upon reaching Saona Island, spend the day exploring; stroll along the beach, relax in the white sand and swim in the azure waters. Sip drinks from the open bar and enjoy a buffet lunch of traditional Dominican fare. Round-trip transportation from Punta Cana is included. Read more about Saona Island Day Trip From Punta Cana
Full-day Package: ATV 4×4, River Cave, Catamaran and Snorkeling from Punta Cana
This full-day package combines an ATV ride, catamaran cruise, and snorkeling excursion—allowing you to experience multiple island highlights in a single trip. Drive your own quad or ride as a passenger and explore the Dominican countryside. Then board a catamaran and cruise along Punta Cana’s coastline, stopping to snorkel at a coral reef and see tropical fish and maybe sea turtles or rays. Read more about Punta Cana Day Tour: ATV, River Cave, Snorkeling and Catamaran
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 gastromony. The incredible honeysucklesmoke 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 Bars & 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
An elegant and exclusive small hotel with a nice modern interior. Nice atmosphere, very trendy, rest and an excellent kitchen. Withing walking distance from the center of the beach.
JW Marriott Hotel Santa Domingo
The JW Marriott Santo Domingo epitomizes style & grace, offering a perfect balance between luxurious ambiance and intuitive service for corporate and leisure travelers to the Dominican Republic. The JW Santo Domingo is located in the sophisticated area of Piantini, the heart of the capital’s business, entertainment & shopping district, positioned over the exclusive Blue Mall to offer guests high end brands such as Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Rolex and Cartier.
Hooked is a guesthouse/surfcamp located 500m from the famous surfspot called Playa Encuentro It consists of 8 studio apartments located in a tropical garden with pool Each studio has a fully equipped kitchen and a private terrace with a hammock. Hooked provides 24/7 electricity (generator), fast wifi, drinkable water from every tab, a yoga platform, security system, optional AC, a BBQ grill area and a chill out lounge. We have studios with a queen-size bed and some with up to 4 single beds
InterContinental Real Santo Domingo
This brand new hotel is located at the heart of the business and entertaining center of the city, next to major corporate centers, upscale shopping malls, finest restaurants and bars. Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone is just 4 miles away. The hotel features the hottest concepts in entertainment and dining, with three unique concept restaurants and two bars: The Market, Factory Steak & Lobster, NAU Sushi Lounge, BLU bar and Van Gogh bar. Unwind in our Spa, or enjoy a beautiful city view from our infinity pool on the 3rd floor. All guestrooms are equipped with the latest in comfort and streaming speed internet access.
UltraVioleta Boutique Residences
Luxury residences in the heart of Cabarete, Dominican Republic.ULTRAVIOLETA, the newest and most anticipated high-end condominium project in the charming community of Cabarete, located between Kite Beach and Cabarete Beach ULTRAVIOLETA redefines the “Boutique Residence” experience; combining luxury, intimacy, comfort and exclusivity with the personalized service and attention to details that are the hallmarks of all acclaimed top international brands.