The Dominican Republic is a slice of paradise that features a little bit of everything: mountains, rainforests, deserts, and beaches. Four mountain ranges sprawl across the island, one of which is the Cordillera Central, the highest range in the West Indies. In some areas, rainforests cover these mountains, while drier, more desert regions are located in the valleys. As for the coast, the Atlantic Ocean borders the northern shores, and the Caribbean Sea lies to the south.
Best and Worst Times to Visit
The Dominican Republic is blessed with warm weather year round, making any month a pleasant time to visit. The temperature usually lingers in the 80s F during the day and only slightly dips in the evenings. Although the weather barely changes throughout the year, vacationers often flock to the island during high season, from December to April. It’s drier during this time, and even warmer weather tends to roll in around May.
The rainy season differs depending on the region, but the eastern and southern regions usually see rainfall in September, October, and May. This doesn’t mean it will be wet all season though as there is still plenty of sunshine during these months. When planning your trip, keep in mind that hurricane season spans June to the end of November, but satellites can predict these storms in advance.
Whether you’re venturing to the island for a destination wedding or a family reunion, you’re certain to find lodging that matches your preferences.
All-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic are a popular option on this island, especially in Punta Cana. Many of these feature several on-site restaurants and bars, along with private beach access, full-spa services, and activities. Some provide multiple pool areas, while others boast casinos. With so much taken care of, it’s tempting not to the leave the resort’s premises.
The island also provides more traditional Dominican Republic hotels with standard amenities, such as pools, fitness centers, and lounges. These hotels may have fewer on-site services than resorts, but they still cover your basic needs.
Things to Do
Punta Cana is the hot spot on this island. Known as the Tip of the White Palms, it sits on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic and is home to some of the most picturesque beaches. Bundle up all your travel needs with one of the Punta Cana vacation packages, and then bask on the shores of this resort area. Soak up the beach life as you snorkel just off the coast in the Marinarium, kayak around Playa Juanillo, and take surf lessons at Playa del Macao. The island also flaunts a number of tranquil beaches on other sides of the coast, including Boca Chica in the west and La Romana to the south.
The Dominican’s diverse terrain offers endless opportunities for excursions and extreme adventures. Raft along the country’s only whitewater river, Rio Yaque del Norte, go caving in the caverns at Fun Fun Cave, or soar through the country’s largest zip line in Samana. Hike to the waterfalls at Jarabacoa and mountain bike the trails at Cabarete.
After bumming it at the beach and hitting the trails, get a sense of the past in the Zona Colonial of Santo Domingo. This historical district in the heart of the capital dates back to the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. Officially founded in 1498, the city features some of the oldest buildings in the New World. Take a walking tour through the cobblestone streets and discover the Catedral Primada de America, or visit the Alcazar de Colon, which was once a palace belonging to Columbus’ son. You may even find travel guides who will give tours and provide you with the insider scoop on these destinations.
The Dominican is more than just inviting shorelines and swaying palm trees. This island was home to the original Spanish colony in the New World, and it still maintains much of that history. The first hospital and Catholic church still stand today amongst other ancient attractions and museums dedicated to the country’s history, art, and culture.
When it comes to culture, the Dominican people dance to the moves of their own choreography. They take pride in the merengue, a fast-paced dance they created, along with the bachata, which originated in the rural areas of the country. As for music, Palo is a genre usually reserved for religious ceremonies, while salsa music and Dominican rock are everyday go-to beats.
Baseball is also deeply rooted in the culture. America’s favorite pastime was taught on the island in the late 19th century, and by the early 20th century, four teams were formed that still exist today: The Tigers, Eastern Stars, The Eagles, and The Lions of the Chosen One. The island takes the game seriously as there are baseball fields scattered around almost every town.
Prep your taste buds for the Spanish-, African-, and Caribbean-infused concoctions served up on this island. La Bandera is the most common meal, which is a plate of rice, beans, and meat, while plantains are another staple often incorporated in meals or served on the side. Sancocho is a meat stew that will warm your heart and soul, and mangu is a combination of boiled plantains, red onions, and fried cheese. When it comes to quenching your thirst, jugo de chinola is a popular passion fruit juice, and Presidente is the cerveza of choice.
From tasty stews to serene beaches, you won’t want to miss this tropical destination. Sort through our vast selection of lodging to find cheap deals on resorts and hotels in the Dominican Republic for your next trip to the Caribbean.