The city of Santa Domingo is a bustling area that is home to more than two million people, but it is also home to a vast history that stretches through the city’s more than five decade life span. The Ciudad Colonial , or Zona Colonial, lies on the banks of the Ozama River where it meets the ocean. It includes cobble stone streets and incredible colonial homes that were built for those of social stature. The area is so old, Christopher Columbus himself once walked the area during the 15th century. Today, a statue sits in the area as a tribute to his influence on the town. Along with the lovely streets and homes, the Grand Alcazar De Colon, the first cathedral of its kind in all of the Americas, is also housed in the town in the Ozama Fort.
2. Luxury In Punta Cana
For those looking for luxury and relaxation, Punta Cana has you covered. The area sits on the eastern edge of Hispaniola Island and is covered in golf resorts, infinity pools, beaches, and five-star hotels.
3. Step Back In Time At Altos de Chavon
This area is located just outside of La Romana above the Chavon River. The streets are lined with Italian-style homes built in a traditional Roman style. An
amphitheater and church are both included in the town, both covered in amazing stonework complete with cobblestone roads. While one would guess this dates back to the 16th century, it was actually built more recently, between the 1970s and 1980s! Today, tourists enjoy strolling the quaint streets as well as shopping at the numerous arts and craft stalls and galleries in the town.
4. Explore Nature at Los Haitises National Park
This beautiful park brings together the many different types of lands that are found in the Dominican Republic. Tourist generally flock to the area to view the sparkling blue waters in Samana Bay, majestic coastal mountains, deep and lush valleys packed with a dense rainforest, and the many animals and birds that live in the area’s bayous and mangrove swamps. Hiking trails take visitors through the woods and along the water allowing incredible views of this magnificent scenery.
5. View the Beautiful Beaches of Playa Rincon
Playa Rincon is always considered among the world’s most beautiful beaches. located between the wilderness of Samana Bay as well as the incredible wildlife and forests found in Los Haitises, white sandy beaches stretch out from the bayous and mangroves creating a breathtaking scene. Set against a lush jungle backdrop, this beach offers different depths in different sections and crystal clear waters that are incredibly inviting.
6. Have an Adventure at Lake Enriquillo
Lake Enriquillo is not generally a tourist destination, but it should be. As the largest lake in all of the Caribbean, this area is home to crocodiles, flamingos, iguanas, hundreds of different birds and rustic villages along the banks. It is a different feel than the tropical beaches that the Dominican Republic is so famous for, but offers a unique blend of nature and people in this giant body of salt water.
7. Whale Watching at Samana Bay
Samana Bay is an ideal location to spot whales due to the fact that it is the last stop on the migratory path for these massive sea creatures. Each winter from January to February you can head out in the waters aboard a boat and see numerous humpback whales in this area set just off the coast. Tourists can choose from quick excursions to longer expeditions that offer a more personal meeting with these massive marine mammals.
8. Visit the Paradise Known as Isla Saona
This tranquil little enclave in the Caribbean looks untouched by human kind. Sitting against East National Park and a small stretch of coastline that has not been developed, coconut palms line the shore of this beach and there are no resorts in sight. The waters are a sparkling blue against the beautiful sandy beaches and beckon visitors to splash and swim in this tropical paradise.
9. Climb to the Mountain Town of Constanza
Leave the beaches behind and head inland where you’ll make your way upwards into the mountains to view a unique town called Constanza. You’ll find the town nestled between fields of strawberry plantations and apple orchards, and instead of the tropical humid heat, these mountains offer a cool and relaxing breeze. The area is wonderful for hiking and biking, and for those looking to just relax, take the time to explore the immense Japanese culture that has taken over this town.
10. View the Breathtaking Waterfalls at Damajaqua Cascades
Just south of Puerto Plata is a lovely location known as Damajaqua Cascades. This is an incredible series of twenty-seven separate waterfalls that splash below into beautiful pools. The area is wonderful for hiking and viewing this incredible natural feat as well as the lush jungle that surrounds the area offering colorful birds and many exotic creatures to view.
11. Party at Coco Bongo
This is a massive nightclub style arena that blasts techno music set to laser shows as well as smoke, flamenco dances, incredible tribute acts, trapeze performances, explosions of confetti and cabaret performances. This is known as one of the most popular club spots in all of the Dominican Republic and generally the party goes on through the night and into the morning.
12. Ride a Board at Cabarete
This little stretch of land is just east of Puerto Plata, and features a beach that is broken into three different sections. Along the shores, surf schools have set up shop and make the most of the waves that crash into the sandy shore. Here, beginners are taught how to ride the waves and experienced surfers love the location that offers incredible waves to ride.
13. Visit the Basilica of Our Lady in Higuey
This amazing structure features an incredible art deco style and is quite something to see. Named the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de la Altagracia, she is most often referred to as the Basilica of Our Lady in Higuey. Built in 1971, this building has become one of the most important pilgrimages for Catholics who live in the area as well as those who visit.
14. Look Down at Hoyo Azul
While most of the area is covered in lush greenery, here you’ll see sheer rocky cliffs that plunge down 75 meters to crystal blue waters. Visitors look down from the walkways built above and are even invited to take a refreshing dip in the beautiful waters. Following that, just a short distance away in the forested area is an incredible zip line course that takes you flying through the trees.
15. An Unforgettable Meal at La Yola Restaurant
While there are plenty of places to eat in Dominican Republic, this one sets itself apart from the competition. Located in the waters of the Cap Cana, the building sits atop timber stilts. The views are incredible and the food is even better. You’ll sit in tables lining the shore with the lights of Punta Cana in the distance as you dine on Mediterranean dishes creatively twisted with Latin flare. While there is much to choose from, seafood is often one of the most popular things served here.
There clearly is no shortage of things to do in the Dominican Republic. The area offers beaches, forests, nature, history and so much more. Take some time and explore the many different facets of the area and find out why people flock to this tourist destination.