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Explore the Dominican Republic: dreamy beaches, coconut trees, and azure seas

Experience pure Caribbean joie de vivre during a vacation to the Dominican Republic. Relax on the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean and get to know the culture and the interior of the island. The north is a mecca for kitesurfers while in the south the Caribbean Sea invites you to swim. For many Americans, a trip to the Dominican Republic is one thing above all else: a vacation with sandy beaches and plenty of sunshine. But don't lay your beach towel down too soon—this archipelago has so much more to offer.

With its beautiful beaches and crystal clear sea, the DR is one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean. Coupled with the tropical climate and year-round warm temperatures, the Dominican Republic is a perfect destination for a package holiday. The northern zone around the city of Puerto Plata will thrill adventurous travelers. On the beaches of Playa Dorada or Playa Cofresi, a constant cooling breeze blows, creating ideal surfing conditions. The Samana peninsula in the east feels like paradise. The landscape is characterized by the beautiful sandy beaches, the mangrove forests, and colorful coral. 

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Information about the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is an island nation in the Caribbean with over 1,500 kilometers of sandy beaches and several high mountains in the interior.

The "República Dominicana" comes in at about 50,000 square kilometers. Of the 10 million inhabitants, 3 million live in the capital, Santo Domingo, which is the most populous city in the West Indies.

The Dominican Republic lies between the Atlantic and the Caribbean, the east of the island of Hispaniola. The state of Haiti is in the western part of the island.

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Destinations in the Dominican Republic

Exciting destinations can be found along the length of the coast. However, almost 80 percent of all tourists end up in Punta Cana in the extreme west of the island. This is not surprising given the high number of dreamy beaches and luxurious hotels. But take a chance to explore other areas, listed below:

  • Cabarete has developed from a fishing village to a fashionable seaside resort town and is an ideal base for water sports and exploring the north coast.
  • Las Terrenas is located in the northeast on the Samana peninsula. You can spend all day laying on sandy beaches, some of which are completely undeveloped. 
  • A culture trip and beach vacation can be combined into one in the lively town of Puerto Plata in the north of the Dominican Republic. The beaches at Sosua are particularly idyllic. While there are some beach resorts, smaller hotel villas and apartments prevail in the way of accommodation.
  • Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You'll find the markings of older generation blending with modern Caribbean life. The salsa and merengue bars are well-known and popular. Santo Domingo also has great beaches just outside the city. 
  • An insider tip: the northwestern town of Samana in the bay of the same name is a great option. The beaches are less spacious, but just as beautiful as in Punta Cana, the bay is protected, and there are fewer large hotels. Samana is located on a peninsula, whose northern side includes more bays, beaches, and small towns such as Las Galeras. Those who want to see the paradise with their own eyes should take the dirt roads to Playa Rincon.
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Excursions in the Dominican Republic by region

 

The north of the Domonican Republic

The north of the Dominican Republic is particularly well suited for active travelers and nature lovers who are looking to do more than relax on the beach. You can explore the beautiful forests of the DomRep on horseback or go diving in crystal-clear waters. Adventurous types will get their money's worth mountain biking, windsurfing or kiteboarding. This isn't to say adventurers can't chill on the beach, because the north coast, also called the Amber Coast, has plenty of gorgeous beaches. The best destinations for excursions are Playa Dorada, Cabarete, and Puerto Plato.

The south of the Dominican Republic

At the south of the DR, you are sure to deal with crowds, as it is the base of the capital and largest city of the country, Santo Domingo. Of course, there are many attractions to discover in such a well-known city, but the rest of the south should not be underestimated. For example, here you will find the Parque Nacional del Este, a wonderful national park, or places like La Romana (our top pick for the south), Boca Chica, and Guayacanes, which are ideal for a beach trip.

The west of the Dominican Republic

The west of the country is less developed for tourists, but for some that may make it an even moe worthy destination. If you're feeling adventurous, you'll find a huge mountain range, interesting wildlife, and delicious cuisine with lots of fresh fish and seafood.

Attractions in the east of the Dominican Republic

The east of the Dominican Republic is probably the most popular region in the country, especially the small town of Punta Cana. And how could it be otherwise? This region is ideal for active holidays: opportunities for surfing , windsurfing, jet skiing, sailing, parasailing, speedboat driving, and diving abound. Even if you are not a water sports enthusiast, there are plenty of activities for you, such as jeep tours, climbing, horse riding, and, of course, walking along Punta Cana's 30 kilometers of sandy beaches.

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The most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic

Palm-fringed, dreamy beaches boasting white sand and turquoise blue waters—that's probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a vacation in the Dominican Republic . And rightly so, as the DR has hundreds of picturesque beaches. But with so many too chose from, how do you know which beach to visit? We're here to help with our list of the top 10 beaches in the Dominican Republic.

  1. Playa Rincon, Las Galeras
  2. Bahía de las Águilas
  3. Cayo Levantado, Samana
  4. Isla Saona
  5. Bávaro Beach
  6. Playa Frontón, Las Galeras
  7. Playa Cosón, Las Terrenas
  8. Punta Rucia
  9. Lanza del Norte, Las Galeras
  10. Playa Grande, Río San Juan

Highlights and key sights in the Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is a must-do. The city is ideal for a quick trip, perhaps a stroll through the streets or a visit to the bars.

Diving on the coral reef

Using local providers, you can book a variety of tours at low prices: on deserted beaches, inland, or in the national parks. An absolute highlight is a boat trip to the coral reefs with a diving excursion included.

National Parks - Experience the Wildlife

You should try to visit at least one of the Dominican national parks on your trip. On Oviedo Shore you can observe flamingos in the Jaragua National Park while dolphins and manatees can be found in the Del Este National Park. Head inland to the Parque Nacional Armando Bermúdez with its mighty mountain range, Cordillera Central. Its highest peak, the Pico Duarte, measures 3,098 meters.

Practical tips for your holiday in the DR

Avoid falling ill by drinking only bottled water. You should always boil tap water.

Vaccinations for the Dominican Republic

Before traveling to the Caribbean, the Robert Koch Institute recommends that you have a series of vaccinations or booster shots. These include vaccinations against tetanus and diphtheria. Consult your doctor in plenty of time and make sure that you are up to date on the appropriate vaccinations.

Currency and official language of the Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic, you pay with either major credit cards or Dominican pesos (the main currency unit of the country). In some places you can also pay with US dollars. If you choose to pay this way, remember to pay attention to the exchange rate, because its usually cheaper to pay in local currency! The official language of the DR is Spanish, but there are a high number of immigrants from Haiti, which is why several hundred thousand people speak Creole here. In most of the tourist hotspots you should be able to get by with English.

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Culture of the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is a Carnival stronghold. Between the beginning of February and the beginning of March, are many colorful parades and festivals take place between Santo Domingo and Punta Cana. Carnival groups travel here from all over the Caribbean.

But even outside the carnival season, it is wonderful to dance and party on the island. There are dance bars in every major city, and those who dare can try their hand at salsa. If you want to get a little practice in before you hit the bars, there are dance schools and many hotels offer basic courses.

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Tipping in the Dominican Republic

Tipping is often included in the hotel service, but you should still tip cleaning staff and porters (at least $1 or $2). In restaurants you should always tip at least 10 percent.

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Accommodation in the Dominican Republic

The beachfront, and especially in Punta Cana, is teeming with world-class hotels and beach resorts. Many of them offer all-inclusive packages so that your every need is taken care of.

However, if you are looking for something more low-key, there are plenty of small-scale accommodations and bed and breakfasts available almost everywhere on the island.

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