The Top Things to Do and See in the Dominican Republic

If you’re planning to have a luxurious vacation in one of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations, the Dominican Republic, you’re going to be in for a treat. You can find various rentals in Dominican Republic from a luxurious mansion with an ocean view to five star all-inclusive resorts. Everything from pristine beaches and clear water to Spanish colonial architecture and nature reserves entertain tourists.

Here are some of the best things to see in this tropical paradise on Hispaniola Island.

Visit Santa Domingo

If you’re a fan of history and want to experience the Dominican Republic’s rich Spanish heritage, head to the capital Santo Domingo. Zona Colonial is the capital’s historical core and has an impressive collection of 16th-century architecture. As you walk through the cobblestone streets in one of the Caribbean’s oldest cities, you’ll see the impressive Plaza de Espana and the Alcazar de Colon Palace.

But it’s not just about history. The vibrant economic centre has several bars, cafés and restaurants lining the streets too. And after the sun goes down, the city transforms into the party hotspot.

Puerto Plato

Puerto Plato, on the Dominican Republic’s northern coast, is famous for beaches, golf courses, luxury resorts and colonial architecture. Highlights include the Golden Beach (Playa Dorada) stretching for kilometers with plenty of beachside bars, snorkeling opportunities and a cable car leading to the top of Mount Isabel de Torres.

The region is a favorite among travelers, and you’ll find lots of bars along the beach serving cold beers and exotic cocktails. Some tourists come for a vacation whereas another visit on a day trip.

Whichever way you choose, checking out the port city on the northern coast is a must.

Punta Cana

The tourist spot of Punta Cana has 32 kilometers of untouched beaches hugging the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic. Bávaro Beach is a must on any visit to Punta Cana, which is very popular with locals and tourists. If you want to escape the crowds, head to Isla Saona, a small untouched island off the coast.

The beaches are the typical white-sand against a backdrop of palm trees. But there’s one fundamental difference. Very few people visit, and it lacks the commercialization of Bavaro. Taking a trip to Isla Saona is a perfect getaway for anyone looking for a secluded spot on the beach. And don’t worry, you’ll find a few bars to get a drink or two.

Whale Watching in Samaná

Did you know that a few thousand Humpback Whales swim in the warm waters of the Dominican Republic’s eastern coast between December and March? Approximately 2000 of the 40-ton critters come here to mate.

Often, you can see the whales jumping in and out of the water from the shore. It’s not very often you get to witness so many of the world’s largest creatures in one place. Remember to pack your camera to capture the magical moment.

Visit Lake Enriquillo

Lake Enriquillo in the heart of Hispaniola Island towards to border with Haiti is the Caribbean’s largest lake. The scenery takes your breath away as the salt-rich water twinkles in the sun against the surrounding mountains. But, the lake has another appeal that attracts tourists: the wildlife.

A plethora of animals, birds, and fish call this lake home including flamingos, iguanas and the biggest population of saltwater crocodiles in the entire Caribbean. Saltwater crocs, if you didn’t know, are the ones that attack and eat everything. Human too.

You’ll find several tour companies offering boat trips on the lake. Some are more reputable than others. Given the fact that such a large number of deadly crocodiles live here, you’re strongly advised to book a tour with one of the best tour companies.

Damajaqua Cascades

If you’re a fan of natural beauty and want to see arguably the spot on the island, check out Damajaqua Cascades near Puerto Plata. The cascades consist of a series of 27 waterfalls that vary in height. Thousands of tourists visit each year to take the perfect photograph and enjoy the natural wonders of this waterfall.

You’ll find plenty of pools around the waterfalls, and many of the locals will be swimming in them. If you’re visiting on a hot day, bring your swimwear and dive in for a refreshing dip. Some of the locals even climb the waterfalls to jump into the pools below to impress their friends.

Faro a Colon

Faro a Colon, also known as Columbus Lighthouse, in Santa Domingo claims to be the final resting place of Christopher Columbus himself. After the explorer’s death, his body didn’t rest in a single place for more than a few years. It moved around Spain and then to the Dominican Republic to be buried with his brother and son. But, after the Spanish left the island in 1795, they claimed to bring the body to Cuba. And a century later in 1898, when the American’s kicked the Spanish out of Cuba, they then took the body back to Spain to bury in Seville.

But the story doesn’t end there. The Dominican Republic and Spain claim to be the final resting place of Columbus. DNA tests in Spain were inconclusive. No one is quite sure where he actually is.

Pristine Beaches and Colonial Treasures

When you look at the beaches and unbelievable natural beauty, it’s easy to understand why the Dominican Republic is such an attractive place to visit. You can enjoy the beaches, go whale watching and pay pilgrimage to the final resting place of Christopher Columbus depending on who you believe!

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