Deciding whether or not the Dominican Republic is the right Caribbean island for you? Here’s a peek at who we think will love this lush tropical destination:
With beaches for days, the Dominican Republic is blessed in this regard. The north side of the island boasts well-rounded sandy beaches, where you can swim, snorkel and sunbathe or hit the wave for surfing and kiteboarding. Along the Caribbean coast of the south side of the island, take your pick from soft, white-sand beaches or smooth pebble beaches. The Punta Cana region, on the east end of the island, you’ll find fabulous Bavaro Beach, considered by most to be the island’s most beautiful stretch of beach.
Snorkelers will find the best conditions on the Caribbean coast of the island, where the sea is sheltered from trade winds and the underwater visibility is fantastic. Favorite spots include Parque Nacional Submarina La Caleta and the Bayahibe region. There are small, sheltered bays to explore throughout the island, as well as the offshore isles of Catalina and Saona, all of which offer vibrant coral reefs and kaleidoscopic marine life.
Golfers in the know head to the Dominican Republic for its sheer number of fabulous courses. Of the nearly 30 throughout the island, most are designed by golf legends like Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus and Rees Jones. Hotspots include Pete Dye’s Teeth of the Dog in Casa de Campo, as well as courses in the Cap Cana and Punta Cana resort areas. Playa Grande (designed by Robert Trent Jones and renovated by his son Rees Jones) on the north coast has the most ocean views of any course on the island.
Is the beach your happy place? Do you daydream about spa treatments? The Dominican Republic is just the spot for relaxing and renewing. Sink into a hammock under the palm trees with a juicy novel or take a well-deserved nap, knowing you can wake up and walk directly into the turquoise sea or head to one of the island’s many world-class spas for a massage.
Anyone Who Appreciates a Beautiful View
View finders are in heaven in the Dominican Republic, where Insta-worthy moments are too numerous to count. This is thanks in no small part to the island’s lush geography, from Los Haitises National Park to the Samana Peninsula to the Cascada El Limon waterfall. Stunning panoramas take in the verdant central highlands, flower farms, rushing rivers and, of course, dramatic beach sunsets.
There’s an undeniable rhythm to life in the DR, so it comes as no surprise that music is a huge part of the island’s culture. The country’s musicians have contributed to popular Latin music and styles over the years, whether passionate merengue or bachata, the country music of the DR. There’s salsa all over the island, as well as reggaetón, rap and dembow. Wherever you go, you’ll feel the beat.
It’s not all about the beach in the Dominican Republic. Get a history lesson in Santo Domingo, the country’s vibrant capital founded by Christopher Columbus in the late 1400s. Start in the Zona Colonial, where you’ll find 16th-century churches (including the Catedral Primada de America) and the oldest surviving European fortress. Delve further into local history at the Museum of the Royal Houses, where you’ll find Taino artifacts, colonial furnishings, old weapons and more.
Arts & Movie Fans
Art lovers must visit Altos de Chavon, a replica 16th-century Mediterranean village completely handcrafted by local artisans. Residents, tourists and working artists from all over the globe meet and mingle here. Watch artists at work in their studios, working on pottery and weaving, painting and silk screening. The film industry is thriving on the island, so prepare to see everything from film and television productions to music videos shot here. In fact, Italian cinematographer Roberto Coppa (as well as Dominican architect Jose Antonio Caro) were integral to the creation of Altos de Chavon for the filming of scenes for The Godfather – Part 2. Several other famous movies filmed scenes in the Dominican Republic including Anaconda, Fast and Furious 4, King Kong, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
The Dominican Republic is prime tobacco-growing terrain – hand-rolled cigars are not just an industry here, but an art form. Take a tour of one of the factories in the Santiago de los Caballeros region (the “Cigar Capital”) or Cibao valley to see where the art form took root and developed over the centuries. Among some of the most well-known are the Tamboril, Gurabo, Navarrete and Villa Gonzalez plantations.