Dominican Republic

Most visitors to the Dominican Republic opt for all-inclusive hotels, with dozens lining the magnificent beaches in Punta Cana. Being twice the size of Wales, the island has lots to explore away from the resorts, highlights including the capital Santo Domingo – the New World’s oldest colonial city – and adventurous activities such as white-water rafting in the island’s mountainous centre.

The Dominican Republic has some of the best spas and wellness centres in the Caribbean, with facilities at all resorts and hotels. You can even take a three-hour spa cruise experience, sailing on a motorised catamaran from Punta Cana with Dr Fish Ocean Spa to enjoy bio pilates, massages and foot detox on the water as well as floating relaxation mattresses.

Dominican Republic Highlights

Santo Domingo
The nation’s capital is the oldest continuously-inhabited European settlement in the New World and is the largest and most vibrant city in the Caribbean. History is everywhere you look, particularly in the Colonial Zone, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where some buildings date back 500 years. Highlights include the Alcazar de Colon (Columbus’s Palace), Parque Colon (Columbus Park), Ozama Fortress, Catedral Primada de America (First Cathedral of America – Santa Maria de la Encarnacion), the Dominicus Convent and the cobblestoned Calle de Las Damas, one of its earliest streets. At night, soak up the city’s effervescent atmosphere, with the sounds of meringue, bachata and salsa spilling out of open windows and doorways of packed, dimly-lit clubs.
Amazing beaches
The country’s 250 miles of coastline incorporates some of the Caribbean’s best beaches, lined by palm trees and gently lapped by crystal waters. Resort hotels on the east coast around Bavaro and Punta Cana and in the south-east at La Romana, among others, all boast beautiful white sands. There are also many public beaches worth visiting on an excursion. One of the most popular is Macao Beach, just north of Bavaro, famed for its surfing school and fine sands.
Whale watching
Humpback whales migrate past the north-east and north coasts from mid-January to late March each year heading for warmer Caribbean waters to mate and raise their calves. The hotspot for whale watching is the Bay of Samana, known as the "home of the humpback whales in the Caribbean", with excursions departing daily from the port of Samana. The huge mammals can also be seen from a clifftop land whale observatory at Punta Balandra, near Samana.
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