Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in the Dominican Republic

  • Published 2022/08/17

The second-largest country in the Caribbean, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other, the Dominican Republic is one of the most promising and entertaining countries in the world.

Home to lush green vegetation and beautiful beaches, the place offers a variety of fun and recreational activities.

The Dominican Republic is one of the world’s most diverse countries and features a perfect blend of different cultures and history.

It inhibits some of the most hospitable and amicable people around the world, who are always ready to welcome others in their territory.

This country is an excellent place and has to offer something to everyone.

Here are the best things to do in the Dominican Republic:

Explore the Busy Streets of Santa Domingo

Santa Domingo’s Zona Colonial

Nikolay Antonov /

The city of Santa Domingo in the Dominican Republic is home to two centuries-old buildings.

It is also believed to be the first place where Christopher Columbus landed in America.

The houses, museums, restaurants, shops, and hotels that cover the city’s streets are great examples of colonial architecture.

People walking on the El Conde street at Santa Domingo

GiuseppeCrimeni /

Ciudad Colonial, also known as Zona Colonial, is a historic neighborhood and UNESCO World Heritage Site that will take you back in time.

Santi Domingo has a beautiful and busy street called Calle El Conde, which is very famous for shopping and al fresco dining.

Statue of Columbus at Santa Domingo

GiuseppeCrimeni /

You’ll also spot some beautifully preserved buildings in the city, such as Catedral Primada de América, which is believed to be the first cathedral in America.

When in Santo Domingo, you can enjoy things like eating a delicious pizza in a vintage colonial bin building and spending a night in a 400-year-old hotel.

The unique architecture and lively energy make a trip to Santo Domingo worth your time.

Stay at a Resort in Punta Cana

Beach chairs at Tropical Beach resort in Punta Cana

Bruno Ismael Silva Alves /

Covered with beautiful white sand and stretching towards crystal clear waters, Punta Cana is believed to be a premier resort destination in the Dominican Republic.

The town is home to a large number of resorts that can easily fit into anyone’s budgetary requirements.

Luxurious resort with pool and hut shaped rooms at Punta Cana

Valentin Valkov /

From luxurious to all-inclusive options and couple-friendly to family-friendly alternatives, there are many different resorts that can cater to different preferences.

The place also has clean and attractive beaches that allow visitors to enjoy their time doing various water activities.

Bavaro Beach is one such beach and is famous for its beautiful restaurants that offer classic tasty food.

Colorful beach villas at Punta Cana

Sági Elemér /

You can enjoy activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, or even just sunbathing on the island.

If you are looking for some adventure and water sports activities, Punta Cana is the place for you.

Spend the Day at a Quiet Beach in Puerto Plata

Bird's eye view of Puerto Plata /

Another resort destination, Puerto Plata is home to one of the Dominican Republic’s most famous and beautiful stretches of beach.

The beautiful golden sand beaches are famous and less populated, giving them a tranquil vibe.

White Gazebo with a view of the ocean and mountains at Puerto Plata /

You can actually enjoy sitting in silence and watching the waves hit the shore.

The beaches here may not offer activities like boating or other water sports, but you can enjoy swimming or snorkeling.

Cable car ride in Puerto Plata

Daian Gan /

Puerto Plata invites you to have a relaxed, heavenly time walking around and discovering undeveloped beaches.

Experience the Nightlife at Cabarete

Santo Domingo beach during sunset

DiegoMariottini /

Cabarete is one such place in the Dominican Republic that is famous for its light atmosphere and casual restaurants situated along the coasts of beaches.

It is the perfect place where you can enjoy dining on the sand.

Kite surfing in Cabarete Beach

Lisa T Snow /

This town does not have high-end or all-inclusive resorts like other cities.

Rather the place is more famous among free-spirited tourists, backpackers, and those who enjoy water activities.

Cabarete is one of the most famous locations across the island for kiteboarding, and you can easily spend a few weeks or months during the winter season here.

People dressed up for a performance at Cabarete

ShinshiaKiiroU /

The place has everything to offer, from tasty food and affordable shopping to adventurous sports and enthralling musical performances.

Cabarete’s nightlife is also fabulous and something you definitely should not miss.

Explore the Virgin Beaches at Las Galeras

Boats docked on a calm beach at Las Galeras

Judith Lienert /

Las Galeras is a municipal district in the town of Santa Bárbara de Samaná.

It is so remotely located that it is one of the favorite places among people who prefer to spend their time in quiet, peaceful spaces.

The place is lined with palm trees and white sand beaches, which create a beautiful contrast with turquoise waters.

Some of the most beautiful undeveloped beaches are believed to be discovered in this area.

A young woman enjoying the tropical views of Las Galeras

chrisontour84 /

Las Galeras is the complete opposite of famous resort destinations and offers a more personal experience for every visitor.

You can easily rent a boat or simply take a morning or evening walk along the quiet beach.

You may even walk from one beach to another without even realizing it.

Waves crashing on the shores at Las Galeras

Pierre Mangin from Paris, France, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The district is famous for having only one main street, which is covered with restaurants.

The restaurants are operated by French ex-pats, due to which the food here is delicious despite being amazingly cheap.

You can also drive away from the district and enjoy some good food in the surrounding mountains.

Las Galeras is far from the hustle and bustle of city life.

If you want to spend some peaceful time away from the buzz of everyday life, this is the place for you.

Try Kiteboarding on Kite Beach

Kite Beach Dominican Republic /

Kite Beach is about a 20-minute walk from the waterfront of Cabarete’s main beach.

The beach has its own vibe, which is unique at different times of the day.

You can easily see that Kite Beach is very quiet and less populated in the mornings, with only a few walkers, runners, or swimmers.

The scene changes dramatically in the afternoon, as the beach gets filled with people.

The sky filled with kites at Kite Beach

Matyas Rehak /

As soon as the wind picks up, kiteboarders can easily be seen on the beach, and the sky is filled with kites.

The place has quite a good number of restaurants that offer delicious food, with more focus on vegetarian and healthy offerings.

Kite Beach also has some other entertaining options for visitors to enjoy.

A man performing stunts at the Kite Beach /

A free circus on Friday afternoons, the annual Master of the Ocean championship in February, windsurfing, surfing, and paddleboarding are some of the best activities that can be enjoyed at this place.

If you aren’t experienced in kiteboarding, you can also take up lessons from numerous schools that are located alongside Kite Beach.

Spot Humpback Whales at Samaná Bay

Long narrow pedestrian bridge at Samaná Bay

Serge Yatunin /

Samaná Bay is densely populated with whales from the months of December to March.

The bay is believed to be the place where thousands of humpback whales come to meet and give birth, making this one of the most welcoming places for those who enjoy watching these beautiful creatures.

Humpback whale at Samaná Bay

Caballero1967, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

However, apart from being an excellent whale-watching destination, Samaná Bay does not offer much.

That said, tourists are encouraged to take day trips from this location, and there are a lot of packages being offered by various tour companies.

Beach volleyball court surrounded by coconut trees at Samaná Bay

Jorge Brazil from Brazil, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Rent a Motorbike and Live Like a Local at Las Terrenas

Waves hitting the shore at Las Terrenas

Don Mammoser /

Las Terrenas is a small yet busy town in the Dominican Republic.

It is a beautiful place, with a large number of small French cafes, beautiful and tall palm trees, beaches, and the ocean.

Local cafés lit up during the evening at Las Terrenas

Matyas Rehak /

You can rent a motorbike, ride around the town, and understand the way of life that people lead in the Dominican Republic.

An artist selling his paintings at Las Terrenas Beach

Martin Corr /

If you want to get an insight into the culture of the Dominican Republic, a trip to Las Terrenas is your best shot.

Visit the Unspoiled Bahia de las Aguilas

Clean water at Bahia De Las Aguilas

Jakob Fischer /

Stretching over an area of eight kilometers, Bahia de las Aguilas is a remote beach in Jaragua National Park.

As beautiful as this beach is, the place is immaculate and calm.

The beach is a bit underdeveloped, due to which it does not receive a large number of visitors.

Scenic view of the turquoise water and rocks at Bahia de las Aguilas

Runeca /

Bahia de las Aguilas has located almost a six-hour drive away from the city of Santo Domingo.

If you wish to visit this beach, it is advised to plan a short trip, as there is very little infrastructural development around the place.

Vibrant sunset at Bahia de las Aguilas

Pedro Quartin Graca /

You will not be able to find any luxury resorts around the area, but the serene environment, cool breeze, and beautiful landscapes will make Bahia de las Aguilas one of your favorite places in the Dominican Republic.

Visit the Beautiful Parque Nacional del Este

Beach at Parque Nacional De Este

Benny Marty /

Parque Nacional del Este is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The park is filled with natural beauty and provides a home to a large number of plants and animals.

Mangroves at Parque Nacional del Este

Benny Marty /

This place acts as a magnet for tourists, thanks to the beautiful views it has to offer.

Its beaches, boasting soft sand and turquoise water, never fail to attract day-trippers.

Horse ride at Parque Nacional del Este

Benny Marty /

There are no resorts on the beach, but you can still find relaxing lounge chairs and soak up the sun.

Without a doubt, Parque Nacional del Este is a slice of paradise in the Dominican Republic.

Enjoy Various Outdoor Activities in Jarabacoa

Aerial view of the lush greenery at Jarabacoa

Pavel Prodan /

The city of Jarabacoa is often a topic of debate, for some people believe it to be a summer destination while others regard it as a winter destination.

However, unaffected by the conflict, Jarabacoa is a fairly popular destination among tourists as it offers a lot of fun things to do.

River at Jarabacoa

Starus, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Activities such as rafting, hiking, biking, and explorations are quite famous here.

The city is situated at an elevation of 500 meters, due to which the temperature here is cooler as compared to other places in the Dominican Republic.

Waterfall at Jarabacoa

Phyrexian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Check Out Altos de Chavón in La Romana

Lighthouse and Beach at La Romana

Lena Serditova /

Located near Punta Cana, La Romana is one of the lesser-known resort destinations in the Dominican Republic.

The place has unique resorts that boast different concepts.

Ancient architecture at Altos de Chavón in La Romana

Mikolaj Niemczewski /

Some of the resorts in this place are great for travelers who look forward to self-catering.

The city also has a large number of beaches and shops.

Amphitheatre at Altos de Chavón

Felix Lipov /

Altos de Chavón, inspired by a 16th-century Mediterranean village, is an incredible place where you can shop for crafts and souvenirs.

You can join an organized shopping trip around the village and enjoy golfing in this popular area.

Experience an Eco-Tour of Los Haitises National Park

Mangrove forest in Los Haitises

Dorota Przesmycka /

Los Haitises National Park has been attracting many eco-tourists in recent years.

The park looks very unique.

Birds flying from a cliff at Los Haitises National Park

Roberto Binetti /

It’s an all-in-one destination featuring soaring coastal mountains, deep valleys, and some rainforest.

A large amount of flora and fauna is present in the woods of the park.

A woman exploring the caves at Los Haitises National Park

Beliphotos /

You can also hike around Los Haitises National Park and visit the caves, which are as mysterious as its walking trails.

Go Hiking in the Mountain Town of Constanza

Stunning view of nature at Constanza

Jakob Fischer /

For mountain enthusiasts visiting the Dominican Republic, Constanza is one place you will surely appreciate.

Situated in the deep heart of the country, Constanza is a small yet beautiful mountain town in the soaring heights of the Cordillera Central region.

Narrow path between the fields at Mountain Town of Constanza

Todd Aaron Sanchez /

The place has a number of apple orchards and strawberry plantations, with a cool highland breeze to welcome you home.

You can explore the town on a bicycle, go for a hike, and enjoy the cultural diversity of the place.

Aguas Blanac Waterfall at Constanza

Luciano Ippolito /

Dance the Night Away at Coco Bongo

Exterior of Coco Bongo

Paul McKinnon /

Are you looking to experience the Dominican Republic’s vibrant nightlife?

Coco Bongo is a disco club that is fast becoming the county’s most popular nightspot.

Giant Spiderman statue in Coco Bongo

photopixel /

With the best electronic music to groove to, laser shows, dense smoke, confetti in the air, and gravity-defying trapeze performances, Coco Bongo adds life to the night in the Dominican Republic every Tuesday to Sunday.

Signboard of Coco Bongo

photopixel /

The place has an energy that cannot be soaked in just one night.

Definitely a must-visit, Coco Bongo requires at least two visits for you to experience all that it has to offer.

Explore the Amber Museum

Entrance of Amber Museum

GiuseppeCrimeni /

The Dominican Republic is noted for producing very high-quality amber, and most of it contains significant petrified plant and animal remnants.

The Amber Museum is found in the beautiful Villa Bentz in Santo Domingo, which dates back to 1918.

Exhibits at Amber Museum

Phyrexian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It houses a magnificent collection of amber from the island and across the world in a suitably elegant setting.

You can learn more about the history and applications of amber, which is made of petrified tree resin, by taking a guided tour of the museum.

Display of different stones at Amber Museum

Phyrexian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After viewing the spectacular displays, you can stop by the store to browse for a range of amber jewelry.

Appreciate the Seas of Saona Island

Beautiful beach at Saona Island

Maciej Czekajewski /

Saona Island is an 11,000-hectare tropical island off the Dominican Republic’s La Altagracia province.

It is well-known for its beaches and has frequently been utilized as a backdrop for movies and advertisements by companies aiming to portray a clichéd “deserted island” atmosphere.

Visitors holding the Star fish at Saona Island

Pavel Prodan /

The communities of Mano Juan and Catuano are its only two permanent settlements.

Mano Juan is a fishing community with wooden dwellings and a navy detachment near Catuano Beach.

Maccaws at Saona Island

Gerisima /

Tourists from all around the Dominican Republic flock to the island on planned excursions in large fleets of catamarans and small motorboats everyday.

Take a Photo of the Columbus Lighthouse

Drone shot of Columbus Lighthouse

Nick N A /

The cross-shaped Columbus Lighthouse honors the legacy of Christopher Columbus, one of history’s greatest explorers who first set foot on the island in 1492.

This mausoleum memorial is located in Santo Domingo Este, Dominican Republic.

Front view of Columbus Lighthouse

Maciej Czekajewski /

The lighthouse’s most distinctive feature is its sophisticated lighting system that casts a giant light cross into the night skies, which is visible from more than 40 miles away.

Museum at Columbus Lighthouse

GiuseppeCrimeni /

In the middle of the imposing 10-story building, which serves as both a tourist destination and a cultural hub, is a chapel believed to house Christopher Columbus’ bones.

When planning your Dominican Republic holiday, include a stop at Columbus Lighthouse on your itinerary.

Unwind and Tour around Bavaro Adventure Park

The 110-acre Bavaro Adventure Park is a must-see tourist attraction in the Dominican Republic’s Punta Cana area.

The park is located in a sizable area of natural woodland and offers thrilling eco-friendly adventure activities for the whole family in a back-to-nature setting.

There are various activities to choose from, including a flight simulator, zip line adventure choices, bikes, Paintball Rapid Shooter, and Climbing Garden.

Youngsters will enjoy visiting Dino World, which features animatronic dinosaurs and the playground, complete with climbing walls, tightropes, and small zip lines.

You can unwind and cool down in the Waterfall Pool between activities.

The amusement park also offers a guided eco-tour that allows visitors to observe butterflies, orchids, parrots, tortoises, and other creatures.

Join the Train Tour at the Dr. Rafael María Moscoso Botanic Garden

The picturesque Dr. Rafael María Moscoso Botanic Garden provides residents and guests with a tranquil and pleasant setting.

It is a chance to reconnect with wildlife and learn about the incredible range of tropical plants native to the Dominican Republic.

Spanning more than 200 acres of land, the park has a vast network of walkways and trails for running and strolling.

Many ecosystems and plants, such as bromeliads, orchids, and palms, are all covered in detail.

A butterfly garden and a gorgeous Japanese garden are also present.

You can board the miniature train for a sightseeing tour of the gardens.

Final Thoughts

The Dominican Republic, which is surrounded by miles and miles of beaches, is the ideal island retreat.

You can spend time exploring the state’s fascinating history, taking in the colonial architecture at Santa Domingo’s Ciudad Colonial, and enjoying a variety of water activities.

You won’t have a dull moment in the Dominican Republic, thanks to the variety of indoor and outdoor activities available.

Discover new things and make lasting memories at this breathtaking destination.

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