Tropical beaches, surf breaks, magnificentmountain landscapes and a friendly welcome await visitors to this islanddestination in the heart of the Caribbean Sea.
Situatedin the Caribbean Sea, the Dominican Republic shares its idyllic island settingwith Haiti. Find striking mountain peaks, verdant rainforests and colonial heritagecities bordered by gorgeous beaches. It is believed that the Taíno people inhabitedthe island since the 7th century. In 1492, Christopher Columbus established theAmericas’ first European settlement here.
Santo Domingo is the Dominican Republic’s fascinatingcapital. Explore colonial landmarks, shop for semiprecious stones, visit museumsand watch passionate baseball games. Stroll along the waterfront in Malecón, home to cafés, live music barsand traditional “merengue” clubs. Just under a 2-hour drive from the capital isConcepción de la Vega, a city famousfor hosting the country’s liveliest carnival.
Manyvisitors go directly to the beach resorts, with good reason. On the southeastcoast are Bávaro and Punta Cana, both home to white-sandbeaches, all-inclusive hotel complexes and superb golf courses. Visit the Jaragua National Park, on the island’s southwest Barahona Peninsula, to discoversecluded beaches.
Onthe north coast you’ll find Playa Dorada,a complex of hotels, swimming pools, restaurants and bars. Nearby, find Puerto Plata, where the beach meetsVictorian-era architecture. The beaches of Cabaretepresent excellent windsurfing and kite-surfing conditions. Some of theisland’s most appealing coastline is at SamanáPeninsula, including the palm-fringed PlayaRincón. Spot humpback whales from the peninsula in winter or swim with themajestic mammals at Silver Bank.
There’smore to the Dominican Republic than beaches, though. Hike to the summit of Pico Duarte in the Cordillera Central mountain range. Spot crocodiles andiguanas at Enriquillo Lake. Ride onhorseback to the waterfalls of Jarabacoa.
Reachthe Dominican Republic via one of six international airports on the island. Getaround using public buses or taxis. Cars, scooters and bicycles are availablefor rent. The country has balmy average temperatures of 77°F (25°C), althoughhurricanes are possible from August to September. Adventure, history and relaxationwith year-round sunshine make the Dominican Republic a popular vacation choice.