Your Complete Travel Guide to The Dominican Republic!

I’ve put together this complete travel guide to help you plan your trip to the Dominican Republic!

The beauty of the Dominican Republic is a picture-perfect fairytale!

It is one that is complete with white-sand beaches against azure waters, lush green forests, and majestic mountaintops.

But the country’s attraction doesn’t stop at it’s natural beauty.

The DR offers world-class accommodations and tourist attractions!

Making it the leading Caribbean destination for engagements, weddings, honeymoons, and anniversary celebrations.

The DR motto is  “The Dominican Republic Has it all”  and it truly does!

The Dominican Republic is also well known for its distinctive natural features & hospitable citizens.

From gorgeous underground caves to famous golf courses to crystal water beaches! 

And the best part? The DR is only two hours away from Miami and less than four hours from New York.

I”m so excited to announce that I just became a “Dominican Republic Specialist” YAY!

And after I learned all about this gorgeous destination I fell in love with it!

I can’t wait to share with you how uniquely amazing this country is and how much it has to offer!

That’s why I’ve put together this complete travel guide to the Dominican Republic!!

Each luxurious beach in the Dominican Republic is different from the next.

The DR is the ideal year-round destination for families and honeymooners.

It is one of the biggest and most popular locations for destination weddings.

This is largely due to the fantasitc choices of all-inclusive packages and it’s large number of secluded 5-star properties!

Here are some facts for your complete travel guide to the Dominican Republic!

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Location

Nestled in the heart of the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Caribbean to the south!

The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which is shared with the Republic of Haiti.

The country is the second-largest in the Caribbean region.

Language

Spanish is the official language of the DR, however, most employees in hotels and restaurants speak English well.

If you plan to venture out beyond tourist destinations, it is helpful to have a basic knowledge of Spanish phrases.

Currency

The Dominican peso (RD$) is the official currency.

But U.S. dollars are easily accepted throughout the country., U.S. coins however are not used or accepted.

Major credit cards are accepted in many tourist areas in the country.

ATMs can be found in the majority of Dominican cities and at most resorts.

Climate

The DR enjoys warm, tropical weather year-round with mostly sunny days.  The average year-round temperature ranges from 77 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit (25°C to 31°C).

The cooler season is from November to April, with relatively low humidity.

The warmest season is from May to October, with high humidity, which can make it feel much hotter than it actually is!

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Time

The local time zone is Eastern Caribbean Time (GMT-0400). The DR does not observe daylight savings time.

Tipping

Tipping is the norm throughout the island.

Many times, restaurants will add a 10 percent tip to the bill.

It is also customary to include an extra tip on top of that, up to an additional 10 percent.

Tips are commonly given to taxi drivers, hotel maids, tour guides, etc.

Water

Tap water in the the Dominican Republic is not approved for drinking.

While the water in most hotels in the DR is drinkable, travelers are advised to drink bottled water as a precaution.

Bottled water is widely available throughout the country.

Because of the heat index in the Caribbean, it is recommended that visitors drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Drinking Age

18 years old!

Getting to the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has 8 international airports, how amazing is that?!

No matter where you’re staying on the island, an international airport is only a short drive away!

The Dominican Republic also has an additional 5 cruise destinations.

Taxis

Taxis are readily available at airports and hotels.

They are also a good option in Santo Domingo as well as in many inland towns.

Uber service is available in Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata, La Romana, Punta Cana, Higüey, and San Pedro de Macorís.

Entry Requirements

All foreigners who enter the DR need a valid passport.

The tourist card (already included in your airline ticket) permits a 30-day stay.

United Kingdom, European Union, U.S., and Canadian citizens do not need a visa.

Travelers can extend their stay for up to 60 more days by paying online or at the airport on departure.

Visitors must also fill out embarkation/disembarkation forms, customs forms, and a Traveler’s Health Affidavit form.

These forms must be filled out before entering the immigration line.

The Dominican Republic has some of the world’s Best Beaches!

The DR boasts 250 miles of the world’s top white-sand beaches!!

Casinos & Nightlife

For those who enjoy casinos and nightclubs, the DR offers all-night fun.

Golf

The DR is very famous for its 26 golf courses, with plans to open even more in the coming years.

The Dominican Republic has been named the Golf Destination of the Year for the Caribbean & Latin America!

The title was given to them by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators ( IAGTO)

Your Complete Travel Guide to the Dominican Republic! Attractions that you can’t miss!

  • A day trip to Cayo Arena from Puerto Plata and Punta Rucia
  • 27 Damajagua Waterfalls
  • Mount Isabel de Torres – a breathtaking ride by cable car takes you soaring 2625 feet above Puerto Plata’s magical landscape
  • Ocean World
  • Cayo Levantado – sitting 3 miles from Samaná Bay, this small island boasts white sand and you can spend the day snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding
  • Los Haitises National Park – explore this amazing National park by boat from Samaná, passing through a series of 98 -foot-high rock formations jutting out of the water
  • Salte El Limón 
  • Whale Watching by Samaná Bay – Whale season is from January to May;
  • Scape Park – In Cap Cana, Punta Cana, this natural environment is a paradise for families, swim in the cenote Hoyo Azul, ziplining, horseback riding, driving buggies, exploring the Iguabonita cave, and visiting the islands of parrots, iguanas, and monkeys;
  • Ojos Indigenas Ecological Park and Reserve – hiking trails lead to 12 turquoise and emerald freshwater lagoons;
  • Montaña Redonda – Miches is a gateway to Instagram-worthy views, including Salta de La Jalda, the tallest waterfall in the Caribbean, At Montaña you will enjoy breathtaking vistas where the sky meets the ocean and rolling green hills. A swing at the edge of the mountain overlooks the town below. It’s located about 1 hour from Punta Cana
  • West of La Romana, Cueva de Las Maravillas (Cave of Wonders)

Ecotourism Adventure Trips!

  • River Rafting & Tubing in Jarabacoa
  • Cotubanamá National Park and Saona Island
  • Jaragua National Park 
  • Cayo Arena
  • Samaná

Santo Domingo, Romance Meets History in the Capital

The capital city of Santo Domingo is the largest and most colorful cosmopolitan city in the Caribbean.

Whether you’re celebrating an engagement, an anniversary, or a romantic getaway, the Colonial City is not to be missed.

Where the old and the new converge seamlessly!

From centuries-old architecture & history to large shopping malls, art galleries, an electric nightlife, and a booming gastronomy scene.

Exploring the Colonial City—the first European settlement of the Americas and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990—is a recommended experience for all travelers.

This historic neighborhood consists of a pedestrian-friendly maze of narrow streets brimming with 16th to early 20th century architectural wonders.

They lead toward colonial buildings turned museums, shops, hotels, restaurants, and sidewalk cafés.

I highly recommend hiring a guide for a half a day tour of the Colonial city one day and another day rent a bike and explore on your own.

You can also visit the National Botanical Garden, the largest in the Caribbean, or stroll around Malecón at sunset for sea views, roadside snacks, and people watching.

The Dominican Republic has a fascinating history and very strong cultural identity, with plenty of attractions to explore while on the island.

The DR’s most important cultural site in Santo Domingo’s Colonial City – the first city of the Americas. Other popular attractions include Puerto Plata’s Amber Museum, Santiago’s León Cultural Center, and La Romana’s Altos de Chavón.

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Punta Cana

Where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea, Punta Cana has 100 miles of white sand beaches and it has a large selection of resort properties, catering to a variety of markets from luxury travelers, to families, singles, and adults-only resorts!

The majority of the properties in the Punta Cana region are all-inclusive!

With all activities, meals, drinks, and entertainment packaged into one price and making guests’ vacations stress-free.

The most developed section of the resort strip is along Bavaro Beach, offering 30 miles of white sand beaches and coral reefs. 

Punta Cana International Airport ( PUJ) is one of the best-connected airports in the Caribbean and Central America.

Many U.S. airlines offer non-stop flights from major cities, meaning you can leave in the morning and be at the beach at lunchtime!

Resorts offer on-site watersports that can include parasailing, SUP, windsurfing, sailing, and opportunities for snorkeling with colorful fishes and scuba diving right next to shipwrecks.

Macao Surf Camp at Macao Beach is the best place for anyone looking to learn how to surf.

You can also horseback ride along Macao Beach and enjoy the beauty of the sea and the immense forest.

World-Class Golf Courses

Punta Cana is the destination of choice for those who seek upscale golf amid the luxury lifestyle.

With the largest selection of world-class golf courses (10), Punta Cana is a destination where golfers can treat themselves to challenges created by designers such as Nick Price, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, P.B. Dye, and Jose-Pepe-Gancedo.

Casinos & Exciting Nightlife

Many of Punta Cana’s top resorts have casinos that feature gaming tables, including blackjack, craps, roulette and Baccarat.

The larger resorts have their own nightclubs, bars, lounges, and live entertainment shows.

Some of the most popular clubs are Coco Bongo, Imagine, Oro, Mangú, among others.

Head to Pearl Beach Club, Bachata Rosa, Playa Blanca Restaurant, Jellyfish Restaurant, Soles Chillout Bar or other beach clubs and restaurants for daytime fun.

Great Day Trips from Punta Cana

The new Oscar de la Renta Highway connects clients to La Romana in the south in less than an hour and Santo Domingo via the Coral Highway and then the DR-3 highway in 2.5 hours.

Samaná

Samaná Peninsula is as coveted today as it was in the 16th century.

Today the peninsula is well connected by land and air!

However, it remains the DR’s secluded, paradisiacal escape of wild beaches, coconut plantations, and rainforests.

Its rolling mountains and valleys and brilliant white sand beaches stretching hundreds of miles around the peninsula’s rocky coastline.

Samaná is famous for the humpback whales that visit Samaná Bay every year.

The giant mammals return every year to this special corner of the DR to mate and give birth.

Plan your honeymoon or romantic getaway between January and March, and you could even spot humpback whales mating and breeding.

Activities around include body-boarding and kitesurfing in Las Terrenas; trekking, birding, and caving in Los Haitises National Park; scuba diving, mountain biking, hiking, canyoning, or horseback riding to reach El Limón waterfall; and boat-hopping to magnificent white sand beaches at the base of cliffs, or to offshore Cayo Levantado Island.

Puerto Plata, Adventure for Two, From Mountains to the Coast

Nestled among a background of mountain views and miles of coastline and located on the north coast – it is truly a sight to behold!

Want to get engaged in the heavens?

Or at least pretty close?!

Its spectacular landscape combines sea, mountains, lush valleys, rivers, and a multitude of beaches.

Famous for its cacao and coffee trees, and the 27 Charcos of Damajagua Waterfalls and Cayo Arena.

Take the cable car – the only one in the Caribbean, to Mount Isabel de Torres and its Lush botanical gardens and enjoy amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Puerto Plata offers hotels of all sizes and tastes.

Puerto Plata has the largest collection of preserved 19th Century Victorian-style houses in the Caribbean.

Cabarete Beach is a world-famous hub for windsurfing, surfing, and kiteboarding, and a favorite hideout for snowbirds.

Cabarete nightlife is as intense as it is by day.

With an abundant amount of bars and small clubs filled with barefoot or sandal travelers and locals enjoying music, dancing, and happy hour.

Playa Dorada is for those who want to relax on golden beaches near the city.

Other attractions include Monkle Jungle, Ocean World Marina, Ocean World Adventure Park, Fun City.

La Romana

Overflowing in natural riches—from a poster-worthy Caribbean coastline to world-class golf courses—La Romana is one of the country’s top destination picks.

The beautiful white-sand beaches run from Dominicus to Bayahíbe.

Cave-riddled forests inside Cotubanamá National Park are home to freshwater springs and Taino rock art.

Saona & Catalina are lined with turtle nesting stretches facing pristine coral reefs, while shipwrecks teeming with marine life rest at shallow and extreme depths!

The largest sugar cane mill in the Americas was once headquartered in La Romana until its owners diversified and ventured into tourism by opening the luxurious Casa de Campo Resort in 1974, today is a favorite for North American tourists.

Don’t forget to visit the 16th Century Altos de Chavón – a stunning replica of a Mediterranean village towering over the Chavón River that offers a variety of entertainment – including an outdoor Grecian amphitheater where Grammy-winning artists perform every year.

At LA Romana visitors can enjoy a luxurious seaside lifestyle, scuba diving, fine dining, and shopping, its fishing village along Bayahíbe and Dominicus win many moreover.

La Romana is the gateway to Saona and Catalina Islands, which are part of the Cotubanamá National Park, and the most visited natural attractions in the country.

LA Romana is a wonderful destination for families, a luxury honeymoon, and a Destination Wedding.

More attractions: Cueva de LAs Maravillas, Tabacalera Garcia – the worlds largest handmade cigar factory, Bayahíbe, Cueva del Chico ( underground caves) Cuelva Del Peñón, Culva Del Puente, Atlantic Princess Shipwreck for divers, Dye Fore, Isla Catalina, Catalinita, Cotunamá National Park.

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16th century Altos de Chavon Image via www.godominicanrepublic.com

Michés

If you and your fiancé are more drawn to green scenery and rolling hills then you must visit the best-kept secret of The Dominican Republic.

If you’re looking for unspoiled beauty without all the tourists you must visit Michés.

And Miches is brand new to tourists and although it’s an easy drive from bustling Punta Cana it has a totally different vibe!

It’s a photographer’s paradise with its unspoiled beauty of rollings green hills, white-sand beaches, and turquoise waters, crystal clear water, and beautiful reef at Playa Esmeralda.

But there’s more than just beaches!

Plan to check out Salto La Jalda, the Caribbean’s tallest waterfall, and Montaña Redonda — an Instagrammer’s haven, with 360-degree views of the surrounding countryside with a swing on top of the mountain.

The best-kept secret of the region, Samaná Bay’s whale watching!

Which allows sightseers the chance to observe the migration of majestic humpback whales during winter and spring.

Michés is a perfect romantic destination for honeymooners or a couples getaway

Are you ready to travel to the Dominican Republic?

If you are looking for a quiet and secluded vacay I would recommend Michés!

If partying, nightlife and beautiful beaches is your thing I would recommend Punta Cana or Puerto Plata!

Looking for a cultural vacay? Go to Santo Domingo!

For eco experiences go to Samaná and for luxury La Romana (although you’ll be able to find luxury hotels all over the DR not only at La Romana!)

If you need help planning an amazing getaway to the DR, I can custom plan your honeymoon, destination wedding, and or family vacation finding the perfect activities and resorts to match your lifestyle!

Just press the >>> contact button here so we can talk about your travel plans to the Dominican Republic!

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Travel Update – Covid19 | World-Class Safety Offerings for Tourists

As part of the Tourism Recovery Plan which was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, foreign visitors who enter the country from September 15 to December 31, 2020, will have a free, temporary, traveler assistance plan available during the duration of their stay provided at the time of check-in at their hotel.

This offering, which no other destination in the region currently provides, will be 100% paid for by the Dominican government and will include cost coverage in case of infection including access to COVID-19 testing, medication, lodging for prolonged stays, and costs for changing flights.

Increased Sanitary Measures

In addition to mandatory social distancing and use of face masks throughout the country, all hotels, restaurants, and tour operators have increased sanitary measures featuring strict protocols to offer a clean, safe environment and promote social distancing.

To ensure the safety of staff and visitors, resort employees are regularly tested.

They have also adapted labor regulations to minimize and mitigate risks.

Lastly, within the resort industry, a Sanitary Bubble will be implemented to ensure that hotel employees stay as long as possible within the facilities.