WELCOME TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
The Dominican Republic is the second largest and most diverse Caribbean country, and situated just two hours south of Miami. Known for its warm and hospitable people, the Dominican Republic is a destination like no other, featuring astounding nature, intriguing history and rich culture. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and the Caribbean Sea on the south, the lush tropical island paradise boasts nearly 1,000 miles (1,609 km) of coastline, 250 miles (402 km) of the world’s top beaches, magnificent resorts and hotels, and a variety of sports, recreation and entertainment options. Here you can dance to the pulse pounding thrill of the merengue, renew at luxurious and diverse accommodations, explore ancient relics of centuries past, delight in delicious Dominican gastronomy or enjoy ecotourism adventures in their magnificent national parks, mountain ranges, rivers and beaches.
For lovers of history and culture, you can spend part of your day wandering the streets of Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo. The city of Santo Domingo is one of the oldest cities in the western hemisphere, so to be able to explore such a historic section of the town is a real treat. You’ll see classic architecture, meet locals, and get to pop in and out of the various shops and restaurants that line the streets. Walking the brick and cobblestone streets of this World Heritage UNESCO Site is an opportunity you won’t want to pass up.
For those who aren’t afraid of heights, get yourself a ticket for the Teleferico Puerto Plata Cable Car. The 800 meter long cable car ride takes you from the base of the mountain, near the edge of Puerto Plata, and guides you up until you reach the summit of Mountain Isabel de Torres inside the Isabel Torres National Park. Once you reach the top, you’re welcomed by a statue of “Christ the Redeemer,” and treated to some gardens focuses on native flora. It is truly a spectacular view.
The Dominican Republic is a hub for nightlife. With a common crowd of younger tourists, the nightlife is almost never stopping. Whether you want to enjoy the company of a neighborhood bar or you’re looking to lose yourself to the rhythms and music of the island, there are plenty of opportunities to be had. No matter where you go, prepare to dance.
With one of the largest populations in the Caribbean, it is no surprise that just about every sport is well represented here. Baseball, basketball, and golf are among some of the most popular, with several local athletes going to compete internationally.
With a nation so proud of its music and dance, it’s no surprise that the nation would be teeming with music festivals. It almost seems as though there is one every month, so be sure to get your backstage passes early. But music isn’t all. The Dominican Republic partakes in many of the ancient religious festivals that much of the Caribbean enjoy, such as Carnival. With five major religious, Carnival-style festivals happening throughout the year, there is plenty to enjoy.
Regardless of where you plan to travel in the DR, there is an international airport close by. The DR is one of the largest Caribbean countries, so you may want to consider flying into one place, such as Santo Domingo, and out of say, Puerto Plata, to maximize the time you spend experiencing different areas of the country. With 8 international airports spread throughout the country, you will easily be able to find a flight to the DR from your origin city.
The DR is also easily accessible by cruise ship if you would rather enjoy a leisurely journey on the open Caribbean Sea.
Once you begin your DR journey, you are sure to want to explore all that the country has to offer. You can explore the different cities in the country when you buy a bus ticket to travel around the countryside. If you’d rather explore the country on your own terms, you can rent a car.
Los Haitises National Park is so massive that you are probably going to want to reserve a spot on one of their guided excursions. You can kayak through the mangroves or around the coast, climb the mountains, or go bird watching. No matter how you plan to spend your day (or days!) in Los Haitises, you are sure to enjoy this lush and tropical landscape as you reconnect with nature.
For those who want to get up close and personal to some cousins, why not take a day trip to Monkeyland? You can feed the monkeys, let them climb up on your shoulder, and learn about them in their environment. The tour organizers also offer zipline and hike excursions, so check out what all is available before you decide!
Ramón Matías Mella: One of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic. He was a war hero that led the Patriot army to victory. He then served as the vice president of the Republic, but passed away shortly into his term.
Francisco del Rosario Sánchez: One of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic. He worked to strategize and fight for the Dominican Republic. Later in his political career, he was exiled out of fear. When invited back into the country, he worked to stop the Spanish takeover and tried to take command, but was executed as a result.
Juan Pablo Duarte: One of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic. Duarte helped fund the Revolution against Haiti. He helped communications throughout the war and helped lead the Dominican Republic to its victory. However, like Sánchez, he was exiled. However, he was never invited back and died in exile.
For history buffs who want to learn about the early days of the ruling elite before the Dominican Republic became the Dominican Republic, you can visit the Museum of the Royal Houses. You’ll learn about Hispanic heritage, colonization, historic medical practices, and even pirates.
Yes, the beaches of the Dominican Republic are beautiful, but the beaches on nearby Saona Island are nearly pristine. You need to reserve a spot on a boat hire to get to the island, but the island/national park is a once-in-a-lifetime treat. With crystal clear waters, protected wilderness, and helpful managers, everyone is working hard to make sure the beauty of Saona Island is preserved for generations to come.
For those who like to see as much as they can, a catamaran tour may be the best option for you. A popular option is the Hispaniola Aquatic Adventures, operating out of Punta Cana. They’ll take you on a private or semi-private tour to see some of the eastern shore’s best sights. You’ll also get to go snorkeling and, depending on the tour you sign up on, you’ll get a freshly prepared meal as well!
Children are our future, and today that almost feels truer than ever. You can donate to The DREAM Project to help get the children of the Dominican Republic the early education they deserve. With a strong early education, they can grow to become stronger students and have more doors open up for them.