Top 50 things to Do and to See in the Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic covers the eastern two-thirds of the Caribbean islands of Hispaniola, Both by area and population, The Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation. It is home to a world of exciting attractions, world-class white sand beaches and a lot of fun things to do. Spanish is the official language, though English is widely spoken in major cities and tourist areas. Fifty things that you can enjoy along with your family in the Dominican republic are listed below:

1. Samana Peninsula

Samana Peninsula is located on the eastern coast and considered as one of the Dominican Republic tourist attractions not to be missed. It is such a beautiful region of lush green mountains, brightly colored wildflowers and aquamarine waters. You will find an excess of things to do in Samana, which includes whale watching, whilst at the same time it is place of relaxation and story. It is said be one of the most interesting places to visit and surely worth it. The most popular action in Samana is scuba diving. The dive sites are luminous with wreck dives, swim-through and copious amounts of brilliant fish and coral.

2. National Palace

The National Palace which is located in Santo Domingo is considered as the crown jewel of the Dominican Republic. It is one of the most famous tourist attractions of Dominican Republic. This beautiful structure is a symbol of the sovereignty of the country which was designed by the popular Italian architect Guido D’Alessandro and was constructed during 20th century in Neo-Classical style. It occupies an area of about 18,000 square meters and is decorated mainly in green and gold to underline the independence of the republic. It is also known as Palacio Nacional, in Spanish, is the formal residency of the Dominican president though he doesn’t live there. However, you can visit the Presidential office, the Hall of the Caryatid, the Mahogany room and the Hall of the Ambassadors. Visiting this place is definitely worth it.

3. Punta Cana Beaches

Punta Cana Beaches is one most popular tourist attractions of Dominican Republic. It is considered as most exotic destinations which is every travelers dream. A visitor who has touched the magical atmosphere of Punta Cana remains under this its tropical spell. The name of this divine spot means “the place where all palms meet” and it is said to be the perfect explanation as you can find many palms out there, you will feel like you are the only vacationers and this is your personal heaven. The soft sands and the turquoise waters combined with the tranquility of nature make you forget that there is world besides Punta Cana. The gorgeous beaches are where you will discover there is heaven on Earth and its name is Punta Cana.

4. Cabarete

Dominican Republic is offers a lot of beaches to its visitors which are all simply beautiful and Cabarete is no exceptions. It is definitely worth visiting this beach village that is situated on the northern shores. It offers adventurous activities, relaxation and pure tropical experience. You will love the golden sands, crystal-clear waters and the most pristine natural sites surrounding it. It is very popular for its splendid lagoon where the waters are so calm and tempting, you simply can’t resist them. It is also known as one of the most scenic places of Dominican Republic. The surfers will find their place there as there are perfect conditions for kite and windsurfing. Wild nightlife, charming beaches and vast areas to explore, Cabarete is a perfect choice for summer vacation in Dominican Republic.

5. Ozama Fortress

It is said that your trip to Dominican Republic is incomplete without visiting the Ozama Fortress. The oldest European fort constructed during the early 16th century, its main aim was to protect Santo Domingo from pirate attacks. You will notice that the construction is in typical medieval architectural style which was designed to defend one of the first major ports in America. The fortress was used as a prison until the 20th century but presently transformed and attracts tourist from all over the world. Climbing the spiral staircases and going on the top of this impressive construction guarantees stunning views towards the oldest city in the Antilles islands – Santo Domingo.

6. Damajagua Cascades

Damajagua Cascades is one of the most visited tourist destinations of the Dominican Republic. It is considered as wonderful natural phenomena of this country. Featuring 28 waterfalls, it is situated quite close to Puerto Plata. It is one of the most stunning adventures you can possibly experience. Before you reach the crystal waters falling intriguingly from different heights, you will explore attractive trail among the tropical jungle of Dominican Republic. Then you can climb each of the 28 cascades after getting the right equipment to do so, of course. This experience of exploring the Cascades will surely last for life long.

7. Altos de Chavon

Altos de Chavon is considered as one of the greatest tourist destinations of the Dominican Republic. It is said to be an actual recreation of European city from the medieval period. It was constructed in the 20th century; even then, Altos de Chavon brings you immediately into the medieval atmosphere of Europe. This historical village is often called “the city of artists” as it is a proof that artist can transmit the spirit of a whole age in a completely different place and time. The wonderful temple of St. Stanislaus is a place worth seeing while in Altos de Chavon.

8. Jaragua National Park

Jaragua National Park is a very famous place to visit and it is said to be a protected territory in the Dominican Republic preserving the alluring nature of this tropical country. It occupies coastal, marine and terrestrial areas as well as several islands and a dry forest. The Park occupies almost 2 hundred thousand acres of unspoiled land. It is the favorite place for ornithologists as they can observe more than hundred spices among which the pink flamingo. To be sure you will spot the pink bird, head to the Oviedo Lagoon which is home to the largest population of these species. Jaragua National Park is one of a kind place as there can be seen tropical flowers and plants like ekmanii tree alongside with the desert cacti. The experience will surely remain in your memories for life long.

9. Bonao

Bonao is one of the most visited tourist destinations of the Dominican Republic. It is considered as one of the most colorful villages of the country. It is well-known among hikers, backpackers and those in search of adventure as it is situated in the pleasing foots of Cibao Mountains. Come and explore the beautiful waterfalls, summits and rivers in this impressive area which is unspoiled by numerous tourists. Hike, raft, kayak, swim and camp around as it is one of the best places to connect with nature. “Villa De Las Hortensias” or the village of hortensias is the nickname of Bonao. Abundant mountains, dazzling waterfalls and the sense of idyll, Bonao offer you all.

10. Columbus Lighthouse Monument

Columbus Lighthouse Monument is one of the greatest tourist destinations of Dominican Republic. It presents a mausoleum which is supposed to contain the remains of the discoverer of America and a museum committed to the history of the area. The structure is of cross-shaped representing the transition of America to Christianity. It is said to be 210 meters tall, situated on the coast of Santo Domingo on the very place considered to be the first where Columbus and his expedition set foot on. It is believed that the great explorer considered Dominican Republic the most beautiful sight he has ever seen and he wanted to be buried there.

11. Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata is one of the most visited tourist destinations of Dominican Republic. It is situated on the northern coast of the Caribbean island of Hispanola. It is said to be blessed with beautiful nature and has pleasing stretches of pristine beaches, lush green valleys, and cradled by a chain of majestic coastal mountains, it was rightly described as “the fairest land under heaven” by Christopher Columbus in 1492. The province of Puerto Plata has incredible natural beauty, and the extraordinary kindness of its people attracts tourist from all over the world. Luperón, Maimón, Cofresí, Playa Dorada, Costa Dorada are the main tourism enclaves located near Puerto Plata city.

12. Punta Cana

The East Coast of the Dominican Republic is usually called as Punta Cana, though it actually includes many regions going from south to north, such as Cap Cana, Punta Cana, Cabeza de Toro, Bavaro, El Cortecito, Arena Gorda, Macao and Uvero Alto. It is considered as the biggest and fastest growing tourist destination in the Caribbean and it is a popular holiday destination for people from all over the world. It is also the largest single destination for golf. Palm trees dot the landscape, and Punta Cana is one of the most beautiful areas of the Dominican Republic.

13. Samana

Samana is said to the favorite destination for nature lovers and for those who love adventures. You will witness here some of the very beautiful attractions such as the green, green mountains, long beaches, solitude, lively little towns in between, turquoise waters. It is usually referred as one of the most romantic destinations. It is the place to sit on a porch or in the shade of a palm tree, sipping something cool and discover the rare feeling of being happy just being alive. The exuberance of the area, the variety of natural attractions makes it the preferred choice of those seeking an active vacation. Horseback riding, swimming, snorkeling, diving, sailing — all the activities that come with beautiful nature. It is possible to spend your day’s verging out at the beach in front of the hotel, but Samana is truly for explorers.

14. La Romana

La Romana is another most fascinating tourist attraction of the Dominican Republic. It is spread across a 7,000 acre property of wonderfully beautiful hills. It offers two 18 hole golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools, equestrian stables, polo grounds, shooting stations and exclusive private villas. This area includes a museum, a 5,000 seat amphitheatre, as well as many shops and restaurants. A popular excursion from this region is to take a shuttle boat to Isla Catalina; a small island located 2 km offshore. The island has an incredible coral reef that makes it very popular for snorkeling and diving.

15. Los Haitises National Park

Los Haitises National Park is a very famous national park that is situated on the remote northeast coast of the Dominican Republic. Since 2000 it has been a relatively popular destination for ecotourism. The meaning of the word Haitis is highland or mountain range in the Taíno language, although the elevation of the park’s hills ranges from 30–40 m. There is a multitude of caverns created by water erosion. It is one of the most popular and largely visited national parks of Dominican Repubic.

16. Dr. Rafael M. Moscoso National Botanical Garden

The Dr. Rafael M. Moscoso National Botanical Garden is the biggest botanical garden in the entire Caribbean. It occupies an area of about 178ha /445 ac that encompasses of a Japanese garden, various plant-filled pavilions, a natural river bed, an arboretum, an enormous floral clock plus fish ponds and fountains. The Garden showcases 300 species of orchids, as well as hanging and exotic plants, bromeliads and ferns. You will also find Small trains leading from the bougainvillea-festooned Central Square near the entrance tour authentic representations of a Caribbean tropical forest.

17. Museum of the Royal Houses

The Museum of the Royal Houses is one of the greatest tourist attractions of Dominican Republic. It is located in Santo Domingo and is an enormous brick and coral structure with high ceilings and wide staircases comprehensive up to a grand salon hung with photographs of the Spanish kings. It originally consisted of two buildings, the Palace of the Captain-General and Palace of the Royal Audiencia, which were both constructed in the beginning of the 16th C and joined by a single facade in the late 18th C. Earlier it was the colonial administrative center for all the Spanish West Indies, Casa Reales is now a museum featuring Colonial period relics, including a re-creation of the governor’s receiving room, maps, weapons and military uniforms.

18. Colonial Zona

Zona Colonial is one of the most visited tourist attractions of Dominican Republic that is situated in Santo Dominto. It has an impressive showing of historic ruins, colonial buildings and monuments which contains the Americas’ first cathedral, fortress, hospital, monastery, university, palace and street. Columbus’s son Diego was the colony’s first governor after the Spanish conquest of the Americas’ spread from the old sector of Santo Domingo.

19. Playa Dorada

Playa Dorada attracts the greatest number of tourist. The region is said to have over a dozen separate resorts – each with their own restaurants, bars, swimming pools and activity options. The area boasts over 2 km of white sandy beach with water sports options; a shopping mall with additional restaurants, bars, gift shops and a movie theatre; two casinos; tennis clubs, horseback riding areas, and the Robert Trent Jones – designed 18 hole Playa Dorada Golf Course.

20. Playa Del Macao

Playa Del Macao is one of the most visited tourist destination of Dominican Republic. The gorgeous beaches you will find at Playa del Macao are perfectly appropriate for catching some rays or for enjoying some of the best surfing in the entire area. You will find nice strings of waves routinely rolling to shore; the chances of landing a killer tube are very good. There is even a shipwreck nearby where scuba diving classes are regularly held. For an enchanting time, visit the small fishing village of El Macao for a taste of the Dominican Republic’s past.

21. Lago Enriquillo

Lago Enriquillo is considered as one of the most attractive sites to visit in Dominican Repuclic. It is a massive salt-water lake that is also home to one of the area’s largest wild reserves and bird shelter. It is one of the most beautiful natural beauty of unspoiled splendor, tourist will be able to see colorful flamingos, lazy iguanas, captivating crocodiles and many other enthralling creatures in their own habitat.

22. Eastern National Park

Eastern National Park is one of the most beautiful tourist spots in the Dominican Republic. It is also known as Parque Nacional Del Este, is considered as one of the largest marine parks in the Caribbean that’s host around 112 different bird species. It’s also a major ecosystem for a lot of other creatures also. You will also find here many local caves where visitors can take in early cave drawings and the offshore coral reef system offers a gorgeous place to dive. The park is also home to a few very remote beaches for the perfect romantic escape.

23. Basilica de Nuestra Senora (Basilica of our lady)

One of the handpicked displays of contemporary Christian architecture, the Basilica de Nuestra Senora is a beloved church and an impressive sight, it is considered as one of the best tourist spot that can be visit with and enjoyed with the complete family. Annually on January 21, a pilgrimage across the country makes its way to attend Mass here.

24. Catedral Primada de America

The Catedral Primada is considered as one of the most prominent tourist attractions of Dominican Republic. It is situated in Santa Domingo; the Catedral Primada de America is the oldest cathedral in the Americas was constructed during 1514 and 1544, the cathedral radiates gothic ambiance throughout its Renaissance-styled decor. The church is also well known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria and it was once the resting place of Christopher Columbus.

25.Plaza De la Cultura

The Plaza De la Cultura is one of the most amazing parks that will find in Dominican Republic and to be found in Santa Domingo. It is said to be completely filled with various museums and art galleries. For a cultural slice of the Dominican Republic, this is the perfect place for you to visit. Many of the local heritage houses have been renovated and now serve as delightful restaurants.

26. Museo de Ambar Dominicano (Amber Museum Puerto Plata)

Museo de Ambar Dominicano is one of the most interesting tourist attractions in Dominican Republic. It is said to be the most chosen gem of the country and the Amber Museum is situated in Puerto Plata. The museum is considered as the best place to see some truly magnificent specimens. Set in an old Victorian-style house, the museum also has a gift shop where you can pick up a necklace or other pieces of fine jewelry crafted from true, golden Amber.

27. Mount Isabel de Torres

Mount Isabel de Torres is another most popular tourist attraction in the Dominican Republic. It is to be found in the beautiful region of the Puerto Plata. It is said to provide some spectacular sights. Have your camera ready as your trip begins with a cable car ride to the top. Once at the top, you can expect an incredible view of the Dominican Republic geography, stand in the shadow of the huge statue of Christ and enjoy a heavenly botanical garden full of blooming flowers. You can even find a nice restaurant.

28. Acuario Nacional

The Acuario Nacional which is also well known as the National Aquarium is another most interesting sites for tourist especially admired by kids. The lovely aquarium was open in 1990 under the government of President Balaguer. You’ll see fish and other sea creatures found in our waters and in other parts of the world and the main attraction are the Plexiglas tunnel where you can walk as if you were under the sea and see the sharks, manta rays, etc. There’s an auditorium that used to show movies about marine life. Also, don’t miss the views to the city center and the cliffs where the Caribbean Sea comes in contact with our shores. It is considered a best place for family picnicking.

29. Manati Park

Another very fascinating park you will find in Dominican Republic is the Manati Park. This park is wonderful to share with many different animals. You will be able to come near the iguanas, Flemings, tropical birds, serpents, crabs, marine lions, dolphins and many more. The park is well maintained and you will find personnel of the park very friendly and they are all the time answering your questions. You will also find some very interesting cultural shows about the country’s art.

30. Jurassic Safari Tour

Jurassic Safari Tour is another most interesting tour to take up in Dominican Republic. Some of the best places you can visit here are the cigar museum, a typical Dominican house and farm, you can also clime the mountain where you can ride horses, went on the hanging bridge, swam in a river, went up the ranch where they had monkeys, crocodiles, parrots, etc.

31. Eastern Santo Domingo

Tres Ojos is also referred as Three Eyes as it features a cavern with an underground lake and an open roof. Once you lad here you can go on to Faro where you will find a lighthouse that is worth watching. The Christopher Columbus monument is located here which was erected in his memory, it now serves as serves as a museum as well as his burial site. The museum is worth giving a visit while in Dominican Republic.

32. Jarabacao

The Jarabacao is a best place to enjoy waterfalls the easiest way to roam around Jarabacao is a motorcycle that you can rent as well. This is the basic mode of transportation here. When you arrive here you can hit the Salto de Jimenoa which is a beautiful waterfall that also contains a pool which is a best place to dive and swim in. The other beautiful water falls here include the El Limon Waterfalls, the Baiguate and the Ojo de Agua Waterfalls.

33. Dominican Republic dance

The Dominican Republic is a major center of Latin American music along with Cuba. The most popular among other genre is Merengue. The simple rhythms yet complex instrumentation of Merengue make it an ideal music fiesta for the enthusiasts of dance. You can find clubs in Santo Domingo as well as in other towns with a Merengue night. You can also go for a lesson or two at clubs or your hotel. The other famous genres of music in Dominican Republic include: Reggaeton, Bachata, Anglo rock, hip hop etc.

34. Boca Chica, Dominican Republic

Boca Chica is located about thirty miles from the capital of Dominican Capital Santo Domingo. It is a small beach town which is less than fifteen minutes’ drive from Santo Domingo Airport (SDQ). As Boca Chica is located on a strategic location thus it is famous among foreign and Dominican visitors alike. Boca Chica is also famous the long beach of soft white sand that has calm and shallow crystal clear waters. It is famous as a resort town as well. Also, it has the largest protected reef in the Caribbean. The town is also famous for its exuberant nightlife.

35. Sosúa Beach

Sosúa Beach is situated on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, about four miles from Puerto Plata International Airport and just 15 minute’ drive from Cabarete, which is famous as the windsurf capital of the Caribbean. Sosúa Beach requires not much introduction among the Caribbean as it is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic and is among the most preferred tourist destinations of the Caribbean. The beach features several attractions that include: snorkeling, sunbathing, scuba diving, water skiing, and live music. There are a plenty of class hotels and resorts along with seafood outlets.

36. Cabrera tourist area

The Playa Grande-Cabrera is a beautiful tourist area that is stretched along more than 100 km east of Puerto Plata and it is home to some of the most spectacular attractions in the Dominican Republic. This area is set on some of the world’s most beautiful white sand beaches. These beaches are voted by Condé Nast travel magazine as some of best beaches around the world. Some of the major attractions here include playing at the famed Robert Trent Jones golf course. Enjoying recreational water sports such as boogie boarding and bodysurfing is another unique activity here.

37. National Pantheon

The National Pantheon is now a mausoleum that was built in 1714 as a Jesuit church. It was converted into a mausoleum by the dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1956 he intended this to be his final resting place. It is a stately neoclassic building where the Dominican Republic’s most popular citizens are honored. The assassin of Trujillo’s, who is considered a national hero, is also honored here. This museum is one of the most famous tourist attractions of Dominican Republic.

38. Columbus square

Columbus square is one of the famous places of Dominican Republic located in Santo Domingo. The region is surrounded by legendry colonial and Victorian-style buildings. There is a town hall dating back to 19th century. The most popular place is in the Zona Colonial is a square named Plaza de Colon. It has bronze statue honoring named after a discoverer of the place. The square surrounded by historical colonial and Victorian-style buildings. There is the Amber Museum which is home to unique artifacts. There is a good and enjoyable mile-long stroll, and you won’t find much traffic disturbing you here.

39. Jardin Botanico

One of the best places to enjoy endemic plants of the Dominican Republic is Jardin Botanico. There are tall trees and beautiful flowers spread all over here. There is motor train that takes you all the way around the park. The guide in the train narrates you facts different places of the Jardin. There is also a Japanese Garden that the park created. The park provides you some of interesting trees and beautiful view.

40. Cathedral Santa María de la Encarnación

The Cathedral Santa María de la Encarnación is located in Santo Domingo it is in the centre of the Dominican capital which is quite an amazing example of Spanish colonial architecture. The exterior of the Cathedral is basically Plateresque and Romanesque and some Gothic features on the north side. On the western side of the cathedral is allegorical frieze that portrays the arrival of the colonists to Hispaniola. Inside the building you can find some unique mahogany pews and a marble altar along with number of chapels that contain paintings and relics imported from Spain of the 16th century.

41. Los Tres Ojos

Los Tres Ojos which is also known as The Three Eyes is many caves beneath the earth. you will find inside the caves around three to four freshwater lagoons (the eyes) and many stalactites and stalagmites. When you visit the caves you have to follow walkways and a pulley-powered vessel to get through the underground system. It is said that the last of the “eyes” presents a fabulous natural landscape of tropical vegetation, sheer rock faces, and green-tinged water.

42. El Conde

El Conde is the pedestrian centre of Santo Domingo and is surely one of the most interesting tourist attractions of Dominican Republic. It is called the pedestrian centre not in a historical sense, but in a modern, commercial sense. This is the street which is loved by every one and always populated, visitors comes to Promenade and it is packed with shops, cafés and restaurants, some of which are cheap fast food joints while others are authentic, local places that have a good reputation for a reason.

43. Playa Grande Golf Course

Playa Grande Golf Course is another most prominent attraction of Dominican Republic which is completely surrounded by mountains and ocean beaches. It offers one of the most magnificent golf experiences in the world and covers more than 2,000 acres. The 18-hole golf course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and overlooks 60-foot cliffs set above Atlantic Ocean coastline.

44. Panteón Nacional

Panteón Nacional which is also known as the National Mausoleum is one of the most popular spots in Dominican Republic. It was constructed during 1714 and 1745, originally as a Jesuit church (Iglesia de los Padres). During the church’s history it has been used as a tobacco warehouse, housing for the San Fernando seminary, public offices and a theatre for the independence fighters in 1860. In 1956 Dictator Rafael Trujillo turned it into Panteón Nacional – the resting place for many of the greatest Dominican heroes.

45. Reloj del Sol

Reloj del Sol (Clock of the Sun) is another interesting spots for tourist in Dominican Repubic. It is situated right outside Museo de las Casas Reales at Plaza España. The clock was constructed during the 1753 by order of Governor Francisco Rubio y Peñaranda. It was located so that officials of the ‘Casas Reales’ could see the time with only a glance out their eastern windows. You can also witness a nice view of Rio Ozama from Plaza España.

46. Parque Zoologico Nacional

One of the most interesting places to visit in Dominican Republic for family picnicking is the Parque Zoologico Nacional. It was inaugurated during the year 1975, is home to big cats, the white rhino, hippos, monkeys, birds, etc. Today the only endemic animal in exhibition is Boa de la Hispaniola (Hispaniola boa constrictor). Some cool animals you’ll find here are Guaraguaos (hawk like birds), Paloma Ceniza (pigeons with ash colored feathers), Australian emus and ostriches, South American ñandús, ponies, etc. The Chimps Maria and Toby are considered as the major attractions of this Zoo. A lot of families use the zoo as a Saturday or Sunday excursion, where they can bring their own food and drinks and spend the day peacefully.

47. Festival Del Merengue/Merengue Festival

Dominican Republic is very famous for their festivals and carnivals; they tend to celebrate all their festivals with lot of enthusiasm. This festival takes place yearly in late July/early August and features the best national and international Merengue performers. There are several live shows per day and the festival is one week long. The Merengue festival is organized by the Dominican Ministry of Tourism and has taken place at El Malecón since 1967. Along with the performances, you can witness lot of amazing fairs as well.

48. Plaza de la Bandera

The monument, Plaza de la Bandera (The Square of the Flag), is surely one of the most sought after tourist attractions of the country. It is located at the end of the important road “27 de Febrero”. Around the square there are many government buildings. You can see from above, the monument has form of a Latin American cross and in the central part the Monument to the Country is located, represented by an Arch of the Triumph. At the sides there are two angels that symbolize: The Glory and the Honour. Under the arch, a sculpture of Juan de Avalo is situated and a very big Dominican flag completes the monument.

49. En el carnaval baila en la calle de noche

Another most significant carnival of the country is the En el carnaval baila en la calle de noche. It is said that during the carnival, dance on the street at night – taken from the most popular carnival song by Fernando “El Mayimbe” Villalona. The Santo Domingo carnival is as colorful as the one in La Vega and other cities and as noisy too. You will be amazed by the several live shows with popular artists who performed here.

50. Alcazar Colon

The Alcazar is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dominican Republic. It was the house Diego Columbus built for his family between 1511 and 1515. It is completely in the Gothic style particular to Spanish buildings called as Isabelline. It was constructed in this region keeping in mind that it would be close to the Casas Reales (administrative centre) and would be one of the first buildings seen by those entering the port. The Columbus family unfortunately left Santo Domingo fro Spain in 1577 and the Alcazar went to ruin until this century, when it was restored as a national monument.

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