The trademarks of a destination in the Caribbean Sea are the stunning scenery and rich natural resources. This is true in Dominican Republic, one of the most geographically diverse countries in the region. Breathtaking mountain landscapes, beaches, and desert lands make it an ecotourist's dream. The countryside also makes an idyllic sight for those who love the rural environment with all the grazing livestock in the green surroundings. Jungles and waterfalls also await those eager to explore the area, making it one of the top destinations in Central America.
Those visiting this part of the Greater Antilles will also find a rich colonial past that influences its people today. There are also the simple comforts of everyday village living to enjoy, which will allow travellers to experience Dominican Republic life in microcosm. The cities are also a wonder to explore for its heritage, from the museum to the marketplace, each presenting a piece to the wonder of this Caribbean country.
What to see & do
When checking out the natural sights, one of the first places to see is the Samaná. Lacking in development, this area of the country lets tourists get the chance to see North Atlantic humpback whales during their mating season. Looking at these majestic creatures can be fascinating, especially when they first announce their arrival with a splash for their massive tails. Other than these fine creatures, one can also enjoy staying at the Cayo Levantado, a public beach where one can hire boats to explore the coastline. There is also Taíno Park to see for those who want to learn about the indigenous Taíno people and see artefacts that hark back to their artistic lives. From here, one can visit Playa las Flechas in the eastern part of Samaná, a small beach thought to be the site where the Taíno and some of Columbus' crew formed an alliance.
The area of Punta Cana is also a marvel to explore with its dramatic beaches and vibrant waters. Travellers going this area will do best with a 4WD to explore the bumpy countryside. The trip can be worth it when one sees the Parque Nacional Los Haitises, a 1,375 square-kilometre park where hikers can explore the lush hills rising from the coastal wetlands. The Parque y Reserva Ecológica Ojos Indígenas is also a destination not to miss due to more than six square-kilometres of coastal and inland sights, as well as various endemic and migratory bird species. There are also about 500 plant species here with several types of insects, which hint at the natural treasury of the area.
After a sojourn to the countryside, one can go back to the capital and visit the landmarks. Those going here will
find the Zona Colonial, one of the oldest surviving heritage cities in the Americas, which became the basis of its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1990. Laid out in a grid pattern, those going here can check out significant landmarks such as the Catedral Primada de América, the oldest church in the New World. Its combination of designs from the Romanesque arches and Gothic vaults to the baroque ornaments makes a fascinating sight. From here, one can check out the Fortaleza Ozama, the first military fort in the American continents. Guided tours are available here, which will let one appreciate the sight of the impressive Torre del Homenaje, El Polvorín, and many more.
How to get around within Dominican Republic
Travellers will find a variety of public transport options when they visit Dominican Republic. Buses and guaguas (small buses or minivans) can be found here, which will take passengers to various parts of the country. One will have to learn about their take-off points, though, as the buses especially do not have terminals in the cities. Other types of local transport can also be found in the urban areas such as taxis and motoconchos (motorcycle taxis).
Renting a car will be the more convenient choice for those going to the countryside. One will have to take note, however, that cars are not accommodated on ferry rides on the way between Samaná and Sabana de la Mar. The ferry is the only option to reach and leave from the area, making it unfeasible to hire a car when visiting this area.
How to get there
Travellers visiting Dominican Republic can schedule connecting flights to Las Américas International Airport in Santo Domingo. Airlines serving here include Aeronaves Dominicanas, Air Antilles Express, Air Caraibes, Air Century, Air Europa, Air France, Air Turks and Caicos, American Airlines, Avianca, Condor, Copa Airlines, Cubana, Delta Air Lines, Gol Airlines, Iberia, Insel Air, Jetairfly, JetBlue Airways, LIAT, LASER Airines, Pullmantur Air, Spirit Airlines, Sunwing Airlines, Seaborne Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, Venezolana, and Winair.
Images by Flickr/ronsaunders47
Prices shown on this page are estimated lowest prices only. Found in the last 45 days.