Top Destinations in the Dominican Republic

Where is the best place to visit in the Dominican Republic? Punta Cana, Isla Saona, Samana, Puerto Plata… Let me show you the most beautiful beaches of the Dominican Republic that should be your next vacation of 2019.

I came to DR for the first time in 2018 to visit my boyfriend’s home country and soak up the Caribbean sun. I fell in love with the crystal clear waters, savory food, and palm tree lined coast. We couldn’t wait to return!

This is what the beaches in the Dominican Republic look like.

Fast forward to last summer, when we decided to pack up our stuff in Texas to start our grand traveling adventure. We started traveling through Mexico (such a short flight from San Antonio!) to show my partner my home country and all the great things it has to offer. It was also a “test trial” to see if it was doable to travel with our dog, Brodie. We declared success at the end of the two months and now we’re a happy traveling trio.

Our great idea is to spend an indefinite amount of time traveling and working on the road. But one of the conditions we set for ourselves was that the holidays must be spent with family, so in December, I filled half my suitcase with dresses and bathing suits…

And the 3 of us landed in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for a Caribbean holiday with Gogi’s family!

Sandman in the Dominican Republic
Our sandman during our Caribbean holiday.

After 2 months here, I can conclude that the Dominican Republic is a perfect honeymoon destination, all-inclusive family vacation, and a place for adventurous travelers that enjoy a relaxing day at the beach and then a day of snorkeling/scuba-diving/zip-lining/rafting/glamping/boat-riding/kite-surfing, among other activities!

Summer weather all year long? Yes yes. It’s really the perfect place to visit any time of year.

The Dominican Republic has it all!

girl in Dominican Republic Punta Cana beach

First let me share with you the map of the Dominican Republic (with starred places we have visited):

Map of the Dominican Republic
  • Official Language: Spanish
  • Population: 10.8 Million
  • Capital: Santo Domingo
  • Nearly 1,000 miles of coastline, 200+ beaches
  • First European Settlement in the Americas
  • Pico Duarte is the Caribbean’s tallest mountain
  • Neighboring countries: Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica
  • Nonstop direct flights from Houston, New York, Chicago, Miami


Where To Stay For The Best Beaches in the Dominican Republic:

Punta Cana

Surely this is the first place that comes to mind when you hear DR. Punta Cana has a 20-mile stretch of luxury hotels, all inclusive resorts, and picture perfect beaches. Pick and choose between Secrets Royal Beach Resort, Barceló Bavaro Palace, Catalonia All-Inclusive Adults-Only, Hard Rock Punta Cana or Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts.

Playa Blanca in Punta Cana

Punta Cana Highlights:

  • Catamaran cruise to Isla Saona
  • Party all night at Coco Bongo
  • Eat at Juan Luis Guerra restaurant, Bachata Rosa
  • Cliffside swings at Montana Redonda for spectacular views

Closest Airport: PUJ

Girl floating in the Caribbean Sea near Punta Cana

Samaná

Samaná is the kind of honeymoon destination you cannot find elsewhere. Stay in Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado – an all-inclusive paradise sitting on its own private island off the Samaná Bay. It is accessible only by boat and guarantees a secluded and romantic getaway.

Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado
Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Resort in Samaná – Click to Book

Also a visit to Samaná during whale season (typically January – March) guarantees views of the migration of over 5,000 humpback whales!

Closest Airport: POP


Punta Rucia

One of the most northwestern points of the island, where you find calm peaceful waters and Paradise Island. Sleep at Punta Rucia Lodge for waterfront huts and a beautiful pool to relax and enjoy a cold drink.

Punta Rucia Lodge Pool
Punta Rucia Lodge – Click to book

From there, you must visit Cayo Arena – also known as Paradise Island. You can snorkel around this coral islet, enjoy the open bar on sand, and visit the mangroves by boat on your way back.

Closest Airport: AZS

Snorkeling in Paradise Island
Snorkeling in Paradise Island

Cabarete

Known for its kite-surfing, windsurfing, nightlife and waterfront restaurant/bars. An alternate Caribbean destination with budget friendly prices and much to do.

Seaside restaurant in Cabarete

It’s a short drive from Playa Sosua, where you can ride a banana boat to snorkel (because why wouldn’t you?). Thirty minutes from Monkey Jungle, where you can zipline and free fall into a cave (what!). And one hour away from Puerto Plata, where you can take the cable car up to Christ the Redeemer and visit Ocean World Adventure Park.

Closest Airport: POP

Monkey Jungle cave
Cabarete hotel map
Click to find hotel deals in Cabarete

Bahía de Las Águilas

The gem of the South, the undeveloped part of the island. This is the place where you can go to Jaragua National Park, take a boat to swim in a private beach, and take in the night sky along the beach while glamping next to the sea.

In order to get there, fly into Santo Domingo and spend a couple of days in the city to visit La Zona Colonial, the Spanish cobblestone centre that’s famed for being the oldest in the Americas. Sleep at Hodelpa Nicolás de Ovando or Billini Historic Luxury Hotel to stay in the Colonial Zone.

You can’t leave without trying avocado-dulce de leche paletas at Bajo Zero. From Santo Domingo, I can recommend you a tour company with guided tours to Bahia de las Aguilas so you can sit back and relax. Just let me know!

Closest Airport: SDQ

Calle de las damas en la cuidad colonial en Santo Domingo
Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo

Are you convinced now that DR needs to be on your travel list? Contact me if you need more details or help planning your trip to the Dominican Republic! 🙂 I’ve got all the tips from an insider 😉 (Yay for having a Dominican boyfriend!)

Signed after packing for next trip to Colombia (!) ,

Salma Travel Guru


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