In recent years Dominican Republic vacations have become very popular, due to the country's beautiful beaches and many all-inclusive resorts.
The DR is part of Hispaniola, the second-largest island in the Caribbean, which it shares with the country of Haiti. The DR side of the island is Spanish-speaking and has enjoyed a relatively stable government for decades. Tourism has fueled recent development.
Hispaniola is located east of Jamaica and Cuba. The Dominican Republic occupies the east side of the island, making the distance from Miami approximately 900 miles. The DR has multiple international airports. Visitors can fly directly to the Punta Cana and La Romana areas.
Popular Vacation Spots in the Dominican Republic
Punta Cana: More than 30 years ago, the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic was a mostly thick jungle with very few roads. Club Med, the original all-inclusive resort company, saw the tourism potential of the Caribbean gem’s sugar-sand beaches and turquoise waters and snapped up 75 acres of prime beachfront. Other resorts followed suit, transforming the region, and today more than two million tourists a year flock to the area now known as Punta Cana.
- Club Med Punta Cana recently emerged from a $40 million renovation and relaunch and remains an anchor resort in the area.
- Nickelodeon Hotel & Resort Punta Cana is the latest all-inclusive family-friendly property to come to this area, bringing Nick-themed character experiences to the Dominican Republic.
- Explore hotel options in Punta Cana
Puerto Plata is another area with its own airport on the western side along the north coast. This area has an array of resorts, including many name brands located within the Playa Dorado complex.
The DR's North Coast has choppier seas than the Caribbean side but is popular for surfing, windsurfing, boogie boarding, and offers some nice opportunities to leave your resort and get out and about. The town of Cabarete is comfortable for tourism, and many expats have settled here for sports including kiteboarding. Susua and Samana are other tourist beach areas on the north coast.
The capital city of Santo Domingo, meanwhile, is the oldest European settlement in the New World and is on the south coast.
The lavish Casa de Campo resort is on the south coast too but further east, near La Romana.
What's Special About the Dominican Republic
Highlights include the white sand beaches of Punta Cana; kiteboarding on the north coast; mountain ranges with horseback riding, river rafting, and waterfalls. Merengue is a catchy dance that many tourists learn.
For some time, the DR was one of the least expensive spots in the Caribbean for all-inclusive resorts. More recently, the trend has toward more upscale properties, but the budget-minded can find still find options.
This is still a relatively less-developed country, so even at a resort, think about health precautions. Be wary of tap water (even for brushing teeth) and eating raw fruits and vegetables. Check with your resort about its water supply and food preparation practices.
- Edited by Suzanne Rowan Kelleher