Best Places To Visit If You're Going To The Dominican Republic
Updated February 18th, 2021.Original: September 12th, 2018, Posted by travelwith2ofus
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Are you planning a trip to the Dominican Republic? If your answer is yes, then there are many things you can do and see, and lots of places for you to visit as well.
Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic, is situated amid the Caribbean Sea. One place you must visit to get the real essence of this city is the Colonial Zone.
UNESCO has listed the place as a World Heritage of Humanity (Santo Domingo happens to be the first city in the Americas to get this recognition). The Colonial Zone is home to several bars, restaurants, and hotels, which automatically makes it a popular tourist attraction.
You should also plan a trip to the Alcazar de Colon; it used to be the house of Don Diego Colon, a famous navigator and the eldest son of Christopher Columbus. Today, the building houses a museum showcasing objects used by Diego Colon.
There's the National Aquarium; a visit to this place would allow you to witness the native underwater flora and fauna of the Dominican Republic. If you have your family with you, don't miss spending some time at Guibia Beach; it has a playground and a recreation center specially built for kids.
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Punta Cana is a resort town situated in the eastern part of the Dominican Republic. The region is known for some of the most attractive sandy beaches in the world. People visiting Punta Cana also love it's tropical vibe and the luxurious resorts located in the area.
During your stay in this traveler's paradise, you must visit the Seaquarium Punta Cana to take part in a thrilling underwater adventure. You will get to explore the exciting waters of the Dominican Republic on a catamaran equipped with modern facilities.
As a passenger onboard, you will be greeted with lip-smacking snacks, fresh fruits, tasty drinks, and live entertainment. What's more, once you reach the quay, you will get the opportunity to snorkel with sharks and fish and enjoy the amazing underwater marine life.
If you are interested in history, make sure you spend some time in Alton de Chavón. A trip to this part of Punta Cana would allow you to understand what a 16th century Mediterranean village looked like.
This replica village is a creation of architect Jose Antonio Caro and designer Roberto Coppa. Here, you will be witnessing works of the local artisans of Dominican Republic. You can also check out "Things You Can Do To Have Fun In Punta Cana" for more things to see and do.
Puerto Plata is tucked between the north Cordillera Mountains and the Atlantic coast. This city is the first tourist destination of the Dominican Republic to be custom built.
The most popular site for the tourists visiting the city is surely Playa Dorada. This massive resort complex is located along a gorgeous golden beach. Besides being home to numerous hotels, it also houses several shopping centers and restaurants.
In addition, visitors will also get ample opportunities to take part in aquatic activities when spending time at the beach. However, the most jaw-dropping geographic feature of Puerto Plata is the 2,600 ft high Mount Isabel. To reach to this mountain, you will have board a cable car that will take you up the vertical slope in just seven minutes.
La Romana will make any list of top tourist destinations in the Caribbean. The recent years have seen significant investments made in improving the recreational areas of the city.
You should begin your trip by visiting Caribbean Eden. The vibrant natural beauty of this place would help you forget about the stresses of daily life.
Another natural treasure of La Romana is the Chavon River; this gorgeous waterway runs past the city and is responsible for the amazing flora and fauna of the area. However, to get the best views of the river and its surroundings, you will have to climb up Alton de Chavon.
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Catalina Island (aka Isla Catalina)
This is one very small island. Catalina Island is just 2.4 km or 1.5 miles long. The island is basically a petite sandy speck surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Visiting Catalina is a must, particularly for people interested in activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, bird watching, hiking or just enjoying the day at the beach.
The western region of Catalina is home to a real-life aquarium. Diving into the aquarium would allow you to see innumerable tropical fish species from just a foot away. Catalina is also home to birds of various species; so, birdwatchers would have a great time searching for fascinating native species.
If you are adventurous enough, it would be a good idea to go on a hiking trail along the island's eastern end. This would allow you to take part in bird watching, while exploring the place's natural landscape.
In the language spoken by the native Taíno Indians, "Higüey" means "the place where the sun's rays first shine every day". This city was among the first regions to be inhabited by Spanish conquistadors during the early 1500s. In addition, the place is also believed to be holy (particularly by the Catholics).
Higüey has been visited by Pope John Paul II for as many as three times. Another fact, which provides testimony of the city's holiness is that the Basílica Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia (Basilica-Cathedral of Our Lady of Altagracia), located close to its central square is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Higüey.
If you are looking for souvenirs for friends back home, you have got to visit Plaza Higüeyana; here, you will find lots of interesting items made by talented artisans living in this part of the globe.
The town of Samaná is another place in Dominican Republic that would provide you with the opportunity of exploring nature.
For instance, it is home to the magnificent El Limon waterfall. El Limon drops from a height of 40 meters or 130 feet. However, remember that reaching the waterfall would require you to complete a 1.5 mile trek.
Also, plan a trip to the Haitises National Park. This national park takes care of one of the few rainforests the island still has.
If you're interested in whale watching, then Samaná Bay is the place to do it.
Humpback whales return to the waters off Samaná Bay to court, mate and give birth. The area was officially declared a Marine Mammal Sanctuary in 1986.
If you want to see these beautiful sea mammals, then you will have to visit between January 15th to around March 30th, which is whale watching season.
If you're interested in mysterious relics then you should visit the Bridges of Samaná a.k.a. the "Bridges to Nowhere."
They are a number of bridges which connect the small islands in the bay of Samaná.
The project was initiated in the 1960s by then president, Joaquín Balaguer. The aim was to build a restaurant on one of the islands and have a pedestrian bridge connect it to the mainland.
The project was never completed and the relic is all that remains. If you do plan to visit please be careful.
This province is situated amid a valley between the Nigua and Nizao rivers and at the foothills of the mountain range Cordillera Central.
When in San Cristóbal, you should begin by visiting the Nuestra Senora de la Consolacion. This church was built for the members of the famous Trujillo family of Dominican Republic long back during the 1940s.
On the other hand, if you're interested in learning about the cultural heritage of the city and the island overall, you should pay a visit to the Palacio Municipal.
As you will reach the southwestern territories of the island, spend a day or two at Barahona. Two attractions you must visit during your trip to the city are the Jaragua National Park and the Casa de los 7 Candados.
While nature lovers would love spending time at the Jaragua National Park, fans of history would fall in love with Casa de los 7 Candados or The House of 7 Locks. It's one of the oldest buildings in the city of Barahona. It was built back in 1903 and is regarded as a relic by the natives of the land.
Of course you should check out some of the beautiful beaches in Barahona as well. Playa el Quemaíto Beach, Playa Los Patos and Playa San Rafael Beach are three among them you should give a try.
SosúaIt is a town situated on the northern coast of the island. It lies around 27 km towards the east of Puerto Plata, and its distance from the Gregorio Luperon Airport is just 8 km.
If you are looking to spend most of your vacation taking sunbath and relaxing, this is the place you belong. You can spend as many hours as you want lounging and sunbathing at beaches like Playa Libre and Playa Sosúa. Playa Sosúa is also a favorite for divers and snorkelers.
Baní, the capital city of the Peravia province, attracts a bunch of tourists almost throughout the year. However, there are some who always plan their trip to the city in June. That's because it's time when the city hosts its famous mango festival.
Taking part in the festival would give you the opportunity of tasting different kinds of mangoes grown in different parts of the island and the world.
Plan your visit in July if you are a bigger fan of history and culture than fruits. Every year, on the 3rd Saturday of July, people in Baní celebrate La Sarandunga. This religious and cultural festival, which began during the colonial times, would give you an insight into the cultural legacy of the region.
Try These Local foods
Other than exploring the attractions mentioned and taking part in various adventurous activities, you shouldn't miss the opportunity to taste the local delicacies during your visit to the cities in the Dominican Republic.
It is often said that few other countries can cook comfort food that is tastier than the ones cooked by chefs in this Caribbean island.
This country's demography consists primarily of three kinds of people, Africans, Spanish, and the indigenous Taino. The food prepared here has influences from all these three cultures. However, it's difficult to identify any of these cultures in modern-day Dominican cooking.
One Dominican food you must have when shopping or exploring is the delicious crispy flat-bread, a specialty of the indigenous Taino. The natives of the land have been eating this bread since the pre-Columbian era.
The bread is made using the extracts derived from a native plant called cassava or yucca. Although at times this bread is topped with meat, you will love its taste, even more, when served only with some fresh lime juice, spices, and salt sprinkled on it.
Fried chicken and rice and beans are another Dominican dish that both tourists and locals enjoy. Some of the popular dishes in the Dominican Republic are Sancocho (meat stew), Mangú (mashed plantains) and Pollo Guisado (braised Chicken).
It's important for you to know that the majority of the all-inclusive hotels don't serve local dishes. The chefs in charge of the kitchen of those hotels seem to have specialization only in international dishes.
To get local food, you must ideally look for roadside eateries and buffet restaurants.
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