Fabulous beaches, vivacious nightlife and Caribbean vibes - there are many reasons why you'll love the Dominican Republic, but here are eight of the best to get you started!
1. Merengue in Santo Domingo’s colonial city
Learn to dance like a local! Head to the Monasterio de San Francisco ruins on any Sunday to enjoy live bands playing merengue, and the opportunity to join local Dominicans dancing to this lively music.
2. Fresh seafood at Cabarete favourite Papi’s
Grab a table right on the beach at La Casita de Papi’s in Cabarete, and order the house special – shrimp a la Papi. Whether you have been wind-surfing all-day in the north Atlantic winds, or relaxing by the pool, you’ll be happy to kick back at this beautiful spot.
3. Golf enthusiasts unite – in Punta Cana!
Punta Cana is well known for beautiful beaches and all-inclusive resorts, but it’s also the best spot for golf in the Dominican Republic, with a huge range of courses to choose from. Try the luscious Jack Niklaus-designed course at the Hard Rock Hotel, or take some scenic shots along the cliffs on the Teeth of the Dog course at Casa de Campo.
4. Hiking in the DR
Conquer the highest point in the Caribbean – Pico Duarte is right in the heart of the country and at over 3000m it is the best spot for hiking, from shorter walks to 3 day treks. Fun fact – the mountain was once renamed Pico Trujillo by eponymous dictator Rafael Trujillo.
5. Rum history
Take a tour of the Brugal Rum factory in Puerta Plata, and learn how the famous Dominican rum is produced. Brugal Rum is named after expatriate Andrés Brugal, who brought rum to Puerta Plata in the 19th Century after a quick stint in Cuba where he learned the rum business. Sample a few different styles - you can even sample at 9am, and start your day off smiling!
6. Glamour and style in the DR
Experience Dominican glamour at fashionable venues like the Pearl Beach Club in Punta Cana, or the extension of the famous NYC Gansevoort hotel in Sosua. At the Pearl Beach Club enjoy the beach or the pool with music playing and drinks flowing during the day, or cut some shapes during an evening dance party. Try a delicious degustation menu at the stylish Gansevoort Sosua, looking out over the moonlit ocean.
7. Colonial pampering
Pamper yourself with a massage or spa treatment at the Badua Spa in Casa Colonial, and relax post-treatment in the beautiful green settings of the luxury Casa Colonial Hotel in Puerta Plata. Entering this hotel you will see the gorgeous original heritage home. Book a room with ocean views and enjoy an evening drink on your private balcony. You’ll have delicious food at the open air restaurant, private beach access, and impeccable service throughout.
8. Exploring Santo Domingo by night
The best way to see Santo Domingo is by night, when the city cools down and the locals come out! Christopher Columbus discovered the New World in this very spot, and the beautiful colonial city still stands. Savour a late dinner (like a local!) at Pat’e Palo restaurant with a view of the main square and watch the world go by. End your night with a stroll along pedestrian-only “Calle de Las Damas” – the street of the ladies – and you’ll be sure to find a local spot for a late-night cocktail.