People sunbathing on the tropical beach of Cayo Levantado Island, Dominican Republic

Things to do in  Dominican Republic

Adventure meets beach time

The Dominican Republic may be best known for its sun-drenched sandy beaches and the all-inclusive resorts of Punta Cana, but with a geographical diversity that spans towering mountains, lush rainforests, desert dunes, and everything in between, there’s no shortage of things to do in the Dominican Republic, especially for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers. Home to the oldest European city in the Americas, there’s also plenty of history and culture, where playful days of exploration lead to rum-soaked nights filled with the intoxicating sounds of merengue and bachata.

Top 15 attractions in Dominican Republic

Macao Beach (Playa Macao)

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Macao Beach (Playa Macao) is one of the Punta Cana region’s least-crowded public beaches, set away from most resort hotels. A favorite among locals, this stretch of white sand is considered one of the Dominican Republic’s most beautiful coastal escapes, with clear blue waters and a beach break known for its surf-friendly waves.More

Los Haitises National Park

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Los Haitises National Park is a hidden gem full of fascinating caverns, unspoiled beaches, and mangrove forests. Visit to enjoy hiking, kayaking, and caving, as well as some of the Dominican Republic’s best bird watching. The park is also home to caves full of carvings made by indigenous Taíno Indians.More

Fort San Felipe (Fortaleza San Felipe)

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Built under the orders of King Philip II of Spain, Fort San Felipe(Fortaleza San Felipe) has been guarding the waters off Puerto Plata for more than 450 years. It was designed to protect the town from pirates as well as European invaders and later served as a prison. Today visitors come to tour the ruins and to enjoy the sweeping sea views from its ramparts.More

Bavaro Beach (Playa Bavaro)

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In Punta Cana, an idyllic resort town on the Dominican Republic’s east coast, all roads lead to Bavaro Beach (Playa Bavaro). Visitors don't just flock to Bavaro Beach for its aquamarine waters, white-sand strip, and coconut palm forest—they also enjoy the range of fun activities, from water sports to watering holes.More

Amber Cove

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Amber Cove is one of the newest cruise ports in the Caribbean, but its nearby attractions are far from rookie. Built by Carnival Cruise Lines for the use of their cruise ships along with other large-capacity liners and located on the Dominican Republic’s so-called Amber Coast, Amber Cove is the gateway to Puerto Plata, a popular Dominican Republic vacation destination.More

Hoyo Azul Lagoon

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The famous Hoyo Azul Lagoon has more to offer than its simple moniker belies. The turquoise-water cenote (underground limestone sinkhole) in Punta Cana at the base of a 200-foot (61-meter) cliff seems to pop out of nowhere. And it's one of the Dominican Republic’s top destinations for swimming, ziplining, nature tours, and more.More

Los Tres Ojos National Park

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Los Tres Ojos National Park—one of Santo Domingo’s most unique natural attractions—is an open-air limestone cave that’s home to three beautiful lakes (hence the name “The Three Eyes”. An impressive network of stalagmites and stalactites surround the lakes and make a visit to Los Tres Ojos feel like stepping into another world.More

Coco Bongo Punta Cana

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Travelers looking to dance the night away while sipping tropical cocktails will love the classic island party experience at Coco Bongo Punta Cana. This lively disco combines the best of a Las Vegas stage show with the music and dance floor of a contemporary club, complete with flashing lights and thumping beats.More

Damajagua Falls (27 Charcos)

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Hidden in a lush Dominican Republic jungle, Damajagua Falls—otherwise known as the 27 Waterfalls of Rio Damajagua or 27 Charcos—are a series of 27 cascading waterfalls that were discovered in the 1990s. Located in the midst of sugarcane fields in the Northern Corridor mountain range, the hidden falls are a true off-the-beaten-path experience.More

Columbus Lighthouse (Faro a Colón)

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Located in the San Souci district of eastern Santo Domingo, the Columbus Lighthouse (Faro a Colón) is a massive concrete memorial to the famous explorer. Built in the shape of a cross and capable of projecting a bright cross-shaped beam that can be seen for miles, it also houses a mausoleum and museum.More

Saona Island (Isla Saona)

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Saona Island (Isla Saona) is the Dominican Republic's largest coastal island, clocking in at 15 miles (25 kilometers) long and three miles (5 kilometers) wide, with a population of little more than 300. Part of the National Park of the East, this tropical paradise features plenty of photo-worthy white sand beaches, swaying palm trees, and turquoise waters.More

Cayo Arena

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Off the northwest coast of the Dominican Republic, Cayo Arena, also known as Cayo Paraiso or Paradise Island, is a tiny sliver of a coral island and sandbar, barely measuring a 10th of an acre (a 20th of a hectare). Undeveloped, aside from a few thatched-roof huts, it’s surrounded by clear waters that are teeming with marine life.More

Ciudad Colonial (Zona Colonial)

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The lively streets of Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial—one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods—are ripe with the sights, smells, and sounds of Latin America. This tiny enclave is filled with traditional European-style architecture, well-kept parks, cobblestone streets, and artistic nods to adventurers past.More

Amber Museum (Museo Del Ámbar)

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Dominican amber is considered to be some of the finest and clearest in the world. Housed in a Victorian-era mansion that once belonged to a wealthy local family, Puerto Plata’s Amber Museum (Museo Del Ámbar) has an extensive collection of the semi-precious gemstone.More

Alcázar de Colón (Columbus Palace)

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Overlooking the Plaza de España and the Ozama River, the Alcázar de Colón (Columbus Palace) was built in the early 1500s as the governor’s residence for Diego Columbus, Christopher’s son. Today, it’s one of the Colonial Zone’s most popular museums, and houses period furniture, artworks, and artifacts from the 16th century.More

Top activities in Dominican Republic

Puerto Plata Shore Excursion, Snorkeling tour & Sosua Beach Day
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Punta Cana Party Cruise with Snorkeling, Hooka Diving and Parasailing
Special Offer
Chocolate Master Class

Chocolate Master Class

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20
From
$44.00
AMBER COVE-TAINO BAY Super Buggy Tour

AMBER COVE-TAINO BAY Super Buggy Tour

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130
From
$135.00
per group
Catamaran Day Trip, Snorkeling & Sailing Excursion
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

All about Dominican Republic

When to visit

With warm weather year-round, the Dominican Republic is a place visitors come looking to escape the cold elsewhere. For warm and dry days, visit between December and March. It’s also high season then, so expect crowds and higher prices along with the nice weather. Visit in February for the month-long Carnaval celebrations. Look to late April and May for smaller crowds, lower prices, and still pleasant weather. Hurricane season runs from June to October.

Getting around

If you’re planning to stick around a resort or local attractions, taxis will be your best bet, with rideshares available in major cities. Minivans (guaguas), shared taxis (conchos), and motor taxis (motoconchos) are ubiquitous and a budget-friendly way to get around, while a network of long-distance buses connect far-flung regions. Those looking to explore different areas of the Dominican Republic should rent a car. Domestic flights, while available, are expensive and infrequent.

Traveler tips

A great way to experience the local culture is to watch a baseball game. Dominicans are passionate about baseball and routinely send players to the American major leagues. Baseball season runs from mid-October to late January, with six teams playing in the league. Watch games in Santo Domingo, Santiago de los Caballeros, La Romana, San Pedro de Macoris, and San Francisco de Macoris.

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People Also Ask

What is the Dominican Republic known for?

There are hundreds of miles of beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic, along with all-inclusive resorts, warm tropical weather year-round, and a diverse landscape of rugged mountains, lush rainforests, and desert dunes. It’s also home to the oldest European settlement in the Americas and has rich culinary, music, and dancing traditions, including merengue and bachata.

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What is the most popular part of the Dominican Republic?

Punta Cana is the most popular part of the Dominican Republic. Located on the southeastern end of the island, it’s home to numerous resorts and nearly 20 miles of white sandy beaches, clear waters, and plenty of beach and water activities. Santo Domingo, Santiago de los Caballeros, Puerto Plata, and La Romana are also popular.

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How many days do you need in the Dominican Republic?

For a quick beach getaway, two to three days is enough time. But to experience a few different areas and many of the things to do in the Dominican Republic, you’ll want at least a week to visit historic Santo Domingo, a beach resort town such as Punta Cana or La Romana, and the mountainous Cordillera Central.

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What are some cultural activities in the Dominican Republic?

There’s no shortage of cultural activities and things to do in the Dominican Republic. Explore the UNESCO-listed Zona Colonial as well as more than a dozen museums in Santo Domingo. Learn to dance the merengue, salsa, and bachata, or take a cooking class. Visit the plantations and factories to learn about some of the country’s top exports, such as chocolate, cigars, and rum.

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Is the Dominican Republic part of the US?

No, the Dominican Republic is not part of the United States. It is a sovereign nation located on the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola (shared with Haiti). The US has had close diplomatic relations with the Dominican Republic since 1884 and staged several interventions and occupations in the country during the 20th century.

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When is the best time to go to the Dominican Republic?

Expect the best weather between December and March, with warm and dry days. Winter also brings humpback whales, and the month-long Carnival in February. It’s also peak tourist season, so expect crowds and higher prices. For the best weather and smaller crowds, visit in April and May. Hurricane season runs from June to October.

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