A dream vacation in the Dominican Republic…. despite appearances, are not so unattainable. Beautiful weather, a paradise beach, lots of activities…. There is no need to fear about the weather. However, a sea of (Caribbean ;-)) attractions can give us a headache….
What is the best choice? Where to go and what to see? Here are some of our tips on the subject.
As we wrote in an earlier post, we spent two weeks in the Dominican Republic, more specifically in Punta Cana. Since it was our late honeymoon, we treated it purely as a relaxation, without a full day of sightseeing and enjoying all possible attractions. Nevertheless, we saw “something there” :)
Table of contents
What’s worth seeing in the Dominican Republic?
The Dominican Republic is all about beautiful paradise beaches with fine, fine, almost white sand. Blue, clear and at the perfect temperature, the Caribbean Sea with waves that may appeal to surfers. Sunken ships like straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean…. Perfect weather, humidity, and sometimes refreshing short rainfall. You can literally feel like you are in paradise….
For me personally, the above description is enough to drop everything and fly to the Dominican Republic. Throw in an all-inclusive and I can stay put for two weeks. Maybe it doesn’t quite fit me, but that’s how the Dominican Republic works :) It’s a little lazy, a little relaxing, time flies slower and you can finally indulge yourself.
I must necessarily add that the all-inclusive in the Dominican Republic is totally different from what you might have known on the European or African continent (perhaps even with an emphasis on the Egyptian, Greek or Tunisian ones). “All” there actually means “ALL”…. satiating breakfasts, lunches, dinners, drinks, ice cream, cakes, food made to order, themed restaurants, beach bars, beach restaurants…. Such a choice and rotation of food that you won’t get bored with anything for 14 days. And even if you don’t like to eat at so-called buffets, you’ll find several (!) a la carte restaurants here, where the main dishes are prepared as ordered, fresh and served to your table.
Of course, spirits are also included – and it’s not diluted beer and wine from the liquor store, but a really large selection of original spirits with Caribbean rum at the top! Interestingly, the food is served almost 24 hours a day, so even if in the middle of the night you get the urge for a burger dripping with fat there is a good chance that you will get it :)
But ok… we went to the other side of the world so it would be worth seeing something. We wouldn’t be ourselves if we spent two weeks in a hotel.
Attractions in the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic’s capital Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo is one of the oldest cities after the discovery of America. It was reportedly founded by Christopher Columbus’ brother himself. There is not much to explore there. The main attraction is the old colonial quarter, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition, houses and streets typical of the Caribbean islands. Many people opt for day trips to the capital, so if you want to feel such a “big-city” atmosphere, this may be a good option for you.
Saona Island (Saona Island). Saona is located south of the Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean Sea, within the East National Park. Its beaches and shoals (where we can see starfish) are the essence of the entire Dominican Republic. One might think, why go/swim to an island when all the beaches (especially in Punta Cana) are beautiful? These are the most beautiful! :) Plus additionally you can cruise in catamarans and other boats ;)
Diving. The Dominican Republic offers clear waters and many opportunities to view the underwater world. They may not be the most beautiful coral reefs in the world, but it’s worth taking a dip and looking at the beauty of the underwater world. The prices are quite affordable.
Water Attractions. I’m referring to kayaks, bananas, jet skis, water bikes, boats, snorkeling and much more. Virtually every hotel offers such entertainment for free to its guests. However, if you are not so lucky, you can rent equipment on the beach for pennies.
“Dance Evenings. Each hotel has an evening show prepared for its guests. Our hotel had a different show every evening (during our two-week stay!).
Each hotel has several “travel agencies” offering local entertainment. From a trip to different areas of the island, to a “hunt” for whales, to a helicopter flight over the island or a jeep ride through the “wild” areas. From the number of attractions can make your head hurt. They are all made for tourists, of course.
- Bargain! It may be more difficult with tours, but it is always possible to get something. But if we’re talking about shopping with locals (at the beach, stalls, wherever) you can quietly go down 50% or more. If not this one then the next one :) But about that a little below…
- Check out another offer. There may be several such “travel agencies” in your area. If there isn’t one, try the next day – maybe there will be another vendor. Offers can vary widely. There is certainly something for everyone.
And that’s something you shouldn’t try to do during a trip to the Dominican Republic:
Swimming with dolphins. The Dominican Republic is teeming with companies that offer swimming with dolphins. We have probably contributed in a small way, unfortunately, to the popularity of these attractions, but now we warn you – indulge yourself!
Weather in the Dominican Republic
The climate in the Dominican Republic is simply fantastic in my opinion! In the Dominican Republic, high temperatures occur all year round. By writing high I mean about 30 degrees Celsius. Also, the number of hours of sunshine throughout the year is the same, because, after all, the country is classified as an equatorial climate.
The rainy season itself is not evenlyzł. Generally in the Punta Cana area, the season of rainfall occurs around May and from July to September. However, as I wrote in an earlier post about the Dominican Republic, we were there at the end of the “rainy season” and did not experience much rain :)
A huge plus of the Dominican Republic is the high humidity, which persists throughout. Under normal conditions, this may not be the best possible level of humidity, but during our stay in the Dominican Republic, we felt downright perfect.
Watch out for hurricanes! The Dominican Republic lies in areas where hurricanes (the same ones that hit the US) are common. As you may know, they are most common in late summer and early autumn. We, fortunately, did not meet any such gentleman.
People in the Dominican Republic and. bargaining :)
People in the Dominican Republic are very friendly. The hotel staff is very friendly, helpful, does not extort tips (although they are welcome), and speaks many languages. After all, tourists from all over the world can be found in the Dominican Republic. Even outside the hotel complex you could feel safe, although we did not explore the whole country on our own. After all, the Dominican Republic is a tourist country, they have to take care of their good name, and it’s hard to imagine what would happen if something happened to tourists.
Of course, very pushy are all kinds of salesmen and swindlers. It’s not dangerous, but I personally don’t like it when someone forces me to shop while I’m just passing by. Fortunately, the hotel beaches do not have this problem. However, when you stick your foot outside the hotel grounds practically immediately someone will offer you something ;)
I’ve written about negotiation and bargaining a little above. Kamila and I are not the best at haggling, so since in the Dominican Republic we managed to buy with more than 50% discount from the locals, it means that it is possible ;) The most you could get was at the stalls located right on the beach (from Bavaro you need to head east along the beach). By the way, those stalls looked charming in their own way, the sea was even pouring into them…. It’s a pity we don’t have photos of this place.
Also, be sure to read how to spend your vacation in the Dominican Republic cheaply.
We also recommend the entire gallery of photos from our stay in the Dominican Republic:
And a video with a gallery of our Punta Cana photos on You Tube:
Comments Off on 2019 Update
We decided to update this post and remove one “attraction.” Well, those 7 years ago (at that time we were in the Dominican Republic), when we set off together to conquer the world, we got greedy about it, and a lot of it. We flew to exotic destinations, took advantage of as much as we could and let ourselves be fooled by tempting bargains and offers.
We’re not going to make excuses, we take it all in stride and admit that we made some mistakes in our travels, and to make matters worse we recommended to you here and described “attractions” that we would definitely not go for now. It’s all about swimming with dolphins, which we are resolutely removing from the list of ” what to do in the Dominican Republic?“. Don’t make our mistake – do everything, but don’t support the exploitation and training of these animals!
It remains for us to write a THANK YOU and thank you for all the messages and comments that helped us open our eyes some time ago.
p.s. Yes, we know that the Dominican Republic is not an island, but a country ;) The island is called Haiti, however, in the Polish language it seems to have already been accepted for good that you fly to the Dominican Republic, not to the Dominican Republic to Haiti :)