As with most islands in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is a destination where each town, rainforest and beach has its own rhythm and beat, culminating in metaphorical music that captivates locals and tourists alike. Whether it’s pristine beaches, visual art inspired by the island’s cultures, delicious meals prepared from fresh ingredients or astonishing natural wonders, the Dominican Republic is a prime candidate for anyone’s first Caribbean adventure. That being said, to merely enjoy Dominican Republic beaches only within an all-inclusive resort is like listening to a live band without touching the dance floor. So, here are four coastal locations to visit during your vacation to the D.R.: Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, La Romana and Cap Cana.
Located on the easternmost tip of the D.R., and 75 miles west of Puerto Rico, Punta Cana is popular for its near 20 miles of beaches and shimmering turquoise waters. What better way to explore those waters than with a snorkeling excursion to behold vivid tropical fish and intricate coral reefs. Hispaniola Aquatic Tours offers private and semi-private four-hour excursions on their three catamarans, which include drinks, a meal, transportation to and from your hotel, snorkeling equipment and professional photos of your amazing experience.
For those who’d prefer to lounge on the beach, Bávaro is an area that offers six miles of unspoiled seashore with a variety of amenities, including beach bars. For travelers seeking a coastline that’s less crowded, but just as beautiful, there’s Isla Saona — a government-protected nature reserve with amazing untouched beaches. Many local resorts offer guests tour packages, including a ferry ride and meal to take along to the location.
Upon leaving the shore, one way to enjoy a bit more of the D.R. is by way of Amstar DMC, which provides world-class destination services in the Dominican Republic. While in Punta Cana, enjoy a few hours of action at Bavaro Adventure Park, with horseback riding, zip line tours, all-terrain buggies and the park’s famous waterfall pool. Or join an Outback Explorer Signature Experience, where you’ll journey into the wilderness surrounding Punta Cana, learn about the harvesting processes of organic chocolate, coffee and coconuts; and gain an appreciation for the local customs of the rural Dominican people.
On the north-central coast of the island is the province of Puerto Plata, which is known for a vast, yet unique landscape, composed of mountains, lush valleys, waterfalls, rivers and beaches. In its fertile soil grows cacao and coffee, while past explorers have been captivated by its clear amber and gold deposits. While visiting Puerto Plata, stop by the resort town of Cabarete, a mecca for windsurfing, kitesurfing and laser sailing. A stroll along “Kite Beach” will dazzle your imagination as kitesurfers capture the wind to skip across the waves on massive canopies of brilliant colors.
As with most Caribbean islands, the Dominican Republic holds long traditions in the craftsmanship of rum. After watching windsurfers harness the sky, travel to the Brugal Rum Factory to watch craftsmen harness sugarcane to produce rum that’s the shade of amber and as mysterious as the island’s past gold deposits. The family-run Brugal company, in business since 1888, has mastered the art and science of rum production, becoming the largest producer of the elixir on the island. During your tour, take the time to meet Master Blender Jassil Villanueva and request a private tasting so she may expound upon the history and significance of rum.
Occasionally, we need to take a step back and see the big picture in life. And when it comes to the Dominican Republic, there’s no greater Earth-bound place to see the island at full visual scope than to head to the top of Mount Isabel de Torres, via the teleférico. Ride this funicular, the only one in the Caribbean, above the thick rainforests before arriving at the famous Christ the Redeemer statue at the peak. While atop the mountain, take time to enjoy the botanical gardens, trees, sea and sky — oh, and be sure to visit during the morning, before the clouds roll over the surrounding landscape.
Swinging back toward the eastern side of the island, but more in the southern region, is the city of La Romana. This luxurious locale, known for its resorts and world-renowned Pete Dye-designed golf courses, was once a major sugar-producing region; you can still see sugarcane fields while riding along the countryside. With a reputation as the D.R.’s premier shopping destination, La Romana also has a replica of a 16th century European artisan’s village, Altos de Chavón, adding the right touch of charm to a community with riverfront terraces, historical sights, restaurants and shops.
Natural wonders exist as well, such as the cave-riddled forests within the Cotubanamá National Park, where tourists delight in freshwater springs and Taino rock art. Travelers can also enjoy the eco-adventure-rich area of Bayahíbe, originally a picturesque fishing town, known now for its dive sites and tranquil beaches.
Rounding out our showcase of the island is Cap Cana, an exclusive real estate and hotel tourist destination also on the easternmost side of the island. Relatively recent, founded in 2001, the destination is a coconut’s throw from Punta Cana. Kitesurfers, kayakers and snorkelers seeking aquatic action have been known to visit Juanillo, a popular beach near Cap Cana. Beyond the beach are bars, restaurants and boutiques near the Cap Cana Marina. Sip a cocktail at one of the marina’s chic establishments, such as Api Beach Club or Versus. Or enjoy a smoke while listening to local tales at L’Stella cigar lounge, which carries Dominican, Cuban and Nicaraguan brands. And if you enjoy a nightlife without the hectic noise, Cap Cana offers a selection of sophisticated yet relaxed lounges, such as Riva, with its Old World charm and classical music; Pvblic Bar, a nice spot for live music and cocktails; or Sanctuary Town, a foodie village near hotels, which offers nine bistros, including a traditional English pub.
No matter where you decide to go in the Dominican Republic, there’s a wide selection of natural and man-made wonders to make each day a memorable one. And AMResorts provides the perfect luxury accommodations to complement your Caribbean adventure. With seven all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana, and one each in Puerto Plata, Cap Cana and La Romana, comfort is within reach for singles, couples and families.
Ready to visit one of these distinct Dominican Republic destinations? Contact one of our travel agents today. Not only will they provide you with suggestions of experiences you may not have thought of yourself, but also they’ll be happy to assist you in planning your ideal getaway, partnered with exclusive perks and amenities from Funjet Vacations.