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all about Dominican Republic

Reasons to visit Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic occupies two thirds of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean making it the second largest Caribbean nation and the site of the first permanent settlement of Europeans in the Americas.

Dominican Republic has some of the best white sand beaches lined with coconut palms which makes it an attractive island to visit. You’ll find palm-thatched huts barbecuing the catch of the day and serving potent rum punches. And it’s all set to the soundtrack of sultry merengue. 

Watersports are normally available on the beaches east of Santo Domingo and along the north coast. The southwest beaches are less frequented but popular with windsurfers.

We love Dominican Republic for

  • Birdwatching
  • Deep sea fishing
  • Diving
  • Gardens
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horseriding
  • Mountain biking
  • Nightlife
  • Sailing
  • Sandy Beaches
  • Surfing
  • Watersports

When to go to Dominican Republic

The high season runs from mid December to mid April when hotel prices will rise and you will need to book up to a year in advance to get the best deals.

We recommend that you try travelling to Dominican Republic at other times if you are not bound by school holidays, where you will find some great hotel and airfare deals. Check out our latest deals to Dominican Republic with Virgin Atlantic.

Weather in Dominican Republic

The driest time is from December to February but March to November is still good. The average temperature on the coast year round is between 24-35C but it can be much cooler in the mountains (18-28C).

Planning your holiday

Cultural and Adventure Holidays in Dominican Republic

There is a wealth of activities offered by operators including diving courses, fishing trips, hikes, mountain bike trips, horseriding and river sports such as kayaking, rafting and tubing.

Family reunions and holidays to Dominican Republic

When considering a trip to Dominican Republic, many travellers choose to stay in the well known all inclusive resorts such as Sandals and others but you can find accommodation to suit most budgets including a new raft of boutique hotels.
 
We recommend that you find the time to hire a car as travelling by crowded local minibus can be a cramped affair and almost impossible with luggage. We recommend you bring a navigation device or a map as local road signs can be sporadic and speed bumps may be unmarked. 

Places to stay in Dominican Republic

There are many hotels in Dominican Republic to choose from ranging from small friendly guesthouses, small boutique hotels to the large all inclusive 5 star resorts. We recommend that anyone renting a private villa should ensure there is adequate 24 hour security on the site.

There is a lot of affordable self catering accommodation west of Puerto Plata. We have a range of specially selected hotels in Dominican Republic for our customers so do let us know how we can help.

Dominican Republic for weddings, anniversaries and special occasions

If you are looking for help organising a trip to Dominican Republic for a group, whether that’s for a special family occasion such as an anniversary or wedding just get in touch. We have organised many types of trips, including music tours for some of the most well known bands in the Caribbean.

Dominican Republic for family holidays

Dominican Republic has a lot to offer kids and whether that is mountain biking, horseriding, learning to surf or snorkelling.

The beach at Costambar west of Puerto Plata is good for children as it does not have the large waves as on other surfing beaches.

The Ocean World Adventure Park at Cofresi beach has a dolphinarium which children can enjoy.

Dominican Republic for couples

The island is often seen as a very affordable romantic getaway with some great nightlife for couples celebrating their honeymoon or an anniversary.

Beach Holidays in Dominican Republic

There is plenty of choice when it comes to sandy beaches and good places for snorkelling or water sports in the Dominican Republic.

Getting to Dominican Republic

There are regular flights to Santo Domingo from Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester with British Airways ,and Virgin Atlantic and Caribbean Airlines.

There are also a host of charter flights with the package tour operators offering all inclusive deals during the peak season. You need to book at least a year in advance to travel during the Christmas period.

Getting around

We recommend hiring a car in Dominican Republic as taxis are expensive but allow plenty of time to get around the island, and we would not recommend driving in Santo Domingo city area.

You may be asked for a bribe by the police but you can normally barter a reduction. Car rental makes it easier to see the main sights and we offer some great rates here.

Things to do and see in Dominican Republic

Golf

Dominican Republic has more golf courses than most other islands and several operators include golf in their stays. The most famous golf courses are Teeth of the Dog at Casa de Campo, Playa Dorada near Puerto Plata and Playa Grande near Rio San Juan.

Santa Domingo

Visit the atmospheric and lively restaurants and bars in Santo Domingo.

Zona Colonial

Wander around the Zona Colonial and enjoy the many historical buildings dating back to the 16th century. Don’t miss the Museo Mundo de Ambar where you can see insects and many other creatures and plants perfectly preserved in Amber.

Whale Watching

Watch the humpback whales near the island at Bahia de Samana between January to March, when they come here to give birth.

Pico Duarte Hike

Hike to the top of Pico Duarte (3087m) for the views from the top and enjoy the birdwatching on the way up. Guides are essential and mules are available to carry your belongings. There are two routes (46km trail from La Cienaga) and 90km route from Mata Grande near San Jose de las Matas.

La Citadelle

Visit the huge hill top fortress of La Citadelle overlooking the northern region.

Water Sports

Watch the windsurfers and kiteboarders at Cabarete on the north coast.

Faro a Colon Lighthouse

Visit the huge Faro a Colon lighthouse in the shape of a cross, east of the Rio Ozama.

Botanical Gardens

Tour the botanical gardens with hundreds of different orchid species and a Japanese garden.

Cigar Factory Tour

Watch cigars being rolled at the Leon Jimenez Tobacco Factory which dates back to 1903 It can be found in Santiago de los Caballeros, the second largest city on the island.

Constanza

Visit Constanza north of Santiago and imagine you are in the Alps. Remember to dress for the cold in the winter as it can drop below zero here.

Adventure Sports

Jarabacoa is the centre for adventure sports so basing yourself here will give you a good introduction to all the activities you can enjoy in this area aswell as the spectacular waterfalls.

Fortalez de San Felipe

Visit the oldest colonial fortress in this part of the world at Fortaleza de San Felipe at Puerto Plata.

Cable Car Trip

Take the cable car up to the summit of Loma Isabel de Torres.

Nature Boat Trip

Enjoy a boat trip across the Laguna Oviedo to see the flamingo colony in the Parque Nacional Jaragua plus herons, spoonbills and frigate birds.

Events & Holidays

21 January - Day of the Virgen de al Altagracia, vigils, singing and music
End February - Carnival with parades along the seafront, recommend joining the celebrations in Santiago de los Caballeros.
February - Sandcastle competition in Cabarete.
February - Toros and Civiles pre Lenten festival at Monte Cristi.
March/April - Holy Week Festivities and processions ( San Pedro de Macoris)
April/May - Santo Domingo International Book Fair
May/June - Corpus Christi
June - Garlic festival in Constanza
June - Cabarete race week (windsurfing) and Kiteboarding World Cup event
July - Merengue Festival including food and a craft fair
16 August - Restoration Day Parades
Last week September - Sosua’s annual Merengue festival
October - Jazz festival
November - Annual Merengue festival at Puerto Plata on the seafront.
November - International Surf competition at Cabarete

Useful Dominican Republic travel information

Currency - The Dominican Peso is the only legal tender.

Emergencies - Dial 911 for emergencies

Local Customs - It is customary to dress smart casual when dining out at restaurants and locals only wear beachwear on the beach.

Tipping - Restaurant and hotel staff expect 10% of the bill and a small amount if the service is already included.

Voltage - This is 110 volts with American style plugs.

Time Difference - GMT -4 hours (Atlantic Standard Time)

Country dialing code is +809

Departure tax - Check our flight pages for details of the departure tax chargeable.

Security in Dominican Republic - Many visitors travel to the island each year and do not have any incidents however we recommend that you do not change money in the street and exercise caution at all times.

Take advice from the locals as to any city areas you should avoid at all times and do not leave your belongings unattended on the beach. We do not recommend walking around Santo Domingo late at night. Use your hotel safe or security boxes to store your valuables. Avoid driving at night outside towns.

When taking a boat trip check that the boat operator has sails or oars in the event of an engine breakdown, a radio and lifejackets and equipment in the event of a fire. Accidents do happen and boats can break down.

Useful Links

Consular Section Embassy of the Dominican Republic
139 Inverness Terrace
Bayswater
London, W2 6JF
Fax. 020 7727 3693
www.dominicanembassy.org.uk

Consulate opening times:
10am to 2pm Monday to Friday
SAT & SUN CLOSED

Dominican Republic Tourist Board in the UK
18-22 Hand Court
High Holborn
London, WC1V 6JF
Tel: 020 7 242 7778
Fax: 020 7 405 4202
www.godominicanrepublic.com

Insider tips

Leon Jimenez Tobacco Factory

Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Watch cigars being rolled at the Leon Jimenez Tobacco Factory which dates back to 1903.

It can be found in Santiago de los Caballeros, the second largest city on the island.

“The phone calls are answered promptly and no waiting around in queues listening to some obscure music.The staff are very knowledgeable, helpfulĀ and friendly.They go out of their way to find answers to questions asked. Judy. Last contacted us Oct 14. ”

Judy Ali - Read more