A mere two hours south of Miami, USA, Dominican Republic is the second-largest and maybe the most diverse Caribbean country. It has much to boast, including some of the best beaches in the world. Nature, history and a vibrant, rich culture add to the experiences. There is even a desert landscape.
Between the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea on the south, the Dominican Republic has 1,609 kilometres of coastline. In total over 200 beaches line the Caribbean and the Atlantic coastlines and many remain uncrowded and undeveloped. They range from brilliant white sands to a few unique black sand beaches. Punta Cana’s world-renowned 48-kilometre sandy strip is a beach to remember. Don't overlook others such as Samaná’s Playa Rincón, or on the north coast where Playa Cabarete, Playa Grande, and Playa Punta Rucia also compete for attention.
The Dominican Republic is a lush tropical paradise, filled with nature, adventure and otherworldly beauty. National parks protect 6,000 species of thriving flora and fauna, including many endemic species such as the Bayahíbe Rose in Bayahíbe, in Cotubanamá National Park. Take a tour of Los Haitises National Park by boat and view the towering rock faces that almost erupt out of the ocean.
Valle Nuevo National Park is in one of the most remote, pristine areas of the country, with outstanding dense pine forests and frosty mornings. The wildlife is plentiful in and out of the water all around the country, from the smallest lizard in the world, the dwarf Gecko, the rhinoceros iguana, more than 50 species of butterflies, vibrant birds and even the American crocodile can be seen. In Samaná Bay from mid-January to March, whales play offshore.
For adrenaline junkies, there is canyoning with The Big Bastard, The Magic Mushroom (a geological marvel) and Ciaguapa Falls to visit. Divers and snorkellers won't be disappointed. The horseback ride to El Limon waterfall in the Samana region is fantastic – there are a few river crossings so expect to get wet but have heaps of fun. This is home to Pico Duarte, the tallest mountain in the Caribbean. If you are fit, you could attempt this 3,098m high mountain. For the effort, there are great views.
Sunday is a family day for Dominicans, and they celebrate gatherings with food, music and laughter. And they love their events from arts and culture to music, food and sport. Welcome to the stunning Dominican Republic.
With two distinct seasons, the Wet season is usually from May to mid-November and considered low season. During this time outdoor activities are subject to availability. April can be a great month to visit as it comes at the end of the peak tourist season and before summer and the heat increases. October through to early December is similar.