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Dominican Republic

WELCOME TO OUR DOMINICAN REPUBLIC TRAVEL GUIDE

The Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean country, home to incredible beaches, wild nature and excellent shopping. Given it’s large size, there is just about everything for every type of traveler. Whether you’re looking for the calm blue hues of Punta Cana, or the wild rush of world-renowned Kiteboarding in Cabarete, you cannot go wrong in the Dominican Republic.

Luxury hotels are easy to come by in the Dominican, with resorts from major brands like Hyatt, down to the boutique luxury hotel brands with personal butlers and elevated service. All-inclusive lovers will relish in the wide selection of options when it comes to finding the perfect resort for your style.

Things to See and Do in The Dominican Republic

Stay in the luxurious Cap Cana to experience waist-deep, calm water for 100 yards offshore
Try Kiteboarding in Cabarete, a world-renowned kiting spot
Check out the Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo, home to the oldest architecture in the western hemisphere
Explore Las Terranas, a low-key expat hub in the North Samana region
Visit the Los Haitises National Park to experience the stunning flora, bird life and even petroglyphs from long ago
Visit the Playa Rincon, a down to earth beach paradise that taps into your inner Crusoe

“Enjoying the view at Sanctuary Cap Cana”

“Max kiting across the Cabarete bay”

What to know

In the hub of tourism, Punta Cana, there is no shortage of high-end luxury resorts. From the large all-inclusive experiences like Hyatt Zilara and Ziva Cap Cana to the boutique brands boasting personalized luxury, you cannot go wrong. In this land of all-inclusives, travelers can expect to find a number of 5-star options, like the Secrets Cap Cana, boasting michelin-level cuisines. While you get what you pay for in most cases, travelers can find competitive pricing for excellent 5-star properties.

 

In the northern areas of Cabarete, Sosua and Las Terranas, the scene looks a bit different from the high-rises and luxury brands. Travelers can expect a more laid-back vibe with small properties and many more apartment-style accommodations. Think of the north as the Tulum to Mexico’s Cancun.

Depending on your plans for your trip, taxis are a great option. Particularly if you are planning to visit only Punta Cana as your home base. If you plan to explore further, renting a car for the day, week or month is also a great option. In our case, we booked a car for one month to give us the flexibility to explore the country as we wish. We also traveled during COVID-19, and therefore, felt it was most appropriate to minimize exposure to others.

 

The Dominican is a large country and travelers can also take domestic flights.

Outside the standard all-inclusive experiences (aka customary Asian, Italian, French and Mexican cuisines), the restaurants available in the larger towns and cities offer a wide range of options. Travelers can find small boutique coffee shops, like Vagamundo in Cabarete, to excellent Italian restaurants in the sand along the beach.

 

In the northern areas like Cabarete, for example, prices are incredibly low compared to other Caribbean destinations. For reference, one can purchase a Cold Brew coffee for $1.70 USD and an Avocado Toast for $2.70 USD, compared to the standard $4-5 USD coffee and $10-12 USD Toast.

Between markets and boutique shops, you’ll have more than plenty to do if you’re looking to pick up some items in the Dominican Republic. Prices are incredibly low across the board, giving travelers a great selection of jewelry, bathing suits and clothing at an affordable price. Trinkets and standard tourist items like artwork and the like can be purchased at the many markets in the more touristy destinations of Punta Cana and the like.

The Dominican Republic is one of the earliest settled destinations in the Western hemisphere by Europeans, giving the country a diverse and global edge. The main language spoken is Spanish and it can often be difficult to find fluent English speakers, especially outside the luxury hotels. Dominican people are known for being friendly, outgoing and very religious. Ladies, expect to hear cat calls from friendly gents consistently.

masked couple redeye delta plane

Articles to read

Flying During COVID-19: Delta from San Francisco to Punta Cana

We booked a flight to the Dominican Republic back in February, before the COVID-19 pandemic really took off. We got a great deal ($230 round trip from San Francisco) through Scott’s Cheap Flights for a two-week trip. Then…COVID hit.

Typical costs

As far as the Caribbean goes, the Dominican Republic is pretty inexpensive. Luxury resorts range from $300-$600 depending on season and typically offer excellent all-inclusive experiences. Food costs are low, with a dinner for two in Cabarete costing approximately $40 for 4 drinks, an appetizer and 2 main dishes.

Tipping is expected at the luxury resorts, despite the claims of “tips included”. Tipping is a nice gesture for excellent service at restaurants and bars.

Suggested daily budget – Typical food & beverage costs range depending on how high-end the hotel brand is, but we typically budget $300 per day for food & alcohol, allowing us the flexibility to eat the hotel or nearby if you’re not staying at an all-inclusive. Transfers to & from the hotel to the airport range as well, but we typically budget $30-40 in Punta Cana. Plan to budget for activities and excursions, with many costing around $60-100 per person depending on the activity.

When to Travel
Dominican Seasons

The Dominican Republic is an incredible choice for traveler most of the year, with perfect beach temperatures in the 80s and plenty of sun- particularly from December-April. Watch out for holiday high-season pricing over Christmas and school holiday breaks in the United States. The Dominican does fall in the hurricane belt, typically seeing stormy weather in the late summer, early fall.

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  • Rainfall

Travel Tips

1
All-inclusive v. a-la-carte Be sure to consider the cost of dining if you choose to go a-la-carte - food costs are typically significantly higher at resorts.
2
Where to stay in Punta Cana Consider Cap Cana as your destination for pristine, calm water and high end luxury.
3
Looking for the laid-back vibe? Be sure to head north to Cabarete for an affordable, laid-back vacation.
4
Day trip outside Punta Cana There’s more to the Dominican than the tourist zones- be sure to explore the stunning culture and history.

Luxury Hotel Reviews

Check out some of our favorite Dominican resorts and what we like and don’t like about each of them. 

How to plan your trip

If you’re traveling for 3-7 days, consider the following:

  • Fly into Punta Cana (PUJ)
  • Book an all-inclusive hotel and take a taxi to and from the airport
  • Plan to explore 2 different activities or areas outside the resort on day trips

If you’re traveling for 7+ days, consider:

  • Staying at multiple properties: Bavaro Beach versus Cap Cana, for example
  • Traveling from Punta Cana to Cabarete or Las Terranas to experience two entirely different types of trips

Gallery of the Dominican Republic

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