Holidays to the Dominican Republic are about more than just the beach. This diverse country also throws rainforests, mountains and colonial towns into the ring.
Thanks to its bigger-than-average size, the Dominican Republic is one of the most diverse countries in the Caribbean. Along the coast, you’ve got the full spectrum of beaches, while inland, mangrove lagoons, mountain peaks and waterfalls are just the start of the story.
Up on the north coast is the Puerto Plata region. In the town itself, you can tick off rum factories, the old quarter and the cable car up to Mount Isabel del Torres. Nearby, you’ve got Playa Dorada, with its casinos and restaurant-packed Plaza. In Costa Dorada and Bahia Maimon, meanwhile, picture-perfect beaches and barefoot beach bars set the scene.
Puerto Plata is also the gateway to the Samana peninsula. Things are pretty laid-back here, with footprint-free beaches and sleepy resorts like Cayo Levantado and Samana Town tempting visitors from all over the world.
Punta Cana and La Romana
On the eastern tip of the country is Punta Cana. The big name here is Bavaro. It’s a lively resort with a beach that looks like it’s been plucked from the pages of a glossy travel magazine. Finally, tucked away in the Dominican Republic’s southeast corner is La Romana region. Locals claim that the beaches here are the prettiest in the country. The main resort is Bayahibe – a quiet fishing village with a sprinkling of hotels.
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The 3 S’s sum up the state of play in Punta Cana. The sun, sea and sand on the Dominican Republic’s eastern edge are rated among the best in the world. More than 50 miles of coast runs from Bavaro to Uvero Alto and beyond. And most of it is backed by nut-bearing palm trees – earning this region the title of the Coconut Coast.
Known as the silver city on the amber coast, Puerto Plata, in the north of the Dominican Republic, is as precious to the country as its name makes it sound. The first village in the New World was founded in this region on the 2nd of January 1494, and throughout the 16th-century, Puerto Plata harbour was of upmost importance.
The Dominican Republic is in mint condition in Samana. While mass tourism has built up the neighbouring resorts of Punta Cana and Puerto Plata, this swathe of the country’s north-east coast is comparatively untouched. The capital of the region is Santa Barbara de Samana, often referred to as Samana Town. It, too, has managed to retain much of its traditional charm.