48 Fun & Beautiful Things to Do in the Dominican Republic

Things to do in the Dominican Republic people in boat tour.

As a Dominican American who has traveled around the Dominican Republic countless times, I’m thrilled to share with you all of my favorite things to do in the Dominican Republic!

This year, we welcomed 10 million tourists and became the Caribbean’s top travel destination! And it’s no surprise why.

From the stunning beaches to our rich cultural heritage, I’m here to guide you through the best attractions in the Dominican Republic. There are endless unique activities to do here, and I’m here to show you the very best of this island paradise.

Did you know? Our island is considered a “micro-continent” because it offers a little bit of almost everything, from our vibrant blue Dominican beaches to chilly mountain towns surrounded by pine trees. However, with so many amazing places to visit in the Dominican Republic, some people never leave their hotels!

If you’re only visiting Punta Cana this time, I encourage you to venture out beyond our many Dominican resorts. One of my favorite spots there is Scape Park! An easy way to visit it is by booking this tour.

1. Hike La Plaza & La Cueva

You can book this hike in the beautiful province of Barahona. This stunning trail takes you through several crystal-clear blue pools surrounded by limestone rocks within a jungle. Both parts of the hike (La Plaza and La Cueva) are well worth it, with several gems along the way.

Because it is a virginal region, it is unpaved and thus not an easy hike. You must improvise the way: over rocks, jumping down, leaping over, swimming, sliding, crawling, and climbing up natural “second floors” without stairs. It is like the ultimate obstacle course + hike. A full-body workout in the midst of pristine beauty. This is one of the hardest but my top favorite hikes in the Dominican Republic!

2. Larimar Gemstone Mines & Shopping

Larimar is one of the rarest gemstones in the world. It is only found in the Dominican Republic. There is only one mine located in the Barahona province, making this one of the most amazing Dominican Republic attractions. So don’t miss out on the lifetime experience to see how a local collective of miners extracts this rare gem.You will need a 4×4 SUV to get up to the mining area. Here is a video of visiting the mines.

Please keep in mind: Booking this experience is not to encourage poverty tourism but to recommend an experience of learning how locals have created a community mining system to extract one of the world’s rarest gemstones.

Please do not use locals, especially their kids, as photoshoot props. And please tip your guides/the workers for taking the time out of their workday to show you around.

While you’re admiring the beautiful coastline of Barahona, take a moment to pull over and go shopping! Directly support the local small businesses by buying a beautiful piece of larimar gemstone. Some road stands sell them as raw pieces, polished stones, and/or jewelry. Whichever form of larimar you choose, it will surely make for a lovely souvenir.

3. Los Patos Beach/River: Seafood Feast With Epic Views

While driving through Barahona, stop by the gorgeous Los Patos Beach and River for a fresh seafood lunch. My favorite place is Kathy’s restaurant, right on the beach and in a more secluded corner. Her restaurant, a women-owned small business for many years, serves delicious food from a pristinely kept kitchen.

Give her a WhatsApp text or call (829)988-1038, so she can have everything ready for you upon arrival. And let her know Isabelle sent you! 😉

II. Santo Domingo: Things to Do in the Dominican Republic

4. Visit Los Tres Ojos

The Dominican Republic’s Three Eyes National Park (Los Tres Ojos) is a nature reserve and open-air limestone cave system with a series of crystal clear lakes known as the “eyes.” Located in Santo Domingo, just ten minutes by car from the popular Colonial Zone, the park provides a sweet respite from the hustle and bustle of the busy city.

Along with a guided tour that you can join, these stunning open water caves also offer deeper insights into the pre-colonial and ancestral origins of the Dominican Republic making this one of the many amazing things to do in Santo Domingo.

5. Explore La Zona Colonial

Of all the amazing things to do in Santo Domingo, if you can only do one, then let it be this one. Dedicate some time to explore la Zona Colonial, the historic colonial center of the city. This is not just a spot for tourists, local artists and community leaders offer products, services, and community spaces that you can support.

La Zona Colonial is hands down the best place in Santo Domingo for cultural events, social movements, art galleries, museums, nightlife, and trendy restaurants. You can book this la Zona Colonial guided bike tour for a fun experience!

6. Afro-Heritage Walking Tour

Go on a guided walking tour of La Zona Colonial but through the important lens of an understudied African history, which delves deeper into the legacy of our African ancestors on the island today.

For decades, Dominican Republic’s Black history has been neglected due to the colonial and imperial remnants that still plague all of the Americas. But we Dominicans have been making a lot of strides and efforts in reclaiming our narratives and decolonizing our history.

Anthropologist Ruth Pion or Afro Historia RD will lead you through this Afro-heritage educational walking tour that you can join. This experience is something that you can’t get anywhere else in Santo Domingo. Consider combining this insightful walking tour with her tour to the old sugar plantations where one of the biggest slave rebellions in the Dominican Republic occurred.

7. Ride El Teleferico

For less than .50 cents USD you can ride the spotlessly clean metro in Santo Domingo and then get a free connection to the teleférico (cable car) that takes you up and above and through various neighborhoods reaching just below the outskirts of La Victoria.

You’ll see kids playing in the natural pools, hear dogs and roosters sing, and smell that nostalgic toasted wood campo aroma, as you fly above schools, homes, lush plains, busy streets, and rivers. There are so many stories to the views from above with every swing.

While to us travelers, this is a fun and exciting ride through the northern outskirts of Santo Domingo… for many locals, it’s finally a way to get around and connect to more opportunities in the city center. This is a vital means of everyday local transportation that helps Dominicans and our environment. It also happens to be one of the Dominican Republic attractions that will give you a tiny glimpse into the everyday lives of locals.

8. Fiesta de Palo: Explore Afro-Dominican History in Villa Mella

Palo is Afro-Dominican sacred music with roots from the Congo region/West Africa. It has been preserved through us for hundreds of years despite colonial oppression and various attempts to suppress and repress it. Fiesta de Palo has become a “vehicle for anti-colonial, anti-hegemonic and anti-imperial” protest.

Palo can vary by region around the entire country. In Villa Mella, in the outskirts of Santo Domingo, where the first recorded slave rebellion occurred and where African slaves fled for refuge, is where Palo is most famously known to have been preserved.

If you’re interested in cultural heritage, especially in music and Afro-Dominican history, venture out to hear a brotherhood in Villa Mella do a ceremony/Fiesta de Palo.

III. Punta Cana: Dominican Republic Highlights

Punta Cana can feel like another world in the Dominican Republic. It’s mostly a region that has been built up for tourists interested in the Punta Cana resort scene. Or those too scared to venture out on their own. But I wholeheartedly recommend that you explore the area beyond the confines of your hotel property.

There are so many beautiful things to do in Punta Cana, from natural parks to restaurants and epic day trips. Here are just a few.

9. Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve (Ojos Indígenas) ★

The Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve is a pristine lowland subtropical forest with swimmable freshwater lagoons, an iguana habitat, and a petting zoo. It stretches 1,500 acres and is frequented by tours of all types: horseback riding, segway, foot, and boat. We love the forest trails and stunning gardens, perfect for self-guided tours to view over 100 birds!

Where to Book a Tour

10. Scape Park (Hoyo Azul & More) ★

I feared this place would be lame and too touristy, but Hoyo Azul & Scape Park actually impressed me. This 247-acre natural park offers gorgeous cenotes you can swim in, a zipline through the jungle, easy hiking trails, and much more. Your admission ticket grants you full-day access to several attractions. For Dominicans with ID, there is a nice discount to make it more accessible to the local community.

TOUR: Consider visiting Scape Park on this full-day tour package, that includes round-trip transport from your hotel in Punta Cana. I wish I had spent a full day here to enjoy all the things they offer.

11. Hike Anamuya Mountain

If you plan to visit Cotubanamá National Park, consider booking a hiking tour up to Anamuya Mountain! Outback Adventures has half-day guided trips through this majestic summit, where you can learn more about the island’s fauna and flora along the way. Bring your binoculars for birdwatching and spotting local wildlife/ This opportunity is great for avoiding crowds and touristy spots. 

12. Visit Saona Island 

Saona Island is an ideal snorkeling spot with several secret places to explore. Joining this small-group Saona Island Tour will allow you to explore this secluded paradise with a full-day speedboat and snorkeling excursion. You’ll stop at a starfish-filled swimming pool and white sand beach. You can also try this private Saona Island tour, which will take you through the town of Mano Juan, the location of one of the biggest turtle conservations on the island!

Note: Please do not touch the starfish!

13. Visit the Best Beaches in Punta Cana ★

Macao Beach is a local favorite for its natural surroundings, miles of serene shoreline, and turquoise waters. I didn’t like the seafood there too much. So bring snacks or eat after visiting. I recommend this tour to this beautiful beach. Los Corales Beach is one of my favorite spots covered in white sand and close to small business bars, restaurants, and spas.

But the most beautiful beaches in Punta CanaJuanillo Beach in Cap Cana and Playa Blanca in Punta Cana Club. Both are private, costing between $20-$30. But you may be able to get that money back as a restaurant credit.

14. Coco Bongo Nightclub ★

Coco Bongo is the most popular nightclub in Punta Cana. If you wan’t to visit, don’t hesitate to get your tickets for a night fulled with fun! They have many special events with live shows and non-stop action.

It’s like Cirque du Soleil but while partying. I’ve never been, but I continue to hear great things about this nightclub due to its spectacles. You can book round-trip transportation to and from your hotel!

Please note: This is an adults-only club with confetti and lights, which can get crowded.

15. Staying in Casa de Campo (La Romana) ★

Altos de Chavon is a tourist attraction in La Romona recreated to look like a 16th-century Mediterranean-style village. It’s one of the busiest spots in the city and has a cultural center, amphitheater, and archeological museum to enjoy. You could spend all day here exploring, with additional dining and shopping opportunities onsite. 

IV. Pedernales, Dominican Republic Things to Do

Ahhhh, Pedernales. One of my personal favorite towns in the Dominican Republic! Also in the southwest, this sleepy sandy town is the perfect launching pad for the many natural wonders of the region. For other Dominican Republic regions, scroll to the next sections!

16. Bahia de las Aguilas: The Best Beach in the World

Bahia de las Aguilas is the prize at the end of the scenic Southwest Dominican road trip from Barahona to Los Patos to Pedernales. I’ve traveled to 50+ countries in the world, and to me, Bahia de las Aguilas not only ranks as one of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic but in the world!

So if you love shallow and crystalline-blue beaches, consider joining a tour to Bahia de las Aguilas. Visiting this beach is a must-do and one of the best things to do in the Dominican Republic.

Want to visit Bahia de las Aguilas independently? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get to Bahia de las Aguilas from Santo Domingo via public transportation.

Once you’re in the area, contact Satima, a local woman who cooks delicious plates of food for you to enjoy. Her sun also drives the boats to Bahia de las Aguilas. She only speaks Spanish. Her Whatsapp is: (809)693-4419. She does not know how to write or read very well, so she will send you only audio messages!

17. Go Glamping along the shores of the Dominican Republic’s Best Beach

Glamping is a fancier version of camping. You have all of the modern amenities but you’re still closer to nature. Book this beach glamping spot in Pedernales. Here, you can fall asleep by a bonfire while gazing at the stars and hearing the sounds of the gentle waves. Wake up to one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world and then take a boat ride to see Bahia de las Aguilas beach.

Glamping in the Caribbean is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and perfect for beach/outdoor lovers!

18. Los Pozos de Romeo 

On the very road that leads to Bahia de las Aguilas beach, consider this refreshing detour and Dominican Republic point of interest. Los Pozos de Romeo is a crystal clear natural pool enclosed within rocks and cacti fauna. A perfect pit stop to re-freshen up before or after the beach!

19. Laguna de Oviedo

Laguna de Oviedo is a saltwater lake in Jaragua National Park in the Pedernales province of the Dominican Republic. Here you can hire a guide for a boat tour through the different islands to learn about the cacti fauna while bird and iguana watching. At the end of your trip don’t forget to ask for the natural mud bath stop!

There is a lot of things to do in Laguna de Oviedo including unique caves and trying exotic cacti fruits. So plan at least half a day here to really appreciate all that one of the best places in the Dominican Republic has to offer.

20. Arroyo Salado

Located just 10 minutes from Laguna de Oviedo is Arroyo Salado natural pool. This is the perfect stop to wash off the saltwater from Oviedo Lake and any remnants of your mud bath! This natural freshwater pool is surrounded by mangroves and is home to little fish who will innocuously eat away at your dead skin.

Where to Stay in Pedernales

  • Hostal Dona Chava: Super cute and cozy bed and breakfast, owned by a wonderful local family of Dominicans. It’s situated in a central part of town where you can walk to the many delicious restaurants or grocery stores in Pedernales town! It’s also easily one of the best hotels in the Dominican Republic.

V. Jarabacoa: Things to Do in the Dominican Republic

21. Hike El Pico Duarte: The Tallest Mountain in the Caribbean

The Dominican Republic is home to a significant amount of mountain ranges including the tallest mountain in the Caribbean: El Pico Duarte. El Pico Duarte is located along the Cordillera Central mountain range which stretches across the Dominican Republic and into Haiti (also making it easy to plan an incredible 3 days in Haiti tour).

This prestigious and magnificent mountain peak soars at over 3,000 meters (10,000+ feet) in altitude. Consider doing a fun, multi-day Pico Duarte hiking tour. The hiking base is just 40 minutes driving from the popular mountain town of Jarabacoa, another hidden gem.

22. Paraglide Over the Dominican Alps

Paragliding is a highlight experience for adventure lovers coming to Jarabacoa and looking for exciting things to do in the Dominican Republic. You can go with a professional pilot and roam the skies above the Jarabacoa valleys. Costs start at $50 per person.

23. Relax in the Dominican Alps

Fun fact: Because of its cooler climate, green valleys, and tall mountainous peaks, our Cordillera Central region is referred to as the Dominican Alps! Here, you can create your own mini-retreat by spending a few days (or weeks) in one of the mountain-top villas in this beautiful pine-studded mountainous region.

If you want to stay in a beautiful hotel by the Jimenoa River with delicious food, check out Hotel Gran Jimenoa. You can rent an entire place to yourself like the mountain top villa (pictured above) or a Japanese-style luxury guest house (also pictured above) for a fraction of what resorts will charge you! Best of all? You’ll be near tons of wonderful activities to do in the Dominican Republic.

24. Enjoy Jarabacoa’s Various Hikes & Waterfalls

You can actually chase waterfalls in Jarabacoa as there are various ones to choose from. Travelers can reach the different waterfalls by car, horse, and/or hiking. Consider visiting the top three most beautiful waterfalls on a full-day tour of hiking and swimming.

Here are the three I recommend: Jimenoa I Waterfall, Baiguate Waterfall, and Salto Secreto Waterfall. Contact Silo for tours: (809) 413-2491

25. Water Rafting Through the Yaque del Norte River

Raft down the Yaque del Norte River, the second-longest river in the Caribbean with Rancho Baiguate. Depending on the time of the year the rapids can be smoother or a bit stronger. The tallest drop is about 3 meters. This is the perfect experience for both beginners and more experienced rafters.

If you’re coming from Puerto Plata, you can do this private tour which includes transportation.

Continue Reading: Jarabacoa Travel Guide: 21 Reasons to Visit the Dominican Alps for more in-depth information on things to see and do in this region.

Where to Stay in Jarabacoa?

  • Gran Jimenoa Hotel: This is a high-quality resort-style hotel on a very calming and almost spiritual Gran Jimenoa River (pictured above). It’s a great place to go if you want to have breakfast included, housekeeping, and other hotel amenities. This is my favorite!

VI. Monte Plata: Things to Do in the Dominican Republic

26. Salto de Socoa

Probably one of the most underrated Dominican Republic tourist attractions, this underrated gem in Monte Plata barely gets any visitors. You may likely have the entire place to yourself like I have several times. Yet, it’s very easy to access from the main road to Samana.

Pay just $1 to enter and take a 15-minute walk down including some steps. The emerald green swimming area also extends to several other beautiful pools. To get to these pools you must walk over some wet rocks, so bring water shoes with grip.

27. Culturally Immerse Yourself in Campo Life & Cooking Lessons

One of the best (and most fun) ways to culturally immerse yourself is through food. Take note that there are a lot of Dominican fruits to try, too!

Consider taking a half-day trip to the rural farms of Monte Plata for some cooking lessons by the town chef: my aunt Ramona. Along with other members of my family, they will teach you how to cook some of the most delicious Dominican dishes over a traditional wood fire outside. You can also tour the farm, pick cacao, ride horses, and more. Consider adding a visit to El Salto de Socoa as an add-on for a full-day tour of fun in the lush province of Monte Plata.

To book a tour, here are some options in the Santo Domingo region:

Intentionally Omitted:

The famous Salto Alto, one of the most well-known Dominican Republic tourist attractions in the area, is currently suffering from overcrowding. Skip the crowds coming out of the big tourist buses and head to the more quaint Salto de Socoa (listed above).

VII. Bani: Things to Do in the Dominican Republic

28. Sand Boarding in Las Dunas de Bani (Sand Dunes)

Travelers to the Dominican Republic are often shocked to discover that this tropical island is also home to desert topography, including tall sand dunes surrounded by cactus plants. Las Dunas de Bani (the Bani Sand Dunes), one of the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic, offers stunning views of the Caribbean sea juxtaposed against the desert landscape. Here you can hike over the tall dunes for fun or rent a board and surf the sand dunes in style!

29. Pink Salt Pans aka Las Salinas 

Another one of the many underrated things to do in the Dominican Republic is a hidden gem in the southwest, the salt mines of Bani. The large salt pans are naturally pink before the salt is extracted by the local miners. Ask for permission to enter, and take a stroll down the trolley tracks to take in the view of these pink pools surrounded by beautiful mountains and piles of snowy-white salt.

VIII. Azua: Things to Do in the Dominican Republic

30. Ocoa Vineyard 

Wine lovers should stop in the province of Azua to visit the gorgeous and luxurious Ocoa Bay Vineyard. This vineyard offers wine tastings, guided tours, a beautiful outdoor restaurant, a clubhouse with an infinity pool, and dozens of sustainable agricultural projects.

IX. Cabarete: Things to Do in the Dominican Republic

31. Take a Kiteboarding Lesson/Go Kitesurfing

Cabarete is one of the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic (and in the entire world) for kitesurfing. About a mile from Cabarete downtown is the popular Kite Beach where you can either sign up for kite surfing lessons or watch in awe as the local kite surfers leap high into the air with moves that almost defy gratify.

Other options for kite surfing include La Boca and Bozo Beach, two of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic.

32. Go Surfing or Take Surfing Lessons in Playa Encuentro

The northern shores of the Dominican Republic are home to some of the most popular surfing communities in the country. So, if you love surfing, then this beach should definitely be one of your Dominican Republic points of interest to visit.

Playa Encuentro, less than 5 miles from Cabarete downtown, is one of the best beaches for surfing, especially if you’re a beginner. Surfing lessons average to about $50 for a 2-3 hour lesson. Prices depend on the business and lesson package. You are also free to rent surfboards without lessons if you wish.

I recommend staying at El Encuentro Surf Lodge. This is where is stayed during one of my many trips to the Dominican Republic. It is a few minutes walking from Encuentro Beach where I took a morning surf class for beginners.

My lesson was with Pau Hana. And I couldn’t believe they actually got me to stand and surf on baby waves not once or twice, but THREE times!

33. Half-Day Trip to Wilson’s in La Boca

Looking for even more amazing places to visit in the Dominican Republic? Then check out Wilson’s in La Boca. This Dominican-owned restaurant sits at the foot of the Yasica River just before it meets the ocean. So the views are uniquely beautiful: part beach and part river with a few local kite surfers enjoying the perfect combo in a relatively remote and low-key area.

The staff here also cook some of the best foods in the Dominican Republic and take you back into their kitchen where you choose your fish and weigh it. For about $8-10 USD you can enjoy an entire fish cooked over a wood fire with tostones, rice, and salad. It is one of the best and tastiest meals you can have in the Dominican Republic.

However, getting to La Boca and one of the best Dominican Republic attractions is quite an experience. It’s about 15 minutes from Cabarete downtown and is a little adventure itself since it requires either an SUV or a proper motorcycle so that you can drive over/around streams of water, puddles, rocks, and sand. When you reach the end of the road, you will take a free boat over the river to this special restaurant! In my humble opinion, this is one of the best things to do in Cabarete!

Main Article: Top Things to See & Do in Cabarete – An Insider’s Guide

34. Volunteer With Cabarete Sostenible & Learn All About Local Permaculture

Created during the COVID-19 pandemic to confront food insecurity, Cabarete Sostenible provides food aid to vulnerable homes throughout town and opened the first and only community garden and community farm on the north coast.

At the gardening spaces, volunteers can learn permaculture, urban gardening, and organic agriculture techniques, all while giving back to those in need in an open and safe location. Gardening is hands-on so remember to wear comfortable clothing, closed-toed shoes, and headwear!

Cabarete Sostenible frequently hosts art and cultural events and plant-based gastronomic experiences with a focus on sustainable development for and by the people. Sign up to volunteer via their website.

35. Day Trip Hiking Tour to La Rejoya Waterfall

If you’re staying in Cabarete or Puerto Plata and you’re a lover of the outdoors, then consider booking this waterfall hiking tour experience! It was one of the highlights of our Cabarete trip.

We drove deep into the Dominican countryside with our local guide, Jorge, to a lush and verdant jungle. From there, we hiked through the wilderness, past rivers, and richly forested trails.

After 90 minutes, we reached the prized gem: a beautiful waterfall waiting for us, pristinely tucked away, all to ourselves. Around this area is also a unique blue clay which we got to lather on our skins. Moreover, you’ll pass all sorts of fruit trees and medicinal plants that Jorge has a deep knowledge of.

X. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic Things to Do

Don’t miss our FULL guide to the best places to visit in Puerto Plata. Below is just a preview!

36. Visit Damajagua (27 Waterfalls)

Damajagua 27 Waterfalls is one of the most iconic things to do in Puerto Plata. This is a privately-owned park offering several natural attractions in the form of waterfalls, pools, slides, and much more. Consider going on this tour for just $60. And no, you don’t need to know how to swim.

37. Cayo Arena

My Puerto Plata friends argue with me that Cayo Arena is actually the best beach in the Dominican Republic. I say it’s Bahia de las Aguilas! You can visit Cayo Arena on this guided boat tour, and let me know in the comments: is it the best beach in DR? But I think we can all agree that Cayo Arena is the best beach in Puerto Plata!

38. Puerto Plata City Tour

Puerto Plata is the third-largest city in the Dominican Republic. And while it’s popular for having some of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic, it also offers a ton of rich history. Learn all about the history, culture, and beauty of Puerto Plata City by joining his guided local tour. Alternatively, you can book this tour as well!

It was in this area that Christoper Columbus began his genocide. Don’t miss the Fortaleza San Felipe and a ride on the teleferico! While you’re in Puerto Plata, also consider taking a Haitian cooking class with this nonprofit.

XI. Samana: Things to Do in the Dominican Republic

39. Stay in a Luxury Jungle Villa

Samana has some of the most uniquely beautiful places to stay in the Dominican Republic. And this private villa gives you the best of both worlds: jungle and beach. Casa Paraiso’s bedrooms offer open-air views facing the ocean, the perfect retreat if you’re traveling solo, with friends, or for couples. Coming will feel like you’ve been transported to Bali, and that’s because DR truly does have it all!

40. Horseback Ride Up to El Salto de Limon Waterfall

Although the Samana province is popular with tourists, there are still many places that are still well worth the visit to this area especially: Salto de Limon. This waterfall is located in a lush jungle that you must either hike through or reach on horseback.

For tours, I strongly recommend doing the horseback coffee trail with Santi, who leads high-quality tours and offers a delicious lunch at the end of your excursion in his restaurant space. There are many different trails, some not as nice, so remember to clarify that you want the COFFEE trail which Santi offers. Prices start at $20/per rider. Bring extra cash to tip the local guide at least $10.

If you’re coming from Punta Cana, you can also consider this other tour option, which has El Limon Waterfall as one of its stops.

41. Beach-Hopping to World-Class Beaches Throughout the Samana Peninsula

At the end of the Samana Peninsula, you can find some of the finest beaches in the Dominican Republic such as Las Galeras, which you can take a boat from to the secluded Playa Fronton (pictured above). Please note that this beach is not accessible when the waters are choppy.

If you’re looking for something closer to Las Terrenas, then consider Playa Rincon. Once a secret beach where a local fisherman family lived perched on the hill, Playa Rincon has now become a popular beach destination for locals and tourists alike.

Today, you can find several local restaurant stands by the beach where you can order plates of fresh seafood while admiring the beautiful ocean views.

But what really makes this beach special? Is that it begins where a crystal clear blue river ends. From here you can hire a canoe captain to take you through the lush river or rent a kayak and go exploring on your own.

This river alone is a treat and a quiet respite from the lively beach on a weekend! Avoid holidays unless you love the lively holiday buzz of many local families and visitors.

42. Go Whale Watching in Samana

The Samana Bay area is considered one of the best places in the world to watch humpback whales in their natural mating grounds. This is the perfect family excursion for kids and adults alike.

Take a boat onto the Atlantic Sea to see the humpback whales as they migrate back to this region of the Dominican Republic to mate. You’ll see their courting songs and flips into the air while learning about the whales.

Beware: If the waters are choppy, the boats can rock up and down several feet into the air. This caused a handful of people (including myself) to get terrible seasickness on the boat. I used to work on a boat every summer and never got sick so I’m not sensitive to it; that’s just how intense the water can get.

We really liked that the folks at Whale Samana warned us about it that week. They will tell you if it’s risky or not (for your stomach).

43. Fulfill Your Childhood Dreams By Staying in a Treehouse Retreat

Disconnect from the world, book a tree house at Dominican Tree House Village, and let the folks there take care of you. This all-inclusive stay offers access to zip-lining, beaches, waterfalls, bike rentals, and your meals.

You will be sleeping in the open-air lush jungle of Samana. So bring a good book to read at night because there will be no social media scrolling here. This is one of the coolest places to stay in the Dominican Republic!

XII. Santiago: Best Things to Do in the Second Largest City

Check out our guide to the 50+ best things to do in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Below is a little preview of Cuidad Corazon!

44. Visit El Centro Leon – One of the Best Museum Cultural Centers in the Caribbean

Santiago’s rich background offers an array of things to do and places to see. And very high on the list is a visit to el Cultural Center Eduardo León Jimenes Centro Leon. Here, you will see museum collections/exhibition spaces on Dominican culture, history, heritage, science, anthropology, and art; as well as fun events and workshops.

We have even dedicated an entire guide to this very cool museum in Santiago: Visiting Centro Leon written by our local writer who used to work there!

45. Go on a Tobacco Farm & Cigar Tasting Tour

The Santiago region is home to some of the world’s best tobacco farms, coining the region as our “Cigar Capital.” Today, thousands of tourists visit the area every year, where local tobacco factories produce some of the world’s finest cigars. 

If you’d love to learn about Dominican cigars, consider going on a tour to visit tobacco farms and taste some of the finest cigars. Here are some tours/guides that you can book below.

  • Villa Gonzalez Cigar Tours: Santiago local, Ryan Bowen of Atlas Travelers organizes tours in collaboration with communities in the tobacco farms and factories. He hosts all-inclusive packages and informational tour experiences in English or Spanish. Tell them Isabelle sent you!
  • Cigars and Rum Tour: From Punta Cana, this tour takes you to the VegaFina cigar factory and the Ron Barcelo distillery, lunch, and beverages are included. The minimum age is 18 years.
  • Don Lucas Cigar Tour: A small factory yet award winner, with a fully equipped boutique store located in Punta Cana. They offer a free tour and have other spaces to check out while you’re there, a small tour promoting cacao and coffee products, a rum tasting and bar, and a gift shop with local handmade products.
  • Cigar Country Tours: Taking you to all the main factories like La Flor Dominicana, Montecristo, Romeo & Julieta, La Aurora, and more! Located in La Romana (DR) they can arrange pick up and drop-off to and from your hotel.

XIII. Monte Cristi: Things to Do in the Dominican Republic

46. Visit Maximo Gomez’ House

Monte Cristi is home to some of the most impactful colonial history in Latin America — from being one of the first colonial cities in the Americas to having critical ties with Cuba’s independence thanks to Maximo Gomez. This alone is reason enough to check out his home/museum to gain a deeper insight into Dominican history and its connection with our Latino neighbors as well as how it affects us all today. That’s why, if you enjoy learning about history, this is definitely one of the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic.

47. Island Hopping from Isla Cabra to Cayo 7 Hermanos

Isla Cabra is an uninhabited island that offers little hikes, naturally shaded areas for picnics, and a beautiful emerald-green beach all to yourself. What more can you ask for when looking for Dominican Republic things to do? You can reach Isla Cabra’s Playa Paraiso by taking a boat which you can hire at the town fishing dock.

If you’re already on a boat tour going through the canals and Isla Cabra (#2 above), you may be interested in paying for the full-day excursion and head to Cayo 7 Hermanos.

This group of uninhabited island keys is also within the Monte Cristi National Park region. They are comprised of: Terrero, Monte Grande, Ratas, Muertos, Arenas, Tororu, and Monte Chico – easily making this one of the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic.

48. Hike to El Morro & El Morro Beach

This iconic view is probably what you get when you google Monte Cristi. Tall limestone mountainous cliffs surround the golden shores of El Morro beach. There are at least three hikes you can do here for beautiful views from above or you can walk down to the beach to see the views from below. Both are stunning.

At night you can also get some mesmerizing views of the night sky. Perfect for astrophotographers. The paths here are rocky, so bring proper shoes if you don’t have strong ankles. This is just one of several reasons to visit Monte Cristi in the Dominican Republic.

XIV. Things to Do in the Dominican Republic: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Dominican Republic known for?

The Dominican Republic is known for its pristine beaches and vibrant culture, making it a popular Caribbean destination for tourists.

Why do tourists visit the Dominican Republic?

The Dominican Republic flaunts many amazing places to visit, including beautiful beaches, amazing mountains, and breathtaking waterfalls. Aside from possessing rich culture and history, the country also boasts a nice tropical climate and delicious traditional food.

Is the Dominican Republic good for tourists?

Aside from the country offering a range of beautiful places to see, Dominicans are hospitable toward tourists. You’ll be blown away! If you’re wondering about visiting the country, here are some things to know before traveling to the Dominican Republic for the first time.

How safe is Dominican Republic to travel right now?

The Dominican Republic is generally a safe place to travel in. Most crimes in involve petty theft such as pickpocketing, but I never encountered any. Needless to say, you should always take precautions when traveling, anywhere. It’s best to always stay alert of your surroundings and don’t flash your belongings.

Is the Dominican Republic safe for a single woman?

As a female solo traveler who has moved around the Dominican Republic via various modes of transportation and has never had any issues with crime in the country, I can confidently say that the country is safe for single women.

Still, take extra precautions, avoid talking to most local men, and dress modestly when walking outside.

What is the safest city to visit in the Dominican Republic?

As I mentioned, the Dominican Republic is a generally safe place for tourists. Most crimes happen in the major cities of Santo Domingo and Santiago. The community values of smaller places make it safer. Because everyone knows each other, they wouldn’t dare get caught doing anything.

Having stayed in Santo Domingo, I saw that there are tons of expats there, in addition to all the tourists stopping by!

Is it cheap to vacation in the Dominican Republic?

Traveling in the Dominican Republic is affordable. It is considerably cheaper than in other Caribbean countries. You could rent a nice condo apartment (with pool and parking) in Santo Domingo for about $900/month while a 15-minute Uber ride can cost you between $3-$10. In terms of food, you can get an entire plate of rice, salad, beans, and pollo guisado and a soda for as low was $6!

What are some things to do in the Dominican Republic for families?

For families visiting the Dominican Republic, one of the best things to do is whale watching in Samana. Kids and adults will enjoy this excursion!

Why is Punta Cana so popular?

Punta Cana appeals to travelers for it’s breathtaking beaches and nice all-inclusive resorts. There are so many exciting things to do here and it offers many day trip opportunities to surrounding natural gems!

Is Punta Cana safe to walk around?

Yes, it is safe to walk around in Punta Cana. But always keep an eye out and be careful with your valuables because petty theft still occur as in other places.

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26 thoughts on “48 Fun & Beautiful Things to Do in the Dominican Republic

  1. Jyoti says:

    I’ve always found DR to be so interesting. I’d love to visit some day. Thanks for the information, especially the local guides list to support the locals.

  2. Richa says:

    Love how you have broken down the point of attractions by regions. I would love to visit DR someday and this guide would be my go to for planning!

  3. Random Guy says:

    Hi. Numbers 14 and 15 are in Monte Plata (center east) but your map says Montecristi (far northwest) . That’s pretty far.

    • Isabelle says:

      Hello there! I just updated it to reflect the Monta Plata map. I accidentally posted the Monte Cristi graphic twice. THANK YOU SO MUCH for letting me know!!! Whew!

  4. Joshua says:

    Hello Isabelle. My family and i will be visiting Punta Cana Nickelodeon Resort in August and we are big on immersing ourselves into the dominican culture through food. Do you have any suggestions for me in Higuey or near our resort in case we don’t make it to Santo Domingo?

  5. Stephanie D. says:

    Thank you for taking the time to invest your time and passion into all these entries! You’re dope and keep on doing what you are doing! These have been super helpful and look forward to visiting many on my next DR tour. It has served as a push for me to go forth and follow my travel guide passion and ventures as well.

  6. Eric says:

    Great places to visit but why emphise so much on Afro— the DR is a vast combination of heritages, nationality and culture from Europe, Asia, África amongst other countries. Try to look from another angle.

    • Carolina says:

      This is very rich coming from a white person. Eric you should focus all that energy in educating other white men like you to not come to DR to exploit our people and pay them pennies. And don’t even make me start talking about how DR is a sexual tourism paradise for men like you (even for sex with underage girls and boys) and how much access you have to our land and resources. Your should mind your business and take your anti-blackness elsewhere because you’re not the one to tell US what our heritage is. It’s baffling how entitled you are Sr, but again: that’s how imperialist and racist people operate. All this spare time dedicated to throw shade on black pride in the DR is so typical of misinformed White people. Yet another gringo coming to tell us how to regard ourselves as a Black Country. Please take a seat Sr. Smh.

    • Isabelle says:

      Hi Eric, I find it telling that you are offended by the fact that 2 things (out of a list of 40 things to do in DR) are Afro-heritage cultural experiences… In a country that is significantly rooted in West African heritage. An African history that’s been intentionally and systemically erased for hundreds of years. Despite the fact that we were the second country in the Americas to abolish the enslavement of Africans. And despite the fact that at one point on the island, enslaved Africans outnumbered everyone else (European/Native Americans).

      Politely, I must also note that perhaps you have to check your internalized racism and see a therapist for taking the time to spew your own self-hate/resentment on a beautiful post celebrating the gems of our amazing country. Moreover, you can also start by educating yourself as we just posted an article dedicated to the disease you are dealing with: Understanding Blackness (Negritude) in the Dominican Republic. Wishing you a lot of peace and healing.

      Frightenly, Mr.Eric Conway, I just checked your IP address/email and I see you are a white man currently in the Dominican Republic. Whewf. A white man trying to whitesplain my own heritage. Here’s another article for you to read, Eric: Expats Living in the Dominican Republic.

  7. Paul says:

    Wonderful list and great work. But Montecristi in my opinion is too low. I’ve been to most on your list and Montecristi is perhaps the most beautiful views ever. On par with Greece.

    • Isabelle says:

      the list isn’t in order of which is the best. its a list of the best 40+ things. and the numbers are used for formating.

  8. Ty says:

    Isabella, will be there next week thank you for the maps and tons of places that we may be able to check out in the 6 days we are there. And thanks for the quick blurb on Punta Canta for the omission that also helped a lot. Continue representing and beautiful in spirit and presentation of your wonderful heritage and homeland! TyS

  9. Meli says:

    Hi Isabell, just read your guide. Wonderfully written and a lot of helpful tipps and amazing places to visit. How are the streets there? Is it possible to get around in a rental car? We wanna visit the whole island and hopping around and avoiding the big all-inclusive-resorts.

    • Isabelle says:

      I don’t recommend a car rental in places like Santo Domingo or the capital. There’s a crazy learning curve to both major cities. Outside of that you can rent a car. Just do not drive at night!

  10. Hayley says:

    Hi Isabelle, I am interested in the food tour to your family farm but can’t find any information, is this still available? Thanks!

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