Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean country and it’s situated just to the east of Cuba (the largest Caribbean country). Dominican Republic’s claim to fame is that it is home to some of the most luxurious all-inclusive resorts in the world. Millions of people flock to the Southern coast of the country each year to experience the properties for themselves. Dominican Republic offers guaranteed quality at attractive prices and it is conveniently located within a few hours from the United States and under 10 hours from major European cities. But beyond the comfort of the all-inclusive properties of the southern coast, Dominican Republic is a country rich with breathtaking landscapes, marine life, jungles, caves and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. There are colorful towns and delicious local foods, jaw dropping Marinas and a plethora of activities. Much of the latter can be found on the Northeastern Coast of the country and this post will introduce you to some of the best things that you can do in Dominican Republic!
1. Snorkel at El Fronton
El Fronton is one of those places that you see and think “I can’t believe I am in Dominican Republic.” It’s an incredibly remote, picturesque beach surrounded by massive cliffs and bony palm trees. From first glance, it looks like a scene out of the Philippines. You can only reach El Fronton by a boat (local boats are available along the coast) … and you will likely get the pristine beaches all to yourself. Snorkeling there is an absolute must, as a big reef faces the beach directly!
2. Take photos at the colorful Avenida de la Marina
One of Samana Bay’s prettiest attractions is Avenida de la Marina: a charming 2km stretch of colorful houses along the waterfront. It is the perfect place to walk around or catch golden hour on the benches along the promenade. This is easily the heart of Santa Bárbara de Samaná and you’ll see locals and tourists enjoying the lovely views. There are many shops and souvenir shacks, too!
3. Whale Watching in Cayo Levantado
Every year between January and March you can see the Humpback Whale migration in Samaná Bay. Approximately 2,500 whales visit Samaná Bay every year to mate and birth and put on a spectacular show for locals and visitors alike.
4. Go Kiteboarding in Cabarete
While driving through the coast of Cabarete, you will be amazed by the hundreds of kite-surfers soaring through the sky like a flock of migrating birds. Cabarete provides some of the best kitesurfing conditions in the Caribbean due to its warm climate and consistent thermal trade winds. There are a number of beaches suitable for various levels of kiteboarding: Kite Beach, Cabarete, Bay, Encuentro, and La Boca to name a few. There are also many schools – the prices are relatively similar across the board so don’t go price shopping but rather find an instructor that you feel comfortable with!
5. Rent a Catamaran in Sosúa
For me a perfect day is waking up in a warm climate somewhere out in the ocean on a boat or a catamaran. It’s having the freedom to jump in for a swim or to snorkel … to drink crisp rosé … and to be in good company. When you find yourself in Sosúa, I recommend you do just that and book a full-day, sailing tour on a 75-foot catamaran that includes two snorkeling stops. Fun fact: Sosúa was first settled by Jewish immigrants who fled Nazi Germany. Sosúa was home to about 700 Jewish WWII refugees that were welcomed on the Island between 1939 and 1945. There is a synagogue and Jewish Community Museum near the city center!
6. Go Ziplining at Dominican Tree House
The Dominican Tree House Village is a magical property: imagine a luscious tropical jungle with small huts scattered around. There are many picturesque bridges and paths connecting the houses with the amenities like the pool, yoga studio and bar. It is a simple hotel that promotes ecotourism and sustainability. On the property there is a unique zipline that will take you soaring through the jungle! Various price packages exist for accommodation & the zipline (along with other unique activities!)
7. Get Lost in El Choco National Park
El Choco National Park is the heart of Cabarete. Just minutes away from the beach, you can embark on a plethora of hikes, mountain biking, swimming in fresh water lagoons and exploring caves. You can expect to see a wide variety of animals from birds to lizards and the luscious forest is home to fresh cacao, medicinal plants and caves!
8. Explore the colorful historic streets of Puerto Plata
Puerto Plata is arguably the most vibrant town in Dominican Republic, with a collection of preserved 19th-century Victorian style houses. In fact, the photo above is a small shop inside of a 200 year old home! In Puerto Plata, you can ride the [only] tramway in the Caribbean to Pico Isabel de Torres, a 793m high mountain within the city. Puerto Plata’s wealthy history dates back to 1492, when Christopher Columbus caught a glimpse of it from his ship. You will feel that history vibrate through you as the streets of Puerto Plata teleport you hundreds of years back.