The Dominican Republic offers all the ingredients you need for the perfect Caribbean honeymoon.
With its magnificent beaches, crystal clear waters, all-inclusive yet inexpensive resorts, numerous land- and water-based activities, zesty merengue music and lively nightlife, this lush mountainous island is one of the most popular and affordable destinations in the Caribbean.
Unwind on the idyllic palm-fringed beaches of Punta Cana, a 56km-long strip of interconnected white-sand beaches located at the eastern tip of the island in a region popularly known as the Costa del Coco (or Coconut Coast).
Alternatively, sunbathe on the golden-sand beaches of Playa Dorado, part of a 121km-long strip of beachfront on the northwest coast known collectively as the Amber Coast, centred around Puerto Plata (or Silver Port).
In the capital, Santo Domingo, walk in the footsteps of Cortés and Columbus while exploring the narrow cobbled streets of the Colonial Zone, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to the New World's first cathedral, university and hospital.
Browse for designer clothing in Piantini and hand-rolled Dominican cigars and local handicrafts made with amber on Calle El Conde.
With its rich fusion of Spanish and African heritage, Santo Domingo is one of the Caribbean’s liveliest cities after dark: enjoy a flutter at one of several casinos, savour spicy local cuisine in the Zona Colonial and party hard at numerous nightclubs, dancing to exciting merengue music – perfect for fun-loving honeymoon couples.
Explore on foot the lushly forested interior and mountain ranges of the Dominican Republic and hike to the summit of Pico Duarte (3098m), the highest mountain in the Caribbean.
Alternatively, take in breathtaking views of the Atlantic and Puerto Plata from Mount Isabel de Torres after riding the cable car to the 793m-high summit, which features a replica of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.
Go white water rafting on the Río Yaque del Norte in Jarabacoa and try the sport of cascading in the waterfalls of the Cascada del Limón, Cascada Ojo de Agua and El Salto de Jimenoa.
Encounter wildlife such as American crocodiles, pink flamingos and various species of iguana on Cabritos Island, a national park in the centre of Lake Enriquillo.
Explore the underwater world of the north coast and La Caleta National Underwater Park, swim with dolphins in the themed Manatí Park near Punta Cana or hook up a charter for marlin, sailfish and bonito.
The Dominican Republic is the second-largest country of the Caribbean and occupies the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola, the island it shares with Haiti.
Columbus called Hispaniola ‘the most beautiful island in the world’ after discovering the island on his very first voyage to the New World in 1492.
The Dominican Republic offers an excellent choice of gorgeous beaches along its 1400km-long coastline.
Enjoy creature comforts at the vast Playa Dorada Complex near Puerto Plata, which features a choice of 15 all-inclusive beachfront hotels.
Then explore the picture-perfect northern coast by hire car: the region is indented with numerous secluded and active beaches around Sosúa (great snorkelling), Cabarete (excellent kite and wind surfing) and Cabrera (for the best surfing).
Some of the island’s best historical sights are just a short drive away from Puerto Plata and the region is famous for its large deposits of semi-precious stones featuring amber, which make for great souvenirs.
The historical city of Santo Domingo is short on beaches, but the resort area of Boca Chica is just 31km from the city centre and offers several beachfront hotels.
If historical sights are not your interest and you prefer to unwind in one locale, head to the bustling east coast beach strip centred around Punta Cana (above photo), featuring a choice of gorgeous, palm-fringed white-sand beaches shelving into gin-clear waters.
Or try one of the mainly undeveloped and uncrowded beaches around La Romana on the southeast coast.
The best beaches in the Dominican Republic, include…
(North Coast) – Pick your own spot to sunbathe on this wide, 3.4km-long, pale golden sand beach that curves around a wide bay facing the clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Go swimming and windsurfing or snorkelling at the rocky headlands. Ride a horse along the shore or tee-off at the 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr-designed Playa Dorado championship golf course.
This recently refurbished palm-fringed beach is lined with a choice of 15 hotels, three casinos, three banks, a large shopping mall, dance clubs and numerous bars and restaurants that spread over a 20km-long stretch of beachfront.
Splash out in style at the elegant Casa Colonial Beach and Spa Resort, probably the most prestigious hotel in the Dominican Republic. Facilities such as towels, umbrellas and sun loungers are provided for hotel guests; otherwise they can be hired from beachside concession stands.
Water sports include waterskiing, sailing, kayaking, parasailing and fishing.
Playa Dorada is the primary beach destination on the north coast and is located a 10-minute drive east of Puerto Plata and just 18km from Puerto Plata’s International Gregorio Luperon Airport.
(North Coast) – Unwind on the wide golden sands of this 1km-long palm-fringed beach that faces a small cove framed by the Ocean World marine and water park to the west and low grass- and palm-covered cliffs to the east.
Come for a day and join the locals who often turn this popular beach into a giant weekend party scene with barbeques and merengue dancing. Or stay longer at the beachfront Sun Village Resort and Spa, which offers a range of facilities including umbrellas, sun loungers and a beach bar.
Visit the Ocean World Adventure Park to see dolphin and sea lion shows, snorkel with rainbow-hued tropical fish, pet a nurse shark or sting ray and perhaps (if you’re brave) feed a Bengal tiger.
Playa Cofresi is 5km east of Puerto Plata.
(North Coast) – Unwind on the golden sands of this 450m-long beach that shelves into the calm waters of Sosúa Bay.
The beach offers perfect conditions for swimming, snorkelling over the offshore coral gardens and scuba diving at the nearby wreck, canyons and wall.
The shrub- and palm-fringed beach sits between tree-covered rocky outcrops. Facilities include umbrellas, sun loungers, snack bars and water sports equipment for hire from beachside concession stands.
Come for a day or stay at the colonial-style beachfront Sosúa Bay Hotel or La Puntilla de Piergiorgio Hotel, which sits on a rocky promontory overlooking the beach. Playa Sosúa is 24km east of Puerto Plata, a 20-minute drive.
(North Coast) – Choose from three golden-sand beaches that lie just over the cliff-top promontory from Playa Sosúa, stretching 1.2km northeast along the coast.
The first is a picture-perfect 80m-wide strip of sand that stretches for 200m beneath tree-clad cliffs flanked by rocky headlands.
The second palm-fringed strip sits between the Casa Marina Beach Reef Resort and calm turquoise waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkelling the rocky headlands.
To find a more secluded section, you can simply walk north and relax in the sun beneath a wild and pristine tree-fringed beach.
Facilities such as umbrellas and sun loungers are available from the three resorts that front this gorgeous beach.
Water sports equipment including snorkelling gear, windsurfer boards and sailboats can be rented from one of the many water sports kiosks.
Playa Casa Marina is 25km east of Puerto Plata.
(North Coast) – Stretching for more than 2km along the coast, this tree-lined beach is the region’s best surfing beach. It is also great for beachcombing along the unspoiled golden sands.
Playa Encuentro is around 25km east of Puerto Plata and 5km east of Sosúa.
(North Coast) – This is the best beach for wind and kite surfing in the Dominican Republic.
Take your own rig or hire one from the numerous beachside instructors, who also offer lessons if required.
The windiest month on Kite Beach is March. Beachside facilities include bars and restaurants. Come for the day or stay longer at the Sosúa Bay Resort.
Kite Beach is 2km east of Cabarete.
(North Coast) – Escape the more crowded beaches on a trip to this quiet golden-sand beach that edges a small cove framed by the dramatic-tree covered cliffs of the Parque Nacional Cabo Francis.
Go swimming, snorkelling and beachcombing. Take your own food and drinks, as there are no facilities.
Playa El Breton is around 7km east of Cabrera.
(North Coast) – Unwind on this 1.2km-long white sand beach that sits between swaying palm trees and the clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
While you can go swimming, the beach is better known among locals for its excellent windsurfing, scuba diving and snorkelling.
Come on a day trip or stay longer at the Luperon Beach Resort. Facilities include umbrellas, sun loungers and water sports equipment for hire.
Apart from the hotel, there are several beachside bars where you can also order food.
Luperón Beach lies about an 80-minute drive west of Puerto Plata.
(North Coast) – Unwind on the picture-perfect golden sands of this 120m-long beach that fringes a sheltered cove framed by tree-covered rocky headlands.
Go swimming and snorkelling in the calm turquoise waters. Facilities include food stands.
Playa Caleton is around 8km west of Playa Grande.
(North Coast) – Dip your toes into the soft pale golden sand of this idyllic 800m-long palm-fringed beach.
Playa Grande stretches between a tree-covered headland and a cliff top that is home to the 14th-hole of the Playa Grande golf course.
Go swimming, windsurfing, surfing and boogie boarding or tee-off from the 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr-designed course.
Come for a day or stay longer at the luxurious, all-inclusive Allegro Playa Grande by Occidental, where you can enjoy a wide range of creature comforts.
Beachside facilities including umbrellas, sun loungers and a bar are provided by the resort.
Playa Grande is located on the north coast, mid-way between Rio San Juan and Cabrera, around a 90-minute drive east of Puerto Plata.
(East Coast) – Pick your own spot to sunbathe and swim from a 56km-long strip of interconnected, palm-fringed white-sand beaches that shelve into warm, tranquil waters.
Sitting where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea, all these beaches are flanked by coconut palms that merge behind beachfront hotels into a tropical jungle that rises up to rolling hills and distant mountain ranges.
Choose from more than 30 hotels and resorts, most of which offer all-inclusive deals and a wide range of facilities and creature comforts. Punta Cana has developed a reputation as one of the most affordable holiday destinations in the Caribbean.
Try the Oscar de la Renta-designed luxurious Punta Cana Resort and Club, part of a sprawling 6000ha residential community fronting 4.8km of white-sand beaches.
Or enjoy the spacious Natura Park Eco Resort and Spa, which faces a shimmering unspoiled white-sand beach set in 32ha of protected parkland.
Water sports include parasailing, kayaking, windsurfing, jet skiing and deep-sea fishing.
Land-based activities include volleyball, soccer, golf (with a choice of five courses), tennis, horseback riding and jeep safaris into the nearby jungle.
Children will especially love the Manati Park Bravaro, which features dolphin, sea lion and talking parrot shows, as well as a replica native Taino village. A bustling shopping mall boasts a range of stores.
After dark, enjoy a flutter at one of several casinos, including the Barcelo Bavaro complex and the Riu Palace Macao. Watch an exciting merengue and bachata musical dance performance or party until the wee hours at one of the many nightclubs and discos.
Punta Cana is located on the east coast and, depending on the resort, is between 15km and 65km from the Punta Cana International Airport.
(Southeast Coast) – Unwind on the clean, golden sands of this small, 400m-long palm-fringed beach that shelves into a calm and protected lagoon near the glamorous Casa de Campo Resort.
The resort boasts four 18-hole golf courses – Golf magazine named Casa de Campo the finest golf resort in the world. This beautiful beach is lined with bars and restaurants and is just a 10-minute shuttle ride from the resort. Facilities include umbrellas and sun loungers.
Playa La Minitas is around 2km west of La Romana.
(Southeast Coast) – Escape the crowds for this gorgeous, undeveloped white-sand beach that stretches in a 900m-long crescent along a palm-fringed shoreline.
Facilities include shade huts, umbrellas and sun loungers for hire.
Water sports such as diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, Hobie Cats and fishing are also available from the beachfront Dreams La Romana Resort, where you can purchase a day pass to use all the amenities.
Visit on a day trip or stay longer at La Romana. While here, visit the Altos de Chavon, a recreated 16th century fortified Italian village complete with cobblestone streets, artist workshops and an archaeological museum.
Playa Bayahibe is around 4km west of La Romana.
(South Coast) – Pick your own spot to sunbathe and swim on this 2.4km-long stretch of white sand that is the principal beach resort near the capital Santo Domingo.
The east end of the beach offers the most facilities, with umbrellas and sun loungers for hire. Swim, snorkel or kayak in the clear shallow waters that stretch out to a natural coral reef. Water sport concession stands dot the beach.
Visit for a day from the city or stay longer at a choice of beachfront resorts, including the Don Juan Beach Resort, Hilton Coral Hamaca and the Oasis Hamaca Resort.
Boca Chica is less than 12km east of the international airport and around 31km from the centre of Santo Domingo.
(South Coast) – Unwind on this attractive crescent of white sand that stretches for 300m around a small palm-fringed cove.
Go swimming and snorkelling in the shallow reef-protected lagoon. Facilities include umbrellas and sun loungers for hire.
Visit for a day or stay longer at the beachfront Barcelo Capella Beach Resort or at the nearby Playa Real Resort.
Playa Barcelo Capella sits in the Juan Dolio region at the centre of a 7.5km-long stretch of white-sand beaches that indent the shoreline around 55km east of Santo Domingo and just a 20-minute drive east of Boca Chica.
The Dominican Republic offers newlyweds an excellent choice of accommodation options to suit all budgets, including the following 5-star hotels…
Eden Roc At Cap Cana
Location: Cap Cana, Punta Cana
Ave nightly price: AUD1,606 per suite
Description: This Punta Cana boutique resort is located in a 30,000-acre resort, which includes two 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf courses and a marina. Each suite features a private outdoor pool and a gazebo. Guests of the Eden Roc At Cap Cana have access to the private members-only Caletón Beach Club. It boasts 2 gourmet restaurants and an outdoor pool. Seafood is available at La Palapa by Eden Roc, and sandwiches and salads can be found at the Pool Restaurant and Bar. Spacious suites are decorated in French, Italian and Spanish design. A 47-inch flat-screen TV, a minibar and a coffee maker are provided. Each suite is surrounded by tropical gardens. The resort offers on-site gourmet cooking lessons, catamaran rides and horseback riding. Fishing trips and boat charters can be arranged. Punta Cana International Airport is a 20-minute drive from the resort. Free airport transportation is included in the price. This hotel is affiliated with Relais & Châteaux.
Location: Higuey, Punta Cana
Ave nightly price: AUD1,344 per suite
Description: Featuring a private beach area in Punta Cana, a swimming pool and rooms with hot tub, this luxury and exclusive resort is half a kilometer from the beach and just 4.8 km from Punta Cana International Airport. The rooms at this AAA Five Diamond Award winner have minimalist style and include a fan, sitting area, flat-screen TV and balcony. The kitchens have a coffee maker and microwave, and the bathrooms are private and include a bathtub, shower and bathrobes. The Tortuga Bay features the Bamboo restaurant with decor from an international designer and serves a fusion of Caribbean and Asian cuisine. The breakfast is free. Activities such as fishing, horseback riding, kite sailing and eco-paddle surfing can be arranged at this hotel. The use of bikes and kayaks is for free. Tortuga Bay is 4.8 km from Punta Cana Village and a 30-minute drive from Bavaro Lagoon. The Manati Park is 19.3 km away and Coral Highway is a 10-minute drive away.
Zoetry Agua Punta Cana
Location: Playa De Uvero Alto, Punta Cana
Ave nightly price: AUD655 per suite
Description: Zoetry Agua Punta Cana is located right on the Dominican Republic’s beautiful Caribbean coast. This luxurious resort features several outdoor pools, a spa and health club, and an open-air restaurant overlooking the beach. Each air-conditioned suite features sleek eco-friendly décor, with vaulted ceilings and natural hardwood floors. They all include a sitting area, a private terrace and a spacious bathroom with a shower, bathtub and free toiletries. The on-site restaurant serves a variety of nutritious, gourmet meals. Guests also receive a free 10-minute wellness or fitness consultation. 24-hour room service is available, and the modern bar serves top-shelf spirits. Activities like snorkeling, horseback riding and billiards can be arranged by the tour desk. The popular surfing beach of Playa del Macao is 8 km from the property. White Stands Golf Course can be reached in a 20-minute drive, and Punta Cana International Airport is just an hour away by car.
Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino
Location: George Washington Ave., Santo Domingo
Ave nightly price: AUD194 per room
Description: Located on the Malecon Avenue near city attractions, beaches and shopping, the Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino overlooks the Caribbean Sea, boasting tropical gardens it also offers a full service Spa. A cable TV, minibar and fridge are equipped in all rooms at Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino. The traditionally styled rooms also include a work desk, coffee maker and in-room safe. Guests of the Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino can dine at Quisqueya Restaurant, which serves International cuisine. Guest can also have a drink or a snack in one of the 3 on-site bars. The Blue Bar & Lounge offers creative cocktails and a light meals. The hotel offers a gym with cardio equipment or tennis courts outside. A business center and meeting facilities are on site for guest use. Car rental desk, concierge and gift shop services are also available. This hotel also offers more than 2000 square metres of business and banquet facilities. The Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino is 3.2 km from the Port of Santo Domingo. The National Palace is one kilometer from the hotel.
Catalonia Santo Domingo
Location: Avenida George Washington, Santo Domingo
Ave nightly price: AUD135 per room
Description: The Catalonia Santo Domingo is a sensational 21-storey building that is located oceanfront at George Washington Avenue, 30 minutes from Las Americas International Airport and only a few minutes away from the shopping district. All rooms are decorated according to our business customers demands and offer free high speed WiFi. Rooms are equipped with a TV. Views of the sea, pool or city are featured in certain rooms. The facilities are complemented with several areas from which you can also enjoy a splendid view: fitness area, restaurant and bars. The privileged views of the Caribbean Sea and the outdoor pool on the 7th floor and an incredible casino are the perfect combination for a wonderful holiday or a business trip. The hotel is located in the Malecon, Blue Mall is 3.3 km from the property. Las Americas Airport is 26 km away.
Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about these and more hotels and resorts in the Dominican Republic at TripAdvisor.
The best time to visit the Dominican Republic is during the dry season between November and April when temperatures average 25°C (77°F), rising to a high of 28°C (82°F).
Despite the heat of summer and occasional rains, the Dominican Republic is a year-round holiday destination.
More information about Dominican weather…
The Dominican Republic is located in the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles region of the Caribbean.
The country sits to the east of Cuba and Jamaica and to the west of Puerto Rico. To the north and north-west lie The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
It is the second-largest Caribbean nation by area (after Cuba) at 48,671 sq km (18,792 sq mi) and occupies the eastern five-eighths of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti.
As the most visited destination in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic boasts eight international airports, receiving daily non-stop flights from major cities in North America and Europe, as well as neighbouring Caribbean countries.
The most convenient route to the Dominican Republic is by air to Las Américas International Airport (SDQ), also known as José Francisco Peña Gómez International Airport, located 38km (23mi) from the capital, Santo Domingo, around 30 minutes by taxi.
The airport is the city’s main point of entry for international air arrivals, and the second-busiest airport in the country. The airport is convenient to the beach resorts of Boca Chica and Juan Dolio.
As well as Santo Domingo, the major resort regions of Puerto Planta, Punta Cana and La Romana each boast an international airport.
Given the size of the island, choosing the right arrival and departure gateway closest to your final destination is crucial.
Hire car, buses and domestic shuttle flights offer the best ways of exploring the Dominican Republic (DR). Public transportation is good, and taxis are available in the cities and towns.
A good network of roads connects the major cities, towns, airports and beach resorts in the Dominican Republic.
More information about how to get around the Dominican Republic…
Latest update: The Dominican Republic : 18 May, 2020
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