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Dominican Republic Travel Guide

Looking for an in-depth Dominican Republic travel guide?

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Located on the east side of the island of Hispaniola is the Dominican Republic, a lively nation with a rich history and plenty of natural splendor to enjoy.

The country is most famous among travelers for its beautiful beachside resorts, but there is so much more to explore in the Dominican Republic! From incredible treks through underground caves to exploring well-preserved colonial cities, you can design the perfect Caribbean vacation in the Dominican Republic.

While the island was inhabited by the Taino people for many years, it is probably best known among tourists as Christopher Columbus’s first landing spot in the Americas. The country was then occupied by Spain until first declaring independence in 1821.

As such, the Dominican Republic’s major cities are highly influenced by Spanish culture. You can see this on display as you explore the architecture of Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial. At this UNESCO World Heritage site, you’ll find Spanish-style plazas, centuries-old churches and fortresses, and plenty of al fresco dining and shops.

Outside of the cities, the Dominican Republic is home to some of the most beautiful natural sites you’ll ever see, even beyond the beach.

At the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park & Reserve, you can swim in freshwater lagoons and spot native wildlife as you hike through the park.

Additionally, the country has many caves to explore, like the breathtaking Cueva de las Maravillas. And of course, you can’t miss the Parque Nacional del Este and Saona Island, where you can enjoy time on the beach without the hustle and bustle of the resort crowds.

Keep reading to dive into resources that will help you with planning a trip to the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean.

Note: This guide to Dominican Republic travel contains affiliate links to trusted partners!

Dominican Republic Map

Use this Dominican Republic travel map to start planning your trip!

Dominican Republic map

Click here for an interactive version of the above Google Map.

Punta Cana Travel Guide

Discover the best Punta Cana attractions & experiences!

Best Things To Do In The Dominican Republic

Learn about the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic as well as the top attractions in this stunning Caribbean destination.

Dominican Republic Travel Tips

Plan the perfect trip with the help of this Dominican Republic travel advice.

Caribbean Travel Tips

Make your Caribbean vacation even more memorable with the help of the following travel guides!

Top Dominican Republic Tours

Book a Dominican Republic tour and get to know the culture through a local.

  • Macao Beach Surf Lessons from Punta Cana
  • Cayo Arena Day Trip with Hotel Pickup from Puerto Plata
  • Canyoning The Magic Mushroom from Cabarete
  • Puerto Plata City Tour from Cabarete
  • Full-Day Excursion in Saona Island from Punta Cana

Renting A Car In The Dominican Republic

Need a rental car for your Dominican Republic trip?

Use Discover Cars to quickly compare your car rental options.

Their comparison tool does the homework for you, so there’s no need to have up 10+ tabs trying to figure out which company is the most affordable. Actually, you can save up to 70% using their tool!

Dominican Republic Hotels

Click here to browse hotels in the Dominican Republic!

Prefer self-contained stays? 

Click here to check out unique local rentals!

You can also use this map to search for local stays:

Dominican Republic Travel Insurance

It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling solo or with a group on a Dominican Republic tour. When visiting the Dominican Republic — or any other country in the world — make sure to get travel insurance to protect your health and safety.

In my opinion, the best travel medical insurance for travelers is SafetyWing as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage — including coverage if you’re traveling for months as well as limited coverage in your home country).

Additionally, SafetyWing is budget-friendly and offers $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.

With coverage, you’ll have peace of mind as you embark on your Dominican Republic itinerary.

Click my referral link here to price out travel insurance for your trip in just a few clicks.

Dominican Republic Travel Guide FAQ

Below, find answers to frequently asked questions about enjoying a Dominican Republic vacation.

Q: What are some of the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic?

The Dominican Republic is home to miles of incredible shoreline with white sand and clear blue waters. The island’s most popular beach destinations include Punta Cana, where many luxury resorts line the shore, and Playa Dorada, which boasts a more tranquil feel. There’s also the laidback town of Cabarete where you can dine right on the beach and try your hand at kiteboarding.

Beyond the beach, ecotourism is a big draw in the Dominican Republic. Enjoy adventure travel by exploring Jarabacoa, an inland town with gorgeous waterfalls and unmissable opportunities for hiking and rafting. Those looking to spot some wildlife will also love Parque Nacional del Este and Isla Saona, home to sea turtles, dolphins, and many different species of birds.

The Dominican Republic also has a rich history and culture worth exploring. Head to Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial to check out old colonial buildings and dine al fresco next to centuries-old ruins.

For a more modern look at daily Dominican life, check out Las Terrenas, a vibrant beachfront city with French cafes and small dirt roads.

Q: Is the Dominican Republic safe for travel?

Your level of safety in the Dominican Republic will depend on where you’re staying. The more tourist-friendly resort destinations are heavily policed and are generally considered safer than the cities; however, crime is prevalent throughout the country.

Keep valuables locked away in a safe location to avoid pickpockets, stay alert in large crowds, and try not to wear anything that will attract too much attention.

At beaches and resorts, don’t leave your drink unattended and think before accepting drinks from strangers.

Many beaches on the island also lack lifeguards and the ocean surrounding the island can have strong undertows. Read up on surf conditions before heading out for a swim.

Q: Is independent travel to the Dominican Republic safe?

While the Dominican Republic’s resorts are generally considered the “safer” travel option, independent travel is still relatively safe. Independent travel certainly requires a bit more vigilance than the “fly and flop” option and there are definitely areas to avoid, but it is a viable way of seeing the country.

The Dominican Republic is a great option for solo travel in the Caribbean, too.

Q: Is it safe to drive around the Dominican Republic?

Driving can be confusing and dangerous in the smaller towns, so it’s recommended to drive on the highways and leave the car parked once at your destination.

You can save 70% on your car rental by using the Discover Cars comparison site. In the towns, you can use motoconchos (motorbikes) to get around for $1 for short trips.

Additionally, you can hire a car with a local driver, which can be budget-friendly for groups.

Q: What are the best tourist attractions in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic?

There’s plenty to do beyond the resorts of Punta Cana! Get an adrenaline rush at Scape Park, where you can swim in the gorgeous Hoyo Azul, zip line through the forest, interact with wildlife, and learn about the native Taino culture.

Other ideas:

Get a taste of Italy at Altos de Chavon, a replica Italian village along the Chavon River featuring a design school and archaeological museum. Parque Nacional del Este is also not far from Punta Cana, and you won’t want to miss this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Here are some additional tips for planning the perfect Punta Cana itinerary!

Q: Do I need a visa to visit the Dominican Republic?

United States citizens, as well as those of many other countries, do not need a visa to visit the Dominican Republic. You will need to purchase a Tourist Card either before your trip or upon arrival at the airport. Many tour operators include the price of the Tourist Card in their packages, so check with your provider before you go.

It’s recommended to view your country’s Dominican Republic International Travel Information page for the most up-to-date information on entry and exit requirements. You can also contact the Embassy of the Dominican Republic.

Q: What are the best months to visit the Dominican Republic?

The best months to visit the Dominican Republic are typically December through mid-April to avoid the rainy season, which is late April through October.

Q: What is the best place to vacation in the Dominican Republic?

Personally, I recommend doing a road trip of the Dominican Republic’s southwest coast.

Along the way, you can stop in places like Barahona, Eco del Mar, and Ocoa Bay, as well as at the Oviedo Lagoon and Wildlife Sanctuary within the Jaragua National Park, one of the top attractions in the Dominican Republic.

Q: Are credit cards accepted in the Dominican Republic?

Major credit cards, particularly Mastercard and Visa, are accepted around the Dominican Republic, though it’s recommended to carry some cash for making purchases from smaller restaurants and street stalls.

Q: Where is the Dominican Republic’s international airport?

There are eight international airports in the Dominican Republic, including:

  • Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) in Cabeza de Toro
  • Las Américas International Airport (SDQ) in Santo Domingo Este
  • Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP) in Puerto Plata
  • La Romana International Airport (LRM) in La Romana
  • Cibao International Airport (STI) in Santiago de los Caballeros
  • Samaná El Catey International Airport (AZS) in Samaná
  • La Isabela International Airport (JBQ) in North Santo Domingo

Q: What is the local currency in the Dominican Republic?

The local currency in the Dominican Republic is the Dominican peso (DOP).

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things to do in in the Dominican Republic
Best Things To Do In The Dominican Republic