Picture this: white sand beaches, postcard-perfect blue waters, and an irresistible laidback island vibe. Hooked? You should be. If these best cities in the Dominican Republic aren’t on your bucket list of must-see islands, we highly suggest you add it ASAP.
This Caribbean island is known for its nightlife, miles of beautiful beaches, stunning nature, and amazing hotels and all-inclusive resorts. However, one of the best parts of the Dominican Republic is that you don’t have to break the bank to get there. There is often discounted airfare available to fly there and there are plenty of great accommodations for every budget.
We’ve been going to the Dominican Republic for more than a decade now, and can’t say enough great things about them.
Whether you want to relax on the beach and nod off to the sound of gentle ocean waves or feel the urge to check out the club scene and dance the night away, there’s something for everyone in the Dominican Republic.
If this is your first time exploring the Dominican Republic, we highly recommend booking through a company like Cheap Caribbean because they take care of the quality control- and packages often include airfare hotel and transfers on the group.
Here are the best cities in the Dominican Republic that we love:
Puerto Plata translates to “port of silver” and for good reason. When you visit make sure to take note of the beautiful silver color the sunset creates on the coastline of this stunning beach town. Puerto Plata neighbors the more well-known Punta Cana (a hot spot for all-inclusive lodging and destination weddings) and is more laidback and relaxed.
In addition to the magnificent beaches of the Dominican Republic’s north coast or the fun and lively vibe you’ll find on the Malecón boardwalk, Puerto Plata also carries a rich history. This can be seen in the remains of the colonial architecture that can be found in Puerto Plata’s historic district. Relax on the beach, hit up the boardwalk, and take in the magnificent scenery. Puerto Plata is the perfect getaway, has some of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic, not to mention it’s only a short flight away from the capital, Santo Domingo and most North American east coast cities.
Where to Stay:
- Emotions By Hodelpa: Located in Playa Dorada, Emotions not only offers the beautiful sunrises but also the perfect vibe for the Caribbean vacation. The relaxed and laidback atmosphere lets you create the vacation that you have in your mind. While the resort is family-friendly, there are specific adult-only pools that you can lounge at. With multiple delicious restaurants, a cute cafe, white sand beaches, and multiple pools spread out around the property, you’re in for a treat. and We also recommend getting up early to grab breakfast while watching the sunrise. We highly recommend grabbing dinner at the Oregano- this elevated Dominican restaurant was one of our favorites.
THINGS TO DO IN PUERTO PLATA
- Mount Isabel de Torres: Take in the breathtaking views atop Mount Isabel de Torres. This 2600-foot mountain top offers the best way to take in the city, beaches, and the surrounding landscape. You won’t regret waking up early to catch the sunrise to snap a truly stunning and Gram-worthy shot.
- Lounge on Playa Dorado: Playa Dorado is the main beach in Puerto Plata and where many of the hotels and all-inclusive resorts are located. Catch some sun, snorkel in the crystal clear water, and enjoy the live Merengue music that is constantly playing.
- Damajagua Waterfalls: Damajagua Waterfalls is a can’t-miss natural attraction in Puerto Plata. Adventurous nature lovers will love suiting up with a helmet and lifejacket and swimming, jumping, or sliding their way downstream. There’s a 20-foot drop at la Tinajita – definitely not for you if you suffer from vertigo!
- Zipline Tour: Fly through the jungle like a monkey and get your heartbeat racing with an adventure tour that will take you through a series of guided ziplines. Take in the scenery while you glide through the air and rush from base to base.
- Day Trip to Cabarete: Ever thought about kiteboarding? Cabarete is the place to try it! Cabarete is full of young and energetic travelers with a penchant for adventure. Besides the warm water, you’ll find excellent conditions for kiteboarding and other water sports. Throw in some awesome cafes, tasty restaurants, and local shops and you have yourself a recipe for the perfect day trip.
- Explore the historic district: Puerto Plata’s core is full of history- from beautiful, vibrant Victorian buildings (one of Caribbean’s largest collections), to the shops and restaurants. We recommend starting at San Felipe Cathedral and walking in each direction to get a better sense of the place.
Suitable for families, couples, and divers alike, La Romana is an ideal destination for a getaway for a wide variety of travelers. Known for its upscale and chic accommodations, beautiful beaches, and plenty of options to choose from when it comes to things to do, La Romana is an island hopper’s dream. You’ll find many all-inclusive resorts to choose from in La Romana, not to mention the fascinating history and plenty of exciting activities to choose from.
Where to Stay:
- Dreams Dominicus: Dreams Dominicus in La Romana is an award-winning all-inclusive resort. The beautifully decorated rooms come with balconies or terraces and you’ll have no shortage of restaurants to select from when you visit. Boasting 7 restaurants, 8 bars, a buffet, 2 bistros, and a cafe you are bound to leave with a satisfied stomach. Relax on the beach, try your luck in the casino, and work off your indulgences in the gym (or skip the gym and head to the spa, who are we to judge?).
We highly recommend upgrading to the Preferred Club if possible (benefits include free internet use, free wireless access, continental breakfast, appetizers and light snacks served in the Preferred Club lounge all day, a dedicated concierge staff, improved rooms, upgraded bathroom amenities, and premium drinks being served in the Preferred Club pool area).
Things to do in La Romana
- Altos de Chavon: Altos de Chavon is a 16th-century Mediterranean village that travelers can visit. Regarded as a cultural center for artists, you’ll find amazing designs, pottery, weaving, and other art forms on display. Normally it’s $25 per person but if you ask your hotel to email them early in the morning for access, that rate comes down to $6/pp. We recommend grabbing lunch there if you get a chance.
- Cueva de Las Maravillas: If you enjoy visiting national parks, make sure you visit Cueva de Las Maravillas. This nature reserve offers cave drawings from indigenous tribes and guided tours that will tell you more about the rich history of the area.
- Go snorkeling: You’d be hard-pressed to find a more stunning underwater than on this tour of Catalina Island- the crystal clear blue waters makes it a snorkeler’s dream.
- Minitas Beach: Hop on a golf cart and make your way to Minitas Beach. Whether you want to shoot 18 or lounge on the beach with a cocktail, you’ll be able to do it in total relaxation.
- Take a day trip to Saona Island: We highly recommend spending the day on a catamaran, dancing, tanning, drinking, and finally spending a few hours on one of the best beaches we’ve seen. Lunch is included, and very much worth your time!
Get ready to relax in luxury on the white sand beaches of Punta Cana. The sunsets and views from the beach will leave you breathless further cement your love story with the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana is known for its all-inclusive resorts and is what usually comes to mind when people think of the perfect Caribbean getaway. It certainly lives up to its reputation and you’re guaranteed to leave tan, happy, and totally relaxed.
WHERE TO STAY IN PUNTA CANA
- Breathless Punta Cana: Looking for that perfect sunrise, great amenities, and great food options? Well, Breathless Punta Cana is the place for you. Not only does it have one of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic, but it also has a stunning sunrise scene to match! We loved the adults-only pool, all of the restaurant options (including the cafe that had our favorite cheesecake. This is one of the other resorts that we recommend upgrading to the Xhale package because you get a private beach area, access to different restaurants for breakfast, and your own butler (who makes life so easy!)
THINGS TO DO IN PUNTA CANA
- Jeep Safari Tour: Although Punta Cana is known for its relaxing and tranquil vibes, that doesn’t mean you can’t get your adrenaline pumping with a Jeep Safari tour! Get up close and personal with the neighboring jungles to see wildlife in its natural habitat and check out sugar cane and rice fields.
- Relax on Bavaro Beach: Bavaro Beach is accessible from all of the Punta Cana all-inclusive resorts and is the best place to head to for a day of fun in the sun. Gentle breezes over the white sand will leave you in a peaceful mood – so peaceful in fact that you won’t want to move!
- Learn to surf: Whether you’ve never been on a surfboard in your life or you’re an old-time pro, hit the waves off of Punta Cana for an unforgettable experience. There are plenty of surf lessons and surf camps to choose from if you’re a newbie who wants a little assistance.
- Explore Scape Park: Filled with hidden swimming caves, waterfalls, and animals, Scape Park is a full day’s adventure just waiting to happen. Just heads that it does take a bit to get there in the morning, but we recommend getting there early (there are 2 pickup times) so you can have the place to yourself. Also, don’t forget the mosquito spray. Trust us on this.
- Go on a day cruise: What’s better than hanging out on a catamaran with unlimited drinks, great music in the beautiful sunshine? Nothing. Nothing is better than that.
Maybe you’ve never been to the Dominican Republic. Or maybe you just can’t wait to get back because there’s so much to see and do. We hope this guide to the best cities in the Dominican Republic will help you narrow down your destinations!
This post is sponsored by Cheap Caribbean, but the opinions (and the infinite love for the Dominican Republic) is all ours!