Things to do in Dominican Republic

Palm fringed white sandy beaches, water sports, fantastic golf courses, tropical rain forest – the Dominican Republic has it all. More adventurous travellers can trek the Cordillera Central or take a boat trip to watch humpback whales. In contrast the capital city Santo Domingo is chock full of historic interest.

Best things to do and see


In Santiago de los Caballeros, the second largest city on the island, you can watch cigars being rolled at the Leon Jimenez Tobacco Factory which dates back to 1903.

Don Pepe, one of the most traditional restaurants in the Dominican Republic, has been in operation for three decades. It is ranked as one of the top restaurants in Santo Domingo. Don Pepe specialises in traditional Spanish cuisine but also offers international dishes.

Otra Cosa, a French-Caribbean restaurant located in a secluded spot overlooking the sea, offers a pleasant dining experience. It is a great choice for late-night dining.

Throughout the island, especially in the capital of Santo Domingo, you’ll find lots of canteens serving La Bandera, the national dish consisting of rice, red beans and meat.


Wander around the Zona Colonial and enjoy the many historical buildings dating back to the 16th century. Don’t miss the Museo Mundo de Ambar where you can see insects and many other creatures and plants perfectly preserved in Amber.

Watch cigars being rolled at the Leon Jimenez Tobacco Factory which dates back to 1903 It can be found in Santiago de los Caballeros, the second largest city on the island.

Visit the huge Faro a Colon lighthouse just east of the Rio Ozama. Built in the shape of a cross, the building doubles as a mausoleum and museum; the remains of Christopher Columbus were located here.

Fortaleza de San Felipe at Puerto Plata is well worth a visit. It is the oldest colonial fortress in this part of the world and is considered one of the most important colonial military structures in the Caribbean.


There is a wealth of activities offered by operators including diving courses, fishing trips, hikes, mountain bike trips, horse riding and river sports such as kayaking, rafting and tubing.

Cabarete, on the north coast, is a magnet to the surfing community. Here you’ll find windsurfers and kiteboarders taking to the waves in pursuit of their sport.

The warm clear waters off the coast are ideal for snorkelling and there is an abundance of marine life, colourful reefs and the shipwrecks to explore. Many of the dive sites on the southern coast are suitable for less experienced divers.


Watch the humpback whales near the island at Bahia de Samana between January and March, when they come here to give birth.

Enjoy a boat trip across the Laguna Oviedo to see the flamingo colony in the Parque Nacional Jaragua as well as herons, spoonbills and frigate birds.

Tour the botanical gardens with hundreds of different orchid species and a Japanese garden.

Jarabacoa is a good the place to base yourself to explore the mountains, rivers and spectacular waterfalls of the Cordillera Central. It is also the centre for adventure sports.


Whale Watching

Thousands of humpback whales from the North Atlantic migrate to the waters of the Dominican Republic each winter.

It is by far one of the coolest things to see these huge creatures breach near the island at Bahia de Samana between January to March, when they come here to mate and give birth.

Events and holidays

21 January – Day of the Virgen de al Altagracia, vigils, singing and music
End February – Carnival with parades along the seafront, recommend joining the celebrations in Santiago de los Caballeros.
February – Sandcastle competition in Cabarete.
February – Toros and Civiles pre Lenten festival at Monte Cristi.
March/April – Holy Week Festivities and processions ( San Pedro de Macoris)
April/May – Santo Domingo International Book Fair
May/June – Corpus Christi
June – Garlic festival in Constanza
June – Cabarete race week (windsurfing) and Kiteboarding World Cup event
July – Merengue Festival including food and a craft fair
16 August – Restoration Day Parades
Last week September – Sosua’s annual Merengue festival
October – Jazz festival
November – Annual Merengue festival at Puerto Plata on the seafront.
November – International Surf competition at Cabarete

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