Dominican Republic Travel

altos de chavon, la romana, dominican republic copyright M. Timothy O'Keefe -

With far more activities than most islands

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Dominican Republic
Vacation Travel Information

The Dominican Republic is best known for its world-famous beach resort area of Punta Cana but the island offers far more for options than most visitors know. Travel in the Dominican Republic is still reasonable, sometimes almost cheap outside of the all-inclusive resorts.

The DR as the country is often called)is the Caribbean's most complete island. It offers true tropical rain forests, fertile valleys, rushing rivers and waterfalls, inviting ocean beaches, giant sand dunes, mangrove jungles, ancient Taino ceremonial sites, plenty of caves, picturesque villages and cities. . . and the Caribbean's most historic city walk, the old city of Santo Domingo.

As the first permanent city in all the Western Hemisphere settled by Europeans, the City of Santo Domingo de Guzman is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Columbus Lighthouse (Faro a Colon), claiming to contain the remains of Christopher Columbus, is located in the city's eastern suburbs.

The old Colonial City is home to the first cathedral, first hospital, first monastery, first university, first court of law, first paved street and first commercial street in the New World. They all survive in some restored form and several are still functioning.

Shopping in Old Santo Domingo is first rate.

Although Americans have yet to really discover the DR, the rest of the world certainly has. The DR receives more tourists than any other Caribbean country.

To accommodate visitors seeking its far flung reaches, the DR provides 7 international airports. More than 60 chartered airlines--mostly from Europe and Canada--fly not only into Santo Domingo but also the coastal resort areas of Puerto Plata, Casa de Campo (La Romana) and Punta Cana, one of the Caribbean's most popular resort areas.

Dominican beaches are world famous, especially those in the Punta Cana/Bavaro region. All inclusive resorts with bi-lingual staffs are the most popular accommodations, so guests don't need to speak Spanish. (See Hard Rock Resort photos)

If you're a baseball fan, catch a game or visit the Los Angeles?Dodgers training camp.

See Map of the Dominican Republic for the general airport locations.

The ost remote region is the southwest, the Barahona region served by the airport at Barahona city.

Less remote but still off the beaten path is the Samana Peninsula, famous for its whale watching and beaches. Samana, however, may come into its own with its fine international airport. And if there is regular air traffic.

The DR also boasts what is considered the Caribbean's most complete resort, Casa de Campo. It even offers skeet shooting. And the Dominican Republic has more all-inclusive resorts than even Jamaica.

I have a confession to make when it comes to the DR. It may be my favorite island. Most of all because of the friendly people (who actually like to be photographed), its history, the varied scenery, the postcard beaches, the varied activities and tasty cuisine.

If you're active, you can hike, white water raft, mountain bike and whale watch like nowhere else in the Caribbean.

The local El Presidente beer makes everything else in the region (and especially the U.S.) taste like pale ale.

But much of the Dominican Republic is a poor country and you may be hustled in unexpected ways. In the DR, the policeman is not always your friend.

Travel Information

Today's Weather
Current conditions and 10-day forecast

Detailed Background Facts & Map
Courtesy of the CIA

Health Advisories for the DR
Current recommendations

Arrival Briefing
What You Need to Know If You Go

Getting Married in the Dominican Republic
Language differences may pose a burden

Dominican Republic Daily News
Find out what's happening today

Major Attractions

Altos de Chavon
A recreated Italian shopping village

Beaches, Beaches, Beaches!
From Puerto Plata to Barahona

Barahona & Lago Enriquillo
The Caribbean's lowest point, with crocodiles

Beisbol, Dominican Style
This game is the country's greatest passion

Birds of the Dominican Republic
Including outstanding color photos

Columbus Lighthouse
Where the explorer is said to be buried

Echoes of the Past
Visiting two Taino sites southwest of Santo Domingo

Golfing at Casa de Campo
Challenge Teeth of the Dog

Lago Enriquillo
The lowest point in the Caribbean

The North Coast
World-class windsurfing & beaches

Pico Duarte Climb
Hiking up the Caribbean's tallest peak

Punta Cana Guide
Where to stay, what to do

Samana Peninsula
Whale watching & terrific beaches

Santo Domingo
A huge thriving city

Santo Domingo Colonial City Tour
A walking tour of the New World's oldest city

Santo Domingo Shopping
One-stop shopping along Columbus square