There are numerous reasons to include the Dominican Republic on your list when you are looking for a Caribbean vacation destination.
It shares the island of Hispaniola with its neighbor Haiti and is the most diverse Caribbean destination, boasting mountain ranges, rivers, and tropical beaches.
The island nation also has an impressive 1,609 km of coastline and is home to 5,600 plant species and 300 bird species, according to the Nature Conservancy. In addition to nature, the Dominican Republic has a diverse gastronomic heritage that draws on Taino, African, and European roots.
“The Dominican Republic is a paradise. It has beautiful beaches, great cuisine, and also its cultural side. But the most important and best thing in our country, is our people.”Minister of Tourism, David Collado
All of these factors have drawn record numbers of tourists, with 8.5 million visitors expected in 2022 alone. In fact, this represents a 10% increase over pre-pandemic levels in 2019, indicating an incredible recovery for the country’s tourism sector.
So, how did the Dominican Republic achieve such outstanding results? “We developed two strategies in the midst of the pandemic,” Collado says.
“One was to resurrect our tourism industry and focus on tourist arrivals. And, while the rest of the world was recovering, we decided to fortify our infrastructure, including all of our beaches.” These new developments have helped to establish the Caribbean nation as a must-visit for sun, sea, and relaxation seekers.
So, if you’re thinking about taking a Caribbean vacation destination, where should you go?
Do I need to go to Santo Domingo?
The country’s capital is a mix of historic and modern architecture, with buildings from the 16th century coexisting next to structures from the 20th century, due to its colonial history, which saw it become the first European settlement of the Americas when it was colonized by Christopher Columbus in 1492.
The National Botanical Garden, the largest of its kind in the Caribbean, is located in the Colonial city, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990.
Although this is Santo Domingo’s more tourist-oriented side, the city also has a vibrant nightlife, with restaurants, bars, and clubs clustered in its more urban areas. And if that weren’t enough, the capital is located on the island’s southern shore, where sparkling white beaches look out into the Caribbean Sea.
In the Dominican Republic, is ecotourism practiced?
It’s understandable that the Dominican Republic has embraced eco-tourism given the riches of the natural world there.
Jarabacoa, which is positioned 530 meters above sea level in a mountainous area, is one of the most stunning resort towns. The tallest peak in the Caribbean, Pico Duarte, is located in Jarabacoa, which in Taino means “place of waters.” It’s a nice area to get away from the beach if it becomes too hot because of the lower temps here.
The Cordellira Central mountain range and the Ro Yaque del Norte, the Dominican Republic’s longest river, meet near Jarabacoa, offering fantastic options for trekking and watersports. You can anticipate seeing freshwater ponds, waterfalls, and expansive alpine woods.
However, it’s not all rivers and log homes. Numerous dining alternatives are available in downtown Jarabacoa for visitors and Dominicans, ranging from local Caribbean food to sushi bars and pizzerias.
Get off the beaten path when visiting Pedernales
Make your way to Pedernales if you want to avoid the crowds in well-known beach resorts like Punta Cana. Pedernales, located in the far southwest of the nation near to the Haitian border, is a refuge for those who enjoy the outdoors in a Caribbean vacation destination.
The region is home to Baha de Las guilas, one of the nicest beaches in the Dominican Republic, as well as enormous cactus that line the sides of roads and iguanas that hide among the rocks. The beach, which has 8 kilometres of gorgeous white sand, is a part of Jaragua National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that protects some of the rarest plants and animals in the nation.
Collado says, “We believe in diversity in our tourism. In fact, we developed a campaign dubbed “Tourism in Every Corner” that aims to attract tourists as well as Dominicans to locations outside of the mainstream.
Pedernales is one of those places, but if you make the effort to go, you’ll see some amazing things. At Laguna de Oviedo, a salty lake, you may see flamingos, turtles, and even sharks, while Lago Enriquillo, the largest hypersaline lake in the Caribbean, is home to American crocodiles who are lazing around.