Dreaming of a Caribbean vacation? There’s no better place to start but in the vibrant and sultry country of Dominican Republic. Known for its year-round vacation vibe, resorts, golfing, and stunning beaches, DR is nothing but a paradise. So to help you come up with your itinerary, we listed here the best areas to stay in Dominican Republic for a well-spent vacation.
Regardless if you’re looking for the best beachside experience or countryside living, Dominican Republic has all the great things the Caribbean has to offer. So instead of getting stuck in a single resort, consider staying around the areas we listed here.
Why go to the Dominican Republic?
As one of the most diverse countries in the Caribbean region, the Dominican Republic is a melting pot of culture. And if you’re a beach lover, you’ll never run out of coasts to walk here.
DR is about hundreds of kilometers of fine white sand and picturesque coastlines. Their beach sides dotted with palm trees and rocky cliffs make it one of the best tropical destinations outside of Asia.
Aside from the magnetizing beauty of the island, the Dominican Republic also provides a temporary home to migrating humpback whales. And although the place used to be a hideout of pirates, it’s now commercialized and safe for tourists.
A breath of fresh air…
If you want to take a break from the shores, you can explore the lush environment of DR. As part of the Hispaniola Island, DR has rolling hills covered with greenery. It’s a breath of fresh air when the beach sides are becoming too crowded, much so during the peak season.
In addition, you shouldn’t miss the vistas which somewhat imbibes the feel of the European Alps. Also, there are rivers, coves, waterfalls, and caves to explore, leaving you with a lot of things to do.
Weather in Dominican Republic
Weather-wise, Dominican Republic is usually sunny, but it also has its share of the rainfall season. Depending on the region you’re visiting, the dry and wet season varies widely.
If you’re visiting the east and south DR, expect that it will be rainy during May, September, and October. The rest of the year will be dry, but some regions tend to be drier than others.
Typically, the Dominican Republic enjoys a sultry temperature of between 25C to 33C. Although it’s humid, it’s not too hot or unbearable.
Also, the sun shines for 12 hours before setting. And what else can you expect from a country surrounded by shores? The most stunning sunsets you can ever see.
Best areas to stay in Dominican Republic
If you’re ready to pack your bags and book your ticket, here are 10 of the best areas to stay in Dominican Republic beyond resorts, hotels, and inns.
1. Isla Saona
If you’re going to DR to find the best beaches, Isla Saona is at the top of our list. It’s one of the in-demand destinations in the country where dolphins, whales, and turtles are often seen. Isla Saona is also home to many birds.
During less busy months, Isla Saona is an idyllic place for a vacation. It only has 1,200 residents, which makes the island quiet and perfect for a short-term respite.
Snorkeling is a must-do in Isla Saona to witness the abundant marine life like the Queen Conch and shoals of lobsters. Once you’re tired exploring around, there’s a hut by the sea preparing fresh seafood, cooked rice, and freshly picked coconut.
Take note that Isla Saona is part of the East National Park, so no buildings are built here. You can visit the island through a booked tour from Punta Cana, Playa Bayahibe, or La Romana.
2. Las Terrenas, Samaná Peninsula
Las Terrenas boasts 25 kilometers of beaches. It houses Playa Las Ballenas, Punta Popy, Playa Bonita, and Playa Coson, among others.
This is the favorite place of kite surfers, surfers, bodyboarding, and other water sports. If you’re not a fan of these activities, you can still cozy up by the waters while sipping a fresh coconut.
Aside from its azure waters, Las Terrenas is also home to mountains and tropical forests. It’s a pristine destination, and if you want to stay away from the beaches, the El Limon waterfalls is a must-visit.
Everywhere you turn, there’s always something to marvel here in Las Terrenas. It’s also a great meeting place for nomads and backpackers.
While you’re in Las Terrenas, don’t miss their restaurant, bars, and culinary delights. The nightlife is also lively here, so the night owls will still have something to enjoy.
3. Bayahibe Village
For those rooting for the south coast, the Bayahibe Village is a must-visit. It’s a quiet fishing village with crystal clear water and a laidback atmosphere.
The Bayahibe Village is popular among scuba divers, whale watcher, and fly boarders. It’s also a jump-off point for those who want to visit the Isla Saona and Isla Catalina.
If you have enough of the beaches, you can visit the Jungle Farm. Also, you can book a horseback riding experience here as well as buggy riders and a fun zip line ride.
In addition, you can book the Los Haituses National Park cruise from La Romana.
Even if you’re tired for the day, we encourage you to stay until sunset. The blue skies will turn golden orange as the sun sets. In fact, they offer sunset cruises on a catamaran.
A post about the Dominican Republic is never complete without mentioning Cabarete. Located in Puerto Plata, Cabarete is the top destination for those who want to surf, kitesurf, and windsurf. The winds here also drive excellent waves, which makes tourists fall in love on its surfing prowess.
The Cabarete Beach also gives access to the neighboring Bozo Beach, La Boca, Encuentro Beach, and Kite Beach. All of these beaches are ideal for various aquatic sports.
Aside from that, Cabarete also boasts luxury hotels like the Watermark Luxury Residences, Casa-22, and Riviera Azul. So for those who have a deep pocket, you’ll have life’s luxuries at your disposal.
Anyway, this town is still enjoyable even for those who are traveling on a budget. There are budget accommodations that cost less than $20 a night.
Take note that if you’re headed to the north coast, Cabarete is a must-see. It’s considered as one of the most important areas of the Caribbean region.
Located at the northern coast of DR, Montecristi offers solitary beaches for those who want to get away from the crowd of the famous shores.
Although virtually unknown to most tourists, Montecristi is one of the best areas to stay in Dominican Republic for one reason: it’s not crowded. Its beaches are pristine and you’ll have the peace of mind you’re looking for.
Aside from its coastlines, Montecristi is also surrounded by banana fields, rice plantations, salt ponds, and limestone cliffs.
One of the favorite activities in Montecristi is bird-watching. Here, you can spot frigate birds, boobies, brown pelicans, willets, spoonbills, flocks of flamingos, and more.
Also, you should see the Cayo Arena, also known as the Cayo Paraiso. It’s a good spot for beginner divers and those who want to see schools of fishes. The waters are so clear that you can see everything beneath.
6. Punta Cana
For avid golfers, Punta Cana is a paradise. It’s also where all the pleasures of the country can be found. From the longest white sand coastline (48 kilometers!) to the most luxurious spas by the shore, this is the place for those who want to splurge.
Punta Cana is the easternmost tip of DR and where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean. It’s famous for the La Costa del Coco or the Coconut Coast where the most lavish of all resorts can be found. This place is also popular for kayaking, sailing, zip-lining, and other water sports.
Aside from the extravagant shores, Punta Cana is also home to 10 golf courses surrounded by luxurious marinas and family amenities.
Take note that Punta Cana is also where the only Six Senses Spa in the Caribbean can be found. Although you can look for cheap finds in this place, we recommend that you prepare your cash to make the most out of this resort town.
7. Tubagua Village
Located at Puerto Plata, the Tubagua Village is a rustic destination where you get close to nature. It’s perfect for those who want a staycation far from the noise of seaside resorts.
As an eco-village, tourists will enjoy a mountaintop retreat and the firsthand experience of DR’s rural living. While you’re here, you can book a tour in a coffee farm, waterfalls, and an amber mine.
Also, you should choose the best accommodation at the Tubagua Eco Lodge. They offer classy huts, palapas, and houses which are manageable even for those on a budget.
You’ll also taste delicious meals in Tubagua Village for about $25 a day. For those who have been here, staying in Tubagua is deemed the best way to see the real Dominican Republic. We can’t agree enough.
Situated in the peaceful province of La Vega, Jarabacoa is one of the best areas to stay in Dominican Republic for nature lovers.
This town is mapped right in the Central Mountain Range at about 530 meters above sea level. You’ll also find four major rivers here: the Jimenoa, Yaque del Norte, Baiguate, and Guanajuma. These rivers are known to be the longest ones in the Caribbean region.
Jarabacoa is also called the “City of Eternal Springs” since it’s much cooler than the rest of the country at 22C.
Also, we can’t help but remember the famous line: “God is everywhere … but sleeps in Jarabacoa”. This is due to the peace and quiet that surrounds the place. It’s a tranquil spot away from the bustling DR towns where tourists flock year in and year out.
In addition, Jarabacoa is the center of DR’s eco-tourism. And to keep the fun going, they offer activities like rappelling, rafting, mountain biking, canoeing, and more.
9. La Romana
La Romana is a city in DR and is also a popular jump-off point to nearby resorts, playas, beaches, and islands. It overlooks the stunning Chavon River and the 16th-century Mediterranean village called Altos de Chavon.
Moreover, La Romana is often visited to hop into the Isla Catalina, where the shipwreck of pirate William Kidd can be found.
La Romana is also surrounded with vast sugar plantations and the massive Casa de Campo resort in the eastside. Unlike other areas in the Dominican Republic, La Romana is obviously wealthier. However, it can get traffic-congested during the peak season.
The best thing about La Romana is you can stay or choose to move into other tourist stops. This convenience makes it an attractive choice for those who are on an extended vacation.
10. Santo Domingo
Last but not the least is the capital city of Dominican Republic – Santo Domingo. Its center boasts the Zona Colonia which is among the oldest remaining European fortresses.
With cobblestone streets and colonial era-architecture, the capital is the perfect place for those who aren’t into beach parties or water sports.
Santo Domingo is a historic city, being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990 as the first-ever European settlement in the Americas. It’s one of the best areas to stay in Dominican Republic for those who are history geeks.
Here, you can book various tours, including museums, sunset strolls, and more. You can also go on your own to explore shops, restaurants, and sidewalk cafés.
Overall, Santo Domingo has a vibrant spirit, but with a laidback atmosphere. It’s the best combination of both.
These best areas to stay in Dominican Republic are guaranteed to give an awesome vacation. Depending on your preferred activities, DR has a lot to offer. From budget deals to luxury resorts, there’s always something to explore in this Caribbean nation.
So if you want a tropical getaway, don’t hesitate to give DR a chance. There’s always a room for tourists who are looking for new experiences.
What do you think of our suggestions here? Let us know below!