With a widely ranging topography that features everything from mountaintops and sweeping valleys to powdery stretches of beach lining the coast, the Dominican Republic is a stunning Caribbean destination ideal for travelers of all lifestyles. Sharing a border with Haiti, the Dominican Republic is one of the largest Caribbean nations -- there are over 30,000 square miles of pure tropical wonderland for you to explore.
Absorb the Spanish influences as you stroll down the cobblestone streets of the historical Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo, or spend your afternoon sunbathing on the sands of Punta Cana. In the Dominican Republic, nearly anything is possible. To see more of the map, widen your browser.
From Santo Domingo to the eastward area of Punta Cana, the southeastern region of the Dominican Republic offers a variety of attractions. At Altos de Chavon in La Romana, visitors can get a taste of the past at this recreated medieval village, complete with an impressive plaza that makes for a popular wedding spot. If you're looking for another historical venue, check out the Italian-Renaissance palace of Alcazar de Colon in Santo Domingo. Additionally, the nearby Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo provides a full day's worth of museum browsing, cafe lounging and 500 years worth of architecture and Dominincan Republic heritage. Of course, many tourists will be keen on heading to the seaside. Be sure to consider excellent spots like the Playa Baravo beaches on the eastern coast, the inviting golden sand on the Amber Coast and Playa Rincon, which was been rated as one of the top ten beaches in the Caribbean.
The area on the map surrounding Puerto Plata also features a range of enticing ways to enjoy your Dominican Republic getaway. On the northern coast of the island, tourists can tour the Fortaleza de San Felipe, a 16th century fort built to defend Puerto Plata against pirate attacks. Sitting southwest of Puerto Plata, Mt. Isabel de Torres offers a scenic mountaintop experience complete with a cable car ride. Nature lovers will be thrilled by Damajagua Cascades, located just outside Puerto Plata. This collection of 27 waterfalls presents unbelievable views, and many of the falls can be easily reached via walking.
Additional outdoor attractions are located throughout the Dominican Republic. Lining Samana Bay across the island to the north of Santo Domingo, the Los Haitises National Park is an expansive outdoor attraction that features mangrove swamps, caverns and frequent sightings of creatures like turtles, wild pigs and parrots. Another excellent destination is the National Park of Cabritos Island, which is home to one of the largest populations of the American Crocodile. Visitors of the park will be able to check out Lago Enriquillo, which is the lowest point inn the Caribbean at 129 feet below sea level.
The combined areas of Puerto Plata and nearby Playa Dorada come together to offer the most plentiful amount of traveler-driven attractions and facilities in the Caribbean. The city of Puerto Plata offers a great mix of insight about the island's history through architecture and a bustling nightlife scene that will keep you dancing until the wee hours of the morning. The majority of accommodations in this region will be found in Playa Dorada, an enormous complex of all-inclusive properties, rental properties, a horseback riding facility and even a Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course.
Perched on the eastern end of the map, Punta Cana and La Romana offer all-inclusive resorts with extensive dining and nightlife options, luxurious spas, scenic golf courses and even zoos. The resorts in this area offer pristine beachfront areas, plentiful water sport activities, and a variety of different accommodations. This area is popular with travelers seeking a leisurely and relaxing getaway in a self-contained paradise.
The city of Puerto Plata and the nearby area of Santiago have been thriving since the days of Columbus. This area offers an excellent peek into authentic Dominican Republic culture, with alluring attractions like The Tobacco Museum, the Old Santiago Ruins, Saint James' Catherdal and more. While vacationing in Santiago, guests will enjoy an extensive offering of restaurants, theaters, nightlife entertainment, shopping venues and more.
If you're looking to immerse yourself in the Dominican Republic's old Spanish colonial history, consider staying in Santo Domingo. A far cry from the bustling modern tourist resort atmosphere found in some of the other coastal areas, Santo Domingo strives to preserve the heritage of the Dominican Republic's past. The colonial district houses countless old buildings that will transport you to the past. Most accommodations are located within the Colonial Zone, allowing guests to fully experience the historical charm of the area. However, don't be fooled by the colonial influences of this city; Santo Domingo offers a great taste of modern times with superb shopping and nightclubs.
Unlke most Caribbean destinations, the Dominican Republic has quite a few airports, as shown on the map. Perhaps the largest airport is Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ), which features a traditional style with open air terminates and roofs adorned with palm fronds. If you plan on staying near Santo Domingo, consider flying into Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) in Punta Caucedo. This facility serves incoming flights from the United States, Europe, Canada, South American and the Caribbean. Alternatively, the Cibao International Airport (STI), found on the map near Santiago, offers another air travel venue for anyone flying in from the United States, Central America or other destinations within the Caribbean.
If you're planning on traveling to the Dominican Republic on a cruise ship, there are many different areas where your vessel may arrive. The city of Santo Domingo offers two different terminals for cruise ships. The San Souci terminal is one option, while the newer Don Diego Quay pier drops off passengers just minutes away from the charming Old Town area. In addition, there are ports located in La Romana, Puerto Plata, Barahona and more.
Ferries offer another option for transportation. For instance, when operating, the Ferries del Caribe provides transportation from the eastern tip of Dominican Republic and the western coast of Puerto Rico. Similarly, travelers can hop aboard the ferry at Samana Bay for a trip to Sabana de la Mar.
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