Dominican Republic

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Eco-friendly travel guide to Dominican Republic advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to travel in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Dominican Republic, Caribbean, North America.


  • Air quality: 4 / 5
  • Bus connections: 3.7 / 5
  • Train connections: 4 / 5
  • Hitchhiking: 4 / 5
  • National parks: 4 / 5
  • Outdoor activities: 4.5 / 5
  • Locals' English level: 3.7 / 5
  • Safety: 4 / 5
  • Accommodation: US$120 - $130
  • Budget per day: US$100 - $XX120

Responsible Travel

The Dominican Republic is the heart of the Caribbean’s second-largest and one of the most beautiful graphically diverse country. It covers almost two-third of Hispaniola and besides that; the Dominican Republic is one of the frequently visited destinations. Every year, almost six million tourists visit this marvelously designed country. White sandy beaches as well as coastal villages surround it. The very popular Merengue born here and you will get to hear the music in every shop and bar in the country. Hispaniola is divided into two different sections Haiti and the Dominican Republic. While Haiti attracts few tourists and mostly remains peaceful and crowded, the Dominican Republic faces a massive influx of tourists every year. The enthralling beauty of the beaches and sand and greenery is the only reason behind the popularity of the place. Being a responsible traveler, you can always know more about the place and know about its topography and various diversifications.


Air Quality and Pollution

Since the Dominican Republic is filled with greenery all around, the country does not face much pollution. Even though the influx of tourists every year is quite high, pollution levels always remain under control. Thanks to the government due to coming up with some effective pollution control techniques. Although the humidity remains high in the country, which can make you feel uneasy at times, the temperature remains under control. Make sure that you are visiting the country during winters to avoid any kind of uneasiness. Also, to be on the safe side, make sure that you are carrying masks, especially if you are allergic to dust. The pleasant weather conditions and the breeze does make the Dominican Republic one of the best places to enjoy a relaxing vacation. It is better if you do some thorough research before coming here.


Respect the Culture

From deserts, forests to mountains, you will get everything here since the country features varied landscapes. The country will never fail to surprise you in every corner only if you know more about the culture as well as the traditions that are followed here. You will find that a mix of culture is dominant here. From Spaniard colonists, African slaves to Taino natives, you can see many varieties. Apart from that, the European, Taino, and African cultural elements are prominently visible in the Dominican food. Coming to the locals of the Dominican Republic, they are quite welcoming and have an amazing sense of humor. Since the locals are happy souls, they are fond of dancing to bachata and merengue. As already mentioned Merengue is one of the most popular musical genres, which almost every person is fond of, in the country. Dominicans often go dancing, especially at parties or events.


Top 10 Places to Visit

There are innumerable places to visit in the Dominican Republic. As already mentioned, the city is filled with beaches, mountains, and forests, you can understand that you will get versatile options when it comes to exploring the city in every way. If you want unique opportunities for your vacation and something unique like more than just a normal vacation, then nothing can be better than exploring every corner of the Dominican Republic. Beach resorts of Punta Cana, La Romana, and Puerto Plana, the country is no doubt one of the perfect packaged vacations and tropical escape perfect to enjoy a relaxing vacation. Let us check out some of the top places to visit in the Dominican Republic.

  • Bavaro Beach (Punta Cana)- Endless water stretch with white sandy beaches that meets the clear emerald blue water of the Caribbean, Punta Cana is one of the most popular resort beach destinations in the Dominican Republic. Bavaro Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Punta Cana where tourists from every corner of the world visit to indulge in relaxing sunbathe and water activities.
  • Puerto Plata and Playa Dorada- Situated in Puerto Plata, Playa Dorada is one of the most popular beach stretches and is the biggest attraction for tourists. Along the northern coast and overseeing the Atlantic Ocean, Playa Dorada can be the best place for you if you want to enjoy, relax, and unwind from the daily stress. The beaches are mostly filled with luxurious resorts, and if you want to enjoy the scenic beauty, then it is best to stay in the beach resorts.
  • Enjoy a day tour at Cabarete- Cabarete is yet another one of the most popular towns in the Dominican Republic. The relaxing surrounding and peaceful atmosphere is something that will make you fall in love with the place. The marvelous shaped crescent-shaped beach is filled with beach shacks and restaurants for tourists. Unlike other resort destinations like Punta Cana and Puerto Plata, Cabarete is not crowded or is filled with packaged vacation resorts. If you are a backpacker or a kiteboarder, then this place can be ideal for you.
  • Visit the city of Samana- Every winter from December to March, many humpback whales come to Samana Bay for giving birth. Hence, if you are interested in watching these beautiful creatures, then Samana Bay is the place for you. Whale watching trips are organized separately for the tourists. Samana Peninsula is the primary departure point for the whale watching trips.
  • Spend a day at Las Terrenas- Almost every town or city you come across in the Dominican Republic has scenic beauty. Situated on the north coast, Las Terrenas is one of the most popular Dominican city famous for having laid-back and peaceful surroundings. From French cafés, beautiful beaches to a breathtaking aquamarine beach, everything will seem like a dream. This is one of the most popular places in the Dominican Republic.
  • Unwind at Bahia de Las Aguilas- This is more like a remote tourist destination place. Located in the Jaragua National Park, one of the infamous tourist destinations in the Dominican Republic, Bahia de Las Aguilas is a marvelous eight-kilometer beach stretch. The calm and beautiful water of the beach along with white sand beaches is something that will blow your mind. The place is near the southwestern coast of the country. Precise, it is close to the Haiti border. If you want to spend some peaceful time and absorb the positive vibes, then this place can be best for you.
  • Jarabacoa- For some Jarabacoa is a perfect summer retreat destination, foreign travelers consider it as a proper adventure playground inside the interiors of the Dominican Republic. Near Jarabacoa, you will get innumerable exciting activities like rafting, biking, hiking, etc. If you are planning to spend almost two to three weeks in the Dominican Republic, then do not forget to visit this place.
  • La Romana- Not too far from Punta Cana, La Romana is undoubtedly one of the most popular holiday resort destinations. Here you will find some beautiful resorts and among them are geared towards independent travelers. But, it is important to understand that the number of resorts is not similar to Punta Cana. If you want to know about any interesting activities make sure that you visit Altos de Chavon.
  • Playa Rincon- This is one of the historical places that you will find in the Dominican Republic. It is the spot where Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus touched land in 1492. The picturesque beaches here are one of the best options to enjoy a relaxing weekend with your friends. Sandy beaches and the surrounding nature will no doubt give you positive vibes. Playa Rincon is considered is one of the stunning beaches in the Caribbean.
  • El Limon Waterfall- El Limon is one of the spectacular waterfalls that fall near the Atlantic Coast near the Dominican Republic. Things can get tough for you if you want to reach El Limon waterfall.


Explore

The Dominican Republic is both a romantic and thrilling paradise, where you can go out for exciting activities. When talking about exploration, you will get many places as well as activities as well as locations that are worth visiting. Besides, the cities and towns of the Dominican Republic never sleep. Thus, you will see that people here always stay active and gay throughout the day.


City Parks

You will come across some most visited city parks in the Dominican Republic that are not only a good location for relaxing and unwinding but also a perfect picnic spot. As the Dominican Republic is famous for its unmatched beauty, you will get this touch throughout the country.

  • Central Park Project- Located in Santiago De Los Caballero, it is a perfect spot for recreation, Central Park Projection is one of the most popular city parks that you will come across. If you are visiting the Dominican Republic for the first time, make sure that you stroll around Central Park Project.
  • Park Child Playground- One of the most popular child playground located in Sosua. Being a children’s playground you will see many small rides and swings in the park. At times, others do come here to spend some time amidst nature.


National Parks

  • Los Haitises National Park- National Parks are one of the best places where you can see uncommon species includes birds. Located on the remote northeast coast, it is one of the best places to relax amidst nature. If you enjoy bird watching, then this national park is undoubtedly one of the best places in the country.
  • Jaragua National Park- Situated on the southern tip of the Pedernales, this is one of the most popular natural reserves that you will find in the country. The wildlife, as well as the fauna that you will find in the city, is a complete match even after existing diversity.
  • Valle Nuevo National Park- Yet another most popular national park, which is popular among the tourists as well as the locals for bird watching. Besides, if you are a sucker for trekking, then this place can no doubt be the best place for you. Overall, if you are visiting the Dominican Republic, then do not forget to explore it.


Beaches

Bavaro Beach- Punta Cana is one of the most popular beach resort destinations as most tourists as well as locals come here to seek sun and relax on the beaches. Among the other beaches, Bavaro Beach is one of the most beautiful beach stretches, which is perfect for wading, swimming, or water sports. The typical turquoise blue color of the sea makes everything look picture perfect.

  • Playa Rincon- Although it is underdeveloped and situated in a remote area of the Dominican Republic, Playa Rincon is undoubtedly one of the postcard-perfect, white-sand beaches. Massive palm trees lined beach will no doubt give you a perfect vacay feels.
  • Cayo Levantando- If you simply want to relax on your vacation without indulging in too much of water sporting or fun-filled activities, Cayo Levantado is undoubtedly one of the best places. Beautiful trails connect the three beaches of the island.


Landmarks

  • Lago de Oviedo- It is one of the most popular landmarks amongst the tourists as well as the local travelers. The reason behind this is the green and yellow water, which is caused due to the limestone particles.
  • Los Haitises- Samana, Monte Plata, and Sabana de la Mar, tit is yet another one of the most popular landmarks that you will come across in the Dominican Republic. Los Haitises is covered with tropical forests and is also covered with almost three hundred meters tall hills.


Museums

  • Museum of the Royal Houses- This is yet another one of the most popular museums that you will come across in the country. Located in Santo Domingo, the Museum of the Royal Houses is a cultural monument that was built during the colonial era in Hispaniola. If you are interested in knowing about the history of colonial ear, then make sure that you are including this in your holiday list.
  • Museum of the Dominican Man- Another addition to your holiday list will no doubt be the Museum of the Dominican Man. This museum tells you the story as well as the history of the Tainos days. If you are keen to know about the Dominican root, then this will be the paradise for you.


Eat

You will get versatile options when it comes to Dominican food, especially you will get plenty of sea fish and foods. From tuna, ballyhoo to marlin, these are available in plentiful. Besides, minnow sized fish and titeri are largely prepared in almost every state. The spicy stew that you will get with the dishes is unimaginably toothsome. Another popular dish that you will get here is a stew, callaloo. This is made with taro leaves as well as fresh vegetables. No matter what you need from vegan dishes to meatballs and fish, you will get everything here. If you are eager to try out some of the most popular dishes of the Dominican Republic, then make sure that you are trying out the traditional Dominican breakfast options or the dinner dish mangu. It is a savory puree made with mashed plantains, ayuama, and yucca. Let us check a few different dishes in the Dominican Republic.

Suspiritos is one of the simplest and the best Dominica dishes that you must try. It is made by combining egg whites, powdered sugar, and lime juice. Besides Suspiritos, this dish is also known as meringue kisses. It has to be consumed immediately after its making and is considered more like a party dish since Suspiritos are served at birthdays or baby showers. Chapea is yet another healthy yet delicious dish that you must try if you are planning for a vacation in the Dominican Republic.

Chapea is made with usual items like beans, vegetables, rice, carrots, and garlic. Different flavors are added out of which, coriander and sour orange are common. It is served with longaniza sausage and sometimes, it tastes great with smoked ham or pork chops too. Besides the long list of uncountable non-vegetarian dishes, there are many vegan dishes as well. If you think that you might face issues with finding vegan dishes after visiting the Dominican Republic, then you are probably mistaking. You will get endless options when it comes to vegan dishes.

Avena Caliente is one of the most loved vegan dishes which the locals here love to have, especially for breakfast. It is an oatmeal and milk hot drink. It is quite a practical, healthy, and easy to make breakfast option. Avena Caliente is one of the most popular and favorite recipes that you can try as a part of vegan dishes. As already mentioned you will get some outstanding and delicious dishes in the country, Moro de Habichuelas is among one of them that has a fabulous taste. Mainly it is rice and beans mostly found on the Dominican table, especially for those who are vegan.

The food culture of the Dominican Republic is quite versatile, as you will get multiple options to try. From pork and hams to veg soups and noodles, you will get a wide number of appealing dishes here. No matter where you go, make sure that you are keeping your choices open and trying out all the dishes and foods of different countries. You cannot deny the fact that food is central to cultures throughout the world. As the tourists are not invited to the house parties thus, a great option is to try the local and street foods. Here are some of the most popular street foods that you must try in the Dominican Republic. Empanadas is a go-to snack for almost every Dominican locals. Imagine having chicken pieces and cheese in every bite. These are wrapped up and fried on a pan. You will come across many local men who sell Empanadas on the beach. Each box cost around twenty-five pesos. As of now, these are quite a filling snack. Quipes, also known as kipes, these small-sized little fried balls are made with meat and bulgur wheat. The toothsome dish is normally made with beef; however, you will also get chicken, vegetable, and pork quipes too.


Drink

When it comes to drinks, every country serves its traditional and local drinks, which the locals enjoy drinking on every occasion. Native Dominican cooking blends Spanish as well as African influence. Apart from plenty of fresh fish as well as seafood, many local drinks are there, which are equally delicious. For drinks, the traditional sugarcane is one of the common. Sugarcane is used to produce fine rum, Blanco, Dorado, and Anejo.

Besides, you will get fruit shakes from the street stalls. The delicious fruit juices are a must-try in the Dominican Republic since the locals here love enjoying fresh fruit juices every day. Besides, Dominican coffee is yet another one of the best options that you must try. Coffee is served strong without mixing any dairy products. Also, you can try out the infamous Mamajuana, which is one of the potent herbal drink made with cured tree barks soaked in rum, red wine, and honey.


Tap-water

No matter where you are going on vacation, you must know about the surroundings as well as the pollution levels of that country. Although the Dominican Republic does not have issues with pollution levels. But, coming to the drinking water, it is always a good idea to opt for safe options. Since the humidity levels in the country remain high, chances are there that, you might get thirsty while you are out.

Make sure that you are carrying a water bottle instead of drinking water from taps. Tap water is certainly not purified; therefore, it is the best idea to choose bottled drinking water. You will come across many small outlets that sell packaged water. Apart from that, you can also choose to drink fresh fruit juices available in the stores. Soft drinks are available in abundance in the stores and are no doubt the best option than the tap water.


Activities

From attractive beaches in Punta Cana in the east to the cloud-topped mountains in the west, the Dominican Republic is undoubtedly one of the beautiful paradises on earth where you can enjoy a perfect vacation. The sand of Isla Saona in the southern swells to the green rainforest in Los Haitises, you will get the opportunity to see many innumerable beauties of nature. Overall, it can be said that the Dominican Republic in itself is one of the most loved places by tourists. Mostly, visitors come here in their walking boots to explore the mountains. Sometimes they ride the surfboards enjoy fun-filled beach activities. You will be blown away by the marvelous beauty of the colossal whales on the Samana Coast. Let us check out some of the activities that you must try in the Dominican Republic.

  • Explore the Zona Colonial of Santa Domingo- Even though the booming population of Santa Domingo’s made it one of the largest cities throughout the Caribbean, this town is almost five hundred years old thus preserving the rich history as well as heritage. The collection of the cobbled streets, as well as the regal residences that you will find here, is quite old. Many tourists from around the world come here to explore the beauty of the place.
  • Enjoy a luxurious day at Punta Cana- Punta Cana is the hub of tourism. Located towards the extreme east of Hispaniola Island, here you will only find some posh five-star resorts as well as swish golf resorts. Apart from that, you will also get beaches as well like Macao Beach, palm-peppered Bavaro, etc.


Accommodation

Finding good accommodation options is necessary for almost every trip. If you fail to book for a good accommodation option, then chances are there that your vacation might not become successful. Throughout the cities of the Dominican Republic, you will find multiple accommodation options that are not only affordable but also one of the best-rated ones. Tourists from around the world come here to enjoy the countless beauty of Mother Nature in the Dominican Republic. Without proper and comfortable accommodation, it will be impossible for you to enjoy the vacation.

As the Dominican Republic is covered by beaches, you will get options for five-star hotels and resorts perfect for planning holidays. Besides, if you do not want to spend huge on pricey accommodations, then it is the best idea to opt for the hostels or guesthouses. Tourists who are not ready to spend huge on accommodation opt for these. Besides, if you want, you can also choose to stay with the locals in apartments. As already mentioned, the locals here are quite friendly and warm-hearted, they will always let you stay with them. However, you will have to show valid documentation so that they can give you rooms. Alternatively, if you want, you can book verified rooms on Airbnb. It is one of the best ways to get clean and comfortable rooms.


Green Hotels

The trend of green hotels is becoming a want almost throughout the globe and the reason behind this is that such hotels are different from the normal ones. Consumers these days are becoming sensitive towards various environmental issues. Every day the demand for various green products is increasing and to bring changes to the environmental conditions, these initiatives are quite useful. Green Hotels use solar energy for generating electricity and all the amenities that you will get in these hotels are different from the usual ones. Millennials these days expect destination resorts to be eco-friendly.

If you think that the green hotels are pricier and not comfortable at the same time, then you are probably mistaking. Besides, green hotels are one of the best ways to make money. Green hotels have their greywater treatment plants, which means that water conservation will become the main importance. Also, these hotels involve the reuse of the towel and linen reuse. Energy consumption is yet another reason behind the increasing demand for green hotels. Commercial buildings consume almost forty percent of the energy demand as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, opting for a green hotel initiative can control environmental pollution as well as energy resource misuse.


Hostels and Guest Houses

Hostels and guesthouses are some of the best options too if you do not want to spend huge on fancy hotels and their amenities. The Dominican Republic comes with some outstanding options when it comes to hostels and guesthouses. Backpackers who always search for good accommodation options and fellow travelers opt for the hostels and guesthouses. Although the amenities that you will get in the hostels are not fancy, you will certainly enjoy a comfortable stay. From free WiFi, separate bath to the cafeteria, you will get everything in the hostels and guesthouses.

Above all, staying in a hostel will enrich your travel experience and the Dominican Republic is one such place where you will get adventure in every corner. Sustainability is yet another reason behind the popularity of the hostels since they remain quite conscious about reducing the environmental impact. Besides, the hostels practice recycling as well as composting. Also, instead of machine drying the clothes and linens, hostels opt for air drying. Thus, you can understand that hostels are always one of the economic options to stay. The community you will meet in the hostels is quite versatile and if you want, the fellow backpacking group will pitch you in their group.


Apartments

Besides, hostels, hotels, and guesthouses, you will come across many apartments as well where you can enjoy a comfortable stay for sure. Locals here offer apartments to tourists who are interested in knowing about the culture prevalent in the Dominican Republic. Besides, the apartments are no doubt one of the best places where you can enjoy a comfortable stay without paying a lot of money. Therefore, it is always a good idea to opt for apartments. You can either book the apartments online or request any locals to let you stay with them.

One of the best ways to book apartments is online. You will get verified rooms without any hassle. For example, Airbnb is one of the best places where you will get verified rooms. The only thing that you have to keep in mind is if you want to stay with the locals, you have to show your valid documents. If you are coming to the Dominican Republic with your friends or family, then it is always a good idea to opt for the apartments since apartments are perfect for staying at least four to five people.


Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is one of the most popular ways if you want to explore any new country or city. Various communities are there in the country that host different groups in which you can easily join. Indeed, exploring a new place becomes quite tough and therefore, it becomes compulsory to join travel communities. Due to this reason, it is a good idea to opt for Couchsurfing. Most Couchsurfing communities post about various communities and you have to send requests to the communities.

Once the community accepts your request, you can easily join them. At times, while going on vacation, it becomes tough to stay away from home for long. Due to this reason, it is always a good idea to meet fellow travelers since it makes traveling easy. You will come across many Couchsurfing communities in the Dominican Republic that host traveling communities and you can always join them.


Camping

Camping is always a good idea for those who love adventure. You will come across multiple camping locations in the Dominican Republic since the country is filled with natural beauty and countless unique natural parks. If you are traveling camping, then make sure that you are planning for camping. You will come across multiple camping locations in the Dominican Republic where you can enjoy some memorable time with your friends and family members. Some of the popular camping spots in the country are Mi Casa Eco Camping in Caguas, Camping National Park in San Felipe, etc.


Regions

Cities

Getting There and Moving Around

Reaching the Dominican Republic is quite easy being one of the most visited holiday destinations in the Caribbean. The country has a good connection with the outside world. You will get many transportation options. Flights are one of the best ways of reaching the Dominican Republic. Form North America and Europe; you will get options for multiple flights that fly daily to the Dominican Republic. Some of the primary points of entering the Dominican Republic are Santa Domingo, Puerto Plata, and Punta Cana. Flights arrive at the international airports at Santiago and Samana.


Air

One of the best ways to reach the Dominican Republic is to opt for the flight route. North America and Europe have daily flights to the Dominican Republic. Make sure that you are checking for the best flight deals.


Bus

Although the Dominican Republic has the best bus system, it is only inside the country that connects cities and states. If you want to travel from some other country, you might not get bus options.


Train

Just like the bus route, the train route is quite developed in the country. However, if you want to travel from other countries, then you might not get access. Due to this reason, the air route is undoubtedly one of the best options if you want to travel to the Dominican Republic.


Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking is popular in the city. Since the locals in the country are quite friendly, they will always get ready to help you. However, if you want to opt for hitchhiking, then finding out the pickup points is necessary. The reason behind this that vehicles do not stop in every location


Others

Other options are there if you want to explore the city. From bicycles to electronic vehicles, you will get multiple options for moving around the city. However, you have to keep in mind that the other options that you will get in the cities of the Dominican Republic are environment friendly and affordable. Hence, their demand is quite high among the locals as well as the tourists


Sustainable Shopping

Although the concept of sustainable shopping is gradually becoming popular, all the cities of the Dominican Republic are not yet accustomed to this concept. For example, the North Coast area of the Dominican Republic believes in sustainable shopping. Due to this reason, you will come across many sustainable shops in this area. They sell various eco-friendly clothing, accessories as well as home decoration items.


Recycling

Since the country believes in maintain the environment; hence, you will notice that the locals here believe in recycling. Also, being a responsible traveler, indulging in recycling activities is necessary.


Waste

Waste management plays a significant role when it comes to maintaining an eco-friendly environment. The government has come up with various waste management programs to preserve the ecosystem as well as the beauty of the country.


Work and Study Abroad

Many students and employees from around the world come here to enroll themselves in colleges and universities as well as reputed companies. The Dominican Republic features some tip notch colleges as well as companies for the eligible candidates.


Exchange Student

Prestigious colleges and universities here allow excellent students to enroll themselves in the scholarship programs offered. To continue with their further studies, students from around the world come here to take admission.


Au Pair

You will come across many organizations offering Au Pair services to such families who have small kids. Women in the Dominican Republic believe in becoming independent; therefore, they work in different fields. Au Pair services help in taking care of their kids.


Volunteering

Since the country has uncountable archaeological monuments as well as historical buildings, it becomes compulsory to maintain them. Many NGOs as well as other nonprofit organizations come forward for volunteering.


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