From the crystal clear waters of Cayo Arena to the unspoiled sugary sands of Punta Cana, the islanders promise that the Dominican Republic has it all, and we can’t help but agree. Myriad watersports, championship golf, great spas and 1,000 miles of stunning coastline mean a holiday here is about as relaxing and undemanding as you can get.
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Famed for baseball, beaches and a rich heritage of African, Spanish and Taíno Indian culture, the Dominican Republic is vibrant, exquisite and sublimely unhurried. With the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south, this is a beach devotee’s paradise. The all-inclusive resorts of Punta Cana are perfect for families, couples and groups of friends, and include watersports, tennis, kids' clubs, yoga and fantastic restaurant choices. Punta Cana is known for its breathtaking beaches, stupendous sunsets and fine dining, so if you aren’t a Christopher Columbus-type explorer this is an idyllic place to simply stay put. If you do have a bit more get up and go, the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park is well worth a visit, as is a boat trip into the wilderness of Los Haitises National Park, a jungle jeep safari or the 65 foot descent into Fun Fun Cave. The world is your oyster in the Caribbean Sea with everything from scuba diving and snorkelling to deep sea fishing and shipwreck exploring, with schools of multi-coloured fish greeting you as you swim amongst the transparent waters. The colourful kiteboarding at Carbarete is also a must, even if it’s just to watch.
If you're looking for a break from the beach then head to the historical Spanish colonial capital city of Santo Domingo for a combination of cobblestoned streets, Baroque architecture and the bewitching Catedral Primada de América, where Christopher Columbus’s son Diego put down the first stone in 1514. After all the walking, sightseeing and shopping, it must be time to eat! Try the aromatic flavours of fusion street food, or the Mesón de la Cava for fresh seafood in a unique cave setting. Most resorts are all-inclusive but the delicious blend of Latin American, Taíno Indian and European cuisine means that back in Punta Cana it’s worth venturing out to the Jellyfish Beach Restaurant, or adults only Passion by Martin Berasategui at Paradisus Palma Real.
Discover the Dominican Republic...
You’ll find variations of the outback safari being offered on most Caribbean islands, but this is one of our favourites, not only because you get to see so much of this beautiful country, but also because so much is included on this day out. You’ll be welcomed into a traditional Dominican home, pass by lots of local schools and villages, see coffee and chocolate plantations, watch cigars being expertly rolled and even have a chance to try boogie boarding on a secluded beach.
Visit Altos de Chavón
Spend the day taking in the sights of Altos de Chavón, part of Casa De Campo in La Romana. This Mediterranean-style ‘artist’s village’ houses many galleries, craft shops and a huge open-air amphitheatre, perched on towering cliffs surrounded by tropical forest. You can also enjoy a tasty lunch on board a riverboat on the Chavón river.
Sail to Saona Island
This island off the south coast of La Romana is a true paradise. There are lots of catamaran trips available, but if you want something more relaxing and personal, take a private boat and avoid the crowds. This really is a chilled out day, where you’ll enjoy plenty of cocktails, a delicious barbecue and if you can muster up the energy, a spot of beach volleyball.
Hit the fairway
You’ll be amazed at how many golfing options there are in and around Punta Cana. Play on picturesque, championship courses designed by legends such as Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Nick Faldo and P.B. Dye. You can try a different course every day of the week here, and you’ll find that each one is immaculately maintained and an absolute joy to play.
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Flights to the Dominican Republic are with British Airways and total flying time is approximately 11 hrs (including a touchdown in Antigua).
British Airways Departures from Gatwick to Punta Cana 3 times a week in high season and twice a week in low season, via Antigua in both directions.
Spanish. English is also widely spoken in tourist areas.
4 hours behind GMT and 5 hours behind BST.
Dominican peso. Major credit cards are widely accepted.
All British citizens require a tourist card to enter the Dominican Republic, which can be obtained on arrival at the airport at a cost of US$10 or equivalent. Passports should be valid for 6 months after the return date of your holiday.