Caribbean » Dominican Republic » Dominican Republic Itinerary – Travel Guide, Highlights And More

Dominican Republic Itinerary – Travel Guide, Highlights And More

From exploring the country’s incredible landscapes, to relaxing on the beautiful beaches and experiencing some of the adventurous activities on offer, this Dominican Republic itinerary shows you all the highlights.

The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean getaway that has it all. For beach lovers there are plenty of beautiful spots to relax on. If adventure is your thing, you can zip line, hike, dive, kite surf and more through this exotic paradise.

Wildlife lovers can spend their days whale watching, snorkelling with colourful fish or watching birds of prey swoop over the national parks. Or if you’re a foodie, you’re going to fall in love with the local rums and tasty Caribbean cuisine.

There are great hotels all over the country, perfect for those looking for a romantic getaway, or families wanting some fun in the sun. So whether you’re looking for some amazing activities, or just want to find out the best time to travel to Punta Cana, this post is packed full of helpful advice for your trip.

Oh, and if you’re looking for fun activities, don’t miss my guide to the best Punta Cana excursions.

Relaxing hotels in the Dominican Republic
Relaxing hotels in the Dominican Republic

It’s been one of the top Caribbean holiday destinations for travellers from North America, South America and the UK for a long time, so time to start planning YOUR dream trip with my Dominican Republic travel guide.

Best time to visit the Dominican Republic 

It’s warm all year round in the Dominican Republic, with temperatures between 23 – 30 Celsius. There’s a wet and dry season across the Caribbean, with December to March being a good time to visit for rain-free sunshine-filled days.

It tends to get busy around Christmas though, so if you can time your visit for out of the key holiday periods, you’ll have a more relaxing experience.

It’s also a great time to visit if you’re a wildlife lover, as from mid-January to mid-March the North Atlantic humpback whales visit the waters around the island.

Sunsets in the Dominican Republic
Sunsets in the Dominican Republic

May to October is when rainy season hits the Caribbean, which brings with it heightened humidity too. It’s also important to be aware of hurricane season, from June to November, although tropical storms are more likely to be an issue. 

Lots of people rate March to May as a great time to visit. It’s a shoulder season, so crowds are lower, but it’s still lovely and warm. 

Dominican Republic Itinerary

Whatever kind of holiday you have in mind, and whenever you plan to visit, there are plenty of great activities on offer. From Punta Cana and Santo Domingo, to Puerto Plata and beyond, this Dominican Republic itinerary takes you through my favourite places in the country.

Dominican Republic flag
Dominican Republic flag

Whale watching in the Dominican Republic 

From the middle of January to March, North Atlantic humpbacks migrate through this part of the Caribbean. There’s a breeding ground around the Samana Peninsula, where the incredible creatures give birth and then mate for the following year.

There are lots of opportunities to see them playing, breeching, or you could swim or snorkel and listen to their songs.

Humpack whale
Humpack whale

Eat dinner in a cave

How’s this for a restaurant with a difference? El Meson de la Cava was once a cave used as storage base for soldiers, but it’s been transformed into a romantic and unique restaurant.

The limestone cave was formed naturally over billions of years, and is located in Santo Domingo. It’s beautiful inside, with tables placed between the limestone walls, illuminated by coloured lights, chandeliers and flickery candles.

It’s not all about the gimmicks either, expect super-formal service and tasty Caribbean and Spanish fusion cuisine.

El Meson de la Cava restaurant, Dominican Republic
El Meson de la Cava restaurant, Dominican Republic

Explore the Dominican Republic’s landscapes with a tour of 27 waterfalls  

One of the most popular days out in the Dominican Republic is to the 27 waterfalls of Damajaqua Cascades (also known as Los Charcos). Prepare for a bit of an adrenaline fix as you hike, climb, jump, swim and more through this natural wonderland of waterfalls. I’d liken it to canyoning. 

The waterfalls are absolutely stunning, with several turquoise pools and beautiful cascades falling from different heights along the route. You can only visit as part of a tour, which includes an experienced tour guide, a helmet, and life jacket. You can find out about the experience here.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Alan por el Mundo (@alanxelmundo) on

Taste the country’s famous rum 

You can’t visit the Caribbean and not try the region’s flavoursome rums. I’d recommend taking a trip to Brugal Rum Distillery in Puerto Plata – the largest producer of traditionally made rum in the Dominican Republic since 1888.

After touring the distillery and learning about the history of the country’s rum production, relax with a rum tasting, then shop for a few bottles to take home as a memento of your holiday!

Rum tasting in the Dominican Republic
Rum tasting in the Dominican Republic

Visit the blue hole in the Dominican Republic

Hoyo Azul is a beautiful natural lagoon with incredible bright blue clear water. If you’re staying in Punta Cana, it makes a great trip, as it’s takes just 20-minutes by car. If you’re familiar with Mexico’s cenotes, then this is similar – it’s a natural sinkhole which sits below an impressive 75-metre tall limestone cliff.

Take a wander through the forest, dive into the turquoise waters, and enjoy the beauty of this natural paradise!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by VisiteRepúblicaDominicana (@visiterepublicadominicana) on

Wander the streets of the Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo

Did you know that Santo Domingo was the first European Colonial district in the New World? A lot of this pretty city was built in the 16th century, so there’s plenty of historic architecture to admire.

It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for good reason. With cobblestone streets and incredible buildings from the 1500s including the Primada Cathedral and Alcázar de Colón, it’s a charming place to explore on your own time.

Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Enjoy some time out on the water

Your Dominican Republic itinerary has to include a dip in the warm waters. If you fancy trying some activities, there are plenty of options on offer around the resort areas, including scuba diving, stand up paddle boarding, kitesurfing and catamaran trips.

You’ll find some of the calmest water up in Cabarete Bay, as it’s protected by a coral reef. Or head to the isolated Playa Frontón Beach in Samaná for a picture-postcard Caribbean beach experience.

Kite surfing in the Dominican Republic
Kite surfing in the Dominican Republic

See the Dominican Republic’s ‘three eyes’

This is a country made for adventure lovers, and a trip to Parque Nacional Los Tres Ojos will make an amazing addition to your Dominican Republic itinerary. Translating as the three eyes, it’s an ancient cave complex containing three natural lakes, all with bright blue waters.

You can’t swim here, but no doubt you’ll want to take lots of pictures.

Tres Ojos, Dominican Republic

Sandboard down the Dominican Republic’s impressive dunes

Now this is a surprising landscape for a Caribbean island! In the south of the country you’ll find Dunas de Bani, the Dominican Republic’s natural sand dunes. They’re impressive too – with the tallest at a height of 35m high.

With different landscapes comes a whole new eco-system, so expect to spot lizards, desert goats, herons and flamingos. It’s not the easiest place to get to unless you hire a car for your trip, but the views contrast a lot with what you’ll see across the rest of the country.  


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sonia Angélica Moreno (@soniamorenoo) on

Visit one of the Dominican Republic’s stunning waterfalls 

Salto de Socoa waterfall is one of the most popular day trips from Santo Domingo, as it’s nice and accessibly from the capital.

Located in a tropical jungle, the waterfall and beautiful turquoise waters are very photogenic. You can even cool off with a dip in the pure waters.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Atardeceres bayahibe (@atardeceresbayahibe) on

I hope these travel tips help you plan an incredible Dominican Republic itinerary. If you’re looking for more fun activities, don’t miss my guide to the best Punta Cana excursions.

Why not save this post to your Pinterest boards using one of these pins…

Dominican Republic itinerary
Dominican Republic itinerary

With a passion for food, fun and adventure, Chloe is the content creator behind one of the UK's top travel blogs Wanderlust Chloe. From volcano boarding in Nicaragua, to sailing around Sicily and eating her way around Japan, her travels have taken her to some of the coolest spots on the planet. Named Travel Influencer of the Year in 2022, Chloe regularly works with a number of tourism boards, producing inspirational travel content across multiple platforms. Find out more about Chloe here.

Leave a comment