My personal experience in the Dominican Republic was at the Iberostar hotels, one in Punta Cana if you want the white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Or the one in Puerto Plata if you don’t mind yellow beaches (instead of white ones 🙂 but they have the friendliest people!
If you choose Punta Cana, you have to make the trip to Saona Island, it’s a gorgeous little island that you got to see!!!
The best way to see it is with a catamaran. It’s an amazing place surrounded by a natural swimming pool as the Dominicans call it. And on your way over in a boat you’ll be served ‘vitaminos’, well actually rum (but I did not tell you this!). And you can enjoy the laid back Dominican way of life with their fantastic music and dance into the sunset.
These kinds of vacations are mostly being offered in a package deal, which is nice, they pick you up at the airport by a bus or taxi (if you prefer this) and there is a hostess to welcome you to the island. The hotels offer all-inclusive, which is convenient if you want a no worry where-to-eat vacation.
If you, besides from having a relaxing vacation, want to see some scenery or culture, they offer several excursions. Make the trip to Saona or to Santo Domingo (capital). It depends on which side of the island you are going. Keep in mind the roads aren’t like we know them, so a couple of hours in a bus aren’t that much fun. Choose something on your side of the island if you don’t like long trips.
When I was in Puerto Plata, I visited the National Park of Los Haitises (which is closer to Samana, so it was a longer trip with the bus, but worth it). This area is known as having one of the most important rainforests and mangrove reserves in the entire Caribbean, complete with keys and caves. You can only enter the park with a certified guide. Day excursions can be booked from most hotels.
Lots of sport activities: rent a kayak (some hotels offer these for free), go on a water banana, go parasailing…
These images were provided by the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism.
The currency is the Dominican peso. But US dollars are most convenient.
There are no vaccinations required to travel to the Dominican Republic at present. But bringing mosquitoes and bugs repellent is recommended!
Weather: it’s tropical weather all year round. The average annual temperature is around 25°C (77 F), there are tropical storms and hurricanes. The winter season (November to April) has more rainfall. But rainstorms are usually just ten minutes and then the sun comes out again! The hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th, but usually you see hurricanes in August and September.
Clothing: cotton and linen are advisable. Shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, bathing suits and sandals are what you need! But if you want to visit museums, bring something with long sleeves and pants. Because shorts and tank tops are not allowed.
Mosquitoes: Don’t forget to pack a mosquito repellent!
Souvenirs: Typical souvenirs are rum, coffee, paintings, … I brought home a painting from one of my trips and it’s my nicest souvenir so far!
Language: Spanish is the official language. Learn some useful Spanish phrases.
TIP for European travelers: you need an adaptor. The voltage is the same as for the USA: 110 – 120 volts (at 60 cycles).