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10 Best Places to Visit in the Dominican Republic

If you’re in the mood for a Caribbean holiday, the Dominican Republic is the place to go. It shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti in the Greater Antilles. The island is where Christopher Columbus made his first stop in the New World in 1492 and which later became the first capital of the Spanish empire in the Americas. You’ll find plenty of evidence of the country’s Spanish heritage.

Today, however, people visit the Dominican Republic for its beautiful sandy beaches, clear waters and water sports activities. Off-shore activities include deep sea fishing and whale watching. There’s really not any good reason for you to stay home after you’ve seen these best places to visit in the Dominican Republic.

10. Las Terrenas [SEE MAP]

Las Terrenas

Las Terrenas, on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, was once a small fishing village. But that all changed in 1946 when the country’s president ordered rural residents from Santo Domingo to settle here as farmers and fishermen. Today, Las Terrenas is a growing tourist destination known for its pretty landscapes, white sand beaches and clear ocean water. It’s popular with foreigners and Santo Dominicans since it’s only a two-hour drive from the capital. Top beaches include Playas el Portillo and Las Ballenas. Las Terrenas also is a good place to go dolphin and whale watching.

9. Jarabacoa [SEE MAP]


tepena / Flickr

Because of its tropical climate, Jarabacoa is frequently called “the city of everlasting spring.” The area is known for its mountains and scenic beauty, including the Jimenoa and Baiguate waterfalls, and the Ebano Verde Scientific Reserve. If you’re an adventuresome visitor, you might try crossing the Jimenoa River on a wood and rope footbridge. More timid travelers may opt for a round of golf on a nine-hole course or a visit to the Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria del Evangelio. Come February, Jarabacoa hosts one of the most famous Carnivals in the country.

8. Playa Rincon [SEE MAP]

Playa Rincon

Pierre Mangin / Flickr

You may be walking on history as you beach comb on Playa Rincon: It’s one of two places in the Dominican Republic rumored to be THE spot where Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus first touched land in 1492. But even if it’s not, you’ll enjoy strolling on the soft sandy beach, which, at nearly two miles long means there’s room for everyone, though you may have to share the beach with stuff the ocean washed in. Still, Playa Rincon is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. You can get there via a 20-minute boat ride from Las Galeras.

7. El Limon Waterfall [SEE MAP]

El Limon Waterfall

Francisco Becerro / Flickr

El Limon waterfall definitely doesn’t live up to its name, The Lemon. Instead, El Limon is a spectacular waterfall that drops 50 meters (170 fee)t near the Atlantic Coast side of the Dominican Republic. Getting there can be a sweaty and wet ordeal since you’ll cross several rivers on horseback (the main way to get there), but once there, you can cool off in the spectacular swimming hole at the bottom of the falls. You may need the dip even more if you’ve opted to walk the 40-minute trail over sometimes steep terrain.

6. Santo Domingo [SEE MAP]

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic and its largest city – indeed, it has the largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean. Founded in 1496 on the Ozama River, it is the oldest European settlement in the Americas. It also holds a number of other New World firsts: capital of the Spanish empire, castle (Alcazar de Colon), monastery, cathedral (Cathedral Santa Maria la Menor) and university. The best place to take in this rich history is, of course, the historic district where you’ll find majestic buildings reflecting Middle Ages architecture. You can also see the Fortaleza Ozama, the oldest fortress in the Americas.

5. Cabarete [SEE MAP]


Jeff / Flickr

If you’re into adventure sports, Cabarete is a good place to indulge yourself. Founded in 1835 by former slave owner, this once quiet fishing village is now a kite-surfer’s dream, hosting many international competitions. It’s one of the most popular surfing spots in the Caribbean. Cabarete has a good infrastructure for tourism, with top hotels and eateries, all of which are easy to find, since the village has only one main street. Cabarete has pretty beaches, but if you get tired of them you can explore nearby caves or go kayaking, snorkeling or scuba diving.

4. Samana [SEE MAP]


Samana, capital of the province with the same name, is a pretty, historic town located on northern Samana Bay. Its main claim to fame is that it’s the last stop Christopher Columbus made the New World in 1493 before heading back to Spain. In more modern times, it’s a great place to go whale-watching, since thousands of humpback whales head to the bay to give birth between January and March. During these months, Samana is the tourism capital of the Dominican Republic. It may interest baseball fans to know that several notable pitchers, including Wily Peralta, grew up here.

3. Bayahibe [SEE MAP]


Reinhard Link / Flickr

In a country that is known for its beach destinations, the resort town of Bayahibe is no exception. The former fishing village is now one of the top places to visit in the Dominican Republic. Bayahibe Beach is located less than a mile from town, but you’re more likely to visit here to catch a boat to Saona and its fabulous beaches located within a national park. Bayahibe also is the best scuba diving locations in the country, with more than 20 dive sites. Don’t scuba dive? How about stand-up paddle boarding or snorkeling?

2. Sosua [SEE MAP]


Hispaniola News / Flickr

In 1938, long before the Dominican Republic became a top tourist destination, its president offered safe haven to 100,000 Jewish refugees. About 800 settled in Sosua and were given land where they started a dairy and cheese factory. You can eat products from Productos Sosua today. Sosua is a popular destination for diving enthusiasts who like the calm waters, reef structures and the many varieties of fish they’ll see. Sosua is a place where nature is still making beaches, some naturally and others by storms. By day, Sosua is a typical beach resort; by night, it’s a haven for party animals.

1. Punta Cana [SEE MAP]

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Dominican Republic

Punta Cana is one of the most popular beach destinations in the Dominican Republic. It stands apart from other beach resorts in the country, however, because it has beaches that face both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Punta Cana has 100 km (60 miles) of coastline with mainly shallow waters, but the beaches can be windy sometimes. Punta Cana is a party town where you can swim with dolphins or sharks, race a speed boat, or go deep sea fishing, catamaran sailing, whale watching or zip lining. Plan to be very busy during your visit.

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Pros and cons of living in the Dominican Republic in 2022

Undoubtedly, we all know the Dominican Republic as a country where people go to get the best experience in the Caribbean. But one week’s trip is not always enough to understand how life works in this country and what problems residents face. After all, behind the paradise beaches, there is a reality that is hidden for you during your vacation in Punta Cana. That is why we have decided to tell you about the main pros and cons of living in the Dominican Republic.

Saona Island, the Dominican Republic in 2022

Saona Island, the Dominican Republic in 2022

The Dominican Republic overview

So, in order to acquaint you better with the current real situation in the country, we decided to split this topic into several sub-points. Therefore, it will allow you to find out more interesting facts about the Dominican Republic.

The economy of the DR

Well, we should say that the Dominican Republic has experienced significant economic growth, which makes it the largest economy in the Caribbean. Moreover, it ranks among the top 10 best economies in Latin America.

So, what helped the country become one of the fastest-growing economies in the region? Of course, it is tourism, mining, agriculture, free-trade zones, foreign investments. Here we should mention that tourism and free-trade zone earnings are the fastest-growing export sectors, and the service sector is the leading sphere in the Dominican Republic.

It is worth noting that such rapid growth occurred specifically before the pandemic, since many processes stopped after it. Nevertheless, everything is gradually resuming now, especially tourism.

Workers clean up the algae on Sirenis Beach, Punta Cana

Workers clean up the algae on Sirenis Beach, Punta Cana, 2021

What is life like in the Dominican Republic?

Probably, as you might guess, life in the Dominican Republic is not only about beaches and relaxation. Here people live an ordinary life like all of us, they may not see the ocean at all, since not everyone lives near the coast.

First of all, we want to point to salaries, and as we can see, average salaries in the Dominican Republic are an order of magnitude lower if we compare with the United States. So, the average salary is about 19 000 Dominican Pesos (DP) per month, which is about the US $330.

Moreover, most of the population still lives in rural areas. Also, rural life in the northern part of the country differs from the southeastern sugar plantations and other areas, and life in the vibrant capital of Santo Domingo also differs from the more calm life in small towns.

But many foreigners also come to live here for a long period, or even to get citizenship later. And the reason for this is usually their love for the climate, nature, the opportunity to go in for water sports, and the Caribbean vibe of this place. That is why we can see more and more foreign businesses appear here each year.

Car service in Bavaro, Punta Cana

Car service in Bavaro, Punta Cana, 2021

How to make a living in the Dominican Republic?

Well, as we have already mentioned, the Dominican wages are way lower compared to what most tourists are used to. When the average salary is about US $330, the lowest average salary is about the US $87. Hence, we can conclude that earning lots of money will be incredibly difficult, especially for an expatriate.

Nevertheless, doctors, lawyers, teachers of private schools get more, and it is about US $1 600. Doctors, lawyers, teachers of private schools receive more, the amount is in the range of $1 000-$2 500 US dollars per month. And this salary is considered high for the Dominican Republic.

Many people come here to open their own business, but not always everything goes the way we would like it to be. The economy in the Dominican Republic is still not at a high enough level, so businesses are often at risk. Working here, you will see that the prices are lower than in many countries.

But, in our opinion, the best option is to earn money elsewhere and come here to rest and enjoy your money, then you will feel as comfortable as possible, being able to afford a lot. Also, it would be the perfect option if your job allows you to work remotely, so you could live here.

Gifts Shop, Macao Beach, Punta Cana

Gifts Shop, Macao Beach, Punta Cana, 2022

Where do the rich people live in the DR?

First of all, we would like to mark Santo Domingo as the wealthiest city in the Dominican Republic. It is also the capital and the largest cultural and economic center of the country. As we can see, despite some social inequality in the Dominican Republic, there are exclusive sectors where rich, successful people live.

Without fear of being wrong, we can say that there are the most luxurious neighborhoods in Santo Domingo such as Los Cacicazgos or Bella Vista. In these areas, the price per m2 exceeds US$ 3 000, recall that a person with a high-income level can receive such a large amount for the Dominicans per month.

In addition, many people prefer to live near the coast, among such areas as Punta Cana, Cap Cana, and others. But, most likely, they choose the location of their villas away from the crowds of tourists. The popular option is accommodation that is located on the territory of the golf club.

Luxury villa in Cap Cana

Luxury villa in Cap Cana

Pros of living in the Dominican Republic

1. Climate

As you probably already know, the Dominican Republic is warm all year round. The tropical climate also gives you humidity, sending warm rains from time to time. Moreover, the average daytime air temperature is about 78.8 °F (26 °C), and the water temperature is about 80.6 °F (27 °C).

2. Nature

No doubt, the Dominican Republic is best known for its stunning white-sandy beaches with turquoise water. Tropical forests and mountains impress tourists from the first seconds. In our opinion, the most amazing thing is that there always remains a piece of unknown, untouched nature, which is now rarely found anywhere else. That is why it is always interesting to explore something new and unusual here.

3. Beaches

It would probably be a crime not to mention the stunning beaches of this country when talking about its advantages. Moreover, this is the most common reason why tourists are so eager to get to this paradise in the Caribbean.

4. Low prices

Well, of course, it always depends, but we should say that living in the Dominican Republic is way cheaper compared to most countries in Europe or the USA.

5. No visa required

So, the need for a visa depends on the country you come from. The citizens from countries such as the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and a list of European countries do not need a visa to enter. They are allowed to stay with a tourist card for up to 30 days.

6. Easy to extend your stay

Tourists can stay without a visa for up to 30 days. And if you forget to extend your stay, you will be required to pay just a fine. Additionally, we should note that the prices for extending the stay are not exorbitant at all.

7. Amount of activities

Living in the Dominican Republic, you will definitely not be bored. The locals themselves are friendly and cheerful. Moreover, it is the best place to do water sports or golf.

8. Dominican cuisine

Without a doubt, if the food is bad somewhere, there is nothing to stay in a place like this. Fortunately, this is definitely not about the Dominican Republic. There is a huge variation in meals with blends of herbs and crops with beef, pork, cheese, oregano, saffron. Also, do not forget about the amazing seafood right at local restaurants on the ocean shore. Be sure that traditional Dominican food is a fusion that will make your mouth water.

9. Coffee

Well, there is no surprise that Dominican coffee ranked as one of the best in the world. And there are many specific areas where this coffee is grown. Moreover, arabica beans are grown here the most. Therefore, you can be sure that your morning Dominican coffee will energize you for the whole day.

10. Rum

For sure, the Dominican Republic is known for its high-quality rum exports. The taste of it is smooth enough, because of the natural process of distillation and aging, that is why rum has its unique flavor. Additionally, a good and relatively inexpensive rum can also be an alternative here.

Cons of living in the Dominican Republic

1. Salaries

As we have already mentioned, it is possible to get paid enough money to live comfortably. But this “enough” applies only to the Dominican Republic. The reason for this is that in most cases, with a regular position, you will earn several times less there than in the USA or Europe.

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2. Driving and traffic jams

We cannot fail to mention this, as in big cities such as Santo Domingo it is always noisy and there are big traffic jams all the time. In addition, locals in the Dominican Republic are very dangerous to drive. They rarely have the rules we are used to, more often than not, they simply do not follow them. In addition, there are a lot of motorcycles that go fast and usually without traffic rules. So, if you are not an experienced driver, then you should not get behind the wheel first, it is better to hire a private transfer.

3. Corruption and bureaucracy

This is still a problem in the Dominican Republic. There is a fairly high level of corruption in the country. As well as bribes, which we do not recommend giving, and it is better to contact the police directly. Additionally, much time is wasted due to bureaucracy because some bills have to be paid in person.

4. Healthcare

Well, this topic is especially relevant in rural areas, because there are fewer medical services and the quality of health care is declining. But we should also mention that there is free treatment in public hospitals. Nevertheless, foreigners prefer to visit some private clinics, which are typically unaffordable for locals who do not have health insurance.

Pros and cons retiring the Dominican Republic

Having touched upon the topic of the life of foreigners in the Dominican Republic, we cannot fail to mention retirement. So, this practice is quite popular among foreign retirees. They move here to live a measured, eventful life under the warm Caribbean sun. Additionally, the big advantage is that retiring abroad can help you extend your retirement savings.

So, if you want to retire in the Dominican Republic, you can enter with a tourist card, and then you will need to apply for a visa. Do not be afraid of it since it is easy and quick enough to get it, and the Dominican government offers a special retirement visa. One of the main points of applying for a visa is to have an income per month of at least US $1 500.

So, this point may be a disadvantage for some, but the condition to have such an amount in the account will provide you with a comfortable stay in the country. Moreover, there are some problems with the Dominican three-tier healthcare system. The reason of it that most people end up paying out-of-pocket for medical supplies and services regardless of which tier they have access to.

Isla Saona, the Dominican Republic

Isla Saona, the Dominican Republic, 2022

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is the Dominican Republic a good place to live?

Without a doubt, the answer to this question depends on your own goals and preferences. If you do not like cold weather, Dominican Republic is the best option since it is warm here all year round, so you can forget about jackets and scarves while here. Additionally, if you have chosen the Dominican Republic as your vacation destination or long-term stay while working remotely, this is also the perfect option.

2. What is the nicest part of the Dominican Republic?

We are convinced that there are many places in the Dominican Republic that are stunning in their beauty. In addition, there are areas that are still unspoiled and wild, so there is always something to explore endlessly. Despite this, some areas have already formed that are loved by everyone and for which every year a lot of tourists come here. We would like to highlight Punta Cana – the best place for your holiday paradise, and Santo Domingo – for cultural enrichment and sightseeing.

3. How safe is it to live in the Dominican Republic?

Well, the Dominican Republic is considered one of the safest countries in the Caribbean. Despite this, crime still exists, especially outside the resort towns. Probably a higher level of crime in Santo Domingo, because it is a capital with crowds of people. Punta Cana is the safest place in the country because most of the areas are secure and well guarded.

So, if you are not one of those who go to unknown places for dangerous adventures – you have nothing to worry about since it is safe in the protected areas. Nevertheless, we do not recommend you walk alone in places unknown to you at night, and always keep an eye open on your expensive belongings.

4. Is Punta Cana safer than Mexico?

Both Punta Cana and Cancun are considered safe. As you may already know, these are tourist towns, so they are well guarded. That is why, the safety level in these cities is higher than in any other city in these countries.

5. How long can I live in the Dominican Republic?

It depends on your status. Well, without a visa, you can stay up to 30 days just with a tourist card in the Dominican Republic. And after this period you need to leave or extend your stay. It also happens when people do not extend their stay, or they just forget about it. But, fortunately, it is not so strict here, no one will immediately expel you.

So, if you overdue the allotted time, you naturally have to face fines or fees. You will have to pay a fine in the office of the Direccion General de Migracion. The price will depend on the length of your stay. For example, from 1 day to 3 months of your overstay, you will pay about US $44. Finally, it is also possible to obtain citizenship in the Dominican Republic, but this process is rather lengthy and complicated.

6. Can a US citizen live in the Dominican Republic?

Well, a citizen of the United States of America can stay without a visa for up to 30 days. After the end of this period, you need to apply for a visa. Obtaining citizenship is also possible, but it is not an easy process.

7. Is healthcare free in the Dominican Republic?

Well, the Dominican Republic has a three-tier healthcare system. The government pays for the first one and guarantees free healthcare for citizens. The second tier is actually paid for by employers and their employees. The third tier is paid for by people whose income is bigger than the national average, and it is also partially subsidized by the government.

8. How much money do you need to live comfortably in the Dominican Republic?

In our opinion, to live comfortably enough in the Dominican Republic, you need at least a budget of US $1 000 per month.

9. Is American money worth more in the Dominican Republic?

Based on the fact that in the United States people earn several times more than in the Dominican Republic, you can afford way more here. This means that by living in the US for the salary you receive there, you will feel more comfortable spending money in the Dominican Republic. The reason is that the prices are lower here, as are the salaries of local residents.

10. How much money to bring to the Dominican Republic?

Of course, this is all individual, as some spend a lot of money on the trip, while others do not go outside the hotel and spend nothing. All in all, we would recommend taking around US $250 per person. And you can spend this money on entertainment and excursions. Trust us, activities in the Dominican Republic are definitely worth their money, so do not miss this opportunity, because they will give you unforgettable emotions.

11. What can you buy with 50 Dominican Pesos?

Well, 50 Dominican Pesos is less than US $1. For example, for this money, you can buy a bus ticket, a 1.5-liter bottle of water, and milk will cost you about US $1.

The top 8 places to visit in the Dominican Republic

Bike riders on a joyride through the countryside of Dominican Republic.

Rollicking turquoise waves, swaying palms and some of the finest rum on the planet – the Dominican Republic is just as famous for its natural beauty as it is for the abundant all-inclusive resorts that call the island home.

While there’s no shortage of places with swim-up bars built for serene weeks of lounging by the water, getting off hotel property is one of the best ways to truly take in the Dominican experience.

Spending some time in major cities – like Santo Domingo and Santiago de los Caballeros – is ideal for sampling the island culture, while getting off the beaten path and exploring less developed natural enclaves will reward you with waterfalls, whale watching and flora-filled rainforest hikes.

Traveling from region to region is fairly common – you’ll find Dominicans commuting for business, going to visit family in the country or navigating their way to school. Taxis can be found just about everywhere, and ride-sharing services are available in the three major cities: Santo Domingo, Santiago and Puerto Plata. Public transportation in the form of bus service is both an affordable and memorable way to experience island life.

If you aren’t sure where to begin exploring everything the Dominican Republic has to offer, here’s a list of eight can’t-miss sites.

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Aerial view of two people walking down a tropical island beach

Beyond the tourist-focused, theme park–level accommodations, Punta Cana plays host to beaches that rival some of the Caribbean’s best © valio84sl / Getty Images

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1. Punta Cana is best for casinos and resort life

When most people think of the Dominican Republic, it’s Punta Cana they have in mind. It’s the resort capital of the island, with an avalanche of all-inclusives catering to the bottomless-bar set.

But beyond the tourist-focused, theme park–level accommodations, Punta Cana plays host to beaches that rival some of the Caribbean’s best. Punta Cana’s 97km (60 miles) of coastline face both Atlantic and Caribbean waters, inviting you to hop on a catamaran, go deep-sea fishing or get lost in a book while baking under the warm sun.

The area also has a vibrant party scene that pulsates late into the night, thanks to the various resorts’ casinos and clubs.

2. Santo Domingo is best for culture buffs

The gritty hustle and bustle of city life collide with vibrant Dominican culture in the island’s capital (“El Capital”), Santo Domingo. It’s one of the Caribbean’s oldest cities, making it ideal for history aficionados looking to explore colonial-era architecture and take a deep dive into the country’s past.

You’ll find the Zona Colonial in the city’s center, which the island’s oldest church, European fortress, monastery, university and hospital all call home. But step outside the cobblestone streets of the Zona, and a metropolitan joyride awaits, with elegant restaurants, raucous nightclubs and plenty of cultural institutions to add to your itinerary.

Reserve a table at the elegant El Mesón de la Cava for dinner in an ancient Taino cave, and afterward, hit the edgy, strobe-lit club Jet Set; Onno’s, a local bar chain, is also a popular spot for a casual night of beer and cocktails.

A closeup of a humpback whale tail off the coast near Samana in the Dominican Republic

3. Samaná is best for whale watching

The Samaná Peninsula is where the unspoiled natural beauty of the Dominican Republic mingles with friendly small-town sensibilities – a stark contrast to the glitzy resorts of Punta Cana and the bustling grind of Santo Domingo.

The capital of this peninsular province is the eponymous Samaná, located in northern Samaná Bay. Eco-tourism is popular here, with one major star attraction: whales. The best time to go is between January and March, when thousands of humpback whales descend upon the bay to give birth to their calves.

El Museo de las Ballenas (Whale Museum) in the neighboring town of Salinas is an attraction in its own right, with guided tours of marine mammal exhibits, handcrafted souvenirs and a full 12m (40-ft) skeleton of a humpback whale found along the rocky coastline between Las Galeras and Santa Bárbara de Samaná in 1993.

4. Sosúa is best for late-night partying

By day, Sosúa is your typical sleepy beach town – large swaths of sandy shores gently lapped by the Atlantic’s cerulean waves. It’s also the island’s dairy and cheese capital, courtesy of a 1938 presidential decree that allowed 100,000 Jewish refugees to settle in the area.

Some 800 people took the offer and launched a dairy and cheese factory, many of whose products you can purchase today.

While this all seems quite bucolic and mellow, Sosúa by night is an entirely different beast. After dark, the main strip (Calle Pedro Clisante) closes off to traffic, and revelers spill out onto the streets from the resident bars, lounges and nightclubs, many of which feature local live music, including the Blue Ice Piano Bar and the popular Jolly Roger.

But a word of caution: the area is also known for sex tourism. Dominican and Haitian sex workers are known to approach and proposition tourists in the area, so practice a fair amount of caution.

A closeup of a woman kiteboarding in the ocean

Cabarete is an adrenaline junkie’s dream, a haven for kayakers, snorkelers and wind and kite surfers © David Mody / Getty Images

5. Cabarete is best for thrill seekers

Sure, sipping cocktails by the beach is nice. But there’s only so much relaxing you can do, right? When you’re ready to shift your vacation into high gear, set your coordinates for Cabarete, a beach town located on the Caribbean coast of the Dominican Republic.

Founded in 1835 by a British merchant and former enslaver, Cabarete is now an adrenaline junkie’s dream, a haven for kayakers, snorkelers and wind and kite surfers (several international competitions are hosted here). It’s also a popular spot for avid surfers, thanks to some of the best winds and tides in the Caribbean.

A woman standing in front of the cascading El Limón waterfall

After a walk or horseback ride from the small town of El Limón, you’ll arrive at a spectacular waterfall that flows into an expansive swimming hole © Don Mammoser / Shutterstock

6. El Limón waterfall is the perfect adventurous hike

Tighten your shoelaces and summon your balance – the 2.4km (1.5-mile) trail to get to Cascada El Limón is mostly wet and rocky terrain that visitors traverse on horseback. But it can also be accessed by foot – you’ll cross rivers and hop over muddy rocks to make it to your destination, so be sure to pack some rubber footwear.

After a 30 to 60-minute walk or horseback ride from the small town of El Limón, you’ll arrive at your destination – a spectacular 46m (150-ft) waterfall that flows into the cool waters of an expansive swimming hole. You can book a tour with one of the companies in Las Terrenas, a 30-minute drive from El Limón; the excursion typically includes a guide, horse and lunch.

7. Bayahibe is best for scuba diving

Situated on the Caribbean coast of the Dominican Republic, Bayahibe is a former fishing village turned quiet resort town with access to some of the island’s most lively (and spectacular) beaches.

Just a few miles from town, you’ll find Bayahibe Beach, Dominicus Beach and boat launches that ferry you to Isla Saona, a national park that’s more booze-cruise layover than uninhabited sanctuary. Your best bet: stay in Bayahibe and take advantage of one of some 20 different dive sites in the area – it’s one of the most active areas for scuba divers in the country. If scuba diving isn’t in the cards, try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding or snorkeling the reefs instead.

8. Jarabacoa offers mountainous hikes and whitewater river rafting

Jarabacoa is the antithesis of the Dominican Republic’s oceanside towns. So when you’ve had your fill of lounging on the beach, head to Jarabacoa’s soaring peaks for verdant hikes, whitewater rafting on a roaring river and warm mugs of irresistible Dominican coffee on cool, misty mountain mornings.

Known as the City of Everlasting Spring, Jarabacoa has no shortage of activities: waterfall hikes, rope-bridge crossings over the Jimenoa River, plentiful rounds of golf and visits to the Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria del Evangelio.

The area is also home to the Ebano Verde Scientific Reserve, where more than 600 species of flora and fauna populate one of the most humid areas on the island (you can arrange a tour of the reserve before you visit). Jarabacao is also known for its Carnaval festivities in February – one of the most famous celebrations in the Dominican Republic.

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