Toe-sinking sands, stretches of Caribbean Sea, and a bustling centre – just a few of the ways to describe the southern part of the Dominican. The north on the other hand boasts wonders of Mother Nature, colourful coral reefs and national parks just waiting to be explored.
No matter which side you pick, there’s an abundance of All Inclusive resorts at your fingertips. The hardest part of your holiday to the Dominican will be which half to choose, so here’s everything you need to know about north and south of the island.
Best for: great value for money
Resorts include: Bahia Maimon, Costa Dorada, Playa Dorada and Samana
At a glance
The northern half of the Dominican Republic is known for its laid-back vibes, heavy on the white sand beaches and All Inclusive resorts. Puerto Plata is the most popular destination in these parts – it’s a large city with the resorts of Costa Dorada and Playa Dorada to its name.
Up north is where Cabarete lies, known as one of the best surfing spots in all of the Caribbean, water fanatics will be in their element. Sosua is another popular surf area, and is backed by a leafy forest waiting for your exploration.
You’ll find your fair share of hotspots in the island’s northern half, including Blue Flag award-winning beaches that make way to a vast array of coral reefs and other scuba diving sites. The north in general is top for animal-spotting, including migratory birds in El Morro National Park and the annual influx of humpback whales to Samana Bay between the months of January and March.
27 waterfalls – Like the name suggests, this natural attraction is a collection of 27 waterfalls. You’ll need a tour guide to get you around but once here, the awe-worthy water will call your name. You won’t be able to resist jumping in, nothing quite says romantic like a swim in one of natures wonders.
Teleferico Puerto Plata Cable Car – The cable car from Puerto Plata takes you all the way to the top of Pico Isabel de Torres, where a Christ the Redeemer statue, botanic garden and gorgeous views await.
Playa Dorada – This long stretch of sand is the main set of shores in Puerto Plata and is attached to the synonymous resort, lined with resorts and featuring ultra-clear water with coral reefs not far from the beach.
Best for: City days and nights
Resorts include: Bavaro, La Romana, Bayahibe and Uvero Alto
At a glance
The south of the Dominican Republic is a Renaissance collection of resorts – you’ve got beach spots, cities, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and natural attractions. Have the best of both worlds with relaxing coastlines that stretch for miles and exciting excursions never to far away.
Punta Cana sits on the lower eastern coast, and is the resort of all Dominican resorts. It boasts some of the most beautiful beaches on all of the island – odds are, if you’ve seen a brochure for this Caribbean island with white sand, palm trees and aquarmarine water, it was Bavaro’s beach – as well as some of the best watersports. Snorkelling, scuba diving, party boats and windsurfing are all up for grabs.
Down here you’ll also find the uber-exlucisve Uvero Alto, member of the Coconut Coast and privy to high end retreats. The Dominican Republic’s capital city of Santo Domingo is in these parts as well, and whose colonial zone is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
But just as busy and bustling as some of the southern Dominican Republic resorts are, there are quiet counterparts to balance the scales. Bayahibe is as peaceful as they come, edging up against the Parque Nacional de Este where caves and tropical foliage await.
Macao Beach – Macao Beach in Punta Cana is the picture of Dominican beauty, stunning with windswept white sands and palm trees that have that undeniable deserted-island feel.
Hoyo Azul – The cenote known as the Hoyo Azul is everyone’s favourite natural attraction, hidden away and surrounded completely by craggy rock walls that make way for a shock of blue-green water. Go for a swim, follow the nature trails or drop off the cliff edge on a zip line.
Altos de Chavon – The Altos de Chavon is a curious recreation of a Mediterranean village located in La Romana, equipped with an archaeological museum, 5000-seat amphitheatre and Mediterranean-style restaurants tucked along cobbled lanes.
And now, let the choosing begin. Which half of the Dominican Republic did you pick? Let us know in the comments below.