The Dominican Republic is one of the Caribbean’s most visited destinations, thanks to its endless spread of white sand beaches, palm trees, incredibly clear seas and all round paradise-esque vibe. But there’s a lot more to do here than just soak up the rays beach-side – the Dominican Republic also has a whole host of fun excursions for everyone in the family to enjoy. If you’re heading to this sunshine-filled island any time soon, here’s a list of some of our favourite excursions for you to check out.
With year-round warm water and over 1,600 kilometres of coastline, it’s always a good time to go scuba diving in the Dominican Republic. There’s plenty to see at the island’s coral reefs as well as in the underwater caves and shipwrecks. The clear water makes it easy to spot the schools of colourful fish, sting rays, moray eels and barracudas. For newbies to the scuba diving world, check out Airport Wall in Sosua Bay, a popular training dive spot. This wall starts at around five metres and drops to 28 metres, including tunnels and caverns to explore.
The National Park Del Este
The Dominican Republic isn’t shy when it comes to its natural beauty. It has numerous national parks that show off its rugged landscape and second-to-none beaches. The National Park Del Este has been a protected nature reserve since 1975 and stretches over the mainland near Bayahibe onto Isla Saona. It holds no less than eight barrier reefs, hundreds of caverns and endless forests. Animal lovers will be happy to hear it’s also home to more than 112 species of birds and 120 different species of fish.
Bavaro Adventure Park
For those adrenaline junkies the Bavaro Adventure Park is where it’s at, situated in Punta Cana, near Bavaro. It’s got a whole ton of outdoor activities, with physical challenges and tree-top sports. This forest playground is complete with 15 different attractions, from zip-lining high above the trees, to bungee trampolines, mountain biking and flight simulators. As you walk through the outdoor grounds you’ll be greeted by massive dinosaur statues, which only adds to the wild adventure theme.
The Dominican Republic is overflowing with natural beauty and fantastic one-of-a-kind landscapes. The Hoyo Azul Lagoon, also known as the Blue Hole, is a natural pool or cenote in Punta Cana with completely clear waters, located at the base of an impressive cliff. Experienced guides can lead you through paths and over a wooden bridge to get to this deep rock pool. Once you’re there you can dip your feet into the natural water or go for a refreshing swim!
The Dominican Republic’s glorious backdrop of beaches and lush forests makes it an excellent location for horseback riding. You’ll find a myriad of different riding companies around the island, so you can choose the one closest to you depending on where you’re holidaying. These tours are all run by experienced riders and take you past the island’s colonial architecture, as well as through its countryside and beaches. It’s a great way to experience the island, even if you’re a first timer on a horse.
Alcazar de Colon
Christopher Columbus built this structure between 1510 and 1514, and it remains one of the oldest European buildings in the Americas. Walk through this house and see the well preserved items of Christopher Columbus and his family, including original beds, furniture and paintings. The balconies on the house offer stunning views of the river and harbour down below in Santo Domingo, and the tour itself gives you a historic glimpse back to the colonial past of the Dominican Republic.
Cigar factory tour
If you’ve ever wondered how cigars are made, or just enjoy smoking them, this tour is for you. The Dominican Republic is known for having some of the most popular cigars in the world, and a rich history of manufacturing them, with many farmers in Cuba migrating to this island at the onset of the Cuban Embargo.
At this Puerto Plata factory tour you can visit the Cigar Lounge by Vivonte Cigars and take a tour of the factory. Guides will give you an educational overview of the Dominican Republic’s cigar history, the process of growing tobacco, how a cigar is made and even how to determine the quality of one.
Museum of the Royal Houses
If you want to learn about the Dominican Republic’s colonial past the best place to start is the Museum of the Royal Houses in Santo Domingo. The building itself was used as one of the main institutions of the Spanish Crown during the colonisation of the Americas. The collection of artefacts covers a whole range of topics – from commerce, arms history and of course the colonisation. Most of the rooms have a theme including the throne room, the court room, and the workroom.
Swim with dolphins
On almost everyone’s bucket list is to swim with dolphins, and the Dominican Republic is one of the best places to do just that. The Dolphin Discovery in Punta Cana is a dolphinarium where you can get up close to meet and learn about these beautiful creatures. At the Ocean World Adventure Park in Puerto Plata you can swim in the sea alongside dolphins and sharks and past a lively coral reef. Dolphins are a friendly and outgoing bunch, so it’s likely you’ll be high-fiving, playing ball and letting them guide you through the water as you hold onto their fin in no time.
Sirenis Aquagames waterpark
If you’re travelling with little ones, a great day out is the Sirenis Aquagames Waterpark in Punta Cana. This family fun park is every kid’s dream come true, with huge colourful waterslides, a pirate-themed pool, splash area and fast paced rides for adults. The park is located within a resort, so you’ll find lot of spots to grab a bite to eat and numerous shady places to unwind under a parasol.
The exciting attractions and day excursions never end on this popular Caribbean island! Have you been to any of these must-see spots? Let us know what your thoughts on Dominican Republic excursions in the comments below!