Outside your All-Inclusive resort.
The Dominican Republic is known as one of the cheapest and best-value beach holidays in the Caribbean. Most visitors stay in large all-inclusive hotels lined up along the pearly white beaches and wavy palm trees.
And although those All-Inclusive resorts offer many activities, it is nice to get out of your resort and discover what’s behind the walls of your world of luxury.
1. Soak up the sun from other stunning Dominican Republic beaches
Most likely you will spend most of your days in one of the luxury resorts, like RIU, in the Punta Cana area, but there are a few other great places to relax at in the Dominican Republic.
And I must say, Punta Cana (located on the southwestern tip of the Dominican Republic ) definitely has some of the best beaches in the world, with dazzling white sand, turquoise-colored water, and a million tropical palm trees.
If you want to change your beach for a day, you can head to Arena Gorda, which is another paradise of palm trees and turquoise water.
If you are looking for a laid-back place where you can be active in kiting and windsurfing, then Cabarete is your best destination in the Dominican Republic.
2. Visit Santo Domingo
Apart from the cobblestone streets, it would be easy to forget Santo Domingo is in the Caribbean. Santa Domingo is an urban city, home not only to colonial architecture but also to hot clubs and very good restaurants.
Just like Havana in Cuba, Santo Domingo is like a living museum full of history and culture, but with a cosmopolitan vibe to it.
3. Check out Isla Saona
Isla Saona is a tropical paradise which is part of Parque del Este National park. Here you will not only find stunning white beaches but also 400-year-old caves with rock paintings of the Taino people.
4. Visit the Ohos Indigenas Ecological Reserve
The Ohos Indigenas Ecological Reserve is also definitely worth visiting. This is a protected area covering more than 600 hectares of freshwater lagoons, subtropical forests, and many exotic species.
5. Mediterranean Culture at Altos de Chavón
A surprisingly cute village on the Chavón River built in the Mediterranean style and called the ‘Village of Artists’ for being the home of the Escuela de Diseño and an amphitheater where concerts with renowned musicians are often held.
You won’t believe this tourist attraction is in the Dominican Republic. The buildings are amazing, there are mules walking through the streets and the views are absolutely breathtaking.
From Altos de Chavon you can also opt in for a boat trip along the river. Definitely worth it!
6. Sail to Isla Catalina
Another great day trip from Punta Cana is a sailing trip to Isla Catalina.
Isla Catalina is a small inhabited island, which is set up for tourists and cruise companies with daybeds on the beach and little bars. Can be very touristy, but the scenery is amazing. If you can, just try to go on a day that there are no big cruise ship scheduled.
It has a coral reef at a shallow depth which is perfect for inexperienced divers who prefer snorkeling. On Cape Tiburón, between Saona and Catalina, sharks abound, and it’s a good place for more experienced scuba divers who didn’t watch too many JAWS movies 😉
Verdict on our short trip to the Dominican Republic
As we’re only in the Dominican Republic for 5 days, we managed to soak up the sun on the beautiful Punta Cana beaches, visit all the RIU Hotels in Punta Cana, and went on trips to Isla Catalinita and Altos de Chavon. Still, quite a few things we squeezed in those 5 days 😉
I also really loved driving around the island on our way to the excursions as you really get to see a bit more of the Dominican Republic and how people live there. You won’t see any of that when you only hang around in your all-inclusive resort.
This is why I always say: When you do go on an all-inclusive holiday, come off your lazy chair, get up and get at least one trip far away from your convenient luxury resort, so you can actually say you have been to a destination, rather than laying on a chair, eating, sleeping and getting a tan.
Read about all the RIU Resorts we visited in the Dominican Republic here. Did you already sign up to receive an email from us when we post something new? Scroll down and sign up today, so you don’t miss any of our adventures 🙂