The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean country located in the Antilles . Its demographic limits to the north with the Atlantic Ocean and to the south with the Caribbean Sea provide us with a tropical landscape surrounded by innumerable natural attractions that favor ecotourism, positioning place to stay in Dominican Republic as the first tourist destination in the Caribbean .
It was discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus and since then it continues to mesmerize more than 7 million visitors every year with its extraordinary charms. Due to its extensive diversity, this insular region has been classified as a microcontinent. In other words, the DR is an exotic earthly paradise that hosts visitors from all over the world .
There are many things to do in the Dominican Republic, here you can enjoy all-inclusive hotels in Santo Domingo, beach environments, desert areas, towns located in cold mountains with pine trees… As well as an invaluable historic center steeped in history and culture.
If your style is more of a city, it also has a lively nightlife where you can taste its exquisite cuisine. All this accompanied by the best hospitality and attention that characterizes Dominicans . If you are looking for the best things to do in the Dominican Republic and where to stay, this article is for you.
Best places to visit and stay in the Dominican Republic
The 48,448 km² that this wonderful insular region has, offers a wide variety of destinations to discover. In 2016, 537 hotels were registered. On this occasion, we mention the places where you can stay in the Dominican Republic.
Is your destination the main beaches, the historic center of the city of Santo Domingo and its nightlife? Or are you just passing through on a business trip, but still want to relax? We have done extensive research to determine the best things to do in the Dominican Republic tailored to your needs.
Below, we mention the main tourist destinations and the best places to stay in Santo Domingo and the Dominican Republic:
Colonial Zone or Historical Center
Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic and has a picturesque charm as the city combines the old and the modern. This area has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site . Among the things to do in Santo Domingo you can visit these places full of history:
- The Alcázar de Colón: this Palace dates back to the beginning of the 16th century. Located in the Plaza de España, Colonial City of Santo Domingo.
- The First Cathedral of America: it is an emblematic Catholic Church. It was built in the middle of the 16th century. It has a beautiful limestone façade and its interior is vaulted.
- La Casa del Cordón: it was the first stone house in America and it is presumed that it was the first with two floors. The cord that it presents on its façade associated with the Franciscan Order is who gives it its name.
- The Monastery of San Francisco: it is one of the most important ruins in the Dominican Republic. It is located in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo, it was declared a World Heritage Site.
- The Ozama Fortress: it is the oldest fort in America, it is a Historical Cultural Monument of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. It was built during the viceregal era by the Spanish.
- The Gate of Mercy: it is a very emblematic monument that is part of the Colonial Zone.
The cultural and architectural wealth of this area make it one of the most visited sites by tourists . In addition to being safe for visitors, since the country has a Specialized Tourist Security Corps (CESTUR), a dependency of the Ministry of Defense.
These are the best accommodations in the Historic District:
It is a great advantage to stay near the historic center with a view of the sea. During the day you can enjoy the colonial tour and at night the diversity offered by the city’s nightlife: you can attend a restaurant, bar, casino, or nightclub. These are some of the best all-inclusive hotels in Santo Domingo:
It is located 25 minutes from the International Airport of the Americas. This hotel was a 16th century convent that now has elegant rooms.
Services: cable TV, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, safe, private bathroom with shower. Includes free continental breakfast. It has a lounge, dining room and bar. It offers American and continental breakfasts.
It is located 30 minutes from Las Américas International Airport. This hotel is located in the heart of the city , with characteristics of the XIX century.
Services: cable TV, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, safe, private bathroom with shower. Includes free continental breakfast. It has a terrace-restaurant.
Located 1 min from “El Conde” Street, this boutique hotel is an accommodation in a historic house for adults only, it has a swimming pool. Boca Chica beach and the International Airport are 45 min.
Services: cable TV, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, safe, private bathroom with shower. Includes free access to the gym. It offers continental breakfast in the restaurant.
Located 500 meters from the Ozama Fortress, and a 5-minute walk from “El Conde” Street, the main street in this colonial area full of shops and restaurants. This hotel is characterized by having a very accessible rate , with a good quality/price ratio.
Services: cable TV, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, safe, private bathroom with shower, laundry and currency exchange service.
Here you will find the most luxurious hotels in the city . If you like to stay in front of the beautiful view of the sea, this area is ideal for you. It is one of the things to do in the Dominican Republic most desired by tourists and locals.
In addition to the extraordinary landscape in front of your hotel, you will find restaurants and bars if you fancy a rum at the end of the day. On the other hand, if you like gambling, in this area there are several casinos.
These are the best accommodations on El Malecon:
- Hotel Jaragua Santo Domingo : The Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino is located 3.2 km from the port of Santo Domingo. It is a casino hotel on the boardwalk. Close to the Colonial Zone , the National Palace is 1.6 km away.
It is ideal to stay during the Carnival celebrated between February and March, since it occupies this part of the city. In August the Merengue Festival is celebrated, locating this hotel in a privileged place to enjoy the festivities .
- Catalonia Santo Domingo : this hotel has a good price/quality ratio, ideal for business trips and also for vacations. It is a 5-star hotel that occupies an impressive 21-story building facing the sea. Some rooms have views of the pool, the sea, or the city.
It is located on George Washington Avenue, 30 minutes from Las Americas International Airport, close to the commercial area.
Services: includes free high-speed WiFi, TV. gym, restaurant and bars. It has a 2,997 m² meeting room, optimal for holding any event . The reception is open 24 hours. It is located on the boardwalk 3.3 km from the “Blue Mall” shopping center, 26 km from Las Americas airport.
- Sheraton Santo Domingo : offers rooms with ocean views, is a 5-star hotel and has a casino. It is located on the George Washington waterfront, 2 km from the historic center of the colonial city.
Services: pool, bar, spa and views of the Caribbean Sea, air conditioning, large windows, laptop safe, cable TV, free Wi-Fi connection in some rooms. The restaurant offers buffet breakfasts and lunches, and à la carte dinners.
It has a garden and a furnished terrace by the pool. It also has a gym, sauna and a gift shop . The Sheraton Santo Domingo is located 10 km from the National Aquarium, 15 minutes from the Columbus Lighthouse and 30 minutes from Las Americas International Airport.
- Hotel Napolitano : this is the most economically accessible alternative in this area, it has a casino and rooms with sea views. It is located near the historic center, facing the Caribbean Sea, very close to the Santo Domingo Shopping Center.
Services: it has a spa that offers massage services. It has a cozy restaurant, bar, and outdoor pool surrounded by sun loungers and parasols. The hotel restaurant “El Terrace” serves international cuisine. This marvelous hotel is located 35 minutes from Las Américas International Airport and 36 km from Boca Chica.
Modern Business Area
Are you traveling to Santo Domingo for business and want to make the most of your visit? This city so rich in its cultural diversity offers hundreds of things to do in the Dominican Republic. If what you want is to enjoy its wonders, you may be interested in staying in the following accommodations
- Embassy Suites by Hilton : hotel with swimming pool, located opposite the Silver Sun Gallery shopping center. It offers 2 hours of reception in the evening every day with free drinks and appetizers. It has rooms with a view of the city.
- Hotel Embajador, a Royal Hideaway Hotel : it is an excellent renovated hotel, with an interesting story behind it for moviegoers: Al Pacino plays Corleone in the movie “The Godfather 2” on one of the balconies of the Hotel.
- Intercontinental Real : it is located in the Piantini District, in front of the “Acropolis Center”. It has an infinity pool on the 3rd floor.
- Holiday Inn : It is a cheaper alternative in this commercial business area. With the same advantages and quality offered by staying in this area, at the best price.
- Hotel Barcelo Santo Domingo : it is a 5-star hotel with excellent value for money, although it is a little further away than the other options.
Originally called “Punta Borrachón”, it is one of the main tourist destinations in the region . Visitors looking for things to do in the Dominican Republic find themselves irresistibly drawn to these paradisiacal beaches. Here the waters of the Caribbean Sea meet the Atlantic Ocean.
Punta Cana has more than 420,000 m² occupied by Resorts that offer “All Inclusive” package services. In addition, they were designed with open spaces that integrate harmoniously with nature. They are ideal to know some of the best beaches to visit in the Dominican Republic located in Punta Cana.
These are the best accommodations in Punta Cana:
Once your tourist destination has been defined, you will need accommodation close to the busiest beaches in Punta Cana . Here you will find the best all-inclusive hotel options in Santo Domingo:
- Live Aqua Beach Resort: it is a Resort hotel for adults only, it is located 26 km from Dolphin Island Park and 46 km from the Freshwater Lagoons.
Services : restaurant, bar, garden, outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, private bathroom. It has a terrace. It offers airport shuttle service and room service.
- Costa Love Apart Hotel: located 10 km from Punta Cana International Airport.
Services : restaurant, bar, swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, cable TV, private bathroom, equipped kitchen with dining area. It offers continental and a la carte breakfast in the mornings. In addition, the Aparthotel has a barbecue. The Cocotal Golf and Country Club is 13km away.
- Julieta Garden Home: located 5 km from the Cocotal Golf Club, it has an outdoor pool, garden and 24/h reception.
Services : restaurant, bar, swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, private bathroom, equipped kitchen with dining area. Rooms overlooking the pool and balcony . It is located 22 km from the airport and offers airport shuttle service.
- Studio 23B Vintage – Staffed with English, Russian, and Spanish-speaking staff. Provides tourist information, offers car rental. It is located 5km from the Cocotal golf course and 6.3km from the Cana Bay golf course.
Services : restaurant, bar, swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, private bathroom, equipped kitchen with dining area. It has a barbecue. It is located 22 km from the airport and offers airport shuttle service.
The best beaches in Punta Cana
If you plan to visit this wonderful country you cannot miss its beaches. This is one of the best things to do in the Dominican Republic. Now that you know where to stay, you cannot miss the wonderful beaches of Punta Cana :
This beautiful beach stands out for having the most beautiful white sands in Punta Cana . It is located on private property and admission costs approximately $20. If you like to bathe on the beach but are afraid of deep water, this beach is ideal for you, because even far from the shore the water is shallow.
Among the things you can do in Playa Blanca, there is the rental of paddle boards, snorkel and boats to increase the fun.
The sands of this beach bear a great resemblance to those of Playa Blanca. On the other hand, it is only 50 minutes from it. If you visit Playa Macao, you will love the crystal clear water, and best of all, being a public beach, you don’t have to pay to enter!
Going on excursions in Punta Cana is a dream that you can make come true on Saona Island. It is possible to access this small island that is located off the coast of the province of “La Altagracia” in festive-style boats or catamarans. It is accessed through many of the surrounding resorts.
On this island you can practice snorkeling, and appreciate the coral reefs and the precious starfish. Always remember to take care of the environment, without putting the creatures of the sea and the ecosystem at risk while you live this incredible tourist experience.
It is located 15 minutes from Punta Cana, it is a private beach located in the prestigious Cap Cana neighborhood . Here you can enjoy the calm and crystalline water while you live a stand-up paddleboarding experience.
To access this beach you must contribute $20 and they will ask for your identification to maintain security controls.
The best beaches in Samaná
The province of Samaná is located 4 hours north of the province of “La Altagracia”. It houses these wonderful white sand beaches that you cannot miss:
Las Galeras Beach
Located on the Samaná peninsula. Las Galeras has a main beach that is characterized by shallow waters , however, there are high tides. In the surroundings there are excellent restaurants that honor the delicious cuisine of the Dominican Republic.
It is located 15 minutes from Las Galeras, it is a very popular beach in the Dominican Republic thanks to the exotic setting that Cano Frío offers us. It is a magical meeting point between the beach and the river in the same place .
One of the things to do in the Dominican Republic if you like to surf is bodysurfing on these beaches among its perfect waves, you can also enjoy snorkeling in the soft waters of the river.
Bacardi Beach or Cayo Levantado
Cayo comes from the Taíno word that means “small island” and Levantado corresponds to “Elevated”. Its name alludes to a “Small raised island” . This beach is accessed by boat from Samaná, which is 5km away.
If you are a lover of kayaking or paddleboarding, here you can enjoy these wonderful activities. In addition, you can taste the wonderful local gastronomy.
The best places to taste gastronomy in the Dominican Republic
Finally, Santo Domingo has been twice awarded the title of Gastronomic Capital of the Caribbean . How can you stop trying its promising gastronomy?
Most all-inclusive hotels in Santo Domingo have a restaurant. However, if you are curious about other places to eat a popular menu or have a dinner in the sky with a terrace and ocean view, explore these places:
- Pepe’s taberna: restaurant located in the Piantini neighborhood.
- El Mesón de la Cava: restaurant located in the center of the city of Santo Domingo.
- Adrian Tropical: they offer you traditional dishes. Located on the Malecon. If you want to taste food while contemplating the sea, this restaurant has a terrace.
- Pat’e Palo: high level restaurant, located in the Central Quarter, in front of the Alcázar de Colón.
- Pizzarelli: offers you a variety of delicious pizzas at the best prices.
The Dominican Republic is a true jewel of the Caribbean, the favorite tourist destination for many vacationers. As you will have been able to appreciate throughout the article, this paradisiacal island in the Antilles has it all . Exotic landscapes, historical monuments, recreational areas and luxury hotels, what more could you ask for?
This brief tourist guide seeks to broaden your perspective of this beautiful Caribbean country and point out its most attractive places for you. Our goal has been to show you different ways to enjoy the wonders that await you in the Dominican Republic. We hope we’ve eased the torturous planning process that comes with traveling.
Are there any other details you wish we had added? If so, don’t hesitate to let us know. We care about your opinion, and we are here to help you.