Dominican Republic Beach Holidays Beach

Dominican Republic Beach Holidays

If you’re looking for white shores – some backed by dramatic cliffs, others pinned down by palm trees – head for the Dominican Republic. Its 800-mile coastline was made for beach holidays. But it’s the variety of landscapes that really sets the Dominican Republic apart from its Caribbean cousins – you can discover boat-spotted fishing villages, windswept dunes and mangrove swamps. Take a look. 

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Beach Holidays in the Dominican Republic

There’s a range of family-friendly beaches scattered across the Dominican Republic. On the north coast, Playa Grande and Playa Bonita both offer tree-lined stretches of golden sand, and gentle slopes into calm water, making them ideal playgrounds for children. On the south of the island, Playa Juan Dolio and Playa Dominicus are perfect for quiet time, with sun loungers and shade. The north coast is the best place for water sports, where lively breezes ensure good kite-surfing, paragliding and surfing. Kite Beach is often the highlight of any visit. If you’re looking for a romantic beach, head to Playa Punta Popy on the Samana Peninsula, or Playa Uvero Alto in the northeast. With soft sands and coconut groves, these two beaches are a great choice for some peace and quiet. At the other end of the spectrum, Playa Cabarete and Playa Sosua combine lively water sports with an even livelier party scene. Playa Los Corales has the best of both worlds, with volleyball and water sports alongside sophisticated bars and restaurants.

Why is the Dominican Republic the perfect beach destination?

With more than 30 well-established beaches, Barbados has over a month’s worth of sandy stretches. And there’s a real variety, with both peaceful and lively spots. Alongside big beaches, you’ll find little bays and coves, where marine wildlife can thrive. These bays also act as safe havens for migrating humpback whales, and are part of several marine parks that protect the country’s natural heritage. Inland, the variety is just as remarkable. Sophisticated cities give way to rich forests, where you can see rivers carve their way through tropical jungles, mountain peaks and impressive waterfalls. There’s never a bad time to go, either, despite the tropical storms that come between June and November. The highest rainfall is in September, but the rain tends to come in short, heavy bursts – leaving you free to enjoy your beach time for the rest of the day. December to May is the best time to go, as it’ll be generally dry with temperatures averaging 26 degrees Celsius. 

Things to do in Dominican Republic

Wildlife in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is famous amongst wildlife-lovers for the 2,000-3,000 humpback whales that congregate in Samana Bay. They migrate from the cold North Atlantic to the warmer Caribbean waters for the breeding and calving season. They stay until March, when the calves are mature enough to survive the cooler temperatures in the north. The whales then return to their summer feeding grounds around Greenland and Iceland. There’s plenty to see on land, too. In the southwest, you can spot candyfloss-coloured flamingos, gathered around the salty Lake Enriquillo. This lake is also home to the largest population of American crocodiles in the Caribbean – so don’t go for a dip, however tempted you might be. Another animal native to — and an emblem of — the Dominican Republic is the palmchat. This speckled creature, which looks like an oversized starling, is a rare communal nester. 

Caribbean Cooking

Dominican food is filled with meat, seafood, vegetables and the native rice and corn. Sancoho – a meaty stew – is something of a national dish. Between four and seven different kinds of meat are slow-cooked together with root vegetables and plantains to create this thick creamy dish. Of course, as you’d expect in the Caribbean, the stew has a rich, spicy flavour. Vegetarians should try mangu – a plantain mash that’s usually served with eggs and fried cheese. It makes a delicious breakfast before a busy day exploring the country’s beaches. While you might assume that everything is spicy, the exception to the rule is Bizcocho Dominicano – a light cake with a pineapple filling, that’s an important element of Dominican weddings and birthdays.

Ancient Culture

The beaches are certainly the Dominican Republic’s main attraction, but you’ll find that there’s a whole lot more to discover on this exotic isle. The capital, Santo Domingo, is home to the oldest cathedral in the Caribbean – the Basilica Catedral de Santa María la Menor. It’s said that the first stone was laid by Diego Columbus, son of explorer Christopher Columbus, in 1514. The town was founded in 1498, and it later became the site of not only the Americas’ first cathedral, but also its first hospital, customs house and university. The city’s grid pattern became a model for town planners in the New World. The original city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its ancient streets and historic buildings are not to be missed. 

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