20 Things To Do In Dominican Republic

- This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure.

The Dominican Republic is a dramatically beautiful Caribbean island that cannot be missed. The country perfectly intertwines towering mountains, thick rainforests and pure paradise beaches with colonial architecture, vibrant nightlife and plenty of things to see and do. The island has very swimmable waters which are perfect for those looking simply to take a quick dip after sunbathing, snorkelers or divers, and those looking for a more adventurous time on the waves.

The Dominican Republic is perfect for relaxing Caribbean vacations as it has many excellent all-inclusive hotels and family-friendly resorts packed with activities. There are also many golf courses that, thanks to the almost year-round sunshine on the island, are playable throughout the year. So combine the outdoors with the city on your Dominican Republic adventure to truly appreciate the beauty and local culture of this island. There are many exciting things to do in Dominican Republic. Use this list to help you get started.

Dominican Republic

Top Tours

dominican republic beach aerial view of two people
Looking for things to do in the Dominican Republic? Put some of their beaches on your map.

Book a private transfer from Punta Cana Airport to your hotel in Dominican Republic.

20 Things To Do In Dominican Republic

1- Wander around Zona Colonial

Alcazar De Colon In "Zona Colonial", Santo Domingo
Exploring Zona Colonial is one of the top things to do in the Dominican Republic.

Head to Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, and allow yourself to get lost in Zona Colonial.

Unlike the hustle and bustle of the city, Zona Colonial is the historical centre of the city and is filled with narrow and winding cobblestone streets lined with old buildings.

Dating from 1500 when European settlers first arrived in the Caribbean, the district is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Many of the buildings within the area date from the 16th century making exploring it a truly magical and historical experience.

Inside Zona Colonial expect to find tiny cafes and bars squeezed in among the buildings, and plenty of restaurants set inside historical buildings.

Be sure to visit Alcázar de Colón which houses a museum and Calle Las Damas, the oldest street in the Americas.

Recommended tours:

2- Admire Salto Alto

Salto Alto is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Dominican Republic.

The waterfall is formed from 3 streams all plunging over a rock face into a natural pool below.

The waterfall is truly a magical sight to behold as it is surrounded by lush vegetation, and the waters of the pool are a deep blue.

Despite their close proximity to the capital, just a 1.5-hour drive away, the falls are relatively peaceful.

There is an entrance fee to access the falls from the car park, however this money goes towards preserving the surrounding natural environment.

After walking to the falls and taking a dip in its waters, head back to the entrance where you will find a restaurant and bathrooms.

Salto Alto is at Bayaguana.

Recommended tour: Damajagua Seven Waterfalls Excursion – Amber Cove and Taino Bay

3- Go Whale Watching

Jump Of Humpback Whale
Going whale watching is one of the things to do in Santiago, Dominican Republic.

One of the best things to do in the Caribbean, regardless of where you are visiting, is to spend a day whale watching.

There are many tours heading out from the ports and beach towns in the Dominican Republic that offer whale watching tours.

If you are fortunate enough to be visiting the country between January and March, head to Samaná Bay, where humpback whales can be seen enjoying the warm waters before continuing their migration up towards the icy Arctic.

During the season it is possible to see as many as 300 humpback whales enjoying the warm waters of the bay.

The waters of Samaná Bay are protected and only a limited number of whale watching boats are allowed in and out in order to protect these incredible creatures.

Samaná Bay is at Samaná.

4- Party in Punta Cana

Bavaro Tropical Beach In Punta Cana
Relaxing on a beach like Bavaro Beach In Punta Cana is one of the things to do in the Dominican Republic.

Punta Cana is a resort town in the east of Dominican Republic and is the perfect destination to combine relaxing days on the beach with vibrant nightlife.

As the nightlife in the city is spread far and wide, one of the best ways to experience the best bars and clubs is on a tour with pub crawls, nightclubs, and party busses offered by many providers.

One of the most popular clubs in Punta Cana is Coco Bongo where music, discos and musicals combine into an unforgettable nightclub experience.

Coco Bongo is open till the small hours of the morning and includes all your drinks with your entrance fee.

The Downtown area of the city is a popular club destination for tourists and ex-pats with bars and clubs including Coco Bongo, Hard Rock Cafe and Mixology Bar, all of which offer a great party vibe where the music and drinks keep flowing.

Skip the line and book your tickets to the Coco Bongo club or treat yourself to a Gold Member ticket for these benefits.

Looking for a party? Book this Party Boat / Catamaran Party In Punta Cana

5- Enjoy A Slice of Haiti at Maison Kreyol

skyline of santo domingo and waterfront
One of the top things to do in the Dominican Republic is to explore Santo Domingo.

If you are looking for truly delicious meals in Dominican Republic’s capital, look no further than Maison Kreyol.

The restaurant specialises in Cajun and creole dishes from neighbouring Haiti,

Haitian and Dominican Republic cuisines are distinctly different with varying ingredients, spices and specialities.

At Maison Kreyol expect to feel transported Haiti as you are surrounded by decorations, Koloa music and of course spicy dishes.

Many of the ingredients used a at Maison Kreyol are imported from Haiti adding to its authenticity.

Try the chicken and cashew nuts with a side of fried plantain and rice for a traditional taste of Haiti.

Maison Kreyol is at Calle Las Mercedes No 255 Casi Esquina 19 De Marzo, Frente al Parque Maria Trinidad Sánchez, Ciudad Colonial, Santo Domingo.

6- Uncover Mamey Librería Café

Book lovers should have Mamey Librería Café at the top of their Dominican Republic wish list.

This unique cafe in the heat of Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial serves speciality coffees using a cold filter drip in a cosy environment surrounded by books.

As well as being a beautiful bookshop, Mamey Librería Café also includes an art gallery and a Spanish courtyard.

Visit the reading room to see current works from Latin American authors, or if you time your visit well you may get to see a book signing.

Calle Mercedes 315 Frente De la Iglesia Las Mercedes, Santo Domingo 10100.

7- Swim in Hoyo Azul

Hoyo Azul is a true picture of paradise, and a day trip to swim in its waters is a must during your Dominican Republic vacation.

Also known as the Blue Lagoon or Blue Hole, Hoyo Azul is a freshwater lagoon with incredible blue water.

Take a hike through Scape Park Punta Cana to reach the water before enjoying a swim or even cliff dive into its waters.

There is an entrance fee to reach Hoyo Azul through the park that also includes access to a zip line, cave tour, local history talks and tours of the waterfall.

To make the most of your entrance fee plan a whole day within the park and enjoy the beautiful natural landscape.

Hoyo Azul is at Scape Park, Cap Cana, Punta Cana 23000.

Recommended tours:

8- Go On A Cigar Tour

The Dominican Republic is known for its coffee and rum, as well as its production of cigars.

Cigar-fans know the Dominican Republic as ‘cigar country’, but whether you smoke or are just interested in local manufacturing, a cigar tour is a great way to explore one of the country’s most popular exports.

There are many tours to choose from including the Tabacalera de García, one of the largest handmade cigar factories in the country.

Cigar tours will share with you the history of the cigar industry in Dominican Republic, take you on factory tours to show how the perfect cigar is made before you have a go yourself, and end with the opportunity to purchase cigars to take home.

There are many cigar tours available across the country, however booking in advance either before your trip or through your hotel is recommended to avoid disappointment.

9- Relax In The Sun At Playa Rincon

Aerial View Of Playa Rincon Beach aerial view
Swimming and snorkelling at Playa Rincon is one of the things to do in Samana, Dominican Republic.

There is nothing better than making the most of the sunshine during your paradise vacation.

Visit one of the most beautiful beaches in Dominican Republic at Playa Rincon, in the Samaná Peninsula.

The beach has welcoming white sands, crystal clear warm waters and fewer tourists than other beaches.

At the beach there is a restaurant serving freshly caught fish including loro and chillo, and delicious and refreshing cocktails.

If you visit the beach between January and March you may even get to see humpback whales making the most of the warm waters before they head north.

Playa Rincon is at Calle Moca.

Recommended tour: Small-Group Cruising and Snorkeling Catamaran Tour

10- Learn The Dominican Republic’s History at Centro Leon

Spend an afternoon learning about the history of Dominican Republic at the heritage and art museum, Centro Leon.

The Eduardo Leon Jimenes Foundation founded the museum in 1995 as a way to preserve and teach locals and international visitors about the social and cultural history of the country.

The museum is beautifully designed and features a pool of water and fountains surrounding the building, which is accessible across a bridge.

The museum is filled with historical permanent collections that recounts the history of the country including pre-colonial times, the Spanish colonisation and the slave trade.

The museum also hosts regular temporary exhibits that often feature the works of art from Dominican artists and designers.

Centro Leon is at Avenida 27 de Febrero #146 Villa Progreso, Santiago de los Caballeros 51053.

11- Dine In Style At Capri Beach House

Capri Beach House is a relaxed hotel and restaurant in an area filled with exclusive resorts and private beaches.

Capri Beach House removes the pretentious nature of other resorts and allows residents and guests to the restaurant access to their cosy stretch of sand while still preserving elegance and style in their surroundings.

Enjoy a delicious meal under the welcome shade of white sails, or relax on the beach with a piña colada.

Capri Beach House also has a number of stalls selling souvenirs and local art.

Capri Beach House is at Calle Pedro Mir #2 Sector Cortecito, Bavaro, Punta Cana.

12- Cruise To Isla Saona

Isla Saona is a small 110 square kilometre (42.47 square miles) island off the south-eastern coast of Dominican Republic.

Take a short boat ride from Punta Cana to reach the wild shores of the island which forms part of the Cotubanamá National Park.

The island is the perfect destination for nature lovers and those who prefer to relax and unwind on the beach.

There is an excellent seafood restaurant close to the beach serving lobster, with plenty of cocktails or icy bottles of local beer, Presidente.

Tours are available of the island and its small fishing villages, or simply explore at your own pace.

Isla Saona is at Cotubanamá National Park.

13- Explore Puerto Plata

Beach Coconut
Looking for things to do in the Dominican Republic? Activities involving sand, sea and sun are plentiful.

Puerto Plata is a beautiful coastal city in the Dominican Republic that has served as a major port for the country for many years.

Puerto Plata is a popular tourist destination thanks to its combination of rugged natural landscapes in the form of mountains, beaches and leafy valleys where cocoa and coffee trees grow, and plenty of vibrant resorts to stay in.

The Port of Silver, as it is known in English, was established in 1505 with hints of its lengthy history visible in its architecture.

Spend some time exploring history at Fort San Felipe or visit a Victorian mansion with an extensive collection of amber at Amber Museum.

Recommended tour: Puerto Plata Private City Tour with Cable Car, Rum Tasting and Chocolate Factory

14- Scale The Highest Mountain

El Pico Duarte is the heights mountain in Dominican Republic at 3101 m (10174 ft) above sea level.

Enter the park through Jarabacoa and after paying the entrance fee, enjoy your day of hiking.

There are many hiking trails through the mountain ranges here and up to the summit, and local guides are available for hire to help you reach the summit safely while learning something about the natural landscape and its plants.

The hike takes time, with it typically taking between 2 and 3 days to complete, with overnight rest stops at around 8000ft (2438.4m).

The journey to the summit is challenging and should only be taken on by people with good levels of fitness.

El Pico Duarte is at Parque Nacional Armando Bermúdez, Jarabacoa.

15- Drink Local Wine

While many visitors to the a Dominican Republic think of Presidente beer or rum when considering drinks, one of the best drinks to try is a glass of wine from Ocoa Bay.

Ocoa Bay is the first vineyard and winery in the Dominican Republic and is a great place to spend an afternoon.

The vineyard is nestled between the lush Central Cordillera Mountains and the Caribbean Sea, giving it a truly paradise-like feel.

The location of the vineyard is crucial to producing its wines, allowing for rich soils and low humidity.

There are tours available of the vineyard that take in the 27 acres of vines and the winery itself, you will be taken to the rooftop for tastes of Ocoa Bay’s wines with an incredible view.

Ocoa Bay is at Carretera Hatillo-Palmar de Ocoa, Km 6 1/2 Hatillo.

Recommended tour: 101 Oliver Rum Tasting and Pairing

16- Discover The Hidden Beach of Playa Grande

Ocean Beach With Palm And Exotic Coctail
Drinking cocktails and feeling the sand between your toes is one of the things to do in the Dominican Republic.

Not to mistaken for the private and luxury golf and beach resort with the same name, the secluded stretch of sands known as Playa Grande cannot be missed when in Dominican Republic.

The beach is on the north coast of the country and is formed from rich, honey coloured sands and vibrant blue-green waters.

Running alongside the beach is untouched rainforest filled with tropical birds.

The beach is perfect for surfing and swimming, with an area of shallow water for paddling in or snorkelling.

Along the beach during the day are many small fish kiosks selling freshly caught and cooked fish served with rice, beans and fried plantains.

Playa Grande is at Puerto Plata Province. Book this golf package.

17- Visit 27 Waterfalls

There are many waterfalls in Dominican Republic, however 27 of them can be visited in one thrilling and adventurous day.

Head into the rainforest with a guide to seek out all 27 rainforests.

During your tour brave a jump between waterfalls, with helmets and life jackets as mandatory, or for those wanting to keep their feet on the ground, wooden staircases are available to take you to the tops of the falls.

The trip is perfect for those looking to experience the raw natural power of the waterfalls, and to spend some time swimming in the pools.

Recommended tour: Amber Cove Shore Excursion: 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua

18- Ride A Cable Car to Pico Isabel de Torres

Explore one of the most beautiful mountains in Dominican Republic in a leisurely fashion at Pico Isabel de Torres.

The mountains summit is easily accessible by taking a cable car to the top, some 2600ft (792.48) above the city below.

At the top of the mountain is a towering statue of Christ the Redeemer, excellent views out over the mountains and forests below, and a botanical garden celebrating native plants.

After exploring the summit, grab a bite to eat at their restaurant with a view.

Pico Isabel de Torres is accessible from Autopista Duarte, where it is clearly signposted.

19- Eat Chocolate At Kahkow Experience

Immerse yourself in a chocolate-filled dream at Kahkow Expeience.

This tasty experience is nestled among cocoa trees and takes visitors through the complete chocolate journey, from cocoa pods fresh off the trees to rich and creamy bars.

After learning about the origins of cocoa in the region, venture into Kahkow’s mythical forest to try the fruit and the cocoa beans.

Following a talk on the process, get hands on and make your own chocolate bar with tasty toppings.

For those looking for something a little different, book onto a soap making workshop where cocoa butter from the trees are transformed into moisturising soaps.

Kahkow Expeience is at C. las Damas 102, Santo Domingo 10210.

20- Take An ATV Through The Jungle

Half Day Adventure: 4x4 ATV, Water Cave and Dominican Culture At Punta Cana
Going on an ATV adventure is one of the fun things to do in Dominican Republic.

While hiking through the jungle offers a peaceful and relaxing activity, taking an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) offers adrenaline and adventure.

There are many ATV companies based in Punta Cana all offering tours of the jungle.

Following basic training on how to operate your quad bike or ATV, you will head off with your group over dirt roads and rocky paths in search of the beauty and adventure of the jungle.

While you are guaranteed to get messy thanks to the large puddles and muddy tracks, an ATV tour is guaranteed to give you lasting memories.

ATV tours can be found across Punta Cana, check out this one.

Previous article20 Things To Do In Dalat
Next article20 Things To Do In Ogunquit Maine
sarah holmes travel writer
Sarah Holmes is a travel and fashion writer living in the heart of England. From family adventures in numerous parts of the UK and Europe to exploring cities as an adult, Sarah has a wide knowledge of the best areas, sights and local tips that the UK and the neighbouring continent can offer. Sarah grew up in the North East of England, with incredible sights and landmarks only a short drive away. Her favourite places to visit include Seaham Beach, the Lake District and Alnwick Castle. Sarah has written for a range of fashion and travel blogs and print publications.