The Dominican Republic has some stunning natural waterfalls that can be easily accessed by visitors. In Jarabacoa National Park, the Salto de Jimenoa 131-foot waterfall, fed by the Yaque del Norte, is reached by a hiking trail and narrow suspension bridge. Then there's the park's 492ft waterfall (Aguas Blancas) it is one of the highest in the Caribbean. Tours are offered through various local operators. In the Samaná area, near the town of El Limon, and accessible by horse, you can visit the El Limon waterfall. The ride takes just over an hour in each direction. As the falls come into sight, the horses are tethered and visitors trek to the swimming hole at the base of the falls.
The Dominican Republic has 19 national parks, six scientific reserves, 32 natural monuments, 15 natural reserves, and two marine sanctuaries. In other words, this is the perfect destination for nature lovers.
From mid-January to mid-March, the North Atlantic population of humpback whales migrates into the Bay of Samaná to calve or mate. There are many tours available which take you out to be with the whales - but do make sure to choose a tour guide who follows the guidelines put in place to protect the whales.
Located at the entrance of the Samaná Bay, the tropical paradise of Cayo Levantado is an island of just one square kilometre of tropical Caribbean. It's a perfect place to escape for one day and contemplate and enjoy its beautiful turquoise waters, two beaches of white sand, as well as being ideal for swimming or snorkelling practice. A tour to Cayo Levantado is offered by boats from Samaná and several points along the coast. Once on the island, the natives offer typical food, beverages and water activities accompanied by music from the region.
Take a guided tour through the Dominican Republic countryside with professional guides. Visit small colourful villages, explore local Dominican Republic farms and mingle with the local people. The Dominican people are so kind and friendly, they’ll invite you right into their homes, where you’ll meet the families.
- The island is a paradise for birdwatchers, with 303 species that either live on the island or visit during the annual migrations. A total of 27 species are found only on the island of Hispaniola, including the Hispaniolan parrot (pictured) and Hispaniolan woodpecker. One of the best places for birdwatchers is the south-western region, a semi-desert zone with coast, lagoons, islands, lakes and cliffs that provide a diverse home for birds’ life. More than 130 species have been found in the Jaragua National Park, which is home to the Burrowing Owl. The American kestrel is often spotted around Puerto Plata.
Walk down the cobblestone streets of the oldest city in the New World, following in Columbus’s footsteps. Visit the famous palace, the first cathedral, the first hospital and, when you’re ready, settle into one of the fantastic restaurants and sit back to watch this city of three million go about its business.
Caberete, in the Puerto Plata province, boasts some incredible nightlife. Great restaurants, bars, clubs, shops, cafés and lounges are everywhere, and most of them are right on the beach. To sample this is a must.
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, the Dominican Republic is a diver’s paradise with nearly 1,000 miles of dramatic coastline. Beneath the surface of the azure blue seas surrounding the Caribbean’s second largest country, divers are within easy reach of magnificent reef structures, amazing shipwrecks, dozens of islands, mysterious tunnels and caves, and abundant marine life.
The Dominican Republic has a lively programme of events all through the year. The big event every year is Carnival – in February and early March – which is a colourful display of costumes, masks and floats that draws in young and old to celebrate and have fun. The celebration is said to date back to the 1800s, when the country first won independence from Spain and Dominicans wanted a way to establish their national identity. Each city in the Dominican Republic adds its own flavour to the celebrations, but the central figure is El Diablo Cojuelo, a Playful devil, in a colourful costume with mirrors and bells, who carries an inflated animal bladder (vejigas) as his weapon.
In many of the towns, tradition still sees devils chasing spectators when they venture across their paths, playfully tapping celebrants with their vejigas.