8 Unique Things To Do in the Dominican Republic

8 Unique Things To Do in the Dominican Republic

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With its white sand beaches, palm trees, turquoise water, coral reefs, best beaches, mangrove forests, exotic ocean life, and well-preserved national parks, the Dominican Republic is a perfect place for nature lovers to enjoy a unique brand of natural habitat.

Dominican Republic Hidden gems and unique things to do

Whether you prefer the tropical forests, or maybe wish to explore the island in a scuba suit or by horseback, finding time to enjoy this unique place and the exquisite natural environment, is an essential part of any Dominican Republic vacation. So here are some of the best tourist attractions and a few hidden gems that will make your vacation a hit, and for a good reason too.

8 Unique Things To Do in the Dominican Republic

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

The Dominican Republic is one of the most popular diving spots in the Caribbean. The waters surrounding the island are filled with colourful and varied marine life along with several shipwrecks just waiting to be explored.

On the East Coast, divers can take a dip at Saona Island, a protected sanctuary and the perfect spot of clear water that provides a home to turtles, humpback whales, sharks, and vibrantly coloured coral formations. Near Bayahibe, there are two well-known shipwrecks, The Saint George and The Embassy, along with some smaller and less well-known ones. Aside from discovering a bit of ancient underwater history in these shallow waters, you’ll also enjoy the large schools of fish that make the ships their home.

Other great places to dive include Punta Cana, which is home to the longest coral reef on the island, and Puerto Plata, which houses three Spanish shipwrecks from the 1500s. Near Sosua beach, you’ll find diving spots that include shallow reefs for beginners and more advanced sites – this area is home to tropical fish, whale sharks, manta rays, and dolphins.

Windsurfing, and Kiteboarding And Other Water Sports

The best way to enjoy the ocean environment of the Dominican Republic is by harnessing the power of wind and sea. Kite surfing, which uses a large kite to catch the wind for a board surfer down below, is one of the most popular sports in the area. In fact, the Kiteboarding World Cup has been held in the Dominican Republic for the past several years.

Visitors to the area can take private lessons or attend a Kiteboarding and Windsurfing school. The best places for exploring the windy waters are Cabarete on the North Coast, and Las Salinas and Las Calderas Bay on the Southwest coast.

Exploring National Parks

The Dominican Republic is home to some of the most beautiful and exotic national parks in the world. Explore El Choco National Park and the caves of Cabarete. You can swim in the warm water-filled caves, ride the park on horseback, and take a look at many species of orchids that are unique to the area.

Del Este National Park is located near the popular tourist spot, La Romana. Here, you’ll find an incredible inner island surrounded by dolphins and filled with 110 different species of tropical birds.

There are many more parks to visit when you’re in the Dominican Republic. Make sure to come equipped with a flashlight for caves, good walking shoes, and binoculars if you plan on doing some bird watching. They’ll come in handy – the Dominican Republic is home to many species of birds that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.


For those desiring a stronger foothold on the land, the town of Jarbacoa (at 530 meters above sea level) is a popular place that offers all of the whitewater adventures minus the caves. Although a visitor may be tempted to simply bask in an unparalleled view of the scenery, the extreme fun that this small town offer is not to be missed.

One can choose from a lot of outdoor activities like canoeing, whitewater rafting, diving in freshwater lagoons, horseback riding, mountain climbing, hiking (up to 10,000 feet above sea level), jeep safari, and much more. For the truly brave at heart, the monster waterfall Salto de Jimenoa affords the perfect opportunity to experience the extreme world’s newest addition, “cascading.” Windsurfing pros can also find a thrill in the Dominican Republic. The community of Caberete plays host to some of the most prestigious windsurfing competitions in the world.

8 Unique Things To Do in the Dominican Republic

Los Tres Ojos

The perfect location for sporting fans, particularly those of the extreme variety, will find their home away from home in the Dominican Republic. For the outdoor explorer, Los Tres Ojos (located in Santo Domingo) is a dream come true in terms of a great time. Dubbed “The Three Eyes,” this area more than lives up to its intriguing name. Four subterranean caves are home to four diverse lakes that are tailor-made for scuba activity and swimming. Measuring from a mere 20 to an intimidating 300 meters deep, the lakes range from figurative kiddie pools to challenging adventures that would make even the bravest explorer tremble just a little (one lake is aptly nicknamed “The Refrigerator”).

Barahona, Rio San Juan, and Boca Chica

Part of the benefit of this increased exposure is that it has given the country an opportunity to develop some incredible resort areas in its naturally beautiful beachside locales. Three of the most popular resorts are Barahona, Rio San Juan, and Boca Chica. A breathtaking mixture of white-sand beaches, lush vegetation, powerful waterfalls, marvellous mountaintops, and the lovely Lake Enriquillo, the selling points of Barahona speak for themselves.

The resort area also hosts sixty-plus bird species (such as the famous flamingo), marking it a paradise for bird-watching enthusiasts. One may even catch a glimpse of the crocodile, who is a protected inhabitant of these lands. Another natural hot spot is the small town of Rio San Juan, a rocky coastal area whose main attraction is the mysterious Gri Gri Lagoon.

Gri Gri Lagoon

Visitors can enjoy a boat ride through this dark, cavelike area that boasts the bluest waters in the land. If tourists prefer a more commercialized area, however, then Boca Chica is the place to be. This neighborhood of Santo Domingo was developed specifically as a haven for the social butterfly. It offers visitors plenty of popular activities to fill those long tropical days, including yachting, golf, gambling, and some of the most acclaimed seafood restaurants in the Caribbean.

8 Unique Things To Do in the Dominican Republic

Zona Colonial and the town of Montecristi

We have so far focused on the outdoor adventures of the Dominican Republic and its most beautiful beaches, but the small island in the Caribbean Sea is also imbued with an old-world charm that must be mentioned. In particular, Zona Colonial and the town of Montecristi invoke a nostalgic reminder of bygone eras and cultures. Zona Colonial, which borders the Ozama River, is a hodge-podge of comfortable and familiar cafes, restaurants, bars, and cobblestone streets.

Many of the buildings (which have been forever preserved as museums) can be traced back to the 1500s, and at night one can almost imagine being whisked back to a more innocent time. The former sugar port of Montecristi is a living remnant of the Victorian era. As a popular spot for divers, the town mixes its old-world charm with more adventurous modern times.

Final Thoughts

Start planning your island vacation and think about the best time to visit, and make sure to include these outings or others that will give you a chance to thoroughly enjoy the natural beauty of the area. From surfing and swimming to hiking, riding, and beyond, there are lots of ways for the curious Dominican Republic traveller to take advantage of the island’s great outdoors.

Image Credit: Depositphotos

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