Best time to visit the Dominican Republic


TEMPERATURE & RAINFALL

Temperatures don’t vary much throughout the year, hovering at25-28°C. Dec-Apr is busiest, when it’s warm and dry; May-Nov is wet and hotter, although trade winds keep the humidity lower than on neighbouring islands. The north coast has a slightly different climate. May and Nov are wettest, but rain typically falls as tropical downpours after sunset, leaving days fine and sunny. Apr and Jun-Aug are driest and the best time to visit the Dominican Republic if heading north. Go whale watching off Samana mid Jan-Mar, and experience Dominican Carnival, a tradition since 1520, throughout Feb. Hurricane season is Aug-Oct.

Things to do in the Dominican Republic


What to do in the Dominican Republic & what not to

Things to do in the Dominican Republic…


Embrace the culture. The DR is geographically diverse, but its natural beauty is backed up by rich history and culture, too. In the capital Santo Domingo you’ll find the first cathedral, castle, monastery and fortress built in the Americas, and in Puerto Plata, you’ll find crumbling gingerbread houses built by wealthy German tobacco merchants in the 1870s. Or go further back and explore the Pomier Caves, where the indigenous Taino people created pictographs and carvings 2,000 years ago.
Get active. The Dominican Republic is well known as a relaxing beach destination, but it’s also an adventure seeker’s paradise. The north coast in particular is developing as an outdoor activities hotspot, with great diving and watersports on the coast and adrenalised treats such as zip lining, canyoning, and stand up paddle boarding. Or try river kayaking in the mountains and forests just inland.
You can see a lot in just a week here, but rather than base yourself in one place, stay in a handful of locations. That way, you’ll experience a mix of landscapes and accommodation and, if you plan an active break, can stay conveniently close to the DR’s best adventure locations. Mountain ranches, eco friendly beachfront hotels and elevated jungle cabins are fun, responsible accommodation options, a world away from the big resorts that clutter parts of the coast.

Things not to do in the Dominican Republic…


Stay in an all inclusive resort. Although there are exceptions, all inclusive holidays generally create limited local economic benefits and have a large environmental footprint. Responsible alternatives often exist with the same convenience and price as an all inclusive. You can, for instance, book a holiday that has activities, accommodation and meals included in the price through a responsible operator. Just as convenient, but you’ll also discover more about the destination and local cultures and increase the benefits to local communities. Read more about our stance on all inclusives.
Sosúa by day is family friendly and great for diving, but by night it is a sex tourism hotspot. Dominican and Haitian sex workers flock to its bars and men are openly propositioned. While local police tolerate this, child sex tourism is never acceptable, so if you suspect or see teens or children being abused, don’t fail to act – report it to your hotel, tour operator or the local authority. You can also flag it with ECPAT, a global NGO committed to ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
The Dominican Republic has hundreds of kilometers of coastline and a lot of life happens on the beach, but don’t ignore the interior, a wild landscape of fertile plains, rainforests, mountains and even desert. Get a taste of authentic Dominican rural life here and try a host of adventure activities.
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Dominican Republic travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR FRIENDS IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Matt McArthur from our supplier Adventuresque knows the Dominican Republic well. He shares his insights on its diverse landscapes, food and drink, and what adventure holidays here entail.

Thinking differently about the DR


“The area of Punta Cana in the southeast corner has the highest concentration of all inclusive resorts in the world. That being said, there is always a Yin to the Yang. The growth of sustainable, responsible tourism has been on a steady rise over the past decade. Taken as a whole, the Dominican Republic is 48,442km2. Inside this are four mountain ranges, the highest peaks in the Caribbean, the longest river, the deepest lake, countless waterfalls, incredible beaches, caves and natural beauty around nearly every turn. The all inclusive market has its place, but so has small scale, eco based tourism. The country has recently formed an ecotourism association, which has not only caught international tourism’s eye, but the local Dominican tourism market as well. The Ministry of Tourism’s official slogan is ‘Dominican Republic has it all’. They are actively striving to make that slogan true.”

How fit do you need to be?


“We have created two types of activity holidays. One is for those that wish to really push their limits, more mentally than physically, with each day bringing a new adventure – sometimes two adventures! It really takes people out of their comfort zones, and a good amount of fitness is necessary for our extreme activity holiday. The other we call our family adventure holiday. It is not limited to children, but could include them. This offering is for those that wish to have a great time in the outdoors but aren’t really comfortable ‘pushing their limits’.”

Food & drink tips


“Oh where to start! My favourite thing about travelling besides adventure is food! The food here is more on the savoury side and not spicy. Dominican cuisine uses fresh garlic and oregano and any dish with the word ‘creole’ next to it is a meat or vegetable dish with a fresh tomato base. Breakfast should start with mangú, a green plantain mash. Rice and beans are a staple and there are so many different ways that they are cooked here. The seafood here is fresh and plentiful. Asopao is one of my favourite dishes and words! Pronounced ahso-pow, it is seafood rice stew. Avocados and mangos here grow to the size of a human head and usually find themselves on the side of every plate. Locally grown coffee and cacao (chocolate pods) make for a great start to any adventure. The spirit Mamajuana is a local digestif and usually drunk after dinner.”
Photo credits: [Temp chart: Ben Kucinski] [Thinking differently: Richie Diesterheft] [Food and drinks: Solidarity Center]

Written by: Joanna Simmons
Learn Spanish and watersports holiday, Dominican Republic

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