The Dominican Republic is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean and for good reason. The island has endless opportunities for adventure including these six experiences you should not miss when visiting this tropical country.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Excellence El Carmen in Punta Cana

Where you stay in the Dominican Republic will shape your vacation and this stunning adults-only property in famous Punta Cana is all about relaxation, rejuvenation and romance. Excellence El Carmen is an all-inclusive, all-suite luxury resort on a beautiful stretch of the Caribbean just 25 minutes from Punta Cana International Airport.

From the minute you arrive at Excellence El Carmen, expect world-class luxury on all levels. The resort features 23 swimming pools, 12 incredible restaurants, 16 bars and 24-hour room service. Suites come with mountain, garden or ocean views, and some even have a private plunge pool. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a state-of-the-art spa, fitness center and nightly entertainment. You will not want for anything. It’s no wonder it was chosen as a featured Pit Stop Prize on The Amazing Race!

If you can peel yourself away from the pool, here are 6 things you must do in the DR in order of their distance from Punta Cana.

1. Visit Iguabonita Cave and Hoyo Azul at Scape Park

About 20 minutes from Punta Cana, this natural amusement park features zip lining, cenotes and caverns to explore. Don’t miss Iguabonita Cave, an underground expedition that seems straight out of a movie. Hoyo Azul is a crystal clear natural swimming pool meant for relaxation. Guests can also zip line and swim in caves, so if adventure is your thing, don’t miss Scape Park.

2. Snorkel and Scuba Dive on Catalina Island

Whether you snorkel or scuba, you’ll want to make time for a visit to Catalina Island, one of the top spots for underwater exploration. Vibrantly colored coral, sting rays, seahorses, and a massive variety of fish provide an experience you’ll remember for a lifetime. The water here is crystal clear and the beach has soft white sand. Perfect for relaxing after a swim!

3. Explore the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo Colonial Zone, Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is the DR capital and makes for an excellent day trip from Punta Cana. At its core is the Zona Colonial, the first European settlement in the New World. Stroll along the pedestrian friendly Calle El Conde and take in the sights and sounds of Dominican life. Visit the Ozama Fortress, Convento de los Dominicos, and Catedral Primera de América, each one is the oldest of their kind in the Americas. (The Convento was originally a university founded in 1538, making it the oldest one in the New World). The zone is only five square kilometers and it’s worth exploring every inch.

4. Take a Boat Tour of Los Haitses National Park

Los Haitses is one of the most beautiful national parks in the Dominican Republic. The park is known for its unique karst limestone landscape and caves, mangrove forests, waterfalls and unique flora and fauna. Visitors often spot local manatees and dolphins while they’re on the boat and learn about the people who settled this area.

5. Ride the Teleférico

Puerto Plata Teleferico Dominican Republic-Kids Are A Trip

A ride on the Puerto Plata Cable Car is not easily forgotten as riders are transported 800 meters high above this coastal city on the only cable car in the Caribbean. On a clear day the views are magnificent, overlooking the city, its beaches and the Caribbean Sea. At the top is the city’s Christ the Redeemer statue (a bit smaller than the one in Rio, but it looks the same) and its Botanical Gardens. It all feels a bit like walking through “Jurassic Park”, but it’s amazing to experience this in the middle of a large city.

6. Jump, Hike, Climb, and Swim the 27 Waterfalls at Damajagua

A half hour from resort town Puerto Plata, this is the place to have the adventure of a lifetime. The 27 Charcos de Damajagua are a collection of lagoons and waterfalls running through the Damajagua River. Visitors are given helmets and life vests before setting off on a hike through the lush forest to the first waterfall. Here you can swim, climb rocks, bathe in lagoons, and jump off waterfalls. If you’re looking for something unique in the Dominican Republic, this is it!

Kirsten Maxwell

Kirsten Maxwell

Kirsten Maxwell

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