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 and the ultimate way to end each day—at Amazing Race pit-stop prize and adults only all-inclusive resort Excellence El Carmen in Punta Cana. Kirsten Maxwell of Kids Are A Trip shares adventure experiences in the Dominican Republic you won’t want to miss.
1. 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!
2. Explore the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo is the capital city, and 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.
3. 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!
4. Ride the Teleférico
A ride on the Puerto Plata Cable Car is not easily forgotten as riders are transported 800 meters high above the 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.
5. Take a Boat Tour to 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.
6. Visit Iguabonita Cave and Hoyo Azul at Scape Park
Scape Park in Cap Cana is a natural amusement park with 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.
Where to Stay: Excellence El Carmen
This stunning adults-only property in 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 the Punta Cana 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.
With all that Excellence El Carmen has to offer, it’s no wonder it was chosen as a featured Pit Stop Prize on The Amazing Race!
Kirsten Maxwell of Kids are a Trip is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity.
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