Head to the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is located on the east side of the island of Hispaniola. Santo Domingo, its capital, is worth a visit to see the old colonial district, dating back five centuries. Like Jamaica it has several different tourist areas with luxury all-inclusive resorts that have similar amenities – pools with swim-up bars, spa and fitness centers, plenty of water sport activities, several restaurants and casual snack shacks, and nightly entertainment.
- Punta Cana is the most developed of these areas. Bavaro Beach is the hub for a lot of the beach activities here. Parasailing, stand up paddle boarding, and jet skiing make this beach a whirlwind of activity. Tour boats offering snorkeling and diving trips, deep sea fishing and sunset sails are based here also. If you prefer a quieter beach where you can read or sunbathe in peace, Macao Beach is much more tranquil. Interesting day trips include a catamaran ride to Seaquarium Punta Cana for underwater adventures with dolphins and manta rays or a visit to the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park where you can visit a petting zoo for native animals and view historical and cultural exhibits. The Bavaro Adventure Park is another popular attraction, offering horseback riding, dune buggy trips, ziplining and a lazy river.
- Puerto Plata is located on the north coast of the island with beautiful beaches on the Atlantic Ocean. You can walk along these undeveloped beaches for miles. A visit to the Damajagua Waterfalls is an adventure you won’t soon forget. You climb rope ladders to the top of a number of waterfalls, and slide down natural water slides and swim through the waterfall’s pools to the deep pool at the bottom. Take the organized tour which includes safety gear, a local guide, and transportation from your hotel. Check out the city of Puerto Plata and enjoy Pink Street, Umbrella Street (great for souvenir shopping!) and the Amber Museum. Enjoy a cable car ride to the top of Mount Isabel de Torres for spectacular views and photo ops. The statue of Christ the Redeemer is located at the summit. Take a day trip to Cabarete Beach where kiteboarding is king. Strolling along the beach you’ll see scores of kiteboards dotting the clear skies. This is also a great place for casual dining on the beach as a number of French expats retired here and opened seaside bistros.
- La Romana is located on the Caribbean side of the island, fairly close to Santo Domingo. One of the interesting places here is Altos de Chavon, a carefully constructed recreation of a 16th century Mediterranean village. Stone plazas and verandas transport the visitor back to historic Spain. Numerous shops and restaurants as well as an extensive archaeological museum are all found on the grounds here. The Three Eyes National Park is an underground cave system with three cave pools (cenotes) that are accessed by a series of stairways. Cavers will also enjoy exploring the many caves in the Bayahibe area including views of petroglyphs painted by the ancient Taino people. Take a tour of one of the area’s cigar factories or rum distillers.
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