I’ve been visiting Dominican Republic for vacations this February and since we’ve been traveling around the island quite a lot I thought I’d give you a little guide what to do if you’re planning to visit the island. We stayed there for 12 days, which I’d say was enough to see most of the things and to put our minds on off, but I could just stay there forever, cause it really is the heaven on earth! Here are 10 things I think you shouldn’t miss it if you’re planning to pay a visit 😉
- Take as many sangrias as you can and party hard at Playa Bayahibe
First destination (and the most worth to visit) of our trip was Bayahibe, Punta Cana. It’s the city, or village better said, that I’d highly recommended if you’re planning to visit Dominican Republic. You might hear people saying is totally touristic, but that’s something you want there, believe me 🙂 Normally I’d imagine it’ll be packed with people and have dirty. But it’s just the opposite – very kind locals, paradise beaches and a lot of things to do. Playa Bayahibe was actually the first beach we visited while staying on the island and it put on some high standards for the rest of the beached. Long white bay with palm tress and beach clubs playing local music is what this beach is all about. I’d call it party beach (or at least we experienced it that way haha). You can get sunbeds in the first row (literally, almost in the ocean), dance on the beach and drink A LOT of Sangria for $5/liter. Sounds like party on the beach kind of the day 😉
- Eat the best breakfast at Dalias
Dalias was ours every days spot to start the day. Heavenly good eggs, made on hundred different ways, and freshly squeezed juices is something you just cannot skip to start the day properly. It was a suggestion from a local woman and we don’t regret any single peso spent there 🙂
- Spend the day in paradise on Playa Blanca
Playa Blanca is one of the most magic beaches I’ve been to in Dominican Republic. When you think of white sand, clear blue sea and palm trees – that’s what Playa Blanca is all about. It’s actually located in a private resort in Punta Cana and you even have to “check in” at the entrance to visit the beach, but when you come there you know why. It’s very calm, almost no people, sun beds on the beach, nice beach club with jazz music and waiter waiting for you, to serve you the whole day. I mean, that’s some real spoiling! Unfortunately we had only a day to enjoy it there, but I’d most definitely go there more often if we’d stay longer.
- Eat traditional food (chicken, beans, rice and avocado)
Dominican traditional food is fried chicken, white beans, rice and avocado salad. It doesn’t sound that tasty, but believe me it is! It’s the food you could be eating whole vacations long. Especially if you’re an avocado lover, like I am 🙂 There is a local restaurant in Bayahibe, where you get it really cheap (less than $4).
- Ride some waves at Macao Beach
Macao beach is located in Punta Cana as well, but it’s about 15 minutes drive from Bayahibe. It’s very different from all the other beaches you’ll see. Long bay, waves (not very big ones though, but you can still surf on a good days), and local people selling coconuts, avocados and empenadas the whole day long. You have to drive through the village before you arrive to paradise. There are not many tourists around thought.
- Go to Saona island all-inclusive paradise
We’ve been planning this trip since the beginning and it was totally worth it! One of the best days (if not the best one) while staying on the island. Saona is an island, 1,5 hours drive from Dominican Republic (La Romana) and it totally looks like in dreams – long white send beaches, palm trees and crystal clear ocean. While we were sun bathing on the boat, locals were dancing salsa with guests (us) and serving some traditional drinks/shots. Very few people, locals selling coconuts and delicious seafood lunch probably just added a cherry on the top to this trip. They normally organize catamaran on the way forward and speedboat, stopping in the natural pools, on the way back.
There are many all-inclusive trips organized to get to the island but the cheapest option would be to ride a boat from La Romana and book it with locals. We paid $40 for this trip and those were very well worth 40 bucks! But the prices vary, from $35 to $100, if you decide to book with agency and go from Punta Cana.
- Spoil yourself in all-inclusive resort
All-inclusive resort in Punta Cana was planned from the beginning, but we had to leave this option at the end, due to crazy high prices (high season for Americans). Well due to (un)pleasant circumstances (canceled flight) we were still placed to one of the most luxury resorts in Punta Cana – Paradisus Palma Real Resort and it was a blast J Being spoiled on every step you take we definitely took this opportunity very seriously and enjoyed it to the fullest. When I think back now, I’d regret if we wouldn’t get spoiled in this kind of resort even for a day. So when you’re deciding where to stay, I’d recommend you to visit one of the resorts, even if it’s for 3 days only. And keep in mind that those resorts are on the whole new level, compared to Turkey or Egypt. You’ll be surprised! P.S.: Expect to bay more than you think!
- Get the feeling of locals lifestyle in Samana
Our last location was peninsula Samana and it was the whole different world than Punta Cana. From touristic city to the place where there are no other people than locals. Driving through the local villages gives you very deep look info how local people live there. Don’t be surprised if you’ll see two years old child walking in the woods with machete in his hands. It would be really pity staying in Dominican Republic for 12 days and not seeing local’s lifestyle, even if it’s not that glamorous.
- Drink a lot of coconuts
Coconuts here, coconuts there, coconuts everywhere! I tried it for the first time and I’m obsessed. Soo good! You can get it from $2 to $15, but they’re all the same and all so yummy 😉
- Ride a local bus to the city
That was really fun experience. We were seeing a lot of those busses driving by, but since we had rented a car at the beginning of the trip, we haven’t really needed a bus. Due to circumstances a.k.a. canceled flight (again haha) we had to jump on one of those and it’s really interesting experience driving around in 30 degrees, on a bus with 40 people (accepts only 15 of course) and stop every 20 meters, haha. Fun fun, try it out, but definitely do not plan to go around the island with local bus!