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Bucket list vacation destinations in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is one of the Caribbean’s most popular vacation hotspots. With spectacular beaches, sparkling turquoise waters and diverse landscapes, it’s easy to see why! From historic cities dating back to the 15th century to Instagram-worthy desert islands, we rounded up four of the most picturesque spots around the island that you’ll want to add to your travel bucket list.

Woman leaning against a palm tree on a beautiful beach
Spend the day on your own desert island in Punta Cana

Nothing says vacation like spending the day at the beach – and what’s better than relaxing on a regular beach? Sunbathing on the sandy shores of a desert island! Saona Island is located just a scenic boat ride away from Punta Cana’s mainland, where you can spend the day at an exclusive beach club while enjoying a delicious lunch and refreshing drinks. Snorkel in the crystal-clear waters, learn how to dance merengue or work on your tan when you visit this island paradise!

Where to stay: Stay on one of the world’s most famous stretches of coastline – Bavaro Beach – at Royalton Punta Cana Resort and Casino. Relax on a beachside lounger while enjoying convenient wait service or try out non-motorized water sports like snorkelling, kayaking and paddleboarding.

Mother and daughter walking through a historic square
Travel back in time to the historic city of Santo Domingo

As both the capital city of the Dominican Republic and one of the oldest cities in the Americas, Santo Domingo offers plenty of opportunities for historic exploration. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was founded in 1496 and is home to numerous attractions including Calle Las Damas, the first paved street in the Americas; Alcázar de Colón, the former palace of Christopher Columbus’ son; and Catedral Primada De América, the first cathedral in the Americas. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you explore the historic city.

Where to stay: After learning all about the history of the Dominican Republic, head back to Emotions by Hodelpa Playa Dorada to sample some Dominican cuisine! The resort’s Dominican fusion restaurant, Oregano, serves a range of authentic and flavourful dishes.

Beautiful waterfalls with a pool at the bottom
Hike to breathtaking waterfalls outside of Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata is famous for its golden-sand beaches and perfect water sport conditions – but if you wander inland, you’ll discover it’s just as spectacular, with lush landscapes that are home to exotic wildlife and hidden waterfalls. The Damajagua Waterfalls (also known as the 27 Charcos) are nestled in the heart of the Dominican jungle and are accessible via a picturesque nature trail where you’ll have the chance to spot exotic wildlife. At each of the falls, you can take a dip in the refreshing pools and even zoom down a natural water slide!

Where to stay: When you’re not chasing waterfalls in the jungle, you can try out a host of unique resort-offered activities at BlueBay Villas Doradas! This adults only property features complimentary activities including Pilates, sushi-making classes, mixology lessons and more.

Golf course overlooking the ocean with lush trees
Tee off on celebrity-favourite golf courses in La Romana

The Casa de Campo golf courses aren’t just popular for their popularity with celebrities – although they are frequented by A-listers and former presidents – they also happen to be some of the beautiful golf courses in the Caribbean, with greens winding along the rugged coast and the edge of dramatic cliffs. Tee off on the three courses designed by legendary architect Pete Dye including Teeth of the Dog, Dye Fore and The Links. Not a big golfer? You can still admire views of La Romana’s picturesque landscapes from Altos de Chavón, a replica Mediterranean village on the Casa de Campo complex.

Where to stay: After working up a sweat playing a few rounds of golf, head back to Vista Sol Punta Cana to relax and recharge. The resort is home to an upscale spa and when you book one of the Comfort Room Spa categories, you can enjoy a complimentary massage, facial, manicure and exfoliating treatment.

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