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Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Dominican Republic
What you notice first about the Dominican Republic is its size. This is not just another tiny Caribbean island with a beach and a straw market. Instead, it's a big country with spectacularly varied scenery that includes the tallest mountains in the region, stretches of white sand that run unbroken for miles and the Caribbean's oldest and -- some claim -- most cosmopolitan city, Santo Domingo.
Visitor numbers are rising along with the construction of new resorts. There's also been an increase in visits by cruise ships to the ports of Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata and La Romana. Other improvements can be traced to the pursuit of tourism income: Many of the country's roads have been widened and paved, and historic areas in the major cities have been renovated.

Santo Domingo
Most visitors to SANTO DOMINGO understandably make a beeline for the Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo's large, substantially intact colonial district, home to dozens of wonderful old buildings and a dramatic setting right on the river. Many never bother to venture outside of this expansive, historic neighbourhood, but while it rates the most attention you should also make the effort to check out at least a few other diversions especially around the barrios of the Gazcue and Malecon throughout the city.

Puerto Plata
PUERTO PLATA and PLAYA DORADA comprise the mass tourism capital of the Caribbean. The city of Puerto Plata is a vibrant Dominican town of 200,000 that's well worth exploring for its historic architecture and nightlife. Its core, the Old City, borders the port to the east, a narrow grid of streets that was once the swankiest neighbourhood in the country. Around the original town sprawls a patchwork maze of industrial zones and concrete barrios known as the New City, formed over the past century with the growth of the town's industry. Most visitors, though, are here for package tours to Playa Dorada located a kilometre east of the city limits a walled-off vacation factory that pulls in over a half-million tourists each year.

Juan Dolio
Just east of Boca Chica begins a 25-kilometre-long line of rocky coast dotted with all-inclusive resorts, collectively known as JUAN DOLIO. This resort area has never quite matched Boca Chica, its northern rival, but a couple of its new resorts are the equal of any all-inclusives in the country if it weren't for the beach. Though the sand is perfectly acceptable, dead coral under the water makes swimming and walking in the water uncomfortable, and the beaches are no match for what you'll find at Punta Cana. Nonetheless, you can have a good time here, primarily because of a couple of great independent hotels and the plethora of local nightlife.

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