Dominican RepublicBahamas & Caribbean
By day, the Dominican Republic is a photographic-dream. Intriguing marine life is easily spotted amidst gentle waves and the glistening beaches are lounging heavens. With a central heart rich in local discoveries and passionate celebrations, there are endless ways in which to enjoy your time in the Dominican Republic.
For a perfect day’s cruising, head to the picturesque south east coast where the delightful Isla Soana is located. A tiny island of only five kilometres, the water makes perfect spotting grounds for majestic manatees and bottlenose dolphins.
Zoetry Agua Resort and Spa
The Zoetry Agua Resort and Spa in Punta Cana is the Dominican Republic’s only six-star resort, and boasts one of the most luxurious spa centres in the world. Set in a breathtaking tropical landscape and surrounded by 180 metres of private beach, there is no more exclusive or spectacular place to enjoy a first-class pampering experience. Expert therapists offer an indulgent range of relaxing and medical massages, while the on-site Spa circuit is equipped with all the latest in beauty technology.
Casa de Campo Marina & Resort
Marina Casa de Campo, the most complete and prestigious facility in the Caribbean is located inside of the Casa de Campo Resort,
a 7,000-acre complex, where you will enjoy the finest experience and savor a refined lifestyle. The resort comes complete with spa and wellness facilities as well as an expansive golf course.
Like all Caribbean islands, the Dominican Republic’s beaches are truly magnificent. The south coast is home to the calmest waters, making the beaches here excellent for family swimming and snorkelling, while the windier north coast is the place to head for water sports. Playa Grande is known as one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, tiny Bayahibe boasts the most secluded stretches, while Playa Cofresi attracts serious tanners with its perfect sun exposure.
Santa Domingo is a brilliant place to be in late February and mid August, when the spirit of Carnival fills the historic streets. Cabarete, Sosua and Puerto Plata also share the hosting duties for the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival every October.
Zona Colonial, at the heart of Santo Domingo, and its surrounding areas are the place to head for the DR’s most sophisticated shopping. Plaza Central is the premier destination for top international boutiques, though on the north shore Puerto Plata and Punta Cana both boast large shopping complexes.
Rum and Cigars
The island’s speciality however lies in local rum and cigars, found in absolute first-class quality. Calle el Conde in Santo Domingo hosts the finest cigar shops, particularly the Boutique del Fumador, where cigar makers roll fresh Cohibas. Over 36 varieties of rum are available for purchase in the DR, as well as exceptional coffee and intricately and brilliantly designed crafts, paintings, jewellery, and sculptures. Exclusive to the DR is Larimar jewellery, made from a semi-precious blue volcanic stone found only on the island.
Day excursions hold plenty of appeal in the Dominican Republic, with the island’s central region including the stunning Cibao Valley, home to the country’s cigar producing trade. This intriguing industry can be explored on a private tour of a traditional cigar factory, or viewed from above during an unforgettable helicopter ride over the endless plantations. While the Centro Leon Jimenes in Santiago is one of the country’s largest manufacturers with an impressive factory tour on offer, the smaller villages in the Cibao create a more intimate touring environment, many of which still operate original rolling factories. At least one case of these truly distinctive cigars is a true souvenir.
The north coast provides the ultimate destination for exploring the magnificent waters surrounding the Dominican Republic. Cabarete on the north coast is the water sport capital of the island and offers an amazing selection of windsurfing, kayaking, surfing, wakeboarding, and kite-surfing. So brilliant are its waters and weather conditions, that Cabarete played host to the Professional Windsurfing Association World Cup for several years, and even now hosts an annual Race Week.
Diving & Snorkelling
A short sail away is the enticing seaside town of Sosúa, renowned for its coral reefs and unbelievable dive sites. There are several dive operations in the area that take the adventurous to explore sunken ship wrecks, underwater gardens and hidden caves. For a less-challenging but truly unique ocean adventure, the tiny fishing village of Bayahibe offers some of the best snorkelling in the Dominican Republic with the chance to explore rare caves with historical paintings by Taino Indians. In an environment where the water temperature sits at an average of 26C, diving in the Dominican Republic is a near perfect experience.
An excellent golfing destination, the DR offers 19 courses tempting golfers to tee-off from their oceanfront fairways. Featuring many first-rate courses designed by golfing legends such as Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Nick Faldo, the choice for golfing enthusiasts is world-class. No matter where you are based on the Island, there will be a course nearby, though the best are located on the east coast and include Dye Fore and Teeth of the Dog in La Romana.
The months between January and March, see a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of the 5000 humpback whales that make their way to Samaná Bay. Only licensed boats are allowed in the surrounding waters during this period, but private tours can be arranged to catch these majestic creatures at their most active.
For a truly memorable and extremely different lunching experience, the Blue Moon in Cabarete offers an exceptional opportunity. Guests at this unique restaurant sit on floor pillows beneath a thatched-hut roof and dine on the delicious Indian-fusion cuisine by hand.