Best time to visit: January, February, March, April
Average high: 29˚C
Average low: 22˚C
Price of meals: 2/5
Holiday type: Adventure / Beach / Party / Romantic
The Dominican Republic is nicknamed the ‘Coconut Coast’ for its many sandy and heavenly beaches lined with palm trees and charming cocktail bars. But this paradise escape is also home to mountains, jungle, tropical birds and animals, and a huge host of exciting activities for visitors of all tastes and ages.
There is a reason most people stay in the far east, which is the huge selection of varied and luxurious resorts, from the extravagant La Romana to the thrilling beachfronts at Puta Cana. While the east is the most popular region, consider also the gorgeous bays in the northeast or fabulous beaches along the south coast.
Wherever you stay, the beaches are soft, sandy, and warm, and the sea holds treasures which you can witness above and below the waves. Between December and March each year, over 2,000 humpback whales come to breed, and the males put on quite a show to impress the females.
The Dominican Republic has its own Alps which are surrounded by national parks where you can delight in hiking through nature, bird and animal watching, and discovering some of the hidden gems of the jungle, including lagoons and waterfalls. If you prefer a more comfortable setting, the island has a beautiful golf course to sink a few balls while gazing out over the ocean.
Historians, culture explorers, and “people” people will find just as much enjoyment in the towns as they will on the beaches and mountains. Zona Colonial (Colonial Zone) is the historic centre of Santo Domingo—founded by the younger sibling of Christopher Columbus—and is not only a great place for parties (although, if you visit in February, join in the carnivals, instead), but to walk the old streets, admire the colonial architecture, and grab some great bargains at the local markets.
Temperatures are consistently high throughout the year in the Dominican Republic, although it is often much cooler and wetter in the jungle and mountains than on the tropical beaches. High season is during the UK’s winter and early spring, as this is also when rainfall is at its lowest. Fortunately, even when rainfall is heavy, it usually comes in showers and passes quickly. The exception is during hurricane season, which typically begins in June and lasts until October.
Most holidaymakers choose to stay in the excellent resorts when visiting the Dominican Republic, so naturally, unless it is all-inclusive, meal prices can be a little higher than the rest of the country. If you are prepared to find eateries in less touristy spots, you will bring your food expenditure down. In general, you can expect to pay £4-7.50 for a single meal, and approximately £30 for a three-course meal for two. Alcohol is fairly cheap at £1.50-2.30 per bottle of beer, but expect tourist bars and clubs to have higher prices. Meanwhile, coffee and water is very cheap at £1.20 and 30p, respectively.
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