Destination Overview: Dominican Republic
If you are thinking about taking a vacation or going on a honeymoon in the Dominican Republic, this article will give you a big picture overview of this popular destination in the Caribbean.
The Dominican Republic is the second largest country in the Caribbean with Cuba being the largest. Many people refer to the island as the DR and the average temperature throughout the year is a pleasant 82 degrees Fahrenheit. There are 1,000 miles of gorgeous golden sand beaches that are lined with palm trees and the island offers a variety in landscape with picturesque mountains, rivers, rainforests, and beaches. Visitors to the island can easily get a taste of the history and culture, especially when trying the local coffees, strong rums, and fragrant cigars.
The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish, but since tourism is such a large industry on the island, English-speaking travelers should not have any trouble communicating. The official currency is the Dominican Peso, but many of the Punta Cana resorts accept the United States currency as well as all major credit cards.
There are seven international airports in the Dominican Republic, so travelers will need to make sure that they are flying into the correct one depending on their destination. The majority of visitors fly into the Punta Cana Airport (PUJ), since this is where most of the popular resorts are located. Punta Cana Airport is a well equipped modern airport and a recent new addition has turned it into the Caribbean’s largest airport hub.
Most of the hotels in the region are in Punta Cana and Bavaro and ninety percent of the resorts are all-inclusive, especially in Punta Cana. Punta Cana is on the easternmost coast of the island with thirty-five miles of beautiful beaches lined with coconut palm trees. Travelers who wish to explore the island outside of their resort should note that renting a car in the Dominican Republic is not recommended because driving conditions can be rough. Instead, you should take a taxi or go on a guided tour. It is to be noted that outside the luxurious all-inclusive resorts, many of the towns in the DR are not necessarily quaint or pretty. There is widespread poverty on the island along with a few wealthy locals. Fortunately, tourism is helping to improve the economy and you should still consider an excursion if you wish get out and explore. Many of the visitors of the DR choose to stay at the resorts and spend their days relaxing at the beach, pool, or spa.
The most popular sporting activities in the Dominican Republic include scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, diving, fishing, windsurfing, kite surfing, and whale watching. People who want to experience a lot of adventure can participate in activities that include biking, hiking, ziplining, fishing, and golf.
The DR is the perfect vacation destination for those who want to relax on a beach lined with palm trees while getting the most value out of your money. This destination is relatively easy to get to from the US and the locals are friendly. This is a great choice for golf lovers since there are several world class golf courses at the resorts. Lastly, this is the perfect destination if you want to spend your days at the beach or pool and your nights gambling in a swanky casino, like the Hard Rock Casino, or partying and dancing in a nightclub or bar.
When to go:
There are two distinct peak seasons in the Dominican Republic; the summer months of July and August and the winter months of December through February. As to be expected, the crowds and the prices are at their highest during this time. If you want to travel during Christmas and New Year's Eve or during Carnival in February, you should make your reservations at least 6 months in advance and expect to pay a premium. The best time to visit Punta Cana is during the shoulder season which lasts from March to May. At this point, the peak season prices have dropped, the crowds have thinned out and the weather is near perfect. During the off season months of June through November, hurricane season is in full swing and unlike other islands where the rain quickly passes by, the showers in the DR can linger. If you feel like taking your chances with the weather, you'll find great deals on hotel prices and huge discounts on vacation packages during this time.
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