Dominican Republic holidays

The Dominican Republic is an island of real diversity. Its geography includes wetlands, rainforests, desert plains - and that's before you even get to its 1000 mile coastline! Home to some of the world's most beautiful shores, beach lovers and underwater explorers won't be disappointed.

Things to do

Renowned for its soft white sand Punta Cana won’t disappoint with 30 miles of Caribbean coastline  to call its own. After some downtime under the sun nothing beats an evening spent dancing at Coco Bongo - a Vegas style show and disco which first opened its doors in Mexico. Now one of its biggest clubs, it seems to be just as popular in the Dominican. Golf fans will find a range of top-class courses here. We suggest choosing one which hugs the ocean so you can take full advantage of that refreshing sea breeze.

Puerto Plata is another holiday hotspot with most people making a beeline for Playa Dorada’s hotel backed beachfront. And there’s just as much to see including the 16th century Spanish fort Fortaleza San Felipe and Ocean World Adventure Park.

Speaking of things to see, you can’t miss out on a trip to the capital Santo Domingo. When you’re not snapping pictures of its colourful colonial buildings, be sure to pay a visit to the Dominican Republic National Aquarium. Families should also stop by the Museo Infantil Trampolín, an interactive children's museum with excellent exhibits on the country’s history, science, ecosystems and culture.

Places to stay

Stretching all the way from the Atlantic in the north to the Caribbean in the south, the Dominican Republic has a huge selection of accommodation. The north is more rugged with most people heading for the beach resorts belonging to Puerto Plata. It’s also a great place for some wildlife-spotting, particularly in El Morro National Park where you’ll have plenty of fun trying to name the native bird species.

Over in the east, you’ll find Punta Cana, one of the island’s most popular regions. Enjoy the laid-back pace during the day followed by a party atmosphere come evening. The Bavaro area is a big hit with tourists with an impressive line-up of all-inclusive hotels sitting inches away from those warm Caribbean waves. There’s a good mix too, from sprawling family resorts bursting with activities right down to relaxing couples’ retreats which double up as wedding venues. For some exclusivity, Uvero Alto is just a little further down the road and promises complete solitude within its super stylish properties.   

What should I pack?

Put sunscreen and mosquito repellent at the top of your list. While the mosquitoes aren’t that plentiful, they are part of island life, and coming home with itchy bites can be enough to put a dampener on your holiday. 

When it comes to clothing, think light and airy. Linen and cotton fabrics are ideal, and long-sleeved tops and trousers or dresses can offer protection from the sun.

More Travel Guides

We also have travel guides available for destinations including: Punta Cana | Bavaro

Map of Dominican Republic

25-28 ℃

The Dominican Republic is warm and sunny throughout the year, although the mountainous areas of the island are significantly wetter and cooler. There’s a fair amount of rainfall even in coastal regions, but this is normally only brief and light so you should be able to dodge the showers. You'll find it's dry, sunny and calm most of the time.

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9 hours

Approximately 9 hours from the UK. Fly to Punta Cana International Airport.

Dominican Republic is best for...

Nature enthusiasts: From jungle adventures to coral reef trips, holidays to Dominican Republic are perfect for exploring the great outdoors. Saona Island is a must-visit for its marine life with star fish and spotted moray eel among the creatures swimming in its waters. But the best way to discover its scenery is through its adrenaline-fuelled activities, which include canyoning, ziplining and paragliding. 

Beach lovers: The beaches on the eastern coast are among the finest in the Caribbean, with picture-perfect emerald waters and white sands fringed by palm trees. Bávaro Beach is perhaps its most famous thanks to its wide shoreline and backdrop of hotels. And you’ll feel like you're miles away from civilisation on Cayo Levantado (Bacardi Island), a small floating paradise in Samana.

Bar-hoppers: You won’t be short of evening entertainment when you come to the Dominican Republic. Santo Domingo is the home of live performances with people dancing in the streets until the early hours. Or, head over to the holiday resorts of Punta Cana and you’ve got some of the island’s best nightclubs and concert venues on your doorstep.

Fast facts for Dominican Republic

Language: The official language in Dominican Republic is Spanish. However, English is widely spoken, especially in tourist spots and hotels, so you'll have little difficulty getting around. Still, if you'd like to impress the locals with your Spanish, a language app is a great place to start.

Currency: The currency used in the Dominican Republic is the Dominican Peso.

Local time: The Dominican Republic is 5 hours behind GMT/UK time.

Fly to: Punta Cana International Airport. Transfer time from the airport to the main resort of Punta Cana is about 40 minutes.

Flight time from UK: The flight time to the Dominican Republic is 9 hours.

Tourist information: Further tourist information can be found at Dominican Republic’s official tourism website.

Visa and health: Before you travel, check the latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

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Getting around Dominican Republic

By car: Car hire is a good option if you’re planning a lot of day trips, giving you the freedom to come and go as you like. It also makes resort-hopping a lot easier, not to mention it’s a great way to see the scenery. And you shouldn’t struggle too much with modern motorways connecting you to the island’s main cities - just watch out for any toll fees.

By taxi: Taxi ranks are on hand at hotels, airports, and some attractions. They are ideal for one-off journeys, although make sure you check the cab fare before you set off.

By bus: The local bus service is the Bavaro Express, which provides an affordable and reliable way of travelling between beaches. Running between neighbouring resorts like Bavaro and Punta Cana, it’s particularly convenient if you're not planning to hire a car.

Events in Dominican Republic

The legendary carnival: February 11th sees the carnival come to town, meaning huge parades, outlandish costumes, and lots of dancing. The Dominican Republic Carnival also includes the country’s Independence Day, on February 27th.

Traditional celebration: In December, the traditional Festival of the Bulls takes place, with long processions complete with cowboys herding cattle.

New Year’s Eve: The Dominican Republic is a fantastic place to ring in the New Year, with a full-on Caribbean celebration in Santo Domingo, where you’ll find a sky of fireworks at midnight, and of course plenty of partying into the early hours.

Dominican Republic safety and security

Do I need a visa?

If you’re visiting for less than 30 days, you’ll need a visa. Also known as a tourist card, this is often included in the price of your flight or you can purchase it on arrival. To find out more about the Dominican Republic visa, check out the latest entry advice from the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office.   

Should I get travel health insurance?

We always advise taking out travel insurance. It ensures that in the event of a medical problem, the money is there for you to get treatment, medicines and, if necessary, repatriation to the UK. However, it’s worth checking the level of cover you get for your needs. For example, some policies won’t pay out for things like extreme sports.

Any other tips?

  1. While brushing your teeth with tap water should be fine, it’s advisable not to drink anything other than bottled water. Similarly, avoid salads that may have been washed in tap water, and ice cubes in your drinks.
  2. The locals tend to speak English, but it’s always worth downloading a language app or using Google translate. A well-placed ‘muchas gracias’ can go a long way.

Dominican Republic weather

Temperature: 25-28 (°C)

When’s the best time to go?

One of the most popular holiday hotspots in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is a heady mix of beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, amazing architecture and rich cultural history. Whether you’re heading to the Carnival in Santo Domingo or planning to soak up the sun on Bávaro Beach, we’ve got amazing deals all year round. With an average annual temperature of 25°C (which climbs even higher during the summer), holidays to the Dominican Republic promise constant heat.

For cooler sightseeing conditions with a minimal chance of rain, book your break between December and the end of February. During these months you’ll still have temperatures of around 25°C.

Between February and April things start to heat up, with the mercury climbing into the high 20s and low 30s. As the heat increases, so do the crowds, which means the early part of the season is better if you’re looking for a quiet break. The rainy season hits between May and September.

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