I visited the Dominican Republic in March 2015 for my spring break and only have a million positive things to say about it!! It’s incredibly affordable, the Dominican people are some of the friendliest you’ll ever meet, and their food and beaches are stunning. DR is the most visited tourist destination in the Caribbean and after visiting I could definitely see why!
Economy: A huge part of DR’s economy comes from tourism and you can see this in the prices of their all-inclusive resorts, as well as the local’s attitude towards tourists- they love you!! I payed around $850 for a 4 night stay at an all-inclusive resort (includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and all alcoholic drinks) + roundtrip flights.
Hotel: My boyfriend and I stayed at the Gran Ventana resort in Puerto Plata and both the room and food were great! The room was spacious and the restaurants exceeded our expectations with the quality and variety of the food.
Food: Dominican food is characterized by a mix of latin and Caribbean flavors with a big emphasis on seafood. I loved their ceviche and all of their lobster & fish dishes- they’re super fresh!! The drink of the island is called Mama Juana, which is a combo of rum, red wine, and honey and it tastes very sweet and delicious!
Activities: The island is comprised of jungles on the inner parts with beaches along it’s coasts so there are a ton of excursions you can pay for including waterfall hikes, horseback riding, ATV offloading, and boat trips. The only one I went on was the boat trip to Paradise Island and the Dominican mangroves, and it was one of THE most amazing experiences I’ve ever had! Paradise Island is basically a tiny sandbar located right in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by coral reefs and the clearest water I’ve ever seen in real life (sandbar pictured above with the wooden huts). I STRONGLY recommend booking the tour with a company called “VIP” (your hotel will be able to set this up for you if you remember the name)- the entire time you have access to free food and unlimited alcohol, lunch on a private beach with the freshest lobster (pictured above), snorkel gear to explore Paradise island, and the staff is so friendly and accommodating!! It was hands down the best part of the trip.
- If you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort, make reservations at the restaurants BEFORE you start your vacation- they book up incredibly fast, especially during high seasons, and you may be limited to eating at the main resort restaurant the entirety of the trip (which are usually buffet-style and can get exhausting/repetitive)
- The vendors on the beach can be VERY pushy and will bombard you with whatever they’re trying to sell, even after saying no. I recommend bringing headphones and avoiding eye contact if you want to lay out on the beach in peace (sounds kinda crazy, but they can be relentless) or just stay by the pool if you’re looking to relax in silence.
- Book your excursions with your hotel, not with the beach vendors- it may be pricier, but it’s worth it for the reliability and quality of the tour.