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Dominican Republic cityscape beach and sea view

Compare the best Dominican Republic flights

The Dominican Republic occupies two thirds of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. It is the second largest Caribbean nation and the site of the first permanent settlement of Europeans in the Americas after Christopher Columbus landed there in 1492.

Why go?

Whether you're looking for a holiday offering the ultimate in relaxation, or would prefer an active or culture-packed break, holidays here have something for everyone.

The Dominican Republic has a tropical climate, making it a great destination for beach holidays and the popularity of all inclusive beach based holidays has led to a large number of self-contained resorts along the prime coastline.

Punta Cana is the eastern tip of the island and has a constant warm climate with little rainfall. It is a good base for visiting beach resorts such as Bavaro and Uvero Alto which are nearby and made up of white sand and shallow sea lagoons making them ideal for swimming. Cayo Levantado is a picture perfect island resort and the beaches of Costa Dorada and Playa Dorada offer resorts with a little more going on in the vicinity; go karting, watersports and boat trips are all available to keep holiday makers occupied. The Ciudad Colonial area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the first castle and cathedral in the Americas, just one of the many historical sites in the nation.

For travellers that are looking for a bit more culture and activity then Bayahibe offers great scuba diving and snorkelling, with shipwrecks in the clear Caribbean waters. Samana in the north east of the island has green countryside, waterfalls, mountains and peace and quiet; Bahia Maimon is home to El Choco National Park with bats, birds and nearly 900 species of plants. Columbus water park is the biggest water slide park in the Caribbean and Joyeria Michelle in the jewellery region is the best place to buy genuine salvaged medallions from the Spanish treasure ship Concepcion which sank in 1641.

Guaguas are the local buses, usually very full and not always air conditioned but cheap and friendly; tourists are usually helped out and the driver will be happy to tell you where to get off. For longer journeys around the island Caribe Tours runs bus routes at fixed prices which are cheap due to subsidies from the government. These buses are air conditioned and comfortable, with routes between most major cities. Taxis are available but be very careful to deal with licensed drivers and get a price in advance. Licensed drivers have their license around there neck and clean, air conditioned cars; if you book by phone you will get a confirmation number, be sure that you get a matching number from the driver before getting into the car.

How to get there

You can get to the Dominican Republic on a direct flight from the UK in around nine hours. Find the best way to get there for you...

Flights from the UK arrive at various airports around the country; Santo Domingo (SDQ), Samana (EPS), La Romana (LRM), Puerto Plata (POP) or Punta Cana (PUJ). All tourists are charged $10 on arrival which must be paid in US dollars or Euros so be sure to take some with you. There is also an exit tax; this is often included in your flight but it is advisable to check in advance. Local currency can be bought with dollars and Euros at the airport and it is best to change it back before you leave as this may not be possible when you return home.

Getting to and from the airport

There are a range of options to get from the airport to your hotel or resort - here are some of them...

If you want to travel by taxi, fares to nearby hotels are posted outside the airports, just make sure you confirm the cost with your driver before you go anywhere. There are no courtesy bus shuttles from the airport to the hotels. Car rentals are available at the airports and in major cities, driving in the Dominican Republic should not pose too much of a problem for experienced drivers; although it is best to stick to the larger roads which are better maintained and avoid driving after dark as pedestrians and other road traffic are often badly lit making accidents difficult to avoid.

Where to stay ?

This gorgeous Caribbean jewel has plenty to tempt visitors, but where should you stay?

Many of the hotels in the Dominican Republic work on an all-inclusive basis and large, well-known chains such as NH, Iberostar and Barcelo all operate here. Whatever your taste, you're sure to find accommodation to suit you.

Most visitors to the Dominican Republic come for the stunning, world-class beaches and you will have a variety of resorts to choose from such as Costa Dorado, Cayo Levantado, Bavaro and East Bayahibe.

Samana Town is another resort you may want to consider and is one of the more untouched areas of the Dominican. Book accommodation here and enjoy rainforests, wildlife, outstanding beaches and the colourful seafront town.

Alternatively, you may choose to stay at Playa Dorada. There are a number of luxury hotels here, and snorkelling, watersports and golf courses are in abundance. If that sounds too energetic, you can enjoy relaxing in the resort's bars, restaurants and shops.

Spectacular Bahia Maimon is another option which has an outstanding beach and mountain backdrop. From here you can also take part in various activities including day trips to Puerto Plata, the island's capital, where you can take a cable car up Mount Isabel, visit a cigar factory, take in a rum distillery or go on an outback safari which will take you through sugar cane fields.