If you're thinking of the Caribbean for a relaxing break, look no further than the Dominican Republic...
With its warm climate, wide range of hotels available and a number of direct flights from the UK, it is no wonder that this destination has become a regular choice for travellers. And if time spent relaxing on the white sandy beaches is what you want from a break, then this is definitely the place for you.
Once there, you might find it hard to prise yourself from the stunning palm-tree-lined beaches. But if you do want a day trip there are lots of places on the island that are worth a visit, with organised tours available from most resorts. Pay a visit to Taino Park or spend a day exploring the forest to discover the 27 stunning waterfalls of Damajaqua.
Alternatively, you could head to the city of Santa Romana to visit the cathedral or see local cigar production. Sports are popular too and you will find ample opportunities to hit the golf course, go horse riding or try your hand at a number of action-packed water sports.
Hotels are mostly found along the gorgeous coastline and offer all-inclusive stays and great facilities...
In the Dominican Republic, hotels found in the larger beach resorts will often include a few European hotel chains, so keep a look out for good accommodation from Riu, Iberostar, Barcelo and NH, to name a few. As in any resort, you get what you pay for and if you're opting for a more luxurious hotel you are likely to find a wider range of facilities available, including spas, a selection of in-house restaurants and on-site activities.
There are plenty of beach resorts, including the popular Bavaro, East Bayahibe, Cayo Levantado and Costa Dorado. And most areas, such as Samana Town, Playa Dorada and Bahia Maimon, offer a range of different hotels within the resort itself. Hotels in the Dominican Republic generally work on an all-inclusive basis, offering a range of buffet-style meals and delicious local drinks. You will find a range of accommodation, with three- to five-star choices for any budget. However, it's worth remembering that star ratings are slightly different to those in Europe.
Peel yourself away from the water's edge and check out these attractions...
It's worth discovering the many treasures of the Dominican Republic. From waterfalls to adrenaline-fuelled adventures, there's plenty to see and do whenever you visit.
Top five attractions
Mount Isabel de Torres
Located in the Puerto Plata region, a cable-car ride to the summit of Mount Isabel de Torres provides breath-taking views of the whole island.
Ocean World Adventure Park
You can swim and snorkel with hundreds of colourful fish at Ocean World Adventure Park - or even sharks if you dare! Enjoy sea lion and dolphin shows, hold parrots and explore the rainforest.
The Dominican Republic's latest and greatest zip line adventure is guaranteed to provide fun and thrills for all the family. Made up of 12 zip lines, your adrenaline will be pumping in no time!
Damajaqua Cascades (27 Waterfalls)
Nestled in a mountain range of Puerto Plata, 27 awe-inspiring waterfalls await for you to swim and relax in.
Spend a day relaxing in total paradise on this beautiful tropical island off the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Soak up the sun, relax on the beach or perhaps even take a boat ride through the tropical green mangroves.
From annual parties to weekly markets, there's always something happening in this lively destination...
Be sure to check what's on before you travel to make the most of the annual calendar of events in the Dominican Republic.
Spring Festival; May: The Altos de Chavon area comes alive with a magical celebration for the Spring Festival, with a variety of Dominican theatre performances, loud music and lively cultural dance routines.
Dominican Republic Golf Open; May-June: A big event in the destination's calendar, the Dominican Republic Open golf tour is held in the Punta Cana resort. Golf is a sport on the rise in the Dominican Republic and its National Open is a part of the PGA tour.
Crafts Market; every Friday; Casa de Campo: If you're a shopaholic and love strolling around markets, this is the place for you. Every Friday from 6am to 3pm in the Lago Grill, tourists and locals alike can browse and shop for some hand-made Dominican souvenirs.