Dominican Republic Things to Do
The World Kite Surfing Championships take place here in DR.
Kite and Windsurfing
Winds are quite reliable and constant in Cabarete in the north of the island so kiting and windsurfing are two top Dominican Republic things to do. See the picture above.
‘I went to Cabarete thinking I would be able to kiteboard after the first day but apparently it takes weeks of practice. But after 3 full days of lessons and practice I was up and moving and by my 5th day I was heading upwind!
Gokite was always prepared to help by setting up kites very first thing in the morning so when I arrived all I had to do was put on my equipment and go.
Another thing I really appreciated was they anticipated wind changes and always had the right size kite ready to go, so if the wind changed all I had to do was go back to the school and change my kite. ‘ Gokite Cabarete Kiteboarding School.
Canyoning in the Damajagua Cascades, near Puerto Plata.
Climbing, jumping, sliding, splashing and swimming from and through up to 27 waterfalls, kitted out in life jackets and helmets and guided if you choose. You can do this on your own and save plenty. Entrance is 15 USD. Alternatively adventure-sports specialist Iguana Mama can take you there.
Now that’s a mean sand trap; and the water feature is not too shabby either.
Punta Espada Golf Course, ranked by Golf Week as the best course in the Caribbean, is challenging and expensive but maintained in superb condition and offers spectacular views. It’s on Cap Cana, east coast. Good alternatives are Iberostate Bavaro Golf Club, Roco Ki, and La Cana, also Punta Cana.
Down in La Romana Casa de Campo is brilliant and the island has many other high quality courses both in existence and under construction.
Scuba wreck diving, Dominican Republic
Try North Coast Diving in Sosua. Impressive organization, equipment, dive briefing and dive master, and Sosua’s leeward waters are excellent.
Snorkeling fiends also have some outstanding locations beneath the surface and none more so than the national park off Isla Saona (southeast coast) where the aquamarine waters are glassy and marine life swarming. Saona is easy to reach from La Romana and Bayahibe but some tourists take the time to travel there from much further away.
Whale breaching in Samana Bay
Victoria Marine in Samana Bay comes highly recommended. It’s run by Canadian marine biologist Kim Beddall. The whales usually meet-n-greet in Bahía de Samaná mid January to mid March with up to 4, 000 whales playing nice at the peak in February.
If you prefer to catch (and possibly eat) your marine creatures then the Dominican Republic’s north coast Atlantic Ocean is the place to be, offering some of the best, unspoiled deep sea fishing in the area. There is extremely deep water very close to shore, 1, 000ft of water depth 3 miles offshore and 6, 000ft of water ten miles out. This makes for fantastic fishing, trolling, literally minutes after leaving the dock. Try North Coast Sportfishing in Cabrera, east of Cabarete, or Bayahibe Fishing Centre.
Recommended: Indrinatours Quad in Las Terrenas near Punta Cana. Modern equipment, mountain and beach rides with swim.
Or there’re dune buggies if you prefer to share your noise.
Parque Tres Ojos
Parque Tres Ojos (Water Park of Three Eyes), near Santo Domingo.
This underground cave complex is a popular attraction in DR, though there are 300 stairs and no ramps or elevators so it’s not suitable for unfit visitors. Take a bottle of water, wear non-slip shoes/sandals and be prepared to fight off the usual hawkers and ‘guides’. There’s a booth outside with 100 peso price listed for entry, for both kids and adults, a little over 2 USD. You do not need an official guide or the 39USD tour; you’d have to have zero sense of direction to get lost here. There are three cenotes (underground lakes) and great photo opportunities.
White water rafting
White water rafting on the biggest river in the Caribbean.
The Dominican Republic is one of the few Caribbean islands where you can try white water rafting and Jarabacoa, aka Dominican Alps, is the adventure sports centre of the island. A handful of companies run Class II rides on the Rio Yaque del Norte with plenty of rapids, waterfalls and canyons.
A typical day invloves pick up from your hotel and a drive you to Jarabacoa via Santiago, where you get breakfast and outfitted with a helmet, life jacket and paddle. Then it’s another
20mins to the river.
There are 4 riders and one guide per raft and the ride is over two hours long, with stunning scenery and a couple of stops en route to fall into the water.
Pack a towel, change of clothes, shoes, bug spray, sunscreen and $40 tip for group of 3-4.
More docile river kayaking is another activity on offer.
Teleferico to Mount Isabel de Torres
Heading up to 2, 500 ft where lush gardens lurk, the view is panoramic and Jesus Christ is welcoming (OK, He’s only a statue but up for a photograph); this is one of the few non-beach things to do in Puerto Plata, though some tourists are distinctly underwhelmed by the experience.
As usual you can expect to be met by a number of pushy hawkers, a restaurant, trinket shops.
There is a modest forest walk at the top and photo ops are good but this is not an adrenalin activity!
Take the Teleferico in the early morning for a chance of a mist-free clear view.
Ocean World Adventure Park, Marina and Casino
An advanced, interactive marine park, Cofresi, Puerto Plata. Visitors can touch, swim with, pet and feed animals, including dolphins, sea lions, sharks, stingrays, exotic tropical birds; meet tigers, walk through rain forests and see shows. Royal Dolphin Swim, Sea Lion Encounter etc.
Expect the drinks to be overpriced, don’t take the ‘tour of the harbour’ which is a timeshare pitch, and don’t buy their photos that look great on display but yours won’t be!