“I’m so glad to have visited the Dominican Republic. The beach was even more beautiful than I had dreamed. The white sands, leaning palm trees and magical, shifting turquoise of the sea were a captivating combination. What’s more, the beaches were much broader and more spacious than at Varadero, in Cuba. I found Bávaro much prettier than most of the beaches at Varadero, and long walks along the beach were also more pleasant here.
We took an excursion to Santo Domingo. It wasn’t nearly as sensational as Havana, but it’s rich it was in historical monuments, and I like colonial architecture. We were also able to enjoy the rich natural landscape during our journey.
What were the dislikes?
• The national parks were far less attractively presented than in the USA, though of course the two countries are at totally different levels in terms of resources.
• It was a shame that there were no opportunities to mingle with the locals – the hotel area is a sort of vacation ghetto. You can feel that life here is freer than in Cuba, but somehow the poverty appeared even more alarming (there are a lot of destitute areas).
• The Dominicans themselves didn’t strike me as either particularly friendly or unfriendly. Tourists are likely to meet some con artists, as they tend to latch onto visitors.
• I didn’t like the ‘mass-tourism’ feel of the hotel – it was very impersonal, and the crowds at the buffet were like a herd of cattle rushing for the trough. Also, a few days were washed out on account of rain.
Dominica is well worth visiting just for its beaches. If you’re not looking for much else (and you can bear the volume at which North American tourists talk to one another – even worse than the Germans) then it’s an ideal destination. Still, Havana makes Cuba a more interesting destination, and the same goes for Yucatan, on account of both the Mayan ruins and the nightlife at Playa del Carmen.” (Sándor, 2017)
The beaches are the main attraction in the Dominican Republic – it’s no exaggeration to say that they are among the most beautiful in the world. The country’s coastline is around 1,600km long, and of course only a very small proportion of that has a strong tourist presence.
The sea at beaches directly in front of hotels is generally very clean, but “standard conditions” can be very different. On some beaches, you have to be careful to avoid sharp rocks when getting into the water. Seaweed is found in many places, and while it can be cleaned up if it washes ashore, if it’s in the water it just has to be accepted as a fact of life.
The beaches near hotels are often overcrowded in high season. It’s good, however, that there are relatively few pushy purveyors of sun loungers and beach umbrellas
There are no nudist beaches in the Dominican Republic, and it is forbidden to swim naked anywhere. Indeed, it’s not even recommended for women to go topless (you’ll see the eyes of local men open wider than you thought possible…)
The beach at Cabarete, on the island’s north coast, is a perfect place for windsurfing and kite surfing. The beach at Puerto Plata has very fine, coral sand.
In the east is the ‘Costa de Cocos’ or ‘Coconut Coast’, which has spectacular, palm-fringed beaches where you can walk for hours.
About 20 minutes’ drive south of the capital, Santo Domingo, lies the spa town of Boca Chica. This beach is very suitable for families with young children
The beach at Bayahibe is very tranquil, and from there you can take a motorboat across to Saona Island, part of the Este National Park. I mention this because the beach on this island is considered by many to be the most beautiful in the Dominican Republic! A wide shoreline, natural and undeveloped, and with dazzlingly white, coral sands. It is also a fantastic spot for diving.