It's home to Playa Rincon, one of the most stunning beaches in the whole of the Caribbean, along with plenty of other sparkling slices of paradise like Bahia de las Aguilas. So it's little wonder that a holiday in the Dominican Republic is perfect for sun-worshippers. The country is also famed for its mountain peaks, its golf courses and of course Santo Domingo, the first city to have been founded in the New World. Its "Zona Colonial" is steeped in hundreds of years of history, but also boasts some incredible nightspots as well.
There are two options for direct flights to the Dominican Republic from the United Kingdom. You can choose to fly from Manchester, London Gatwick or Glasgow International to Gregorio Luperon International Airport near the city of Puerta Plata. Alternatively, you can fly from either Manchester or London Gatwick to Punta Cana International Airport, which is the busiest in the Dominican Republic. Average flight time is around nine and a half hours.
However, choosing an airport really depends on where you intend to spend most of your holiday in the Dominican Republic. For example, if you want to devote a lot of time to the Santo Domingo area, you might be better off taking an indirect flight which will get you to the nearby Las Americas International Airport. This can also save time within the UK, as flights there depart from a wide variety of airports, including London Heathrow and Cardiff.
While there are plenty of internal flights available, the best way to explore during your Dominican Republic holiday is by long-haul bus or, if you want the real Dominican experience, by guagua. These are shared vans which can become a tad overloaded but are very cheap and exhilarating to use (watch out for animal passengers!). Private taxis are available, but you can save money by using shared cabs, or publicos, instead.
There are plenty of hotels in the Dominican Republic to choose from, whether you're after a plush resort or a more humble base. Watch out for room tax which can be added on top of your bill though, it's always good to check this beforehand.
When picking up souvenirs in cities like Santo Domingo, remember the prices have been fixed higher than they should be because you're meant to haggle! When it comes to eating, steer clear of tourist-centric restaurants, which can charge a lot, and head for the places where locals like to eat such as the comedors, which are cafes offering hearty, proper Caribbean dishes at bargain prices.
Updated 5th March 2014
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