in the middle
The Dominican Republic is a tropical Caribbean paradise. This lush, mountainous island is dotted with captivating cultural cities, like the church, monument and museum-laden capital Santo Domingo, and is surrounded by sweeping beachfront. Fun loving sun-seekers should visit Punta Cana, on the east of the island, a resort-filled palm-lined coastal region rich with silky sands, all-inclusive hotels and beach bars.
The Dominican Republic's northwestern region, meanwhile, is home to Santiago, an inland cultural metropolis covered in old world Caribbean-Spanish architecture, art galleries and ritzy shopping centres. Nature lovers will want to see the unblemished bayside beaches in the Eastern Cibao region.
The all-inclusive hotels and resorts strung along the sun-struck, palm-fringed coast of the Punta Cana region are well suited to luxury-seeking beach goers – whether you want to be pampered in a paradisal setting or go wild in bouncing clubs and late-night bars, there's a choice of Punta Cana Dominican Republic hotels to suit you – search Dealchecker for the best value hotel.
The old, cobblestoned city of Santo Domingo, meanwhile, beautifully blends beachfront relaxation with cultural inspiration. The central Zona Colonial is flush with UNESCO World Heritage monasteries and fortresses.
If you're keen to explore the quieter Eastern Cibao region, check out the bohemian, rustic beach town of Las Terrenas – outdoor adventurers can use this town as a base camp to explore the region's waterfalls and hidden lagoons.
History buffs can't miss the striking, gold-brown Catedral Primada de America in Santo Domingo – it's the oldest Cathedral in all the Americas, with construction started in 1512 and completed in 1540. In the city, be sure to stop by the Museum of The Royal Houses, a vast Colonial-era building housing local heritage exhibits.
Take a tour of the Hoyo Azul – which translates to Blue Hole – a gorgeous, crystal-clear turquoise-blue lagoon, hidden within rocky crags in the Punta Cana region. While you're there, you can't miss Bavaro Beach, the region's wide, white-sand beachfront, stretching for miles and dotted with seafood restaurants, bamboo beach bars and trinket stalls. From Punta Cana, you can take a boat trip to Saona Island, an untouched eden-like isle full of wildlife, and part of the pristine East National Park.