The Dominican Republic is a country divided into 32 provinces and 1 national district, each city has its own diverse attractions and characteristics that make it different from the rest, the only aspect they share in common is that they are all beautiful, here I leave you my top 10 of the most important cities and their places with tourist attractions.
Barahona is one of the 32 provinces of the Dominican Republic, is located in the southwest of it, is also known as the pearl of the south, Barahona is well known for its ecotourism, beautiful beaches and its large lakes, a popular attraction site in Barahona is the spa San Rafael.
This spa combines the ocean waves of the Caribbean Sea and a natural pool at the mouth of the San Rafael River, swimming is not recommended in this place because of the strong waves the waterfall, the river is one of the main attractions of the place and it has become a natural spa, this place is visited by tourists and Dominicans especially during weekends.
Another place of great relevance in Barahona is the Quemadito beach, located just 12 km from the city of Barahona, which makes many swimmers come to this place, it is a silent beach and is known by the fishing port, its name is attributed to its essential aspects which are the stones and very hot water.
The Barahona duck’s river is one of the natural treasures that the province of Barahona hides. The beach environment has the same place and the atmosphere of the east river is about 34 kilometers between the road that goes to the city of Oviedo. This place is that the mouth of the river is a few meters from the beach, this undoubtedly a good space to enjoy with the family.
The Los patos River (Ducks River), in Paraíso, Barahona, is one of the shortest rivers in the world, its waters are crystal clear, clean and cold as ice. The Los Patos spa is one of the most welcoming in the region, where people have a great time; it is a place of good people and unparalleled beauty.
|Barahona Top-rated tourist attractions|
|El Quemaito beach|
|La Saladilla beach|
|Barahona Central Park|
|San Rafael Beach|
|Cabral or Rincon Lagoon|
|Los Patos River Spa|
|Bahoruco Mountain Range|
Samaná is in the country’s northeast in the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by fine white sand beaches and a beautiful bay, here is the Haitises National Park, one of the main national parks in the country, tourist complexes are scarce in Samaná,
The airports are tiny and the fleets of large airplanes cannot operate in these airports only small airplanes and airplanes are those that operate domestic flights, to the Samaná peninsula the aim by the Dominican government is to expand these infrastructures and increase the tourism industry in In this area, most hotel complexes are in the towns of Las Terrenas, Sánchez, and Las Galeras.
Samaná is recognized for its majestic landscapes and beautiful beaches, with white sands and crystal-clear waters such as Playa Bonita, Playa Rincón, Las Galeras, and Las Terrenas.
One of the main tourist attractions of Samaná is the Humpback Whale Sanctuary. Between January and March, these huge sea creatures come to the Bay of Samana to reproduce in their warm waters.
Samaná has the largest amount of coconut palms per square meter known in the world.
Samaná is one of the best places in the world for the observation of humpback whales. One of the main exit points to Los Haitises National Park is the port of Sanchez. On the southwest coast of Samana Bay, it is a site with lush nature, surrounded by many interesting plants and fauna.
Cayo Levantado is an islet on the Northeast coast of the island, has a humid forest, hotel, and beaches with white sands and refreshing waters. One of the main surprises of the interior of the province of Samaná is the Salto del Limón, in the middle of the rainforest. El Salto is a waterfall 40 meters high, a place of attraction for visitors who can enjoy a swim in its crystal-clear waters.
|Samaná Top-rated tourist attractions|
|Samaná town beach|
|Whale Museum of Samaná|
8. Hato Mayor Del Rey
Hato Mayor del Rey is a town surrounded by the mountains of the eastern mountain range located east of the country 110 kilometers from Santo Domingo is the capital of the province of Hato Mayor, the foundation of the King’s Hillock dating from 1520, in principle as its The name itself shows it was the largest farm of cattle destined to the raising of cattle.
The foundation is attributed to Francisco Dávila, royal treasurer, perpetual ruler and captain of the Hispaniola Island, for the time the first settlers of Hato Mayor del Rey and they came from Africa, they were black slaves brought from that continent.
Hato Mayor, Baptized as the “citrus capital” for its 150,000 tasks planted with orange and another citrus. It is a town with a very interesting and diverse cultural tradition, this city is one of the most productive in the Eastern region.
It has an economy based primarily on citrus production and livestock, which besides being marketed throughout the country, also reaches different parts of the world.
Places to visit in Hato Mayor:
Los Haitises National Park: This is one of the most extraordinary coastal natural heritage in the country and one of the most important centers of our National System of Protected Areas.
It is one of the most visited by both Dominicans and foreigners. In Hato Mayor there is a large part of the park and it is the area where there is the greatest concentration of caves, many of them still virgin.
Hato Mayor has one of the most impressive coastal natural heritage sites in the country.
Starting from Sabana de la Mar, you can tour the mangroves along the Caño Hondo river and see the beautiful view of the San Lorenzo Bay, and visit Las Cuevas de la Arena, la Línea and del Ángel, to end with a bath in one of the virgin beaches of the park.
Fun Fun Cave: located inside the Rancho Capote, along the Hato Mayor-Yerba Buena road. They offer ecotourism excursion accompanied by expert guides. Horseback riding, walk in the forest and a tour of more than an hour in the Cave, together with Creole breakfast and lunch, make an unforgettable experience. The cave has about three explorable kilometers, of 10 in total. It crosses the Almirante River, which is born in the buffer zone of the Los Haitises National Park.
The underground Fun Fun tour lasts four hours. Its name comes from the sound that bats cause when they notice human presence, according to historical tradition.
Yanigua Falls: beautiful spa, protected by lush vegetation, in whose surroundings there are red amber and mineral coal mines. Its waterfalls of cold water are its main attraction.
San Lorenzo Bay: It is one of the most beautiful bays in the world and the country. From there you can see keys and mogotes characteristic of its coastal area, such as the Cayo de Los Pájaros. Here you can see raptors, the white heron, the pelican, the raven and other birds. From the boats with which the bay is crossed, you can see the plant and animal species, and impressive landscapes.
Caño hondo paradise: in Sabana de la Mar, it is one of the most beautiful ecotourism places in the Dominican Republic, preferred by both natives and foreigners. It is surrounded by Los Haitises National Park and 12 large natural pools, with beautiful free waterfalls from the Jivales River.
It emerged about 14 years ago, with the concept of integrating accommodation into nature and supporting Los Haitises. It has 28 rooms, some of them overlooking the Bays of San Lorenzo and Samaná.
Don Rey Ranch: It is a place that combines the world of horses with nature, in Sabana de la Mar. There you can have contact with different equine races and practice horse riding. They have an accommodation with a capacity of up to 70 people in different schemes.
Kitchen service, large green areas, stables, swimming pool, jacuzzi, gazebo, table, and outdoor games area, challenge park, and area for cultivation of passion fruits, vegetables, citrus and fruit trees. From there you can make different excursions.
Doña Callita Tourist Ranch: in El Cercadito, it is a tourist complex that offers lodging, bar, restaurant, swimming pool, and zipline. There you can enjoy nature and tranquility.
Colinas del Rey: Water park with a family atmosphere, which besides the pools and waterfalls, has rooms, restaurants, and bars, surrounded by lush vegetation.
Doña Ana Cave: It is a cave on the top of a mountain, surrounded by thick vegetation of centuries-old trees. It is estimated that its depth is about 200 meters. It is said that no one has descended to the bottom where the Cibao river is assured.
Inside there is numerous bats, whose manure is used to pay for products in the area. Here, rock art and Taino painting remain intact, as a sign that it was inhabited by indigenous people before the Spaniards arrived. To reach the cave you have to climb over 170 meters high, clinging to trees and ferns, and gliding through mined land of small and medium rocks.
|Hato Mayor Top-rated tourist attractions|
|Los Haitises National park|
|Caño Hondo Paradaise|
|Fun Fun caves|
|St. Lawrence Bay|
|Doña Ana Cave|
|Don Rey Ranch|
Higuey can be considered as the city that represents the religious center of the Dominicans. Here is the Basilica of Our Lady of Altagracia, one of the most respected religious monuments in Latin America. Every January 21, thousands of Dominicans visit the cathedral to venerate the painting of the Virgen de la Altagracia that was brought by Spanish missionaries in the fifteenth century.
The Cathedral of the Diocese of Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia in Higüey is one of the busiest sanctuaries in the Caribbean.
Among the main attractions of Higuey are:
Bayahibe is a community located on the edges of the adjacent Caribbean Sea of the city of La Romana, at the beginning it was a fishing village, and now it is distinguished by its beaches with crystal clear and calm waters, water sports such as diving and underwater fishing, and a variety of hotels and restaurants of marine food.
Located off the coast of La Altagracia province, Saona Island is one of the largest islands in the Dominican Republic, and is part of the Eastern National Park. A popular destination that receives hundreds of visitors who arrive in catamarans and small boats to enjoy the natural beauty of its beaches and wildlife that includes several species of marine birds and tropical fish.
A few kilometers from the city of La Romana, Casa de Campo is located, the most luxurious holiday resort on the island. It was conceived for families in search of a luxurious and pleasant atmosphere away from the bustle of the city. It has two golf courses, an equestrian center, a polo station, a private beach, six restaurants, shops and a marina.
Altos de Chavón is a recreation of an ancient Mediterranean-style town that sits on the Chavón River in the La Romana province. Popularly known as “The City of Artists,” this beautiful villa is a bohemian atmosphere with panoramic views and narrow alleys lined with lanterns and limestone walls. It houses a cultural center, Mediterranean-style restaurants, a series of quaint shops, a Roman-style amphitheater, and an archeological museum.
|Higüey Top-rated tourist attractions|
|Basilica Cathedral Our Lady of La Altagracia|
|Historical monument San Dionisio Church|
|La Altagracia Museum|
|Eastern National Park (very close)|
6. San Pedro De Macoris
San Pedro de Macorís, also known as “La Sultana del Este”, the Macorís del Mar and La Tacita de Oro, is located in the southeast of the country, constituting part of the Yuma Region next to the provinces of La Romana, Hato Mayor, El Seibo and La Altagracia. This province has the largest amount of sugar mills in the Dominican Republic.
La Fuente de Oro Spa, the Higuamo River estuary, and Las Cuevas de las Maravillas also comprise recreation areas linked to the tourist area of Juan Dolio and Los Guayacanes with its beautiful beaches.
The Cave of Las Maravillas is one of the various attractions that this beautiful province has, you can see in its interior approximately 500 paintings made by the Tainos, engravings where black and red colors predominate.
The Higuamo River is one of the main ones in the province, it is located 75 kilometers east of the city of Santo Domingo.
The beaches of San Pedro de Macorís were essential in the tourist development of this region. Along its coasts they house some of the best beaches on the south coast of the island surrounded by many hotels and resorts for different styles.
Guayacanes Beach, located on the west coast of San Pedro de Macorís, is an easily accessible beach, protected by coral reefs, with temperate waters and three kilometers of gray sand surrounded by palm trees. It offers several options of activities for visitors of all ages and is known for its numerous food venues with fresh fish dishes and seafood.
Public Beach of Juan Dolio, is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic, popular for its white sand, calm atmosphere, coconut trees and crystal-clear turquoise waters. It has benefited from tourism and real estate development in the area. becoming the tourist center of San Pedro de Macorís. It has different options for accommodation, food and entertainment.
Playa Caribe, located west of the town of Guayacanes, Playa Caribe is known for its great waves that change according to the season. Given its proximity to Santo Domingo, it is a fairly active beach during weekends and holidays. Although this beach has no bars or restaurants, there are small stalls that rent chairs and umbrellas and sell food and drinks.
|San Pedro de Macoris Top-rated tourist attractions|
|St. Peter’s Cathedral|
|Boca del Soco Beach|
|Ron Barceló Historical Center|
|San Pedro de Macoris boardwalk|
|Juan Dolio Beach|
|Las Maravillas Cave|
|La Fuente de Oro Spa|
5. San Francisco de Macoris
San Francisco de Macorís is the head municipality of the Duarte province and is also the sixth most populous city in the Dominican Republic. It is located northeast of the island, in the eastern part of the Cibao Valley.
Its name comes from the merger of its patron San Francisco de Asis and the name that had the place when it was Macorix indigenous territory. This city is the main center of commerce and services in the northeast region.
Its most significant economic activity is agriculture, and its most important products are cocoa, coffee, rice, and bananas. It also favors the raising of cattle for the production of milk, and remittances from the citizen of the town who emigrated to the United States in the 80s and 90s.
Among its most emblematic places are:
City Hall Palace: It was built in 1945, which keeps on its facade the seal with the T in the center common to all public palaces built during the mandate of the tyrant Rafael Leonidas Trujillo.
Duarte Park: One of the most visited places in the city has several green areas, a gazebo with beautiful paintings made by Franco-local artists, and the monument to Juan Pablo Duarte.
Julián Javier Stadium: This sports space is well appreciated by the residents of the city, in honor of the former Dominican Major League baseball player and a native of San Francisco de Macorís. The stadium has a capacity for 12,000 people and is the headquarters of the Cibao Giants.
Santa Ana Cathedral: A mixture of Gothic and modern architecture is the headquarters of the Diocese of San Francisco de Macoris.
Club Esperanza: A place with a lot of history, it was installed in 1884 by the Esperanza Macorisana society whose aim was to spread knowledge through the donation of books for a library and a night school and other acts of charity.
|San Francisco de Macoris Top-rated tourist attractions|
|The Cocoa Trail|
|Don Lulú Ranch|
|Loma Quita Espuela|
|Santa Ana Cathedral|
4. Puerto Plata
Puerto Plata is the largest and most important city on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, founded in 1502. It is one of the most important tourist points in the country, dozens of hotels line up along its entire coast and receive many of the thousands of tourists who come to the Dominican Republic every year.
Puerto Plata is popularly known as the amber coast this coast is full of this fossilized vegetable resin and the city has the amber museum one of the most important museums in the world, Puerto Plata has a seawall of more than 6 kilometers in length, In one of its extremes is the fort and fortress of San Felipe.
One of the first in America and best-preserved today, built in the 16th century to defend the island from possible invasions, it is now an interesting museum It houses an exhibition of historical photographic weapons and trucks used in the battles for independence.
Puerto Plata also known as the Amber Coast ,has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, many of them virgin, which occupy an area of 125 km.
Cabarete, a municipal district of Puerto Plata, is currently the scene of important sports competitions such as the Windsurfing Association World Cup and the Kiteboarding World Cup, while the Encuentro Beach has been listed as the best beach for surfing throughout the Caribbean. In addition to its water activities, Cabarete offers certain ecotourism attractions including hiking, mountain biking and bird watching in El Choco National Park.
Among the main tourist attractions of Puerto Plata are:
The municipality of Sosua.
Restoration Park is one of the most attractive places in San Felipe de Puerto Plata where people talk, share experiences or take part in one of the many activities that take place there.
The Estero Hondo Marine Mammal Sanctuary is a protected area of 48.36 square kilometers, a very particular space where marine species take refuge, among which the manatee stands out.
Isabel de Torres National Park is a popular attraction of the Puerto Plata province, in the Northern Cordillera a few kilometers southwest of the city of San Felipe de Puerto Plata.
Playa Dorada, this beautiful beach is protected by coral reefs and bordered by beautiful palm trees. It stands out for its golden sand and deep dark blue waters.
San Felipe Apóstol Cathedral is an impressive example of modern Victorian architectural style, and one of the most visited religious buildings on the north coast of the Dominican Republic for its historical and cultural value.
The 27 Puddles of Damajagua of the Puerto Plata Province.
The Puerto Plata Cable Car is a very interesting place where you can live an exciting adventure. The cabins of the Puerto Plata cable car go to Loma Isabel de Torres in the tourist city of Puerto Plata.
|Puerto Plata Top-rated tourist attractions|
|San Felipe fortress|
|Puerto Plata cable car|
|Dominican Amber Museum|
|Isabel de Torres Mount|
|the puntilla amphitheater|
|Puerto Plata boardwalk|
3. La Romana
La Romana is the main city in the east of the country. This city, which was founded in 1897, owes its name to an old large Roman scale that was used to weigh the goods that passed through the port.
After the construction of the large sugar mill in 1917, La Romana became an important part of the country’s sugar industry, and with the rise in sugar prices worldwide, this community went through one of its stages of greatest economic development. In the mid-1970s, the Gulf and Western Industries Inc. began construction of Casa de Campo, one of the largest exclusive resorts in the Caribbean.
La Romana stands out for its growing tourism industry that includes beautiful beaches and resorts. The city’s most popular attraction is Altos de Chavón, a recreation of a Mediterranean-style European town located high on the Chavón River.
It was conceived by the Italian architect Roberto Copa and the industrialist Charles Bluhdorn, and houses a cultural center, an archeological museum, and an amphitheater.
|La Romana Top-rated tourist attractions|
|Casa De Campo|
|Altos de Chavon|
|Teeth of the Dog Golf Course|
2. Santiago De Los Caballeros
Santiago de los Caballeros, the capital city of the province of Santiago, is the second-largest city in the Dominican Republic and the fourth largest in the Caribbean. It is in the center of the Cibao Valley, approximately 155 kilometers from Santo Domingo. It was founded in 1495 by the first European colonizers in the New World, receiving the title of the first Santiago of America.
His name of Santiago de los Caballeros refers to the Hidalgos de la Isabela, a group of gentlemen was in the city. Today, Santiago is the cultural, political and economic center of Cibao.
Because of its fertile land in the region, it benefits from its agricultural and livestock sectors. In addition, its industrial sector has hundreds of manufacturing companies that produce items such as cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, coffee, and concrete.
Some city’s points of interest include:
Monument to the Heroes of the Restoration. This emblematic building covered in white marble is named after the patriots who gave their lives in the Dominican Restoration War.
Santiago Apostle Cathedral. This cathedral is a symbol of the permanence of this city, whose origins date back to the mid-19th century.
León Cultural Center. One of the most modern cultural centers in the country offers visitors information about Dominican identity through its exhibitions of folklore and culture.
Great Theater of the Cibao. A reproduction of the National Theater of Santo Domingo has hosted major artistic and cultural events.
Cibao Stadium. The largest baseball stadium in the Dominican Republic has a capacity for over 18 thousand spectators and is home to the Águilas Cibaeñas team.
Great Arena of the Cibao. One of the main sports venues in Santiago, not only serves for basketball tournaments but also artistic and religious activities and concerts are held here.
|Santiago Top-rated tourist attractions|
|Monument to the Heroes of the Restoration|
|San Luis Fortress Museum|
|Santiago Apostle Cathedral|
|Cibao Grand Theatre|
|Cibao baseball stadium|
1. Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic, founded by Bartolomé Colon in 1496 on the eastern bank of the Ozama River, known for being the place of the first European settlement in America and for being the first seat of the Spanish government in the new world, in Santo Domingo is the first cathedral and the first castle of America both in the colonial city area declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Santo Domingo is one of the largest commercial and industrial political and financial cultural centers of the Dominican Republic, several industries in the country are within the city of Santo Domingo, it also serves as the main port of the country, some city’s ports are in the mouth of the Ozama River and welcomes the largest ships and can receive both passenger loads and freight traffic.
if you want to know more about the emblematic places of the city of Santo Domingo look here.
|Santo Domingo Top-rated tourist attractions|
|Los Tres Ojos National Park|
|Juan Pablo Duarte Culture Plaza|
Why is Punta Cana not on this list?
Although Punta Cana is currently the main tourist destination in the Dominican Republic and also has conditions to be considered as a city, we must make something clear, Punta Cana is not a city, is a town that belongs to the province of Higuey in the east of the Dominican Republic, this is something that even many Dominicans are unaware.
In this case, according to the territorial divisions of the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is a municipal district that belongs to the province La Altagracia, in the municipality of Higuey.