Where is the Dominican Republic?
The DR is part of the second-largest island in the Caribbean, Hispaniola, which it shares with the impoverished country of Haiti. The DR side of the island is Spanish-speaking, and has enjoyed a relatively stable government for decades. Tourism has fueled recent development.
Hispaniola is east of Jamaica and Cuba, and the Dominican Republic occupies the east side of the island, making the distance from Miami approximately 900 miles. The DR has multiple international airports and visitors can fly, for example, directly to the Punta Cana or La Romana areas.
Popular Areas for Dominican Republic Vacations
Punta Cana, on the DR's eastern tip, has long beautiful beaches and many resorts. The Bávaro, Uvero Alto, and several other beaches are north of the cape, on the Atlantic Sea; south of the cape are Punta Cana and other beaches on the Caribbean Sea.
Puerto Plata -- another area with its own airport -- is in the west of the island and on the North Coast. This area has an array of resorts, including many "name brands" located within the Playa Dorado complex.
The DR's North Coast has choppier seas than the Caribbean side but is popular for surfing, windsurfing, boogie boarding, and offers some nice opportunities to leave your resort and get out'n'about. The town of Cabarete is comfortable for tourism, and many expats have settled here for sports including kiteboarding. Susua and Samana are other tourist beach areas on the north coast.
The capital city of Santo Domingo, meanwhile, is the oldest European settlement in the New World, and is on the south coast. The lavish Casa de Campo resort is on the south coast too but further east, near La Romana.
What's Special about Dominican Republic Vacations
Highlights include the white sand beaches of Punta Cana; kiteboarding on the north coast; mountain ranges with horseback riding, river-rafting, and waterfalls; and friendly people, carnivals and festivals. Merengue is a catchy dance that many tourists learn.
For some time, the DR was one of the least expensive spots in the Caribbean for all inclusive resorts. More recently, the trend has toward more upscale properties, but the budget-minded can find still find some getaways.
Keep in Mind about Dominican Republic Vacations
This is still a "less-developed country", so even at a resort, think about health precautions. Be wary of tap water (even for brushing teeth) and raw fruits and vegetables. Check with your resort about its water supply and food preparation practices.