20 Mar Experiencing the Dominican Republic in style
With lush jungles, pristine beaches, and historical attractions dating back to the first colonial settlement the Spanish established in the Americas, the profile of the Dominican Republic has been rising in recent years.
There are plenty of resort centres where one can stay, providing a base where visitors can relax and unwind, and head out on day trips to destinations further out.
While there are options for travelers of all budgets, you are looking to splurge in a big way. Whether you are on your honeymoon, or you want to continue living in the style to which you have become accustomed, this country provides plenty of possibilities for those that want to experience its luxurious side.
From staying in a bespoke Dominican Republic villa to sampling some of the finest cuisine in the Caribbean, there are a plethora of ways you can experience the Dominican Republic in style. In this guide, we’ll show you how to do it from start to finish.
There are several places where one can fly into the Dominican Republic, but for the purposes of this article, we will focus on two gateways – Santo Domingo and Punta Cana.
While there are beach resorts within a short drive of the capital, Santo Domingo is known for its culture and history, as this is where Christopher Columbus established the beachhead of Spanish colonization in the Americas.
As such, those wanting to immerse themselves in this will want to book their villa within a short drive of this vibrant city.
If you are looking for access to some of the Dominican Republic’s finest beaches, then entering via Punta Cana will give you ready access to them.
If you are coming from Europe, Iberia offers direct access to Santo Domingo from Madrid, while there are business class flights in-season from London Heathrow to Punta Cana.
A variety of American airlines fly to both destinations from cities such as Miami and New York City, while Canadians arrive via Air Canada and Westjet.
WHERE TO STAY:
If you are getting tired of dealing with the downside of resorts and luxury hotels (e.g. the sounds of belligerent strangers with no respect for others), then consider staying in a villa.
With the privacy of a home, and with luxurious touches such as butlers and personal chefs, you’ll feel special from the moment you arrive.
Outdoor amenities such as gorgeous pools and top of the line BBQ’s will make your afternoons special, and with the interiors having entertainment options that include state-of-the-art electronics and fully-decked out games rooms, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the move to villas before.
WHAT TO DO:
There are countless things to do throughout the Dominican Republic, and your prospective itinerary will differ depending on where you end up basing yourself.
If you are staying near Santo Domingo, head into the city centre to discover the Catedral Primada de America. One of the first cathedrals in the Americas, the cornerstone for this church was laid by Christopher Colombus’ son in 1514.
Honored with the title of being the first Catholic Diocese in the Americas, this beautiful architectural specimen was crafted from coral limestone in a mix of Gothic and Baroque styles, giving it a European presence in a relatively young New World city. Don’t miss the treasury, as it is filled with exquisite jewelry and woodcarvings.
Those in the Puerto Plata area will want to take a day trip to see the Damajaqua Cascades. Also known as the 27 Waterfalls, visitors will have a fun time canyoning through a series of tiered waterfalls tumbling down from the mountains that loom high above the Puerto Plata area.
In Punta Cana, a trip to see Isla Saona will grant you the tropical boat trip adventure you have been subconsciously craving your entire life.
With crystal clear waters, powder white sand, and swaying palms, it will be the one event that will make this trip stand out above all the others.
WHERE TO EAT:
Each of the major tourist centres in the Dominican Republic has a restaurant that will show off the best culinary talent this nation has to offer.
In Santo Domingo, Don Pepe Restaurante takes the best seafood caught off its shores and puts a Spanish twist on them that will justify their lofty prices.
With a well-stocked wine cellar with plenty of vintages that will pair perfectly with your meal, you’ll be in heaven from the first sip and bite.
If you are staying in Puerto Plata, make the effort to book a table at Mares Restaurant & Lounge. Situated in the midst of the city, it offers a respite from this environment with lush gardens that also serve to grow many of the ingredients for the restaurant.
Past diners heartily recommend the pumpkin risotto with scallops, as its mix of flavours will please even the most cynical diner.
If you are in the Punta Cana area, dine at Passion By Martin Berasategui before leaving for home. Found on the Paradisus Punta Cana resort, this Michelin star restaurant will tantalize you with a variety of flavours over seven courses of bliss.
From the mushroom ravioli to the sea bass, dining here is nothing short of a religious experience.