Marine Parks and Zoos
Take a close look at the diverse and colourful Caribbean marine life. The aquarium’s plexiglass tunnel allows visitors to get up close and personal with sharks, manta rays, eels and a lot of water. Colourful shoals of fish swim up and down outside the tunnel, while exhibits explain the different kinds of marine environments.
Ocean World Puerto Plata
This vast theme park offers visitors the chance to experience interactive activities, such as swimming with dolphins in the world’s largest dolphin lagoon, feeding the stingrays, exploring an artificial reef, getting close to sharks in the world’s only shark encounter pool and swimming just centimetres away from the tigers. Visitors are able to experience an entire subtropical forest first-hand and will be enthralled by the birds, iguanas, lizards, toads, snakes, fish and tigers to be found there.
Geared towards nature, animals and the history of the Dominican Republic. Located in Bávaro-Punta Cana, the Park offers magnificent gardens with an abundance of orchids and tropical plant life. Ideal for children as they are allowed to hold non-venomous snakes and play with dolphins with professionals handlers close at hand.
The national zoo (400 acres of tropical gardens and fountains) is home to tigers and local fauna, as well as an assortment of other mammals.
Aqua Center - Puerto Plata
This water sports and diving centre has instructors to cater to all levels. The Discovery Scuba programme enables families to explore the underwater world, while a professional takes photographs.
Every year, thousands of humpback whales migrate from the North Atlantic to Samaná Bay on the country’s eastern coast. There are a range of excursions allowing visitors to catch a glimpse of the mammals while they frolic in the coastal waters.
Ranks among the five leading beaches for those after a spot of kite buggying or windsurfing (also known as Kite Beach).
Just a few minutes to the east of Puerto Plata, this is one of the country’s most impressive beaches and is named after the pirate Roberto Cofresí.
Located to the east of Puerto Plata, Playa Dorada is hemmed in by reefs and warm waters.
Situated close to Luperón, this is one of the longest beaches on the northern coastline. If its sheer size doesn’t impress you, its outstanding beauty will.
Playa Punta Rucia
Playa Rucia boasts white sandy beaches and spectacular mountain views. It is widely known among diving enthusiasts for its large coral reef and has a delightful lagoon that serves as a perfect vantage point for bird watching.
Surrounded by high cliffs, this beach enjoys calm, clear and turquoise waters. One of the most popular beaches on the Caribbean.
The most popular beach among residents of Santo Domingo. Brimming with places to eat and entrepreneurs selling anything from food to tours. The water is relatively shallow.
Playa Juan Dolio
The setting falls just short of beaches such as Boca Chica, but then the beach isn’t as crowded. Restaurants, bars and resorts can be found dotted up and down the beach.
Nestled between Juan Dolio and Boca China, this beach is ideal for boogie-boarding enthusiasts.
Parque Nacional Los Haitises
Well-known for the ecological diversity of its mangrove coast, the largest to be found within the Dominican Republic. 21,000 hectares of parkland encompass rock formations and cave and rock art and also have three different cave systems open to the public.
Parque Nacional Jaragua
This is the largest of the national parks, spanning close to 145,000 hectares of protected habitat. The park is home to one of the country’s greatest concentrations of bird life, with over 130 species, 10 of which are native and half being aquatic. The park’s Oviedo Lagoon is where visitors can marvel at the greatest concentration of pink flamingos.
Parque Nacional Isla Cabritos
The largest island of the three to be found on Lake Enriquillo. In terms of wildlife, the park is famous for playing host to one of the world’s largest concentrations of American crocodiles.
Parque Nacional Armando Bermúdez
Founded in 1956, this is the Dominican Republic’s first national park and is still considered the most popular thanks to the Pico Duarte peak, which stands at 3087 metres. Climbing here is an absolute must for many and involves a camping expedition of several days at least.
Parque Nacional José Del Carmen Ramírez
Boasting 80,000 hectares, this national park is renowned for its low temperatures of between 11 and 18ºC. Freezing conditions and frost appear in the area surrounding Valle Tetero, where temperatures as low as -3ºC have been reported.
Also to be found within the Valle Tetero are Pre-Columbian cave and rock art and carvings. This also acts as an ideal spot for observing white-necked crows and stolid flycatcher species, which perch on pine branches and broad-leafed conifers.
Parque Nacional del Este
The most prominent feature of this 46,000-hectare marine park is its 200-plus caves coupled with Isla Sahona, where endangered West Indian manatees and bottlenose dolphins can sometimes be glimpsed.
Parque Histórico La Isabela
This park has enormous historical significance in that it marks the first European settlement in the New World.
Classified as one of the country’s most visited protected habitats, the park is best appreciated via a guided tour.
Parque Nacional Isabel de Torres
This natural reserve spans 2,330 hectares and is spread over a mountain standing 804 metres above sea level. At the summit of the mountain, which houses over 15 underground rivers and streams, climbers will come face to face with the statue of Christ the Redeemer, similar to the one found on the Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro. The park is also accessible by cable car from Puerto Plata.
Museo del Ámbar
Victorian-style museum located in Puerto Plata. The museum was created to showcase the world’s most transparent collection of amber. Superbly preserved plants, insects and animals, all captured for eternity in the sap of prehistoric trees.
Note – the museum also boasts the famous amber mosquito that appeared in the office from the film Jurassic Park.
Museo La Isabela
Museum and educational centre chronicling Christopher Columbus’ discovery of Hispaniola in 1492.
Pays tribute to the 700 Jewish refugees taken in by Rafael Leónidas Trujillo in 1938 during the Nazi occupation in Germany. On display are photos and personal mementos of the refugees and the items they produced in the village on a daily basis.
Museo de las Casas Reales (Museum of the Royal Houses), Santo Domingo
The seat of the Supreme Court during the 16th century. This museum portrays the rich history of Santo Domingo with the help of tapestries, maps and other items dating from 1492 to 1821.
Alcázar de Colón, Santo Domingo
Palace that showcases items from Columbus’ family. The building was constructed in 1500 by Columbus’ son, Diego, and his wife.
Museo Del Hombre Dominicano (Museum of the Dominican Man), Santo Domingo
Widely held to possess the country’s best collection of Pre-Columbian art, including jewellery, religious artefacts and sculptures.
Museo Nacional de Historia y Geografía (National Museum of History and Geography), Santo Domingo
Displays the most important remnants of the Dominican Republic’s first inhabitants, along with the American occupation and the country’s dealings with Haití.
Larimar Museum, Santo Domingo
Portrays the jewelcrafting industry and mining on the island. It explains how the rare mineral Larimar is extracted, shaped and manufactured.
Museo de la Familia Dominicana del Siglo XIX (Museum of the 19th Century Dominican Family) Casa de Tostado, Santo Domingo
Dating back to 1503, this colonial mansion now showcases articles of a prominent family that lived in Santo Domingo during the 19th century. The most impressive aspect of the museum is the house itself, which has the only double Gothic window to be found throughout all of North and South America.