CARIBBEAN ADVENTURE IN MAGICAL DOMINICANA

16. Feb 2023
Photo: Ivan Andrejić

The Dominican Republic is located on the eastern part of Hispaniola, the second-largest Caribbean island. Haiti is situated in the western part of the island and does not have a developed tourism industry, while the Dominican Republic is one of the most visited countries in this region. The majority of tourists are Americans, but there is an increasing number of visitors from Europe who seek a mix of vacation and active tourism.

Tourists can visit coffee, cocoa, banana, and mango plantations, taste rum, a local Caribbean drink, visit national parks and hang out with parrots and monkeys, as well as try zip-lining, bungee jumping, and jumping from a waterfall. Cultural tourism is also rapidly developing, and numerous localities are being renovated. Cultural routes are being restored so you can follow Columbus's conquests or learn how to make rum and local specialties from exotic fruits.

La Romana / Photo: Ivan Andrejić

You can enjoy the sandy beaches of this Caribbean paradise all year round. The dry period is from November to April, while there is a greater chance of rain from May to October. However, even during the rainy season, the clouds will just pass without much precipitation. The only period when it is not recommended to travel to the Caribbean part of America is late August and September, when there is a high chance of a hurricane developing. The winter months, especially January and February, are the best part of the year to travel to the Dominican Republic and enjoy the turquoise colors of the Caribbean Sea.

If you travel to the Dominican Republic from Serbia, you will have to stopover in one of the Western European countries. It is best to travel with a layover in Frankfurt, because that way the trip will be the shortest; it will take roughly 15 hours to travel one way with all transfers.

PUNTA CANA

Punta Cana is the tourist center of the Dominican Republic. Most of the international hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions are located here. Punta Cana is located on the eastern cape of the Dominican Republic, where the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea meet, which is why the sea is full of beautiful shells and colorful corals. In addition to its exotic marine life, Punta Cana is also known for its specific climate due to its location. Compared to other resorts in the Dominican Republic, there is always a gentle breeze here, so the tropical humidity in the air will not bother you.

Punta Cana / Photo: Ivan Andrejić

The coast of Punta Cana stretches for 45 kilometers and is divided into several smaller units. This part of the Dominican Republic is full of name-brand hotels and private villas for rent and is also known as a golfer's paradise. An increasing number of golf tournaments are held in Punta Cana, and it is also the place with the largest number of courses for this sport. If, on the other hand, you want deserted beaches with palm trees without much crowding around you, then La Romana and the island of Saona are the right locations for you.

LA ROMANA

A hidden gem of the Caribbean can be found on the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic. It is the region of La Romana, known to tourists from North America but slowly being discovered by visitors from Europe. What distinguishes it from the popular Punta Cana is that it has fewer hotels and less crowds and noise on the beaches. The Caribbean Sea splashes along the coastline of La Romana, giving the water an even more exotic color.

La Romana / Photo: Ivan Andrejić

Here is also one of the pearls of the Caribbean, the magical island of Saona. The island is a national park and a protected area, there are no hotels or settlements, so nature is completely preserved. The gorgeous Saona beaches can be reached by boat from La Romana or on day trips from Punta Cana.

Saona / Photo: Ivan Andrejić

The endless golden beaches with palm trees and all shades of turquoise will enchant you on your first visit. You'll want to stay in this tropical paradise forever, where there are also plenty of activities available, from snorkeling, swimming with sharks, and jet skiing to cooking classes. The Dominican Republic's La Romana region is home to several Hollywood movie sets, making it possible to run into your favorite movie star on one of the beaches, such as Jennifer Lopez, who filmed the movie "Anaconda" here.

PUERTO PLATA

Puerto Plata (meaning Silver Port), the largest city in the north of the country and one of the most famous resorts in the Dominican Republic, did not get its name by chance. Attracted by the silvery reflection of the clouds over Mount Isabel de Torres, at the foot of today's Puerto Plata, Columbus decided to explore this area when he sailed to the island, which was later named Hispaniola, that is, Little Spain. Santo Domingo, the first major city to be founded on the island, is still the capital of the Dominican Republic. Other European nations tried to conquer Hispaniola; the conflicts continued until 1844, when the Dominican Republic gained independence. Since many different peoples and cultures have made a significant footprint on the island, the Dominican Republic today also has a large number of cultural and historical monuments in addition to natural beauties, magical seashores, waterfalls, and rivers.

Puerto Plata / Photo: Ivan Andrejić

Puerto Plata is a perfect example of cultural tourism in the Dominican Republic. The old town center is home to the largest number of Victorian-era buildings in the Caribbean, and in addition to well-preserved mansions and public institutions, there are also numerous museums. One of the most important is the Amber Museum. The shores of Puerto Plata are known for their amber deposits. Some of the specimens of insects and animals trapped in amber served as inspiration for Steven Spielberg, who made the famous film "Jurassic Park" based on impressions from his trip to the Dominican Republic.

GOLDEN COAST

Costa Dorada, or the Golden Coast, just a few kilometers from the center of Puerto Plata, is the most famous beach, with many hotels and tourists from all over the world. Although the Golden Coast is the most popular, there are hidden spots to discover on the east and west sides of the city. Sosua and Cabarete in the east are small places known for their nightlife but also for the big waves of the Atlantic Ocean, attracting tourists who enjoy windsurfing.

Golden Coast / Photo: Ivan Andrejić

Unlike the turbulent ocean on the east side of Puerto Plata, the waters west of the city are much calmer, with beautiful coral islands and clear water. These places are visited by tourists who want to swim with stingrays and other exotic marine animals, dive, or sail on sailboats.

Cayo Arena / Photo: Ivan Andrejić

One such place is Cayo Arena, or Paradise Beach, as tourists call it. Cayo Arena is located kilometers from the coast, and to reach this natural pool, you have to rent a boat from the nearby coastal town of Punta Rucia. After half an hour of sailing and enjoying the sights of the turbulent Atlantic, you will suddenly find yourself in shallow waters, surrounded by a coral reef and a small island in the middle of this natural phenomenon.

Text and photos: Ivan Andrejić

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