Discover the Dominican Republic Tour
On this Discover the Dominican Republic tour, you will experience ‘most beautiful land ever beheld by a human eye’. We start in Santo Domingo, the first colonial old town in the New World, an open-air concert with Caribbean rhythms and typical local cuisine await you.
Off the beaten track, you will get to know a less privileged part of town and make a small contribution to improving the conditions of the poorer population. During a ride on the cable car you will enjoy a unique perspective of the city. You will learn all about coffee cultivation in the Dominican Alps, visit a cocoa plantation and a cigar factory. On the Samaná Peninsula you will experience authentic Caribbean magic with secluded dream beaches and lush tropical landscapes. An optional beach extension can added on to be the crowning finale of your trip.
Day 1 – (Saturday) Punta Cana airport - Santo Domingo old town
(190 km - 2 h 15 min)
Welcome to the Dominican Republic and you will have a personal welcome at the airport of Punta Cana before you transfer to the old town of Santo Domingo. The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore the oldest city in the New World. If you land in Santo Domingo, your transfer to the old town is also included.
Overnight at Hotel Hodelpa Novus Plaza or similar
Day 2 – (Sunday) History, music and culinary delights in the World Heritage Old Town
After breakfast, your guide will pick you up at the hotel reception at 10:00 am. Today you will get to know the first city built by Europeans in America. It was here that the first cathedral in the New World was built, the first governor resided, the first bishop was consecrated, and the first hospital opened. This bustling city of over a million people has a number of cultural, especially architectural, attractions to offer that you won't find anywhere else on the island of Hispaniola. You will spend the day in the historic old town, the so-called Zona Colonial, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tour includes palaces, forts, museums, churches and squares. You will walk through Calle de las Damas, the first street paved in Santo Domingo for the ladies of the Spanish nobility to stroll, and the pedestrian street El Conde with its many stores and street vendors as well as bars and restaurants.
After the city walk, we will serve you one of the most typical Dominican dishes for lunch. The stew called Sancocho is for every Dominican a flagship of his gastronomy. In addition to various meats, the dish combines a variety of local Caribbean ingredients such as yam, musk gourd, cassava and plantain, which give the stew its characteristic flavour - a dish as rich as Dominican culture. Rice and avocado are served as side dishes. After dinner, you will be escorted back to the hotel. The afternoon is free to relax, or to stroll around the city. In the evening, you will be picked up at the hotel at 6:00 pm to experience an outdoor concert of a special kind. Every weekend, the group Bonyé plays in the magical setting of the San Francisco ruins. The group of about 20 people with singers and various instruments plays merengue, son and jazz. The concerts are attended by Dominicans of all ages, who celebrate exuberantly, listen to the music or dance happily.
Overnight at Hotel Hodelpa Novus Plaza or similar (BL)
Day 3 – (Monday) - Santo Domingo - Jarabacoa
(150 km - 2 h 45 min)
This morning you will be exploring Santo Domingo off the beaten track, as on this excursion you will get to know Santo Domingo from a different side. You will see the life of the less privileged population and contribute a small part to improve their circumstances. After breakfast and check-out, you will be picked up by your driver at 09:00. You will deposit your luggage in the vehicle, then you will drive to one of the most precarious neighbourhoods in the Dominican Republic, Gualey.
The neighbourhood is located north of the old town on the west bank of the Ozama River. Here you will visit the non-profit foundation Rincón de Luz. The foundation has been doing work in education, nutrition and health for socially disadvantaged children, youth and seniors for over 18 years. Children from preschool age to the beginning of middle school receive schooling and participate in lunch. The founder and president Leyda Alvarez will give you a tour of the premises and present her work. Afterwards you will get a guided tour through Gualey. You will visit the four pozos, small lakes fed by natural springs, which are popular with local residents. One of the pozos has recently been used as a breeding pool for ornamental and food fish. Drinks are available during the walk from local corner stores called colmados. After the end of the tour, you will head to the cable car station of Gualey. Here you can board the cable car, from which you will enjoy a spectacular view. You will then cross the Ozama River, passing through the Tres Brazos and Sabana Perdida stations to the Charles de Gaulle terminus in the north of Santo Domingo, and then return to your starting point. During the tour you will gain a new perspective on the city and get an impression of the different living conditions. From the gondola you will have numerous opportunities for spectacular photos.
The trip then continues north. You will drive to Jarabacoa on the oldest highway in the Dominican Republic. The route goes through rural areas characterised by intensive agriculture. On the way you will stop at the Reposteria Miguelina. This restaurant offers typical dishes of the country and is especially known for its traditional desserts (costs to be paid locally). In La Vega you will leave the highway. Here is the start of the Cordillera Central, also known as the Dominican Alps, where many locals spend their summer vacations due to the good climate. The small town of Jarabacoa is located at 600 metres above sea level and is surrounded by pine forests, rivers, mountains and valleys. Spring-like temperatures prevail here all year round.
Overnight at the Hotel Gran Jimenoa or similar (B)
Day 4 – (Tuesday) Jarabacoa - Santiago de los Caballeros
(55 km - 1 h 15 min)
After breakfast you will visit the Monte Alto coffee factory, where everything about the cultivation and processing of coffee will be explained to you. Of course, there will also be a coffee tasting. Afterwards, take a walk through the mountains of the Dominican Republic to one of the famous waterfalls of the region. Enjoy the impressive view and landscape and immerse yourself in the unique nature with endemic flora and fauna.
Afterwards, the journey continues to Santiago de los Caballeros. Here you will visit one of the most renowned cigar factories in the Dominican Republic, La Aurora, where everything about tobacco processing will be explained to you. You will have the opportunity to watch the employees as they skilfully handcraft the coveted tobacco products. After the tour, the driver will take you to the hotel. The afternoon is then free to relax or for a short walk around town.
Overnight at the Hotel Hodelpa Centro Plaza or similar (B)
Day 5 – (Wednesday) Santiago - San Francisco de Macorís - Las Terrenas
(165 km - 3 h 45 min)
Enjoy your breakfast before our adventure continues in the direction of Samaná. After driving through a fertile valley, you will reach San Francisco de Macorís. In the shade of the huge jungle trees you will visit the Sendero del Cacao. Here you will have the unique opportunity to learn everything about the coveted fruit of the cacao tree. Learn about the cultivation of the cacao bean through to chocolate processing at the Hacienda La Esmeralda cacao plantation, which supplies world-renowned chocolate factories. Of course, a cocoa and chocolate tasting is also part of the program and a lunch will be provide.
From here, the tour continues to Samaná. The peninsula of Samaná is 63km long and 10 to 20km wide. It is a tropical paradise with secluded beaches, clear mountain rivers and steep cliffs. Las Terrenas is the bustling centre on the north coast of the peninsula and here you will experience authentic island flair and feel the magic of the Caribbean.
Overnight at the Hotel Bahia Principe Grand El Portillo or similar (BL)
Day 6 – (Thursday) Las Terrenas
Let your soul dangle on the beautiful and unique sandy beaches of this peninsula. Here you will experience pure Caribbean life. Palm trees swaying in the gentle wind. Enjoy cool cocktails and freshly prepared seafood, as well as the sounds of the music of merengue and bachata. There are a range of optional excursions available or you can just relax in Caribbean atmosphere!
Overnight at the Hotel Bahia Principe Grand El Portillo or similar (BLD)
Optional half day seat-in excursion
Coffee route by bike - (minimum 4 participants)
After breakfast today, take an optional excursion by bike. The bike tour includes some more challenging routes around Las Terrenas. You will climb some steep hills that lead to the famous "Ruta del Café", the coffee route. Over the hills above Las Terrenas you can taste the local honey, coffee, cocoa and "Mamajuana", a rum flavoured with herbs and spices. The path goes along magnificent hills where you can see cacao trees, coffee plantations, mango trees and bamboos. In the right season, you will also notice the scent of coffee flowers. The tour ends with a beautiful descent through the jungle. In the afternoon you will have free time to relax on the beach or swim in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Optional services: Rental bike, helmet and English/Spanish-speaking tour guide
Bike route: 45 km, 600 vertical metres
Take along: Sunscreen, sunglasses, camera and sturdy, closed shoes
Contact us for prices
Day 7 – (Friday) Las Terrenas
A free day to enjoy the Caribbean vibe and relax. Alternatively, consider a half day excursion on a catamaran or ATV.
Overnight at the Hotel Bahia Principe Grand El Portillo or similar (BLD)
Optional half day seat-in excursion
Catamaran excursion to Bacardi Island - (minimum 4 participants)
Today you can optionally join a sailing excursion. You will be picked up after breakfast at 08:00. Your transfer will take you first to Samaná. Here you will board a catamaran. You will start with a sailing trip in the bay of Samana. There you will reach a ferry that sank many years ago, which today serves as a retreat for various schools of fish. Take the opportunity to snorkel, dive and enjoy the colourful fish passing by. Afterwards, the trip continues by catamaran to the picturesque island of Cayo Levantado with its white and palm-fringed sandy beaches. This is where the famous commercial of the rum producer Bacardi was filmed in the 1970s. Take advantage of your time in this paradisiacal place for a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear sea, a beach walk or take a nap while listening to the sound of the waves. For lunch you will be served a rich Dominican buffet right on the beach.
In the afternoon you sail back to the bay of Samana in about two hours. Around 5:30 p.m. you will dock and from here you will be taken back to Las Terrenas.
Optional services: Boat trip (including drinks on board and lunch on the island), snorkeling equipment, English/Spanish speaking tour guide and transportation with Spanish speaking driver
Take along: Swimwear, towels, sunscreen and sunglasses, cap or hat, camera
Contact us for prices
Optional private day excursion
ATV safari to the picture-perfect beach
(minimum 4 participants, children above 16 years only accompanied by an adult)
This optional excursion will enrich your stay with unforgettable impressions. You will experience adventure, a paradise beach and the typical hospitality of the country. After breakfast you will be picked up at the hotel at 09:00 and drive to El Limón. Here you will change to an all-terrain vehicle. First, you will receive an introduction where you will learn about the driving characteristics of the ATV. When booking, please let us know if you will be driving the ATV alone or sharing it with a person. During the route you will first stay on asphalt roads and pass small villages, before you drive over gravel roads through the lush green tropical palm landscape. Every hill becomes a little adventure. At one point you will even cross a river - so be sure to wear shoes that can get wet during the excursion. After about 45 minutes of driving, you will reach Playa Morón, one of the most secluded beaches of the Samaná Peninsula.
Here you will find a beach only seen from postcards: lonely, covered with palm trees, with fine golden-yellow sand and crystal clear turquoise blue sea. Enjoy this moment with a relaxing sunbath or refresh yourself in the wonderful waters of the Caribbean. Revitalizing coconut water straight from the nut makes this Caribbean moment perfect! During a short walk on the beach, you can discover a historical detail: an old cannon from the 18th century, which was set up by Napoleon's troops during the French occupation of this part of the island. After the beach stay, get back on your ATV and drive to a modest farmhouse located on a hill surrounded by fields and orchards. Your lunch table is already prepared and you will be served sancocho. After the meal, the hostess serves coffee, tea and cocoa in its original form. The cocoa beans, dried on site, are pounded into powder with a mortar and infused with boiling water. You can enjoy the stimulating drink pure or sweetened with sugar. As a digestif you get Mamajuana. For this spiced liqueur, wine and rum are mixed with all kinds of woods, herbs and honey. Finally, a short stage on the ATV follows before you are brought back to your hotel from El Limón.
Optional services: Transportation from/to your hotel in Las Terrenas with Spanish-speaking driver, local Spanish-speaking escort, ATV ride and lunch including drinks
Take along: Swimwear, sunscreen, sunglasses, cap or hat, camera and shoes that can get wet, tip for the escorts on site (not obligatory)
Contact us for prices
Day 8 – (Saturday) Las Terrenas - Punta Cana airport / Santo Domingo
(305 km - 4 h)
Transfer to the airport of Punta Cana or Santo Domingo according to your flight details. If you want to enjoy your time on the island a bit more, book a beach extension. Relax on the beach of Bayahibe or Punta Cana.
Get in touch with Our Local Tour to book Discover the Dominican Republic Tour
13th May to 20th May 2023
17th June to 24th June 2023
15th July to 22nd July 2023
19th August to 26th August 2023
16th September to 23rd September 2023
14th October to 21st October 2023
Price - from £1755 per person (based two people sharing per room)
Single Supplement - £425
Included in the Discover the Dominican Republic Tour
Not Included in the Discover the Dominican Republic Tour
Government Travel Safety Advice
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice. Please refer to the COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry.
Visa and Passport Information
If you are visiting the Dominican Republic, your passport should be valid for a minimum of six months from the date you arrive.
British Citizens travelling to the Dominican Republic for tourism don’t need a visa. As of April 2018, the tourism entry tax (previously known as a tourist card) is no longer collected upon arrival and should be included in your air fare. On arrival you will normally be granted a 30-day stay.
Public medical facilities in Dominican Republic are generally limited. Private hospitals offer good standards of care, although they can be expensive. Dentistry is adequate. A good range of medicines is available, including some normally only available on prescription in the UK. Some medicines which would be sold by supermarkets and other shops in the UK are only available in pharmacies. Pharmacies are available across the country, including in many shopping malls, and can be identified by a cross sign outside.
Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. In some cases, if visitors are not able to pay their hospital bills, they have been prevented from leaving the country until the debt is settled. If you need emergency medical assistance in Santo Domingo dial 911 and ask for an ambulance. Outside Santo Domingo 911 is also used; however there is not 100% coverage across the country, so if you cannot contact, call the tourist police (1-809-200-3500).
UK health authorities have classified Dominican Republic as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website. Cases of chikungunya virus and dengue fever have been confirmed in Dominican Republic. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
Tap water in the Dominican Republic is not potable.
What to bring on your Discover the Dominican Republic Tour
Lightweight clothing which can be layered is adviseable and a warmer jumper for occasional cooler evenings. Beach wear and swim wear. A light rain coat is suggested. There is a laundry available in most hotels.
Lightweight comfortable shoes/trainers and sandals.
Luggage while on your tour
Please allow yourself one main piece of luggage and a day-sack. Remember, you are expected to carry your own baggage, so don't overload yourself, a soft wheely bag may be easier to manage than a suit case.
We recommend a sunhat, sunscreen, a torch, insect repellent and a waterbottle. A solar charger for your phone and other electronics is a good idea.
The currency of the Dominican Republic is the Dominican peso. US dollars and travellers’ cheques are easily exchanged. Only exchange money at banks or official exchange offices (casas de cambio). UK credit cards and debit cards will usually work in ATMs. Take great care when withdrawing cash at an ATM and where possible withdraw money inside a bank branch, shopping centre or supermarket, rather than an ATM on the street. Credit card cloning and identity theft are a risk in the Dominican Republic. You should avoid letting your payment card out of your sight when paying, or pay in cash instead.
Use of electronic devices
For Dominican Republic there are two associated plug types, types A and B. Plug type A is the plug which has two flat parallel pins and plug type B is the plug which has two flat parallel pins and a grounding pin. Dominican Republic operates on a 120V supply voltage and 60Hz.
The Dominican Republic is a Christian country with prominent Catholic and evangelical communities. Public displays of affection (such as hand-holding or kissing) between opposite or same-sex couples are uncommon.
Don’t become involved with illegal drugs of any kind. There are severe penalties for all drug offences. Cases can take several years to go through the judicial process, during which the accused person is likely to be held in detention. Possession of even small quantities can lead to a long prison sentence and a hefty fine. All sentences are served in the Dominican Republic.
Swimming and Water Sports
Lifeguards may not be present at swimming pools or on beaches and safety and rescue equipment may not be available. The sea can be dangerous, especially during the hurricane season (June-November). Seek local advice about sea conditions and warning systems and follow instructions. Don’t go into the water if you’re under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
Providers of recreational and adventure tourism may not meet UK safety standards. Check safety standards and make sure you’re insured if you take part in activities like water sports, quad biking, horse riding etc. If in doubt seek advice from your tour operator.
Time zone in Dominican Republic (GMT-4)
Wi-fi is common in hotels, hostels, restaurants and cafes across the touristed areas.