The Dominican Republic shares it's large island with neighbouring Haiti, and is by far one of the best value islands in the Caribbean. All inclusive resorts in places such as Punta Cana are distinctly less expensive than on other islands. If resort towns aren't your thing, there's plenty of more deserted, windswept like beaches elsewhere on the island, as well as plenty of outdoor activities offered inland.
Dominican Republic's Best Beach Resorts
Almost all of the best beaches are located along the North coast of the island - I'll mention the best as one travels East from Puerto Plata.
Playa Alicia is in Sosua - a very attractive beach in the town.
Cabarete is perfect for windsurfing, watersports and people watching.
Playa Caleton and Playa Grande are in Rio San Juan - both are lovely beaches, and the area is great for snorkelling.
Travelling further East one finds the Samana Peninsula, and lots of great beaches around the town of Las Galeras. Playa Rincon is huge and picture perfect, and is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in all the Caribbean. Nearby there's plenty of other wonderful beaches - it's well worth spending plenty of time in this part of the Dominican Republic to go beach hunting.
Out on the Eastern tip of the island, you find Bavaro and Punta Cana. The area here is more developed, and home to larger luxury resorts and many fine beaches nearby. Punta Cana is the Dominican Republic's most popular choice for an all inclusive resort.
While almost everyone takes a vacation to Dominican Republic for it's beaches, there's plenty to do inland too - ancient cave paintings, crocodiles, rafting, mountain climbing, and hiking options all offer alternatives to exploring the coastline.
Weather & When to Visit
The Dominican Republic is a year round vacation destination, normally with fine sunny weather during all months. Average temperatures are between 28 and 30 Celsius. May to October is the rainy season, while July to October or November sees the Caribbeans' hurricane season.
The peak tourism season in the Dominican Republic is from December to February, as well as July and August, in addition to the Easter week. Prices can rise significantly during these peak visitor times. Easter week is especially busy, and most watersports are banned during this period, including scuba diving.
For a real party (and the Dominican Republic has some great nightlife), visit during carnival, which is celebrated each weekend during that month. February is also the best month for whale watching tours, although it's also possible in late January and early March.