Why Traveling in the Dominican Republic is Ideal for Individual Tourists?
Most people have a very vague imagination when the topic ‘Dominican Republic’ arises for the next vacation planning. It must be somewhere in the Caribbean where all the palm trees and mile-long beaches are located amongst the All-Inclusive-Resorts in Punta Cana. Probably a country equipped with a lot of sunshine, music, dance, and tropical fruits. The Dominican Republic has everything it takes to be an ideal place for individual tourists.
I cannot deny this fact, because this type of All-Inclusive-Tourism is for already half a century a steady characteristic in the Dominican Republic. It simply belongs to that country as bachata, rum, and cigars. Maybe you can compare it to the typical tropical imagination of the Caribbean with all its colorful facets.
The Dominican Republic offers many good alternatives for individual tourists
This is just proof that the Dominican Republic is more than suitable for individual tourists. But spending your vacation in a hermetically sealed all-inclusive resort is not for everyone. It seems a bit like a supervised vacation in a heavenly environment with fixed feeding times. Makes you lazy, maybe a sunburn as a souvenir, and a few pounds of overweight eaten on the return journey.
It is the preferred vacation especially for families with children and senior citizens. I can already understand it somewhere. Because not having to worry about anything on a holiday lasting several weeks is a very convenient circumstance. A kind of all-round carefree package.
However, the most populous country in the Caribbean has much more to offer than the typical gringo vacations. And maybe it is precisely this factor that one would least expect from such a touristic planned region as the Dominican Republic. That there are alternatives to the dominant forms of tourism.
I would like to introduce five worthwhile alternatives for planning your next vacation in the Dominican Republic that perhaps not everyone would immediately think of. So, here are the reasons why the Dominican Republic is ideal for individual tourists.
1. Bird watching in the Caribbean
With more than 300 different bird species, the Dominican Republic is the most interesting country for birding in the Caribbean. No other country has such a colorful mix of endemic and migratory birds to offer its visitors. More than 30 of these species are endemic such as the Parakeet, Hispaniolan Emerald, Hispaniolan Trogon.
A big advantage of doing a birding trip in the Dominican Republic is ‘all the nice side effects’ of the vacations. You can do birding in the Dominican Republic in many different regions of the island and will see a lot of the country. Imagine observing American Flamingos by boat on a hypersaline lake or in more than 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) in the highest mountain area of the island.
Birdwatching is the ideal vacation for all bird watchers and ornithologists who would like to spend time in the great outdoors and who don’t like to waste their vacation time all day long at a beach.
A bit comparable to the last experience, but without the ambition to see as many birds in the least amount of time. Anyway, the Dominican Republic is supposed to have the best highway network and stable road conditions of the whole Caribbean. A very good argument for all the people, who like to drive a car and not be part of group vacations on a bus.
If you prefer to see as many different places as possible, a self-organized roundtrip might be the best choice for you. The huge diversity in the Dominican Republic is the consequence of the island’s complex geologic history with various microclimatic zones. You want to see beaches, forests, dunes, islands, mountains, pasture, and historic cities in one single vacation? The Dominican Republic has it all!
And the best reason to do a road trip is the short driving time on the island. The Dominican Republic is a small country but from all major international airports easy to reach. Once you land in Punta Cana, Santo Domingo, Santiago, or Samaná, you can rent a car and discover the island as you wish. You can easily plan every day a driving time of one or two hours. That’s enough to see completely different landscapes on the trip.
DIY Roundtrips are the ideal vacation in the Dominican Republic for all nature-loving people who would like to get to know several regions and who would identify themselves as curious explorers.
3. Canyoning – More than a trendy sport for daredevils
Canyoning is an outdoor sport and is usually offered as a day tour. In several levels of difficulty, adventurers have the opportunity to test their endurance and fitness on several kilometers in a river. A mix of hiking, climbing, cliff jumping, abseiling, jumping and diving is required of the participant. Not for the faint of heart and people with a fear of heights!
The Dominican Republic is an ideal destination for this extreme form of sports thanks to its many rivers. But is canyoning really extreme? Of course, something can always happen in the rough rocky landscape and on slippery ground. But equipped with a wetsuit and water shoes and accompanied by an experienced tour guide, the risk of injury is rather low to medium than ‘extreme’.
However, it is important that you do not have any health problems and that you are at a good fitness level. The combination of several sports under difficult conditions and cold water for several kilometers can be quite exhausting.
Canyoning is the ideal vacation in the Dominican Republic for all sporty and persistent people who have always wanted to cross a wild river by swimming, jumping, and diving.
4. Climbing to the peak of the Caribbean
You were expecting sandy and pristine beaches when talking about the Dominican Republic. But did you know, that the DR has the highest mountain of all Caribbean islands? Their mountain ‘Pico Duarte’ is 10,164 feet (3.098 m) high and offers a spectacular view of the whole mountainous area around.
But how to get there?
The chance to be alone on top of Pico Duarte there is quite high. Yearly approximately 3,000 climbers like to experience the view from the top. That’s less than 10 people every day! And not only that; Statistically, half of the yearly visitors are going there in January and the Easter vacations. If you chose to climb the mountain for the rest of the year, you might be the only person around.
Several different routes exist to reach the top of the Caribbean. In theory, you can also climb yourself up. However, a tour guide is very recommended to not get lost in the mountains. And more comfortable anyway: Donkeys will accompany you and help you carry up your luggage to the cusp of the mountain.
Climbing is the ideal vacation for all experienced mountaineers and intrepid adventurers who like to be active and are in a good physical condition to hike for a couple of days.
5. Glamping – A luxurious version of the cheapest vacations
A portmanteau word of ‘Glamourous Camping’ describes already what to expect here. You can expect camping, but on a high-end level with some luxurious elements. It might have still something to do with sleeping in a tent at the beach. But all the rest around that experience is quite a thing: You can expect a higher service, better food, a beach bar, and unique excursions.
In the southeast of the Dominican Republic, you’ll find the only place in the country that is worth the description ‘Glamping’. In Bahia de Las Aguilás you’ll find a camping ground in a smooth and relaxed ambiance. A mile-long and beautiful beach invites you for some boat trips, to watch the sunset, or to just hang out there in a hammock.
Very important for the good vibe of the place. No RV’s, caravans, or trailers can be found on the compound. People come in their cars and park them away from the camping area. You’ll have the option to sleep in a tent but on a mattress, or to stay the night in a wooden bungalow on stilts.
Glamping is the ideal vacation for all laid-back travelers who want to search out for a new form of tourism in the Dominican Republic and to relax afar from All-Inclusive-Resorts to be all day at the beach.
Did you ever consider to plan individual vacations in a country that is famous for the exact opposite? The Dominican Republic has many good reasons and thrilling alternatives to engage with many different types of travelers. Therefore, the Dominican Republic is suitable for individual tourists.
As an alumnus of Innovation, Marketing and Tourism, Phil specializes in Strategic and Sustainable Tourism Development. With many years of work and study experience in Latin America and Europe, he speaks four languages fluently. Thinking like a travel tinkerer and content creator, he is always looking to shape new and unique experiences to inspire other ambitious travelers. Currently in the Caribbean, helping the Dominican Republic.