General Description: Here is one of the most popular islands for Irish visitors. Approximately the size of Scotland, it has 7 international airports serving the different regions of the island. The country offers an immense range of activities due to its diverse terrain – 100’s of KM’s of palm fringed beaches, rain forests, the highest mountains in the Caribbean (Pico Duarte is over 10,000ft), spectacular waterfalls, 35 world class golf courses and so much more.
Santo Domingo is the oldest European city in the Americas having been founded by Christopher Columbus (older than Havana too) and is designated a UNESCO world heritage site. To get true feel for the city it is necessary to stay here for at least 2 nights. Staying in the old quarter of the city (see our featured property) you are within a 5 mins walk of the first church, Cathedral, hospital and streets built by Europeans in the ‘New World’. The city has a real South American feel to it and at the weekend the city heaves with a pulsating nightlife.
Punta Cana – Located on the eastern end of the island, beaches here stretch as far as the eye can see with an abundance of hotels for very budget. (Note: Hotels here set their own hotel standard and can be very misleading). As there is no main town for tourists to visit all hotels have been built as all-inclusive stand alone resorts. Therefore apart from day excursions, entertainment revolves wholly around the resorts and their expansive entertainment programmes.
Puerto Plata – Situated on the north coast, you again have many excellent all-inclusive properties catering for every budget with a great choice of activities in the region from which to choose, such as white water rafting, abseiling, swimming with dolphins etc. Further along the coast you come to the towns of Sosua and Cabarete which are adrenaline sports areas (kite surfing, mountain biking etc) backed up by a heady and varied nightlife. This area is very similar to Southern Thailand in terms of nightlife and atmosphere.
Where it is located: The Dominican Republic makes up two thirds of the second largest island in the Caribbean (Hispaniola). – The rest of the island is taken up with Haiti.
The Capital: Santo Domingo.
International Airport: The three main airports that are used by Irish guests are
Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) in Santo Domingo
Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) in Punta Cana
Gregorio Luperon International Airport (POP) in Puerto Plata
Getting There: Connections are available with British Airways via London Gatwick and Air France via Paris. Many options are also available via the United States.
Entry Regulations: Passport valid for at least 6 months after travel date. Tourist card purchased on entry for $10.
Departure tax: It is usually included in the purchased airline ticket.
Cost of living: Generally, the cost of living is lower in the Dominican Republic than in America and is also lower than many of the other islands in the Caribbean.
Local Currency: Dominican peso
Official Language: Spanish
Did you know: Every winter, the Dominican Republic’s Bahia de Samana is visited by over 4,000 humpback whales to mate, give birth and nurse infants.
Cost of living: Generally very cheap except in the resorts where they know they have a captive market.
Local Currency: Dominican Peso. US dollars are widely accepted.
Official Language: Spanish is the official language, but English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
Don’t Miss: Carbarete windsurfing and kite surfing. This lively town boasts the best windsurfing and kite surfing in the Caribbean with a dozen world-class schools dedicated to teaching the hordes.