Dominican Republic travel guide
You will hear the blowhole Boca del Diablo before you see it. A loud and heavy breathing by a beast from the underworld. In reality, it's a natural channel in the rocks, where the sea get rush through and pushed through an opening on top of the rocks. Depending on how rough the sea is, the fountain will either be like a massive geyser or just a cloud of spray. To reach Boca del Diablo, either walk from Playa Frónton or drive along the dirt road which runs along the pretty limestone cliff and pass a marble quarry. Ask locals for direction.
Cabarete has a real holiday vibe. It's the kite surfing capital of Dominican Republic, but the wide beach and the rough surf is popular with every kind of tourist. The main road in Cabarete is like any other main road in an international holiday destination, lined with beach fashion, pizzerias, scooter rentals, tour agencies, and, of course, hotels.
Though not as naughty as in Brazil or as big as in Trinidad, the carnival in Dominican Republic is still a spectacular. Carnival groups, each with their own theme, dance or march down the street to Latino rhythms in impressive costumes. At the biggest events in Santo Domingo and La Vega some of groups have floats, though most just dance in some kind of formation. Normally the carnival is held on three consecutive Sundays, normally in February, where the last one is the biggest, boldest, and most crazy.
When making a short list of the greatest travellers and explorers in history, one name is almost always at the top of the list; Christopher Columbus. Paying homage to the man by visiting his final resting place is almost like a rite of passage. But it's easier said than done. A little known fact is that Columbus travelled as much in death as he did in life. Originally, he was buried in Spain. However his remains were moved many times afterwards: Spain to Dominican Republic to Cuba back to Spain and back to Dominican Republic. Or at least that's the theory. Nobody is 100% sure where his remains are. But the leading candidate is the Faro a Colon (Columbus Lighthouse) in the Santo Domingo. Built to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the "discovery" of the America, the lighthouse is a beacon to travellers old and new.
One could classify waterfalls into 2 categories: there are powerful, blow-you-away falls, and there are chilled out bathing in the mist kind of falls. In the middle of the tropical forests, across streams and over hill lies El Salto del Limon. Any trip to the lesser visited Samaná Peninsula will almost certainly involve a trip to the falls. Getting there can be half the fun as most visitors opt to hire a horse to navigate the rather muddy and wet trail. Once there, although you won't be alone, going for a bit of a swim and showering in the picturesque falls is a wonderful reward after the trek here.
Far to often the arduous task of moving from A to B is just a necessary evil of travel. But this is not the case in the Dominican Republic. Due to a somewhat lacking public transport system, the gap in the market has been filled by impromptu Gua Guas. Taking the form of everything from air-conditioned mini-buses to some guy with a pick-up truck, Gua Guas put the fun back in the actual travelling part of travel. There's something local about helping a little old lady load her sack of rice into the back of the truck leaving you with your legs dangling off the side as you traverse the beautiful Dominican country-side. This is what it is to do it "local".
Lago Azul is a small, but rather deep, natural swimming hole below a limestone cliff. The water is chilled and insane crystal clear. The lake is private own, so there is a small admission fee. During the weekend, the lake is a popular spot for picnicking families, but during the weekdays you can get it to yourself.
Las Terranas is probably one of the nicest beach area in Dominican Republic. What once were a small fishing village is now a classy holiday spot with a relax attitude. Besides down at the beach, the town is still very much a local affair and fishermen still come in with the their catch at Las Terranas Beach. To either side, there is a string of other beaches, one starts where the other ends, where luxury holiday homes and boutique hotels take up the beachfront.
Once voted one of the 10 best beached in the Caribbean. Though we don't necessary agree with that, Rincón Beach is certainly pretty, particularly its location. Nested in a crescent shaped, with nearly 3 km of white sand on a backdrop of rows and rows of palms – and without any development for kilometers. You can drive all the way to the beach (if the road is not flooded), and on the way you will get nice panoramic views of it.
In North America there is a somewhat distorted sense of history. "Old" is something that has been around for 100 years. But if looking for the oldest the continent has to offer (at least in terms of the Columbian era) then you need to go where it began. The UNESCO listed Colonial City of Santo Domingo has the oldest everything; the oldest church in the Americas, the oldest university in the Americas, the oldest this and the oldest that. The old city has a great mix of remodelled, decaying and crumbling to honestly show the signs of its age. Almost any visit to the Dominican Republic will start here, and it is here the Dominican Republic, and indeed the invasion of America, began.