There are so many activities to get stuck into on holidays to the Dominican Republic. River horseback riding is a great place to start, before zip-lining through the lush canopies, or wading through the trees in one of many adventure parks here. Try paragliding, surfing and snorkelling, or hire a guide to discover exciting shark sightings, alongside the colourful marine life.
The 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua, near Puerta Plata, lie in the rolling hills of the Northern Corridor mountain range and are etched out of the limestone cliff-face. Used by locals for decades, the waterfalls are now a popular tourist attraction and have provided jobs for local men and women in the area.
All visitors must have a guide to visit the waterfalls, and these guides will explain the exotic natural beauty of the rainforest as you hike, swim and climb through the waterfalls. If you want an easier route, the waterfalls also have walk-around areas. You can venture up to the 7th, 12th or 27th waterfall, as long as you and your holiday party are over the age of 12. All guides are trained in first aid and CPR and it is mandatory to wear a helmet and a life jacket during your trip.
Once at the top of the waterfalls, you will have fun slipping, sliding and swimming your way back down into the sparkling pools below. There is also a restaurant here, serving local dishes and a shop sits nearby, where you can purchase snacks, drinks and souvenirs.
Bavaro Adventure Park – in Punta Cana, is a ginormous theme park with 5.5 kilometres of nature trails, as well as 15 diverse attractions for you to enjoy. Choose from ziplining, an adventure on the climbing garden, a Segway circuit, paintballing, a bungee trampoline experience, zorb bubbles, flight simulators, and a BMX track. There is also a Jurassic Park area, with more than 20 realistic, animatronic dinosaurs within a natural setting, providing great fun and proving to be a favourite with children.
A playground area is also available on site for children to enjoy, as well as plenty of rest areas situated around the park for when you and the kids want to take the weight off your feet. Bathrooms are provided, too, offering visitors access to showers and lockers, and not forgetting the other fabulous amenities located here, including the souvenir and photoshop, as well as a café selling tasty meals, snacks and drinks.
There is even a babysitting service available (at an additional charge), if your little ones need a rest. Bavaro Adventure Park truly provides absolutely everything you could need to make your visit memorable and enjoyable.
Imagine Cave is Punta Cana’s largest and most unique nightclub, which is actually housed in a huge system of connecting caves that took 20 million years of sea erosion to form. Today, there are three rooms within the cave, each housing individual DJ systems and decks, perfect for a truly immersive night out.
The interior here is lavish, furnished with leather sofas, large roomy dance floors and glossy white bars, each room boasting wonderful character and charm. DJs in the Main Cave play the best of Merengue, Bachata, Reggae, Hip Hop and R&B music. Even better, the Electro Cave has an incredible, powerful state-of-the-art sound system and combined with the natural acoustics of the cave, produces an incredible sound experience. Here, resident DJs spin the best tracks for electro and Latina dance lovers.
Today, bats still live inside the caves, and the mix of intricate shapes made by the rock formations of the open bar, along with the unique setting and décor make this an extraordinary venue for a memorable nightclub experience.
Located on the southern tip of Pedernales, Jaragua National Park is one of the Dominican Republic’s most important natural reserves. The 1295 square kilometres of the park includes the Taino caves, the stunning Bahía de Las Águilas coastline, and the secluded islands of Beata and Alto Velo.
The Jaragua National Park is a nature-lovers paradise and you will be sure to return home with wonderful memories and truly amazing photographs. The park protects a rare, dry deciduous forest where endangered hutia and sharp-toothed solenodons survive amongst the 400 species of flora found here, including tropical forests, cacti, mangroves and wetlands.
Discover manatees (sea cows), and hawksbill, leatherback and loggerhead turtles nesting on the beaches within the park. The bird life here is another wonderful sight; the jade-coloured Laguna Oviedo is an ideal habitat for flamingos, and from the viewing platform at the visitor centre you’ll witness roseate spoonbills, white-crowned pigeons, white ibis, blue herons, black-capped night herons and osprey, to name but a few.
Manati Park – in Punta Cana, was built in 1996 and was the first park of its kind to open in the Dominican Republic. Today, this huge 80,000 square metres of parkland is home to over 150 different types of animals and also has impressive gardens filled with tropical plants and amazing orchids.
A guide will take you around the park, where you can get close to parrots, flamingos, snakes, iguanas, horses, dolphins and sea lions, to name but a few. There are various shows involving some of these animals for you to watch during your visit, and you will also have the opportunity to swim with the dolphins here.
In the Taino Museum of Manati Park, you can see authentic pieces of Dominican art, statues, paintings and costumes and there are local craftsmen on site making similar items, using the same original materials and methods. There is also a display of Taino ritual dancing, giving you a taste of the culture and folklore of bygone days. When you need refreshments, there is a pizzeria, a burger bar, a barbecue ranch and a snack bar.
Monkeyland is a five-acre nature sanctuary in Punta Cana, nestled in the mountains of Anamuya. Many tour operators organise trips to Monkeyland, offering you a chance to observe and interact with the delightful squirrel monkeys in their natural environment.
You will begin your tour with a stroll through the luscious botanical garden, home to many flowers, fruit trees and medicinal plants, before moving on to spend time with the friendly squirrel monkeys. These lovely and intelligent primates have been trained by a Canadian couple, who have an impressive 12 years’ experience in teaching monkeys to trust and enjoy the company of humans. The squirrel monkeys will happily eat fruit and nuts straight from the bowl in your hand, and even climb down from the trees and onto your shoulders.
The monkeys live in a beautiful environment, with the workers at Monkeyland ensuring that they come to no harm, and that visitors treat them with respect. Enjoy your time petting and playing with these fantastic animals and take as many photographs as you wish; the monkeys love to pose for the camera and even sit to watch themselves on your camera screen. This monkey sanctuary really is an ideal day out in the Dominican for the whole family.
Ocean World Adventure Park is part of an entertainment complex, which includes the immersive Ocean World Marina and Casino, located in Puerto Plata. Here, the whole family can enjoy snorkelling and diving into the tropical reef aquarium, teeming with fish from many different oceans. Travellers can also visit the tropical forest, where colourful birds fly through the trees and fly over to you, eating right out of the palm of your hand.
Home to the largest man-made dolphin habitat in the world, with impressive dolphin pools containing 12 million gallons of seawater, the park offers interactive animal programs with dolphins, sea lions, sharks and stingrays. There is also a marine biologist on hand to answer any questions you may have about these amazing mammals and fish species.
There are 22 majestic waterfalls located throughout the park, a shop that specializes in marine-related souvenirs and a photoshop where guests can purchase photographs or videos of their most memorable experience of the day. A restaurant is located on site, too, as well as a snack and beverage bar for when you need a light refreshment.
Located in the heart of the Cap Cana Resort lies Scape Park, a huge natural theme park with more than 247 acres of limestone and jungle landscapes, including a working marina and the popular Juanillo Beach.
In Scape Park, you can choose from a variety of tours including scuba diving, snorkelling, a catamaran trip along the coast or the Hoyo Azul (blue hole) eco-tour, which involves descending into the cave and walking around the boardwalks above the magnificent waters. Guided commentary tells you all about the formation of the water feature, plus the flora and fauna which flourish here.
Head over to the stunning Farallon cliff, which is over 100-metres high and extends 800 metres along the coast. The Iguabonita Cave Expedition also takes you hiking to the top of this cliff and then down into a vast underground network of caves, tunnels and natural lagoons.
For adrenalin junkies, why not try ziplining over the treetops, horseback riding along the beach, or driving an adventure buggy through the wilderness? There is certainly something for everyone at this wonderful adventure park.
Sirenis Aquagames Water Park is a popular family tourist attraction in the Dominican Republic, and is actually the first and only water park in Punta Cana. The park covers an area of 12.000 square metres and has attractions suitable for all ages and abilities.
For adults and older children, the Aquaracer is the spot for you. This 100-metre, four-lane speed slide is truly exhilarating, providing the thrill of your life, which you can experience over and over again with the rest of your family. Visitors can also find a 10-metre high tower with two water tubes, two open toboggans, a kamikaze and a free-fall twister. Not forgetting the Aquatubo and Tobosplash, and the Stuka, all being ideal for adrenalin junkies, thanks to the free-falling sensation they provide.
For the younger members of the family, there is a themed Caribbean Pirates children’s area for four-to-11-year-olds, with 10 children’s water slides and four splash barrels. There is also another children’s area located on site, home to a swimming pool for two-to-four-year-olds, with animal statues and jumping sprinklers.
A kid’s club can also be found here, as well as other nearby amenities, including a nursery, a picnic area, toilets, lockers and a gift shop. Admission to the Sirenis Aquagames Water Park includes food, from breakfast, a lunch buffet and access to tasty BBQ food, as well as refreshing drinks (water, coffee, juice, tea, and sodas). All in all, this exciting water park truly is the ideal place for all the family to have fun in the sun.
There are many exciting day trips to choose from when visiting the Dominican Republic, and Samana Bay is a very popular spot with travellers from around the globe. Holidaymakers can choose to take a half-day boat tour, where you can search for and learn about the biology and behaviour of humpback whales, which arrive in Samana Bay every winter to birth their calves.
Or, maybe you’d prefer a day trip from Punta Cana, which starts with a catamaran cruise across the Samana Bay to Santa Barbara de Samana. From there, the trip includes a safari truck ride, a light breakfast, a 20-minute horseback ride, a refreshing dip in the swimming hole at El Limon Waterfall, a walk along the El Malecon and a further catamaran ride to the shores of Cayo Levantado, where you can swim and sunbathe before returning back to Punta Cana.
If you prefer a different type of excursion, why not travel to the zip line at Samana and Limon Waterfall? Here, you can fly over breathtaking landscapes and descend through 20 platforms, across 10 exhilarating zip lines.