In Beaches, Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo, Where To, People + Culture, Gastronomy + Nightlife, Tips

Dominican Republic is a country rich with history, culture, kind locals, and delicious food. This was my last trip of 2018 and what a place to end the year. The last time I visited was spring break in college where we spent all our time at an all-inclusive in Punta Cana, so safe to say I saw a lot more this time around.

We spent seven days traveling from Puerto Plata on the north coast to the capital Santo Domingo, and there was never a dull moment between exploring forts and swimming in the Caribbean.

Quick Facts:

  • Founded in 1844
  • Capital: Santo Domingo
  • Languages: Spanish, Haitian Creole, and many people speak English
  • Currency: Dominican Peso (1 USD = ~50 DOP)
  • Shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti

Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata is located on the north shore of Dominican Republic where I flew into from New York. It has miles of beautiful beaches, colorful streets,  and many activities in the city and surrounding areas.

Fortaleza San Felipe is a must-see, a 16th-century Spanish fortress used to defend the north coast of Dominican Republic. The teleferico is another great attraction – the only cable car in the Caribbean, where we were able to get views from above. My favorite activity was joining Outback Adventures on an electric bike excursion, where we stopped to drink coconuts and go swimming in hidden lakes.

Casa Colonial Beach & Spa

We stayed at Casa Colonial Beach & Spa, a 5-star boutique resort right on the beach. The sun rose every morning just in front of the property, and the on-site restaurant serves traditional Dominican breakfast. You can check them out here.

Sea Horse Ranch & the Beach Club

One of the most beautiful sunsets I watched here was at Sea Horse Ranch, a luxury beachfront villa complex with the Beach Club Restaurant. I had an amazing goat stew with gnocchi and can not recommend this restaurant enough!

Sosúa 57000, Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo

Did you know when Christopher Columbus first landed in the Americas he landed in the Dominican Republic? It is known as the city of firsts, as it was the first capital city of the Americas, and houses the first hospital, cathedral, and university. The Colonial Zone, or Zona Colonial, is full of cobblestone buildings that all dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries.

Less than an hour away is Boca Chica, a populated Caribbean beach where local families hang out during the weekends. The crystal clear blue water is absolutely stunning, and you can find vendors all long the beach selling coconuts, pina coladas, and fried foods.

I highly recommend also checking out the Carnival Museum, where they showcase elaborate carnival costumes that take up to a year to make by hand!

Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando

We stayed at Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando which could not be in a better location. It is in the very center of Zona Colonial, surrounded by beautiful streets, restaurants, bars, and historical sites. The hotel itself dates back to the 16th century and is a treasure in the middle of Santo Domingo. Everything around is walkable, and main attractions are located within a 15 minute radius.

Buche Perico

My favorite restaurant by far is located in the heart of Zona Colonial, Buche Perico. The ambiance at night was magical, and we even witnessed a proposal in the middle of dinner. Plants cover the walls as fairy lights dot the ceilings, and the menu is very extensive. I recommend the lobster.

Calle El Conde #53, Santo Domingo

Bajo Cero

To end on a sweet note, head over to Bajo Cero for endless flavors of popsicles. It’s the most famous ice cream shop in Santo Domingo – no worries, I won’t judge you if you get two or three

Calle Isabel La Católica, Santo Domingo 10210, Dominican Republic

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