Several years ago I went to the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean on a cheap all-inclusive package deal. It was winter in the UK, I was fed up of the cold, and it seemed like a much more exciting way to spend Christmas Day. It really was my best Christmas ever and sipping on rum cocktails on a powdery white beach felt like absolute bliss! The Dominican Republic is well known for its all inclusive holidays, luxury resorts, stunning beaches and crystal clear waters, but there are also plenty of activities and things to do to keep you occupied.
Swim with dolphins
Swimming with dolphins is one of those bucket list experiences that you’ll never forget. At Ocean World in Puerto Plata you can don a life jacket and get up close and personal with the friendly creatures. They’ll mimic your actions, jump over your head and even give you a kiss! In addition to dolphins you can encounter sea lions or swim with stingrays and nurse sharks. There’s also a tropical bird park and a snorkel reef to keep you entertained for the day.
Boat trip to Saona Island
On the Saona Island boat trip you’ll hop in a speed boat and be taken to a natural pool in the ocean to see the giant starfish. You are then whisked over to Saona Island to enjoy a buffet lunch, play games and soak up the rays on sun loungers. After a day of sunbathing and drinking fresh coconut water, you’ll return on a relaxing catamaran listening to the sounds of Bob Marley. The perfect chilled-out day in the sun!
Visit the capital, Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic and the largest city in the Caribbean. Founded in the 15th century by Bartholomew Columbus, it holds the title of the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas. Highlights of the city include the colonial quarter, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Alcazar de Colon (Columbus Palace), built for Christopher Columbus’ son Diego. Santo Domingo also boasts the oldest church in the New World, the Cathedral of Santa Maria La Menor.
A Monster Truck Safari
The monster truck safari takes you to the island’s interior to explore the unspoilt countryside and sugar cane fields. The 8×8 truck goes where ordinary vehicles don’t go, so you’ll go down bumpy country roads and cross streams. You’ll visit a local Dominican school and meet the children, then taste some of the locally produced coffee. You’ll pass through local villages and even meet the island’s voodoo doctor.