04 Dec Is the Dominican Republic the BEST Caribbean Country?
You’re looking to hit the Caribbean soon and one country caught your eye…
The Domincan Republic.
So it’s time to book that flight to the DR. Getting ready to visit one of the most visited countries in Latin America. You’re already picturing yourself in on the resort, walking on fine white sand beaches, relaxing the day away.
You keep wondering if somewhere would be better.
Mexico? Cuba? Puerto Rico?
So you decide to do a little digging and see if the Dominican Republic is the best spot to visit in the Caribbean.
Which is where I come in. After visiting various countries in the Caribbean, including Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic…
I think I can clarify a few things for you, including which country is the best in the Caribbean.
What’s to Love About the DR?
Well, there’s a lot to love about the Dominican Republic. Sure, the country can be rough around the edges, but once you dig a little deeper, you’ll find an amazing culture filled with friendly people.
Here’s some of the benefits to visting the Dominican Republic:
- Strong, Unique Culture
Domincan culture is unique. It’s inherently Latin and similar to many other countries in the region. But different as well.
Many find it intoxicating.
The friendly people, bachata music, the “colmados” to drink beer at, the beaches, and so much more. It all intertwine to offer a unique cultural experience.
- Friendly People
Foreigners are more than welcome when they come to Latin America. Dominicans are generally friendly and happy people. The people are easy to get along with and welcoming — especially once you get off the resort and into the “real” Dominican Republic. Santo Domingo, Santiago, La Vega, etc.
You’ll meet some great people in these areas.
- Dominican Music and Rhythms
In the Dominican Republic, you’ve got to dance. You’ll get a true understanding of Latin America’s passion for dance and music. Merengue, Bachata, and “Dembow” are the most popular rhythms or genres you will hear here. Even salsa dancing from time to time.
It’s unique and interesting to see how music is so important to people. It’s like music is part of their life — and dancing happens everyday.
- Amazing Beaches
You’ll find some of the best beaches in the whole world in the DR. Seriously, world-class level beaches can be found throughout the country. It’s incredible.
From Punta Cana to Las Terrenas to Monte Cristo — there’s no shortage of white sand and crystal clear waters.
If you want paradise…
The Dominican Republic found it.
What’s NOT to Love About the DR?
But no country is perfect…
The Dominican Republic certainly isn’t. Far from it in fact. Sio here’s a few things I don’t like about the DR:
- Hustlers Paradise
You’ll find a lot of hustlers and swindlers in the DR, especially in resort towns like Punta Cana, Sosua, Las Terrenas.
These people often give the Domincan Republic its reputation of being full of hustlers. You’ve got to pay attention when stepping off the resort in these towns.
- Not Too Clean
The DR has some cleanliness issues, especially when you go to lower-income areas in the big cities. Trash is everywhere and the streets are not clean.
As a foreigner, this may come to bother you.
However, you won’t find this in nicer areas and resort towns. So it’s an issue of where you are and where you stay. Oh, and I almost forgot — only drink bottled water.
- You Have to be Cautious
This beautiful island will entice you with its stunning beaches. Don’t forget it’s still a third-world country with high rates of unemployment.
By that I mean, you have to be careful when going out. Don’t be too flashy, leave your expensive watch and your last iPhone at home.
Learn more about Dominican Republic safety here.
- You Have to Speak Decent Spanish
Getting around this country with zero spanish is not a good idea. If you don’t speak Spanish, it’s best to pick up the basics before getting off the resort in the DR.
Luckily, learning Spanish is easier than ever these days! But without a little ability to communicate in the “love language” — you’ll struggle here.
Dominican food is not great. On the resorts, you’ll find some amazing cuisine from around the world. But this isn’t a foodies’ favorite country. Sadly
Things to Do in the Dominican Republic
With such stunning beaches, there’s so many amazing things to do in the Dominican Republic.
Here’s a few of my favorites:
- Visit “El Monumento”
If you’re in Santiago this is a MUST see. Everything related to this is so interesting. The culture, the history, and things to do in ‘Calle del Sol’ where the monument is. Here you can find a lot of restaurants and parks. Just pick a time during the day and head up to the top to catch great views of the city.
- Rent a Bike and Explore the Colonial Zone
In Zona Colonial, you’ll see history all around you. Starting from the original house of Diego Colon, son of Christopher Columbus, ‘Parque Colon’ where the “old world” blends with the new. You will also find modern restaurants, coffee shops, etc. This is a great place to spend a day.
- Visit Punta Cana
This is by far the most touristic part of the country and is known for its beautiful and luxurious beachfront villas and resorts. You can find a variety of tours here too, so be ready for a whole lot of beach time and tourism.
- Swim with Sharks
There is an incredible tour in Punta Cana called “Reef Explorer” that I recommend. It is basically a big dock with numerous activities to do. You can snorkel with sharks and stingrays, practice paddleboarding or more. Well worth a day.
- National Botanical Garden
If you’re into nature this is one the best places to visit. Full with carefully chosen plants and birds. Also, you can learn about the botany of DR while you enjoy the authentic aesthetic beauty of this place.
- Swim at ‘Hoyo Azul’
Ever wanted to swim in turquoise water in the middle of a country? ‘Hoyo Azul’ is an amazing lagoon that can make that happen. Located a bit off the gringo trail in the DR, this place is highly recommended.
Is the Dominican Republic the BEST Caribbean Island? | Verdict
In my opinion…
Yes, the DR is the best true “Caribbean” country. Cuba lacks amenities, Haiti isn’t developed, and Puerto Rico is too expensive. Plus, all the smaller countries are just too small.
The DR has it all!
From a unique culture to world-class beaches and so much more — you’ll love spending a few nights, weeks, or even months here.
Te lo juro.