14 Amazing Experiences in The Dominican Republic Not to Miss

Dominican Republic

A Land of Choices – The Dominican Republic Truly Has it All

The Dominican Republic definitely has it all. There’s so much to see, do and experience from culture to history, nightlife, luxury, cuisine, music, dance, art, festivals, laughter, adventure, and lots and lots of nature. The Dominican Republic offers the right environment to go wild in nature. Here’s why.

The Dominican Republic

Experience The Dominican Republic’s Rich History and Culture

Dominicans are a warm and friendly people with a unique history and culture. While many here may not be rich they certainly have a very rich cultural patrimony. The Dominican Republic’s history and culture is a mixture Taino influence (the first peoples of the island), Spanish colonialism, and African heritage. Several original Taino words and meals, as well as African dishes, have remained to this day as part of the cultural inheritance of the Dominican Republic. It is a nation where family, food, and music are alive and vibrant.

With such a rich cultural patrimony, the Dominica Republic has certainly left its cultural mark on the world.

The Dominican Republic’s culture has engendered a number of cultural expressions and experiences featured in music, dance, art, food and so much more. Here are 6 cultural traditions from the Dominican Republic:

  1. Merengue – a fast-paced, lively dance music that features a lot of drums and brass. It’s music and dance wrapped up in one. Here’s a taste of Merengue.

 

  1. The Güira – a metal scraping percussion instrument. Learn how to play the Güira here.

 

  1. Bachata – an early 20th century music genre originating in the Dominican Republic. Bachata is much slower compared to its sister merengue. Listen to Bachata here.

 

  1. The Dominican Tambora – a two-headed drum typically played in merengue music. Get some tambura vibes here.

 

  1. The Perico Ripiao – a minimal musical expression comprising of accordian, drum and guira. It is composed of a three man group that interprets vernacular music. Here’s a typical perico ripiao rendition.

 

  1. Dominican Carnival – a street parade and celebration typically taking place in February and coinciding with Independence Day, February 27th. Here’s a taste of Dominican Carnival.

 

Traditional Dominican Carnival Mask

Explore Santo Domingo’s Historical Zona Colonial

Take a walk along memory lane in the Zona Colonial in the capital of Santo Domingo (the first city built by the Spanish in the New World – VisitDominicanRepublic.org). The Dominican Republic is steeped in a wealth of history. Christopher Columbus first landed here in 1492 naming the island La Hispañola after the Spanish Empire. His son Diego followed in his footsteps as an explorer and settled in the Dominican Republic with his family. To this day Diego’s home, with some of the exact mahogany furniture and fittings, remains intact as a historical site. In 1990, La Zona Colonial was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an considered one of the most beautiful old towns in the Caribbean – VisitDominicanRepublic.org.

A statue of Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon in Spanish) in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo boasts a total of 10 museums, with exhibits ranging from semiprecious gems to prehistoric art from Spain and Portugal.

  1. The Numismatic and Philatelic Museum – the most comprehensive and valuable collection of antique coins, bills and stamps in the Caribbean dating back to 1865
  1. The Museum of the Dominican Man – an ode to the patrimony of the Dominican people to include Tainos, Africans and Europeans.
  2. The Columbus’ Lighthouse – a cross-shaped structure commemorating the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ first landing on Hispañola. It includes Columbus’ remains and important artifacts.
  3. The National Museum of Natural History
  4. Museum of the Dominican Family
  5. National Museum of History and Geography
  6. Museum of Modern Art
  7. Museum of the Royal Dockyards
  8. The National Theatre
  9. The Amber Museum

Savour the Delicious Local Cuisine

Owing to its mixed heritage (Taino, African and Spanish), the Dominican Republic is known for some incredibly delectable dishes. Here are a few typical Dominican dishes that you should definitely try at some point.

Dominican Republic Sancocho
Sancocho – A Typical Dominican Dish

 

  1. Sancocho – This is perhaps one of the Dominican Republic’s most famous dish. A combination of up to seven meats from four types of animals are mixed to create a mouthwatering stew. Here’s a sancocho recipe to try tonight.

 

  1. Mangú (Plantain Mash) – a uniquely Dominican dish consisting of mashed plantains and served with eggs and salami and queso frito (fried cheese).

 

  1. Tostones – An absolute favourite of mine, tostones is plantains fried twice. Fry it once, mash it and fry it again (delicious). Best when the plantain is ripe (but not too ripe).

 

  1. La Bandera – meaning ‘the flag’, la bandera is a Dominican dish that represents the three colours of the Dominican Republic’s flag – white, red and blue. As such it is often referred to as the national dish of the Dominican Republic. The dish comprises white rice, red beans and chicken (nope not blue chicken). It’s simple to make.

 

  1. Casabe (Cassava Bread) – stemming from the indigenous Taino tradition, casabe is a cassava based flat bread that is often baked over a grill or open flame.

 

  1. Guanimes – another Taino influence, guanimes is a cornmeal masa wrapped in corn husk and stuffed with meat, nuts, fish, and beans.

 

Visit the Resort Destination of Punta Cana

Punta Cana is one of the Dominican Republic’s topmost tourism hot spots. It offers pure escape and postcard-worthy sights and experiences. Punta Cana’s experiences include the picturesque white sandy Macao Beach and a pumping nightclub inside a cave. Whether you’re soaking up the sun, swimming in the sea, or dancing the night away sensual indulgence is the order of the day at the wide variety of Punta Cana’s world-class all-inclusive resorts. When you’re tired of relaxing on the beach zip across the rain forest canopy on one of the zip-lines or take a boat out to Isla Saona. If you’re in the mood to learn something new check out the Dominican Republic’s history at Altos de Chavon, or visit the magical lagoons of the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park.

Explore the Dominican Republic’s Man-Made Wonders

The Dominican Rpublic is chuck full of man-made attractions and wonders. One of the most prominent man-made attractions is the Basilica at Higuey. The Our Lady of Altagracia Basilica de Higuey is named for the spiritual mother of the Dominican order of nuns. The site of the church was dedicated after a victory by local troops against French armed forces in the Battle of Sabana in 1691. The Higuey Basilica itself is a modern structure, built in 1971.

HigueyDominican Republic

Then there are number of other man-made attractions including the famous Ocean World waterpark located in Puerto Plata. There are close to twenty other waterparks as well. In addition there are numerous ziplines. And if seeing animals in the wild is not your thing, why not try a trip to the zoo where it is more controlled.

Stay in Style in the Dominican Republic at a Variety of Resorts 

The Dominican Republic truly has it all in the hotel and resort department. Whether you’re on a budget or you’re looking for the best of the best, the Dominican Republic has a resort to match your pocket, personality and passions. Get pampered in resort destinations like Punta Cana or enjoy city life in business suites in downtown Santo Domingo. Stay at budget resorts that cost under $100 a night or go crazy with ultra-luxurious and all-inclusive resorts that cater to your every need. And if you’re looking for nature escapes there are lots of eco-friendly options as well.

Jungle Tree House in Samana, Dominican Republic

Feel the Pulse of the Dominican Republic’s Night Life Vibes

Where to begin? Nightlife in the Dominican Republic is second to none in the Caribbean. Whether you just want to sit, relax and enjoy a nice meal at a local restaurant, or dance the night away at a merengue bar, or get drunk at a local bar, or get your cigar scene on, or go bar hopping, or watch a theatrical show, whatever you desire, the Dominican Republic can deliver a truly unforgettable nightlife experience for you.

Visit Cabarete – The Windsurfing Capital of the World

With its 14-mile coastline along the north shore of the Dominican Republic, Cabarate is coined the windsurfing capital of the world. Windsurfers from all over the world come to Cabarete. Each year there are several windsurfing, surfing and kiteboarding sporting events and festivals including the Kiteboarding World Tour, Master of the Ocean Tirathelon (the only water sports triathlon in the world), the Kiteboarding Event, The Summer Festival, The Butterfly Effect (a celebration of women in water sports), Pablito Guzman’s Cabarete Classic, the Masters’ Surf Reunion, and The Midwinter Laser Regatta. Nowhere else in the world has this many windsurfing and related sporting events in one location, hence the title of windsurfing capital of the world.

Dominican Republic Windsurfing

Kevon Wilson

kevon wilson

Kevon Wilson, is a premier researcher and strategist. He has more than 16 years’ experience in research and digital marketing.

He is co-author of many of Leve Global’s research publications such as Big Data – Delivering the Big Picture to Drive CompetitivenessEverything You Need to Know About Internet Marketing,  and The Top Ten Emerging Markets.

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