The first association with the Dominican Republic is endless beaches of breathtaking beauty: white sand, sprawling palms, and a gentle sea — the indispensable attributes of a tropical paradise. Nonetheless, there are many noteworthy sights beyond the beach rest: the architecture, which absorbed the island's traditions and features of European style, national parks with mind-blowing natural beauty, a rich underwater world that is loved by divers all over the world, and a huge variety of entertainment for active tourists. The Dominican Republic lives in the rhythms of bachata and salsa, inviting everyone to experience the cheerful atmosphere of the place where every day is like a little holiday.
The Dominican Republic is a charming country stretching to the east of the island of Haiti, surrounded by the waves of the Caribbean Sea. The capital is sultry Santo Domingo, home of the benchmark cigar and the cradle of the incendiary merengue. Every season has its own beauty here.
Weather in the Dominican Republic
The weather in the Dominican Republic throughout the year is very humid and warm. During the summer months, it is really hot! So, in the summer, the air temperature reaches +32 during the day and does not drop below +22 at night, whereas in the other months, the temperature is +30 during the day and +18 at night. It is a little cooler than in the coastal areas and the mountains. The water rarely falls below +26 throughout the year. The best time to visit the Dominican Republic is from December to April or from June to September. You have to keep in mind that there is a hurricane season from May to October.
In the Dominican Republic, there is no limited season for visitors.
The most favorable climatic conditions in the country are from December to April. There is not much rain, high humidity, and high temperatures at this time. However, even the occasional rain in the low season is short, and you can always wait until the end in a cafe or hotel.
The Dominican Republic is washed by the Caribbean Sea from the south and the Atlantic Ocean from the northeast. The sea water temperature is always 1-2 degrees warmer than the ocean. Also note that during the winter months, the waters in the north of the country may be choppy, while in the south water is calmer at any time of year.
The Dominican Republic's most popular tourist destinations
Santo Domingo is the oldest city in America. It plays an important part in the New World's history. Here the great explorer, Christopher Columbus, found his last resting place — his remains are buried in a giant lighthouse on the shores of the Caribbean Sea. You have to visit it! It is believed that the first paved roads, a university, and a Christian cathedral on American soil appeared in Santo Domingo. It's a great place to experience colonial culture — the local architecture is a blend of Renaissance, Arabic, Gothic, and Romanesque styles. Bright, bustling, colorful Santo Domingo offers its guests the opportunity to enjoy the tropical beauty, penetrate into the mysteries of history, and experience life in the Caribbean style.
The best time to visit Santo Domingo
In Santo Domingo, it is eternal summer — the temperature remains the same all year round, with no radical changes. However, there are dry and rainy seasons. December to April is the time of minimum rainfall. From May to November, there is a period of brief but heavy rain with hurricane-force winds and storms. It is not a great time to visit Santo Domingo.
Diving in Santo Domingo
Diving enthusiasts in Santo Domingo are drawn to La Caleta National Park. Divers from all over the world come here to visit the Taino cave system, named after an Indian tribe — ancestors of modern Dominicans. At a depth of 48 meters, divers may expect complex passages, winding tunnels, a cluster of stalactites and a halocline — a place where salt and freshwater meet. The underwater karst caves here are similar to those near the Yucatan Peninsula.
The cluster of ships on the seabed is the special desire of divers: the Spanish galleons, sunk in the 18th century, and a modern 39-meter expeditionary ship. In the waters of Juan Dolio, at a depth of 30 meters, lies a 65-meter ship. All sites are covered with a thick layer of coral and algae formations. Also, you may enjoy the marine life with beautiful tropical fish, stingrays, reef sharks, turtles, starfish, and urchins. Many dive centers offer their services to both beginners and experienced divers. The warm Caribbean Sea allows comfortable diving year-round, except for the period from September to November. There are strong hurricanes at this time. So, the best season for diving is spring and summer.
If the capital is an ideal place for excursions, then the resorts are great for beach holidays. The most popular destination among family tourists is Punta Cana, with its well-kept coastline, a variety of five-star hotels, excellent fish restaurants, and amazing nature. Also, there are three national parks with lush flora and exotic animals.
The best time to visit Punta Cana
Punta Cana has comfortable, hot weather almost all year round, with no radical changes. The average annual temperature is +30, with temperatures reaching +35 from May to October. The rainy season lasts with heavy, but brief showers from May to July. The hurricane season begins in the fall in the region, but it usually hits the island of Haiti from the west and subsides as it reaches the Dominican resorts. The temperature is around +20 from November to March. So, the best time to visit Punta Cana is all year round!
The beaches of Punta Cana
The beaches are the main attraction of Punta Cana. Most of them are public and entry is free. Many beaches in Punta Cana are suitable for a quiet family vacation with children. The coast is covered with clean sand, the entrance to the water is gentle, and the bathing area is separated from the open sea by coral reefs, so it is quite safe. Bavaro is the busiest beach in Punta Cana. Bars and discos are open here, and during the spring break they are filled with Canadian and American youth. It is a season of fun, parties, and lots of drinks. Here you can find entertainment at any time of the day! Divers will be interested in coral reefs, underwater caves, and shipwrecks. If you want a secluded vacation, you will love Macau. This is one of the most environmentally friendly corners of the east coast. There are no umbrellas, sun loungers, or water rides. In addition, Macau has good waves that attract surfers.
Playa Dorada is a resort complex of 13 hotels, each with its own oceanfront club. This place is famous for its clean beach with fine sand and beautiful scenery: rainforests, waterfalls, and caves in the range. Playa Dorada offers a good eighteen-hole golf course, an equestrian club, a casino, stores, and restaurants as entertainment. It is difficult to say what category of tourists is intended for Playa Dorada. It is definitely suitable for a honeymoon or a romantic trip, for families with children, for water sports enthusiasts, for fun and shopping... So, Playa Dorada is suitable for tourists of all categories. Everything a vacationer may think of will be found in Playa Dorada. There is no best time to visit this place – all seasons are great.
Boca Chica is a cozy lagoon, protected from the outside world by a coral reef. It is good to combine a beach holiday with all kinds of activities: diving or tennis, windsurfing or horseback riding, sailing or water skiing. The Juan Dolio resort is a great place to stay for those who want to visit Santo Domingo. The resort is located just 50 km from Santo Domingo. Bayahibe is known for its clean beaches, calm sea, and the variety of its underwater world. Samana has many secluded corners surrounded by unspoiled nature with dolphins, manatees, and even humpback whales. The lack of historical monuments in La Romana is compensated by a developed tourist infrastructure. Cap Cana is a new resort, but it has already gained a reputation as an elite one: Donald Trump himself participated in the creation of Cap Cana. The best season to visit Boca Chica is winter.
What to do at Boca Chica?
It is worth swimming to the islands of Los Pinhos and La Matica. The first is known for its rather dense greenery. The second is filled with mangroves, between which you can sail in a boat. Another pretty stretch of coastline is Playa Andres, which stretches between Boca Chica and the marina. Despite the "Robinsonian'' spirit, you can find umbrellas and sun loungers on the beaches, so staying in the sun will be quite comfortable. Do not be afraid to visit such wild beaches. Other fascinating places are the Saona and Catalina Islands, San Pedro de Macorricks — the famous "baseball" town, Binh-Boom Beach — the place with vibrant underwater life on the Bavaro coast, "jeep safari", and rafting.
The Dominican Republic's festivals and events
The Dominican Republic is a country of colorful festivals that last for weeks, if not months. The most spectacular carnival begins in Santo Domingo on February 27 and continues until Easter. It is a whole season of celebration and you have to visit the Dominican Republic at this time! In winter, you may find some fun in Cabarete. Weekly competitions — throwing knives or building a sand sculpture — are held here at this time. In March and April, the Catholic Easter is celebrated with warm family feasts. In June, Puerto Plata thunders with the Festival of Caribbean Culture — a festival of colorful dance shows and concerts, from jazz and blues to folklore. Late July and early August are the time of the Merengue Festival, favorite music of Dominicans. Visitors and residents of Santo Domingo dance to folk songs and have fun at street fairs. August 16 is designated as Restoration Day, commemorating the start of the war with Spain. On September 24, solemn services honor Our Lady of Mercedes. On December 25-26, together with the entire Catholic world, Dominicans celebrate Christmas.
When is the hurricane season in the Dominican Republic?
The high season ends in May in the Dominican Republic because at this time the heaviest rains often fall over the island of Haiti. But do not be afraid to visit the Dominican Republic in May and July. Tropical downpours, though powerful, are usually short-lived. Real hurricanes come to the Dominican Republic in late summer and usually last until September-October. During this time, the island's airports can be closed and swimming becomes impossible. However, protected by a ridge, Punta Cana is considered the calmest and windless resort in the Dominican Republic. Nevertheless, many Dominican vacationers advise avoiding visiting even Punta Cana in August and September.
Winter in the Dominican Republic
Winter in the Dominican Republic is high season, so vacationing at this time is quite expensive. The weather in the Dominican Republic in winter is mild. There is no intolerable heat, just nice sunbathing and swimming. The temperature in the Dominican Republic in winter is about +26-+28 and the water temperature is the same, although in the Caribbean Sea it is slightly higher than in the Atlantic Ocean. Rain and winds are possible but unlikely. In December, as in January, the weather in the Dominican Republic is usually sunny and warm. The temperature is about +28-+29, and the water temperature is about +27 at this time. February is the driest month of the year. The weather in February is a little different from the first two months of winter except that the water temperature drops to 26 degrees, which is still comfortable, and the air temperature is still about +28. Winter is the best time to visit the Dominican Republic.
Spring in the Dominican Republic
Spring in the Dominican Republic, especially at its beginning, is still considered a winter high season. You may be sure that the weather will not spoil your vacation. March in the Dominican Republic is still warm and dry but not hot. The temperature in March is about +28-+30 and the sea is about +26. Therefore the weather is suitable for bathing, sightseeing, and outdoor activities in March at this time. The rainy season starts at the beginning of April, so the weather becomes more humid. The temperatures are a little higher, around +30 during the day and +21 at night. The average water temperature in March rises by one degree, to +27. The weather in May becomes even more humid and most of the visitors prefer to finish their vacation. The daytime temperature in May is still about +30, and the sea is already warming up to +28. The weather in the spring is not as comfortable as in the winter season, but still acceptable for a beach holiday.
Summer in the Dominican Republic
What is summer in the Dominican Republic? There are typhoons, rain, heat, few tourists, pressure surges, termite migration, and other troubles. All of this can be true, but not all the time. There are good days, but still, summer is not the best time to go to the Dominican Republic. For example, only three to four inches of rain may fall in June! The daytime temperature is about +30 and the sea about +28. The weather in July is unpredictable. In July, the Dominican Republic is often influenced by tropical cyclones. Heavy rains, squalls, storms and severe pressure changes are quite likely. The temperature in July is about +30 and the water is about +28. In August, the maximum temperature for the year is about +32. The humidity is high. In general, holidays in the Dominican Republic in the summer are a risk, but many visitors are lucky enough to spend a pleasant holiday there.
Autumn in the Dominican Republic
Autumn in the Dominican Republic is quite a good time to rest, but the exception would still be the month of September. At this time, there is a high probability of rain and even hurricanes. Natural disasters do not occur every year, but strong gusts of wind can also ruin your vacation. In general, the weather in the Dominican Republic in September is humid and hot; the temperature rises to +31 and the water warms up to +29. Weather in October is more stable, the probability of typhoons is less, but still exists. The temperature in October is about the same as in September — about +30. In November, the tourist season begins. And although storms and rain are possible, their probability is low. The temperature in November is about +30. The water temperature is +28. It is a great time to travel to the Dominican Republic!
Travel tips for the Dominican Republic
Things to do to avoid problems in the Dominican Republic
Before traveling to the Dominican Republic, it is best to be immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A and B. If you are planning to visit the jungle, you have to take a course of medication against malaria. As in other exotic countries, it is strictly prohibited to drink tap water. We advise using boiled or bottled water to wash your face. Ice in drinks is allowed only in restaurants with an impeccable reputation.
In the Dominican Republic, medical care is not free, so it is worth buying international insurance in advance.
Do not forget SPF creams to protect against the treacherous Dominican sun. In general, be careful with local nature: there are poisonous urchins, jellyfish, fish, moray eels, and other dangerous inhabitants in the Caribbean Sea. Predators and vermin are waiting on land, so you should not relax either. Cars have to be left only at the paid parking lots. It is forbidden to change money at peddlers and withdraw cash from ATMs on the streets. The originals of documents, as well as large sums of money and personal valuables, should be left in the hotel safe, but it is better to have a copy of your passport with you.