8 Breathtaking Places in the Dominican Republic That Aren't Punta Cana

The Dominican Republic is a true treasure trove for holiday destinations, each of them as unique and unforgettable (if not more) than Punta Cana. If you're looking to explore this Caribbean gem, here are eight equally amazing places that deserve a spot on your travel list.

1. Santo Domingo

First of all, Santo Domingo – the capital city of the Dominican Republic. Rich in history and culture, this city has tons of cool things to see, amongst them the Zona Colonial (colonial zone), a UNESCO World Heritage site where you can discover colonial architecture on cobblestone streets.

📍Don’t miss the Alcázar de Colón, the former residence of Christopher Columbus’ son.

For an afternoon stroll and to relax by the river, we recommend the promenade along the Malecón waterfront. At night is when Santo Domingo really comes alive, with lots of lively nightlife, music and dancing. 

2. Samaná Peninsula

The Samaná Peninsula is a tropical paradise filled with natural landscapes and gorgeous, relaxing beaches. If you’re a true adventure seeker like us, you can hike to El Limón Waterfall, nestled in the jungle.

If you’re looking for some extra relaxation, take a boat trip to Cayo Levantado (also known as the Bacardi Island) or go whale watching if you time your visit according to the humpback whale migration season. 

3. Jarabacoa

Also commonly known as the “City of Everlasting Spring”, Jarabacoa is the ideal escape if mountains are more your thing. Here, you can climb the Pico Duarte – the highest peak in the Caribbean – and explore the Jimenoa Falls. The Yaque del Norte river is a fun place if you feel like doing some rafting as well.

Jarabacoa offers stunning scenery and a cool climate, making it very appropriate for nature lovers.

4. Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata is a coastal city located on the Dominican Republic’s northern coast that offers a great balance of history, nature and culture. For a fantastic view on the Atlantic Ocean while exploring a Spanish fortress, check out the Fort San Felipe. 

For some more breathtaking panoramic views, you can also take the cable car to the top of Mount Isabel de Torres, where you can see the whole city and its lush surroundings. While you’re at it, have a little stroll around the botanical gardens.

When you start craving some sunbathing and swimming to cool off, head down to Playa Dorada or Cofresi Beach. 

5. Bayahibe

A quaint fishing village on the southeastern coast of the Dominican Republic, this is a beach lovers’ paradise, famous for its diving and snorkelling opportunities. In the Parque Nacional del Este, you can explore the underwater world by swimming alongside schools of colourful fish and coral reefs. 

For a quick escape from the hustle and bustle and to surround yourself with beautiful beaches with soft white sand and crystal-clear waters, take a boat out to Saona Island. 

Just as in the rest of the Dominican Republic, the locals in Bayahibe are very friendly and welcoming – always a big plus when travelling. 

6. Las Terrenas

Las Terrenas is known for a highly multicultural atmosphere, along with its stunning scenery. Head over to the Playa Bonita beach to relax and unwind, or have a quick dip in the waters of El Salto del Limón for some natural refreshment.

Within the town, you’ll find bustling local markets with delicious food and countless options if you’re looking for unique crafts to take back home as souvenirs. The nightlife in Las Terrenas is also extremely lively, with bars, beach clubs, and restaurants providing a fun and energetic atmosphere after the sun goes down. 

7. Barahona

​​For those looking for untouched natural beauty, Barahona (in the southwest) is a hidden gem. The Bahía de las Águilas is a secluded beach often regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world, with its clear waters and unspoiled sands. For some wildlife spotting, check out the unique Lake Enriquillo, the Caribbean’s largest lake, where you’ll be able to see animals such as flamingos and iguanas.

Discover the Larimar mines, where the rare blue gemstone is found, and learn some more about its history. Barahona’s off-the-beaten-path feel, along with its natural wonders, makes it an irresistible destination for the more daring and adventurous nature explorers.

8. La Romana

La Romana is ideal for travellers who appreciate a mix of luxury, culture, and history in a picturesque setting. It's perfect for those who enjoy upscale accommodations and amenities, such as staying at the renowned Casa de Campo resort with its world-class golf courses, exclusive beaches, and fine dining options. 

When going around sightseeing, wander through Altos de Chavón, a replica of a 16th-century Mediterranean village with stunning views of the Chavón River, where you can enjoy some artistic ambiance and cobblestone streets. 

The Dominican Republic is so much more than just Punta Cana. From the historical streets of Santo Domingo to the pristine beaches of Barahona, each destination offers a unique glimpse into this country’s rich culture and natural beauty. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore these places that promise unforgettable experiences (and, of course, visit Punta Cana as well if you’re dead set on it!).

Starting from Skratch? Here are some links to help you get started:





Dominican Republic

💰 Currency

Dominican Peso

📌 Capital City

Santo Domingo 

💬 Language


👤 Population

11.23 million 

Share this post

More like this