Five days in the Dominican Republic is just enough time to explore a couple of different regions of this tropical paradise. Enjoy the best of both worlds when you visit the colonial heart of Santo Domingo (the oldest city in the Americas) and laze on the white-sand beaches of the north coast. Or make the most of your time by exploring one single region, such as the unspoiled wonderland of the Samará Peninsula.

Itinerary #1: Highlights of the Dominican Republic

Enjoy some of the best the Dominican Republic has to offer on this five-day highlights tour that will take you from the streets of colonial Santo Domingo to the white-sand beaches and coral reefs of Isla Saona.

Let a catamaran whisk you off to Isla Saona
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santo Domingo, Guided City Bike Tour Santo Domingo
Day 2 Transfer to Bayahibe, Stop at Cueva de las Maravillas Bayahibe
Day 3 Explore Bayahibe, Visit VegaFina Cigar Factory Bayahibe
Day 4 Day Trip to Saona Island, Catamaran Experience Bayahibe
Day 5 Depart the Dominican Republic   

Arrive in the Dominican Republic's (DR) capital of Santo Domingo, where you'll hit the streets on a cycling tour of the Zona Colonial. This is the Spanish-colonial heart of the city and the site of the first settlement in the Americas. There are many landmarks here that exemplify Santo Domingo's rich history, like the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor and the Fortaleza Ozama. On Day 2, you'll head across the Dominican's south coast, stopping at the mystical Cave of Wonders on the way to Bayhibe. This region is prized for its white-sand beaches that are less crowded than at other resort areas in the Dominican.

For the rest of the trip, you'll immerse yourself in both the culture and beauty of the area as you visit a cigar factory and relax on tranquil beaches like Playa Dominicus. Capping the adventure on Day 4 is a scenic catamaran trip to Isla Saona, one of the most beautiful offshore islands in the Dominican. You can feast on lobster, enjoy beach activities, and search for starfish in shallow, crystalline waters that stretch for hundreds of meters offshore. Then, on Day 5, transfer back to Santo Domingo for your flight home. Learn more

Itinerary #2: History, Culture & Adventure in the Dominican Republic

This well-rounded five-day vacation allows you to experience many of the Dominican Republic's cultural and natural highlights.

The Damajagua waterfalls
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santo Domingo & City Bike Tour Santo Domingo
Day 2 Tres Ojos National Park & Transfer to Cabarete Cabarete
Day 3 Damajagua Waterfall & Zip Line Adventure Cabarete
Day 4 Free Day in Cabarete Cabarete
Day 5 Cabarete to Santo Domingo & Depart  

Upon arrival in Santo Domingo, discover its history and culture on a bicycle tour of the Zona Colonial. Besides the landmarks mentioned above, you'll also visit the first Spanish palace in the Americas, a 16th-century monastery, and the ruins of the Northern Walls, ancient fortifications that helped protect the fledgling city when it was founded. Day 2, you'll visit a network of limestone caves and lagoons right in the city limits before heading off on a scenic drive north to the coastal resort area of Cabarete.

On Day 3, you'll take a half-day group tour to the Damajagua River to explore its 27 falls and natural slides. After hiking around the river, strap into a biplane and soar over the falls and treetops on an unforgettable adventure. The next day you can unwind and explore Cabarete at your own pace. Its main beach is wide and inviting, with golden sands perfect for whiling away the hours. The winds here are strong enough that you can even hit the waves on a kitesurfing excursion. On day five you'll head back to the airport and catch your flight home. Learn more

Plan your trip to the Dominican Republic
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Itinerary #3: Family Fun in the Dominican Republic

This five-day vacation is perfect for families who want a quick getaway to a tropical paradise and enjoy postcard beaches while bonding over water sports and active adventures. 

The beaches at Punta Cana await
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in DR, Explore Punta Cana Punta Cana
Day 2 Day Trip to Saona Island Punta Cana
Day 3 Excursion to Hoyo Azul Punta Cana
Day 4 Scuba Doo Experience Punta Cana
Day 5 Depart  

You and the family will arrive in Punta Cana, on the Dominican's northeast coast. Known as the "coconut coast," this is one of the most popular destinations in the country due to its 51 miles of white-sand, palm-fringed beaches. Once here, you and the gang can immediately head out for a snorkeling tour or an ATV buggy ride around coastal villages. The next day, take a scenic trip to Bayahibe, then hop a speedboat to Saona Island, where you'll enjoy lunch on the beach, followed by starfish spotting in the shallows.

On Day 3, you'll visit Hoyo Azul, an incredible limestone sinkhole with a blue lagoon. Everyone can dive right into the 45-foot (14-m) deep waters and enjoy a swim before heading back to Bayahibe. On your penultimate day in the Dominican, embark on a unique aquatic activity: "Scuba Doo." It involves hopping on an underwater scooter with its own breathing apparatus and mask, allowing you to go diving around coastal reefs without needing any actual dive experience. It's perfect for the whole family, as the minimum age is seven. The next day, you'll transfer to the airport and fly home. Learn more

Itinerary #4: The Northern Dominican Republic

On this five-day north coast excursion, you'll discover a less well-known but no less beautiful side to the Dominican Republic, one abounding with crescent beaches, freshwater lagoons, and romantic waterfalls.

Playa Dorada, in Puerto Plata
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Puerto Plata, Walking Tour & Amber Museum Puerto Plata
Day 2 Damajagua Waterfall Adventure & Zip Line Puerto Plata
Day 3 Playa Dorada Free Day Puerto Plata
Day 4 Day Trip to Playa Grande & Laguna Dudu Puerto Plata
Day 5 Depart Puerto Plata  

As in the previous itinerary, you'll arrive on the Dominican's north coast, this time in Puerto Plata. It's a city with an abundance of rich colonial history and gorgeous beaches. Starting with the history, upon arrival, you'll head out for a tour of the Spanish colonial landmarks and old fortresses that used to protect the city against invaders. Additional highlights include a trip to a gallery of precious stones (the area is famous for amber and Larimar), a rum museum, an artisanal cigar factory, and more.

Day two involves a half-day hike to the Damajagua River, famous for its network of waterfalls and natural waterslides, which you'll get to enjoy throughout the day. On Day 3, you get to travel to the most beautiful beach in the region, Playa Dorada. This stretch of sand is so enticing that it's been bestowed a coveted Blue Flag status. The next morning you'll visit more beaches and dine on fresh lobster before heading to Laguna Dudú in the afternoon, an emerald lagoon perfect for a swim. On Day 5, transfer to the airport in Puerto Plata for your flight home. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Active Adventure in Samaná

Over five action-packed days, you'll hike around one of the most gorgeous locales in the Dominican Republic: the Samaná Peninsula.

Limestone islets in Los Haitises National Park
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santo Domingo & Explore Samaná Samaná
Day 2 Hike to La Cana, Lanza del Norte, & Morón Beach Samaná
Day 3 Hike to El Limón Waterfall Samaná
Day 4 Day Trip to Los Haitises National Park Samaná
Day 5 Samaná to Santo Domingo & Depart  

Your plane will touch down in the capital of Santo Domingo, at which point you'll take a scenic three-hour ride in a private car to Samaná. Located on the northeast coast, this peninsula shelters a tranquil bay that was a popular hiding spot for pirates back in the 16th century. These days the area is known more for its unspoiled rainforests and inviting white-sand beaches, which you can visit the moment you arrive. Or browse the main town's shops and boutiques for Dominican art and souvenirs. Another optional tour involves a ferry ride to the postcard islet Cayo Levantando, which rivals Isla Saona for sheer beauty.

The next day you'll embark on a three-hour hike to three different beaches, all of them little touched by tourism. These beaches, which include Playa Morón, are wide, inviting, and free of mass tourism. Your second hike of the trip occurs on Day 3 with a trek to the romantic El Limón waterfall, which plunges 131 feet (400 m) into a turquoise lagoon. 

Day 4, you'll enjoy an outing to Los Haitises National Park, a protected area that covers 618 sq. miles around Samaná. A private guide will lead you into the park, where you can hike through the rainforest and marvel at the limestone formations rising dramatically out of the water just offshore. The next day you'll transfer back to Santo Domingo for your flight home. Learn more

More Great Dominican Republic Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Dominican Republic? Check out these other Dominican Republic itineraries, with outdoor adventures, beach vacations, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.


Map of 5 Days in the Dominican Republic - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 5 Days in the Dominican Republic - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas