Escape to a paradise of turquoise waters and white sand beaches on this unforgettable 15-day journey through the Dominican Republic. Tour the oldest colonial city in the Americas at Santo Domingo, explore underwater worlds in Sosúa, and head to the pristine Samana Peninsula to discover towering waterfalls, hidden beaches, and the spectacular Los Haitises National Park. End your trip in the tropical haven of Punta Cana, where you'll unwind at the beach in between adventurous excursions.

Highlights

  • Cycle around the capital of Santo Domingo
  • Take your pick of watersports in the diving hotspot of Sosúa
  • Discover the El Limón Waterfall on horseback
  • Explore the unique landscapes of Los Haitises National Park
  • Relax on the pristine beaches of Punta Cana

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Santo Domingo, Guided City Bike Tour Santo Domingo
Day 2 Los Tres Ojos National Park Excursion Santo Domingo
Day 3 Transfer to Santiago de los Caballeros, Guided City Tour Santiago de los Caballeros
Day 4 Transfer to Sosúa & the Northern Coast Sosúa
Day 5 Transfer to Las Terrenas & the Samaná Peninsula Samaná
Day 6 El Limón Waterfall Adventure Samaná
Day 7 Day Trip to Playa Rincón Samaná
Day 8 Catamaran Excursion to Playa Jackson Samaná
Day 9 Free Day in Las Terrenas  Samaná
Day 10 Day Trip to Los Haitises National Park Samaná
Day 11 Transfer to Punta Cana Punta Cana
Day 12 Free Day in Punta Cana Punta Cana
Day 13 Scuba Doo Diving Experience  Punta Cana
Day 14 Off-Road Buggy Adventure to Macao Punta Cana
Day 15 Depart Punta Cana  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Santo Domingo, Guided City Bike Tour

Arrive in the capital of Santo Domingo

Welcome to the Dominican Republic! Upon your arrival at the Santo Domingo airport,  your private driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. After check-in, get ready to start exploring the city with a local guide on a biking tour. 

Founded in 1496, Santo Domingo is the Dominican Republic's capital and the site of the Americas' first European settlement. On today's tour, you'll see the city from a different perspective, as your charismatic local guide reveals interesting facts about the history and culture of the capital. Cycle through the fortified historic colonial center which dates back to the 16th century, and pass highlights like the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor, the Monastery of San Francisco, Fortaleza Ozama, the Hospital San Nicolás de Bari, and Colón Lighthouse.

Day 2: Los Tres Ojos National Park Excursion

Discover the sacred pools of Los Tres Ojos National Park

After breakfast this morning, your driver will pick you up for a visit to the nearby Los Tres Ojos National Park. Located just a few minutes from central Santo Domingo, this natural wonder is a series of open-air limestone caverns and colorful lakes formed thousands of years ago. There are indications the caves were once inhabited by the early Taíno people, and it was an important sacred site to the island's indigenous tribes.

After exploring the scenic lakes and caverns, your driver will return you to Santo Domingo, where the rest of the afternoon is free to explore the city.

Day 3: Transfer to Santiago de los Caballeros, Guided City Tour

The Monument to the Heroes of the Restoration of the Republic in Santiago

Today your driver will take you north to the province of Santiago, an area full of history that's often missed on tourist itineraries. Located in the lush Cibao Valley, Santiago was one of the provinces created by the first Dominican Constitution in 1844 and it has been witness to many of the country's pivotal historic events.

Upon arrival to the city of Santiago de los Caballeros, get settled into your hotel and get ready for a guided tour with a local expert. After discovering some of the city's highlights and hidden gems, the rest of the day is free for your to explore at your own pace. 

Consider a stop at the León Jimenes Cultural Center. The first floor of the center features a beautiful series of permanent exhibits showing Dominican history and culture dating back to Taíno times. You'll also find a room dedicated to visual arts where the winning pieces of the Eduardo León Jimenes Art Contest, created in 1964 to promote art and encourage new generations of Dominican artists, are exhibited. In an adjacent building, you can browse an exhibition focused on tobacco, which tells of the heritage of the premium tobacco industry of the Dominican Republic.

You can also arrange to join an immersive cooking class to learn about the fusion of cultures that typifies Dominican gastronomy. Discover the Spanish, African, Taíno, and Arab influences on traditional Dominican cuisine, and learn to cook one of the country's most famous dishes alongside an expert chef. 

Day 4: Transfer to Sosúa & the Northern Coast 

Transfer to the diving hotspot of Sosúa

Today takes you to Sosúa, one of the must-visit cities on the wonderful north coast of the Dominican Republic. Located about 15 miles (25 km) from Puerto Plata and just a couple of miles from Cabarete, Sosúa is an excellent base for leisure and adventure activities along the coast.

Diving is one of the star attractions here, and it boasts multiple outstanding dive sites, such as Airport Wall, an area full of underwater walls and tunnels; Zingara Wreck, a spectacular wrecked ship; and the beautiful coral reefs of Coral Gardens. Easy excursions include Cayo Arena, Río San Juan, El Choco National Park, and Monkey Jungle, and you'll find two of the best beaches on the north coast nearby—the beautiful and quiet Playa Alicia, and the popular and busy Playa Sosúa.

Upon arrival at Sosúa, get checked into your hotel and spend the rest of the day relaxing at the beach or enjoying the many water activities. 

Day 5: Transfer to Las Terrenas & the Samaná Peninsula

Transfer to the beaches of the Samaná Peninsula

Today you'll transfer down the coast to Las Terrenas, located on the spectacular Samaná Peninsula. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel and head to the beach! Samaná is an earthly paradise in the island's far northeast corner, bordered by enchanting beaches, turquoise waters, coconut palms, and mountain rainforests. 

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Day 6: El Limón Waterfall Adventure

Hike or horseback ride your way to the stunning El Limón Waterfall

After breakfast, saddle up for a horseback riding excursion to the stunning El Limón Waterfall. Ride through lush jungle landscapes to reach an idyllic waterfall that plunges from the top of the Sierra de Samaná at 130 feet (40 m). At the end of the 1.5-mile (2.5 km) journey, you'll be rewarded with a refreshing dip in the cool water and plenty of free time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.  After making your way back down, finish today's excursion with a traditional Dominican lunch. You can also choose to make the journey on foot or quad bike. 

You will have the rest of the day free to relax on the beach.

Day 7: Day Trip to Playa Rincón

Crystal clear seas at Playa Rincón

Today's full-day excursion takes you to the breathtaking Playa Rincón, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Start the day with a refreshing dip in the warm waters of the calm Caribbean Sea and soak up the sun on pristine white sands. You'll also visit the Caño Frío, located at the northern end of Rincón Bay. This river boasts crystal clear waters that flow into the beach itself, and the riverbed is surrounded by lush, perfectly preserved tropical vegetation. Other highlights of the excursion include a visit to the Samaná market, where you can sample local products like coffee, cocoa, tropical fruits, and mamajuana, and panoramic clifftop views from the observatory in Punta Balandra—a prime viewing spot for humpback whales. 

After a full day of sightseeing, your driver will return you to your hotel for the evening.

Day 8: Catamaran Excursion to Playa Jackson 

Today's catamaran adventure takes you to the secluded "Sunken Island"

This morning another day trip takes you to the port for an unforgettable sailing experience. After a 45-minute scenic cruise along the north coast of the beautiful Samaná Peninsula aboard a 35-foot power catamaran, you'll arrive at the pristine waters of Playa Jackson—known as the "Sunken Island." Relax, unwind, and go for a leisurely snorkel through the corals and tropical fish of the crystal clear water. A buffet-style lunch is served on board before you head back to shore and transfer to the hotel for the afternoon. 

Day 9: Free Day in Las Terrenas 

Relax on one of the many Las Terrenas beaches

Today you can decide to relax at one of the many beaches of Las Terrenas or embark on another guided excursion. Options include discovering the Coffee Route by quad bike, snorkeling or diving in Samaná, and joining a whale watching tour (depending on the time of the year).

If you feel like spending the day at the beach, you have multiple paradise-like locales to choose from:

  • Playa Cosón: Located west of La Terrenas, this beach is ideal for walking while observing the plentiful nature around its rivers and shoreline. The strong winds and swells here are perfect for kitesurfing and surfing enthusiasts. 

  • Playa Bonita: This beautiful beach boasts calm, crystalline waters and is bordered by beautiful coconut trees that plunge into the sea. Located in Las Terrenas, it is an ideal place for those seeking peace, tranquility, and natural beauty. The surrounding area is stocked with numerous boutique hotels, private villas, and delicious restaurants.

  • Playa Las Ballenas: A short distance from the town center in Las Terrenas lies this long beach of fine white sand. It offers lots of water sports options, and the mouth of the Marico River is a hit with children for its calm, cool waters.

  • Portillo Beach: Just east of Las Terrenas, Portillo is a very popular beach that's home to a famous diving school, and offers golden sand and calm waters.

  • Playa El Limón: Located in nearby El Limón, his spectacular 3 miles (4.8 km) beach has a beautiful view of Cayo El Limón.
     
  • Playa El Valle: Located between two mountains to the north of the Samaná Bay, El Valle is an ideal place to practice surfing thanks to the quality of its waves.

Day 10: Day Trip to Los Haitises National Park

Explore the lush mountains of Los Haitises 

After breakfast, your driver will transfer you to Los Haitises National Park. One of the jewels of the Dominican Republic's national park system, Los Haitises, which translates to “mountainous land” in the Taíno language, attracts multiple visitors who come here by boat to see its magnificent series of rock formations that rise out of the water. The park also has lush mangroves along its bay, which is adorned with keys that are home to native bird colonies and a series of caves known for having the largest number of petroglyphs and pictographs in the country.

Upon arrival, your guide will show you around this magical place on a guided tour. After the tour, you'll return to your hotel in Las Terrenas.

Day 11: Transfer to Punta Cana

An aerial view of Punta Cana

This morning you'll bid Las Terrenas farewell as your driver picks you up for the five-hour journey to Punta Cana. Located on the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic, Punta Cana is known for its bustling resorts and breathtaking beaches. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel and relax after the day's long drive.

Day 12: Free Day in Punta Cana

Catamaran sailing is one of the many watersports available in Punta Cana

Today is free to enjoy at your leisure. You could spend the entire day relaxing at the beach or join one of the many watersport activities on offer. Other optional activities include:

  • Set out on a catamaran trip to nearby Isla Saona or Isla Catalina

  • Try your hand at snagging the catch of the day with a guided fishing excursion.

  • Cycle through the mountains and countryside of Punta Cana on a bike tour.

  • Learn to cook mouth-watering Caribbean delicacies like coconut fish and drunken stew at a local cooking class.

Day 13: Scuba Doo Diving Experience

Explore the underwater worlds around Punta Cana

Explore the depths of the Caribbean Sea today, as you experience an underwater paradise and discover remarkable marine biodiversity.

If you want all the thrill of diving without the training, join an excursion with Scuba Doo, whose underwater diving equipment allows even the most beginner of swimmers to dive safely, navigate coral reefs, and enjoy 180-degree views of the spectacular aquatic world. The adventure begins with a 30-minute journey by glass-bottom boat, where drinks and tasty tropical fruits can be enjoyed while you marvel at the flora and fauna of the Caribbean. Upon arrival at the beach in Cabeza de Toro, you can dive to the depths in your specialized Scuba Doo "mini-submarine," or opt for some classic snorkeling accompanied by a knowledgable guide. 

Day 14: Off-Road Buggy Adventure to Macao

See more of the Punta Cana countryside on an off-road adventure

Head off-road today as you explore the tropical trails and lush countryside of Punta Cana on a 4x4 buggy adventure. Drive through muddy tracks and rugged roads to reach beautiful Playa de Macao, then continue to a traditional coffee, cocoa, and Dominican tobacco ranch. You'll end the day with a refreshing dive into a thousand-year-old cave of crystal clear fresh water in Macao before heading back to the hotel to enjoy your final Caribbean sunset of the trip.     

Day 15: Depart Punta Cana

Enjoy a final sunrise over Punta Cana 

Savor your final morning in Punta Cana. After breakfast, you'll be picked up and transferred to the airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels! 

More 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. 

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