Get ready to stroll the streets of the oldest city in the Americas: Santo Domingo. This is just the first first of many adventures you'll enjoy over five action-packed days that include the highlights of the Dominican Republic. You'll see it all, from the Spanish colonial fortresses in the south to the white-sand beaches in the north—plus stops along the way for hikes to romantic waterfalls and to visit national parks.

Highlights

  • Discover Santo Domingo's colonial history on a bicycle tour
  • Visit freshwater lagoons at Tres Ojos National Park
  • Hike to exotic waterfalls and fly over the trees on a zip-line
  • Laze on powdery white-sand beaches on the country's north coast

Brief Itinerary

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  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Santo Domingo & City Bike Tour

The ruins of Hospital San Nicolás de Bari, in Santo Domingo
Welcome to Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic! Not only is this one of the Caribbean's most impressive capitals, but it's also the site of the very first European settlement anywhere in the Americas. Upon arrival at the airport, a private car will be waiting to take you to your hotel. 

After unpacking and unwinding, head out for a 1.5-hour bicycle tour of the city. This is the best way to experience Santo Domingo, which was founded in 1496. As the oldest city in the Caribbean, its Zona Colonial (colonial center) is packed with historic architecture. Your guide will point out the most impressive landmarks, such as the Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor. Built in 1514, this is the first church in the Americas, as well as the oldest.
 
Other highlights include the Alcázar de Colón (the first Spanish palace in the Americas), Fortaleza Ozama (the oldest military fort in the Americas), and the remains of the Northern Walls, the defensive structures that once protected the city from attacks on both land and sea. You'll also stop at the Monastery of San Francisco (1560), and the ruins of Hospital San Nicolás de Bari, among other places of interest.

Day 2: Tres Ojos National Park & Transfer to Cabarete

Transfer to Cabarete via Los Tres Ojos National Park Excursion
Tres Ojos National Park
This morning, you'll head out on a nature excursion—right here in Santo Domingo. A mere 10-minute drive from the Zona Colonial sits Los Tres Ojos National Park, a nature reserve and network of limestone caves. There are three crystalline lagoons here, known as las tres ojos ("the eyes"). You'll get to explore these caves and lagoons throughout the morning. 
 
Then hop in a private car for a scenic, five-hour drive north amid tropical rainforests and verdant mountains to DR's north coast. Your destination is Cabarete. Once a sleepy fishing village, it's now a popular stretch of coastline known for its all-inclusive resorts, beautiful beaches, and abundance of adventure sports. Upon arrival, you'll check in to your hotel and spend the remainder of the day relaxing. 

Day 3: Damajagua Waterfall & Zip Line Adventure

The Damajagua Waterfalls
Today you'll embark on a half-day group tour to the Damajagua River and its network of pools, limestone caverns natural waterslides, and waterfalls. There are actually 27 waterfalls along this river, and you can splash around in many of them. The adventure begins when your guide picks you up in the morning for the one-hour drive to the river's trailhead. 
 
From here it's a 60-minute uphill hike up to the best known of the falls. Then the real fun begins as you slide and swim your way back down the mountain, hopping from one lagoon to another and riding various natural waterslides. The adventure doesn't end there, however, because afterward, you'll enjoy an exciting zip-line ride over the falls before sitting down for a delicious Dominican lunch. Then you'll transfer back to your hotel in Cabarete and relax.

Day 4: Free Day in Cabarete 

Enjoy the beaches of Cabarete 
Today is a free day to enjoy however you see fit. You can choose to head out and explore the town on your own, or laze on its windswept, golden beach. Another option is to embark on one of the many day trips available in this region.
 
You could also head west to Puerto Plata, one of the crown jewels of the DR's northern coast. Here you can embark on zip-line tours or enjoy the turquoise waters and soft white sands at Playa Grande. Maybe you'll have the urge to do a little off-roading; in that case, hop in a dune buggy and head out on a tour of the countryside. Or you can stay in Cabarete and take advantage of the offshore winds and learn how to kitesurf.

Day 5: Cabarete to Santo Domingo & Depart

Goodbye, Santo Domingo
In the morning you'll transfer from Cabarete to the airport in Santo Domingo, where you'll catch your flight home. Adios!

More Great Dominican Republic Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the DR? Check out these other 5-day Dominican Republic itineraries, with outdoor adventures, beach vacations, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

Map

Map of History, Culture & Adventure in the Dominican Republic - 5 Days
Map of History, Culture & Adventure in the Dominican Republic - 5 Days