Get ready for seven days of highlight tours and off-the-beaten-path adventures in the Dominican Republic. In Santo Domingo, you'll tour the historic streets of the oldest city in the Americas, followed by horseback riding and river rafting in the highlands. Then, after lazing on sun-kissed beaches on the north coast, you'll hike to romantic waterfalls and soar over the treetops on a zip-line ride you'll never forget.

Highlights

  • Discover Santo Domingo's colonial history on a bicycle tour
  • Go horseback riding and rafting in the mountains of Jarabacoa
  • Laze on the golden beaches of the Dominican's north coast
  • Hike to waterfalls and soar above the trees on a zip-line

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santo Domingo, Guided City Bike Tour Santo Domingo
Day 2 Santo Domingo to Jarabacoa, Free Day Jarabacoa
Day 3 Horseback Riding Adventure Jarabacoa
Day 4 Rafting in Jarabacoa Jarabacoa
Day 5 Jarabacoa to Cabarete Cabarete
Day 6 Damajagua Waterfall Adventure & Zip Line Cabarete
Day 7 Cabarete to Santo Domingo, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Santo Domingo, Guided City Bike Tour

 Bike Guided City Tour
Explore Santo Domingo on a bicycle

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 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, founded in 1496. As the oldest city in the Caribbean, its Zona Colonial (Colonial Center) is packed with historic architecture. Your guide will highlight the most impressive landmarks, such as the Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor. Built in 1514, it is the first church in the Americas and 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: Santo Domingo to Jarabacoa, Free Day

 Free day in Jarabacoa - Optional activities
Explore the highlands of the Dominican Republic
In the morning, your driver will pick you up for the 2-hour transfer north to Jarabacoa, in the heart of DR. Located in the Central Cordillera mountain range of La Vega Province, this city is one of the premier eco-tourism destinations in the country. You can hike through beautiful pine forests and marvel at incredible highland vistas. The level of peace and tranquility here is so renowned that locals even have a saying: "God is everywhere... but sleeps in Jarabacoa."

Upon arrival, you'll check in to your hotel and have the rest of the day free to head out and explore. There are many great activities to choose from, like horseback riding, hiking along mountain trails, tubing and rafting down the Yaque del Norte River, swimming in the lagoons at the Salto de Jimenoa and Salto de Baiguate waterfalls, and even rappelling down canyon walls.
 
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For dinner, you'll want to head up to Aroma de la Montaña, the only 360º restaurant in the Dominican Republic. The panoramic views alone are worth it. 

Day 3: Horseback Riding Adventure

Horseback Riding Adventure
Horseback riding around Jarabacoa
In the morning, you'll saddle up for a 2.5-hour horseback adventure in the mountains around Jarabacoa. Horseback riding is an integral part of the culture here and has been for generations. The only way to experience the magic of this mountainous region is by riding along its coriander-scented green fields and galloping beside rushing rivers. 

The tour follows a nature route abounding with incredible scenery far from the hustle of modern city life. It's a great way to relax and commune with your surroundings. And if you don't have much riding experience, not to worry—an expert will be available to help guide your horse.

Day 4: Rafting in Jarabacoa

Rafting in Jarabacoa - Optional activities
Go rafting in Jarabacoa
After breakfast, you'll head out on a 3-hour rafting trip down the Yaque del Norte, one of the longest rivers in the Caribbean. Upon arrival at the put-in, your highly trained staff will go over the requisite safety precautions, then you'll hop in the raft and head down the river. The route follows a section of rushing river filled with rapids guaranteed to kick your adrenaline into high gear. You'll disembark after the ride ends and enjoy an extensive buffet lunch.

The remainder of the afternoon is yours to spend however you like. There are many optional activities in and around Jarabacoa, and one of the most popular is to visit a nearby waterfall. There are two main falls here—Jimenoa and Baiguate—both of which plunge dozens of meters into emerald lagoons. If you haven't had enough excitement for one day, you can also hike to the top of the falls and jump or rappel down. 

Day 5: Jarabacoa to Cabarete, Tour Santiago de los Caballeros

Relax in Cabarete
In the morning, your driver will pick you up for the 2.5-hour trip to Cabarete, on the Dominican's north coast. On the way, you'll stop in Santiago de los Caballeros. There are many gems in the Dominican off the tourist trail, and this is one such place. Located in the fertile Cibao Valley, this city was the Dominican's first capital until it suffered an earthquake in 1562. It was also a key site in the Battle of Santiago during the Dominican War of Independence. 

You'll have free time to explore the city and enjoy optional activities. Because Santiago is located in the primary tobacco-growing region of the Dominican, there's a long historical legacy of cigar production. Learn more by stopping in at the La Aurora Cigar Factory. A tour showcases the heritage of cigar-making in the country as well as reveals the process of making these fine products, from seed to packaging.

After Santiago, continue to Cabarete. Once a sleepy fishing village, it's now a famous 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 can spend the remainder of the day relaxing on the beach. Or enjoy an optional activity like a zip-line ride, quad adventure, kitesurfing class, or a visit to Monkeyland, a natural jungle habitat home to friendly squirrel monkeys.

Day 6: Damajagua Waterfall Adventure & Zip Line

Enjoy the waterfalls at Damajagua

Your half-day adventure begins in the morning with a transfer to a hidden paradise of cascading waterfalls and turquoise river pools. There are 27 waterfalls along the Damajagua River, as well as limestone caverns and natural waterslides. 

You'll embark on a 1-hour hike up to the area's best-known falls. Then the real fun begins as you slide and swim your way back down the mountain, passing multiple falls along the way. That's not all because you'll enjoy a zip-line adventure over the water at the end of the hike. After the wild ride, it will be time for a delicious Dominican lunch buffet (vegetarian friendly). Then you'll transfer back to your hotel in Cabarete, where you can kick back and relax.

Day 7: Cabarete to Santo Domingo, Depart

Goodbye, DR
In the morning, your driver will meet you for the 3-hour drive south from Cabarete to the capital of Santiago. You'll then transfer to the international airport for your flight home. Adios!

More Great Dominican Republic Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the DR? Check out these other 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 - 7 Days
Map of History, Culture & Adventure in the Dominican Republic - 7 Days