Go beyond Santo Domingo and Punta Cana on a 10-day journey to discover the Dominican Republic's lesser-visited treasures. After touring the colonial landmarks in the nation's capital, you're off to the southwest region around Barahona, where you'll explore hidden coves and hike national parks. More than that, you'll laze on white-sand beaches, stroll cacao (cocoa) fields, swim in freshwater lagoons, go horseback riding, and much more.


  • Tour the colonial landmarks in Santo Domingo
  • Hike through national parks
  • Go horseback riding in the highlands
  • Laze on the white-sand beaches of Barahona

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santo Domingo, Optional Activities Santo Domingo
Day 2 Guided City Tour by Bike Santo Domingo
Day 3 Transfer to Barahona, Optional Activities Barahona
Day 4 Day Trip to Jaragua National Park & Eagle's Bay Barahona
Day 5 Hike La Sierra de Bahoruco National Park Barahona
Day 6 Hike to Lago Enriquillo Barahona
Day 7 Transfer to Jarabacoa, Optional Activities Jarabacoa
Day 8 Horseback Riding Adventure Jarabacoa
Day 9 Day Trip to Constanza Jarabacoa
Day 10 Transfer to Santo Domingo & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Santo Domingo, Optional Activities

Free afternoon in Santo Domingo
Take a stroll through the historic Ciudad Colonial in Santo Domingo

Welcome to the Dominican Republic! Most people know this Caribbean island nation for its postcard beaches, but this paradise is chock full of history too. Founded in 1496, the capital of Santo Domingo is actually the site of the first European settlement anywhere in the Americas. During your time here, you'll witness this colonial legacy, plus travel beyond the resort areas to some of the most gorgeous corners of the island.

Upon arrival at the airport in Santo Domingo, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel in the city. After unpacking and unwinding, you'll have the rest of the day free to explore. Perhaps go for a stroll in the Ciudad Colonial, the heart of the city. It's a great place to witness both the old and new Santo Domingo, as here you'll pass colonial landmarks while merengue music emanates from corner stores and locals enjoy lively games of dominoes.

Day 2: Guided City Tour by Bike

 Bike Guided City Tour
Visit historic sites in the Ciudad Colonial, like the central plaza of Parque Colón

In the morning, you'll meet your local guide and head out on a 1.5-hour bicycle tour of the city. Zipping around the historic streets is the best way to experience Santo Domingo. As the oldest city in the Caribbean, its Ciudad Colonial neighborhood 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, this 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), Parque Colón (the main plaza), 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 (f. 1560) and the ruins of Hospital San Nicolás de Bari, among other places of interest.

Day 3: Transfer to Barahona, Optional Activities

Explore the unspoiled paradise that is Barahona

After breakfast, you and your driver will hit the road for the 1.5-hour drive west to Barahona. After checking in to your hotel, you can explore this coastal city nicknamed "the Caribbean's Bride" due to its stunning coast. Here, forested mountains run up to white-sand beaches where water the color of a clear blue sky laps at the shore. Overlooking these stretches of sand are majestic sea cliffs with sweeping views out to the horizon. For these reasons, there's a case to be made that these beaches are among the best in the country.

Sun-seekers can hit the beach and spend the day relaxing on the sand, while nature lovers should venture inland to the virgin rainforests. You can find different ecosystems in this region, including tropical, dry, and cloud forests. Avid birders will love the exotic species here, including the Hispaniolan emerald, broad-billed toady, and the endangered bay-breasted cuckoo. 

Day 4: Day Trip to Jaragua National Park & Eagle's Bay

Enjoy the white-sand beaches and crystalline waters of Eagle's Bay

In the morning, you'll embark on a full-day tour of Jaragua National Park. This 500-square-mile (1,295 sq mile) reserve is a dream for nature lovers. Located on the country's southern tip, it encompasses a wide array of ecosystems that include offshore islands, inland forests, lagoons, caverns, and an unspoiled virgin coastline. After all, this area is part of the first-ever Unesco Biosphere Reserve in the Dominican Republic.

The wildlife here is just as diverse as the landscapes. Common marine animals include manatees and various species of sea turtles, which typically nest on Jaragua's beaches between May and August. Also, the wetlands in this reserve are home to over 130 species of birds and include herons, ospreys, and even American flamingoes.

Before arriving at the park, you'll stop at the charming fishing village of Las Cuevas. This town is unique as many of its residents have settled in the surrounding caves and still live here to this day. Next, you'll take a boat into the park and to Bahia de las Aguilas (Eagle's Bay), where you'll discover a paradise of white sands and crystalline waters. For lunch, enjoy a delicious Caribbean meal right on the beach. At the end of the day, you'll return to your hotel.

Day 5: Hike La Sierra de Bahoruco National Park

Hike in La Sierra de Bahoruco
Hike around the forests and mountains of La Sierra de Bahoruco

Today, your guide will pick you up at your hotel for a day trip to Sierra de Bahoruco National Park. Located about an hour inland from Barahona, this 386-square-mile (1,000 sq km) protected area is highly biodiverse. You'll witness its unique landscapes on a day hike.

You'll see exotic flora like orchids as you trek through the park's mountains and tropical/dry forests. There are also 32 endemic wildlife species here, such as iguanas and the rare Hispaniolan solenodon. Also, 49 bird species exist in the park, including finches, doves, kestrels, tanagers, owls, and more. At the end of the hike, your guide will take you back to your hotel.

Day 6: Hike to Lago Enriquillo

Visit Lagune Enriquillo
See the exotic wildlife in and around Lago Enriquillo
Plan your trip to the Dominican Republic
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

In the morning, you'll head back into the mountains. Today's destination is Lago Enriquillo, located between the Bahoruco and Neyba ranges. This body of water is noteworthy because it is the largest lake in the Caribbean at 135 square miles (350 sq km). Most interesting, however, is the exotic fauna. The ecosystem at Enriquillo is excellent for wildlife lovers, as it's home to iguanas, pink flamingoes, and the largest population of American crocodiles in the Caribbean.

You'll explore this wilderness on a one-hour hike along the "cacao route," so named for the cacao trees in the area, the fruit of which produces delicious cocoa. During the hike, you'll even sample fresh cacao fruit right off the trees. Also, the route will take you through a tropical forest surrounded by exotic fruits like mangoes, avocados, coconuts, and pineapples.

At the apex of this walk, about 984 feet (300 m) above sea level, the trail switches to a flat path for two hours and offers panoramic views over the lovely town of Paraíso to the stunning coast. After a short descent, you'll arrive at the farming town of Villa Nizao, whose residents cultivate coffee, cacao, oranges, and other citrus fruits. Enjoy lunch next to the gently rushing waters of the Río Nizaíto, followed by a refreshing dip in the river's freshwater pools. Finally, hike along the river valley until you arrive at Paraíso, where the river ends at a beautiful white-pebble beach.

Day 7: Transfer to Jarabacoa, Optional Activities

Go on mountain hikes in the highlands around Jarabacoa

In the morning, your driver will pick you up for the five-hour scenic drive up into the highlands and Jarabacoa in the heart of the Dominican Republic. Located in the Central Cordillera mountain range of La Vega Province, this city is one of the premier ecotourism destinations in the country due to its beautiful pine forests and incredible mountain views. 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 will have the rest of the day free to explore. Many great activities include horseback riding, hiking mountain trails, tubing and rafting down the Río Yaque del Norte, and swimming in the lagoons at the Salto de Jimenoa and Salto de Baiguate waterfalls. You can even rappel down canyon walls. For dinner, head up to Aroma de la Montaña, the only 360-degree restaurant in the Dominican Republic. The panoramic views alone are worth it. 

Day 8: Horseback Riding Adventure

Horseback Riding Adventure
Mount up for a ride into the mountains of Jarabacoa

In the morning, 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 fields and galloping alongside rushing rivers. The excursion follows a nature route abounding with incredible scenery far from the hustle of the city. And if you don't have much riding experience, don't worry—an expert will be available to help guide your horse.

Day 9: Day Trip to Constanza

Day trip to Constanza
Take a day trip through the mountains to Constanza
After breakfast, you'll transfer an hour south from Jarabacoa to Constanza. This highland village is one of the most charming towns in the country, as it's surrounded by unspoiled nature. On the way there, you'll stop at Valle Nuevo National Park. Famous for its mountain plateaus and great views, it has earned the nickname "the Dominican Alps." Another stop is at Aguas Blancas, an impressive waterfall that plunges 272 feet (83 m) into a lagoon. Once in Constanza, you can stroll the town's streets, admire the colorful buildings, grab some food, and shop before returning to Jarabacoa.

Day 10: Transfer to Santo Domingo & Depart

Sun setting over a beach in the Dominican
The time has come to bid farewell to the Dominican Republic. At the appropriate time, you'll transfer about 2.5 hours back to Santo Domingo and the airport to catch your flight home. Safe travels!

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