These are the sultry days and nights of summer—just the way heat-lovers prefer it. In fact, August is considered the hottest month of the year with peak humidity and rainfall. Beach-goers and golfers should know that it typically doesn't rain all day and there are long bouts of sunshine mixed with clouds, especially in the morning before the midday heat creeps in. You'll want to limit exercise in the afternoon—perhaps stick to morning beach walks and early rounds of golf—and remember to drink plenty of water.
Expect daily highs to hover around 89°F (32°C) and lows around 75°F (24°C), which can feel even warmer with the humidity. Bring plenty of light, breathable attire, plus a rain jacket and sturdy walking shoes in case of wet conditions while out and about exploring. If you're headed into the lush rainforest for an excursion, pack waterproof trail shoes.
While August is the start of peak hurricane season, the DR is only struck by a hurricane on average of once every four to five years. It's still a good idea to purchase travel insurance in case of a tropical storm.
Crowds & Costs
Given the weather, August is an extra slow and leisurely month in the DR. Beaches and popular sights will be quieter with fewer tourist crowds. What you might find this month are Dominicans abroad who come back to their home country to reunite with their families, as well as extended vacationers from Europe making the most of discount packages. Towards the end of the month, visitors begin heading home making the last week of August an optimal time for achieving peace and quiet.
There are some major advantages of traveling to the DR during peak hurricane season, especially for budget travelers. This is when you'll find some of the most favorable rates on flights, lodging, and rental cars. If you plan to book excursions and activities, make sure to check the cancellation policy in case of inclement weather.
Where to Go
August is a great month to stay as close to the beach as possible where you can benefit from coastal breezes and easy access to the turquoise water for frequent dips. Luckily, the DR offers more than 800 miles (1287 km) of coastline and more than 200 beaches along the Caribbean side to the south, and the Atlantic side to the north. You won't have trouble finding waterfront lodging, especially near the busiest airport in the country: Punta Cana. Here there are an array of all-inclusive resorts for every taste and budget strung along a 30-mile (48 km) stretch of sand called Playa Bavaro. Since Punta Cana is located on the far east side of the country, it's best suited for those who don't mind staying put at the resort for a few days or more.
Independent travelers seeking an alternative to the resort atmosphere can find walkable and friendly expat communities on the northern Atlantic coast sandwiched between the ocean and rainforested mountains. Check out a former fishing village called Las Terrenas on the Samaná Peninsula, and a town called Cabarete, which draws adrenaline-sport enthusiasts. Both offer a range of small hotels and apartments close to the beach with access to lesser-visited sights and activities.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
This is a great time to relax at the beach with a good book. For more active travelers, there are plenty of activities to choose from on the north Atlantic coast starting with Sosua Beach, which is known for scuba diving with several colorful reefs and shipwrecks. A short drive away is Kite Beach, a mecca for wind and kite surfing with several instructors available for hire. In the nearby mountains are caves and lagoons to explore, as well as zip-lining tours.
Further east is Samaná Peninsula where you could explore beaches and activities for several days. Take a water taxi to romantic Cayo Levantado and spend the morning kayaking or paddle boarding followed by a seafood lunch. The peninsula also offers hikes through the rainforest towards the mighty El Limón Waterfall where you can take a refreshing swim. Also close by is Los Haitises National Park, offering boat tours through the rugged rock formations jutting from the sea.
If it’s a cloudy day, head into a city for some culture. On the north coast is UNESCO-listed Puerto Plata offering historic architecture and a 10-minute cable car ride towards a nature reserve and botanical garden. If you're staying near the capital, head into Santo Domingo to experience colonial treasures and some of the island's best restaurants. Meanwhile, the second city of Santiago has an air-conditioned center with several exhibits dedicated to Dominican culture.
Festival de Merengue, Santo Domingo. From late July through the first week of August, this lively fortnight festival takes place along the Malecón boulevard with related events across the capital. Experience live music from some of the best musicians in the country playing the rhythms of merengue, salsa, reggaeton, as well as dancing, artisan fairs, and delicious food and beverage vendors.
Restoration Day, nationwide. On August 16th, the DR celebrates the start of the Dominican Restoration War on this day in 1863, which led to independence from Spain. Look for parades, street fairs, and performances all over the country, especially in the cities of Santo Domingo and Santiago.
Traveling to the Dominican Republic in August? Consider these itineraries.
Ultimate Dominican Republic: Samaná, Cabarete, Jarabacoa & Santo Domingo. This exotic trip covers a lot of ground, starting with hiking trails in the Samaná Peninsula. From here, take your pick of world-class watersports in Cabarete, then heading to the mountains to discover the rushing rivers and rugged canyons of Jarabacoa. Finish with time to explore cultural opportunities in the historic capital.
Dominican Republic Adventure: Santo Domingo to Punta Cana. This unforgettable journey takes you to the underwater worlds in Sosúa and the pristine Samaná Peninsula for waterfalls, hidden beaches, and the spectacular Los Haitises National Park. End your trip on one of the world's most famous beaches in Punta Cana, where you'll have time to unwind between adventurous excursions.