Why Dominican Republic is Underrated

Article posted in November 2019

Amazing beaches and beautiful sea: that’s what most people think about when they picture the Dominican Republic. But the second largest island in the Caribbean is in danger of being underrated for what can be found further inland. Even if you’re not planning a holiday of sun worship, there’s plenty more to discover once you leave the white sands behind.

Chasing waterfalls

The Valle Nuevo National Park is a remote area that will appeal to anyone who enjoys the majestic sights of nature. It’s quite high above sea level meaning you’ll be traversing dreamscape cloud forests. It’s also fair to say that the water in the many rivers you’ll encounter might just be a little too chilly for a swim. But with endless different types of plants, rare birds and other natural wonders you’ll be constantly gaping at the sights and sounds around you. This is true ‘get away from it all’ country and an experience that few others will be able to claim as their own.

If natural water features are your thing then Damajaqua Cascades is the place to go. The park, also known as 27 Waterfalls, is in Puerto Plata. As the name suggests there are 27 beautiful torrents within a short walk of each other. Although it can be fairly strenuous in places, the site has been set up to be tourist friendly but will require some climbing skills. You’ll need to hire a guide if you plan to do traverse the waterfalls and see them all in one go. And you’ll also need to be prepared to dive from the top of the falls into the pools below. But doing something different is what makes for a great holiday, right?

On the top of the world

The Dominican Republic is home to the highest spot in the Caribbean. Measuring an impressive 10,125 feet, Pico Duarte is the place to visit for stunning vistas and crisp mountain air.

You’ll find Pico Duarte at the heart of Parque Nacional José Armando Bermúdez. Hikers might like to make it a two day adventure through forests and small villages with a night under the stars at Valle de Lilís. What will surprise most is how low the temperatures drop in the mountains. Frost in the Caribbean? It does happen when you start climbing the slopes. Reward your efforts with a temazcal bath at La Cienega, an ancient tradition that will wash away the sweat and grime.

Get drumming

Have you ever been in a merengue band? Pay a visit to the Red de Turismo Comunitario in Guananico for a musical experience like no other. The locals will be happy to provide you with an introduction to their unique sounds before giving you a go on the accordion. Next, up sticks and learn to be a true Dominican drummer and finish off your day with dance lessons so you have some great moves to show the people back home when your holiday is over.

The hills are alive

Los Haitises National Park is another area of awe and wonder located inland. Los Haitises means ‘hilly land’ and you’ll be experiencing many ups and downs as you gasp at the amazing rock formations that rise to heights of 100 feet.

Elsewhere in the park, you can return to the times of the dinosaurs and a rainforest featured in Jurassic Park. You’ll be astonished by the colonies of birds who live in this land, many majestic, many endangered. For those who enjoy canoeing, an extensive mangrove system is a great way to explore the area and feel like you’re an explorer uncovering a lost world.

Village of the past

Expect the unexpected in the Dominican Republic. Sculpted entirely of stone, Altos de Chavón is a model 16th century Mediterranean village in the heart of the Caribbean. It opened in 1982 with a Frank Sinatra concert at the 5,000-seat Grecian amphitheatre that still attracts major artists.

Cobbled streets lead to lots of charming little medieval shops and, if you visit at night, the atmosphere is quite magical. The views are spectacular too and there’s a great museum that focuses on the history of the island and those who used to live there. The perfect Dominican day out.

Fantasy Forests

The Valle Nuevo National Park is a remote area that will appeal to anyone who enjoys the majestic sights of nature. It’s quite high above sea level meaning you’ll be traversing dreamscape cloud forests. It’s also fair to say that the water in the many rivers you’ll encounter might just be a little too chilly for a swim. But with endless different types of plants, rare birds and other natural wonders you’ll be constantly gaping at the sights and sounds around you. This is true ‘get away from it all’ country and an experience that few others will be able to claim as their own.

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