5 Secret Spots In The Dominican Republic
Photo by Brian Major
As far as Caribbean destinations go, the Dominican Republic remains unknown to the herd, especially American travelers. And while the island nation known for its gorgeous sandy beaches, shallow waters and lush forests has its share of well-known spots—Punta Cana, Santo Domingo and La Romana, to name a few, it still has a few sights under the radar that are just as stunning as their popular counterparts.
For the more adventurous type, and for travelers that want to veer off the beaten track, here are five Dominican Republic sights that only a few tourists see but many locals love.
Bahia de las Aguilas
Located in the southern part of the island nation, very close to its border with Haiti, is Bahia de las Aguilas (Eagles Bay). It’s considered by many locals as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Indeed, its five-mile white sand beach, clear turquoise waters and rock outcroppings make a very good case for the claim. It is part of Jaragua National Park and a bit arduous to get to, as the closest town is about 15 miles away and visitors would have to take a 15-minute boat ride from the nearest fishing village; but that can be a good thing. The beach is deliciously serene and mostly deserted, devoid of any hotels and even shops and restaurants.
Photo via Flickr
One of the very few cold areas in the Dominican Republic—and by cold, we mean, around 50 degrees Fahrenheit—Constanza is a mountain town nestled in a valley in Cordillera Central, the highest mountain range in the country as well as the Caribbean. Thanks to its high elevation of 4,000 feet, Constanza has dry, mild winters, making it a popular winter destination among the locals. But it’s also a fantastic stop year round. Some of the nearby attractions include Parque Nacional Valle Nuevo, Las Piramides and Salto de Aguas Blancas. There are only a handful of accommodations in town so make sure to secure a room first before considering a longer stay.
Photo via Flickr/Angel Ramos
While Samana is well known to Canadian and European travelers and it is home a number of beautiful all-inclusive resorts, many parts of the region have stayed fairly uncrowded and unexplored by visitors. Even the city of Samana itself has retained its authenticity and local charm. Here, while visitors can indulge in first-world comfort in one of the area’s luxury resorts—Grand Bahia Principe Cayacoa to name one, they have the option to step out of their comfort zone and experience the locals’ way of life. Some of the province’s lesser-known attractions are Caño Frio, which opens into the bay at Playa Rincon, the small village of Los Tocones, and the Bridges to Nowhere (Los Puentes) located within the city limits.
Photo via Flickr/Boris Kasimov
Less than two hours away from Bahia de las Aguilas in the southwestern end of Dominican Republic, the fishing village of Los Patos in the Barahona Province is one of the country’s hidden treasures. Los Patos, literally “the ducks,” relies heavily on tourism, but mostly locals visit the area even though it’s only a few hours’ drive from Santo Domingo. Among its must visit spots are the Los Patos river, favored for its chilly waters and known for being among the shortest river, and Playa Los Patos, popular with surfers for its fast-breaking waves. There are a few great hotels in town and it’s a short drive from the small city of Paraiso.
Photo via Flickr
Higuey Sugar Cane Fields
The one drawback to staying in a resort is forgetting to actually leave your resort and explore the surrounding area. In a destination like Punta Cana that’s famous for its gaggle of all-inclusive properties, there’s even less chance of doing so. It’s a shame really, as the area has many amazing spots that need visiting. One of them is Higuey’s Sugar Cane Plantations. Take a guided excursion from your resort, to make things easier, and visit seemingly endless sugar cane fields. You can even visit a couple of local families, witness firsthand the hard work farmers put into harvesting the stalks, and learn about the other crops they grow in the area.
More by Michelle Rae Uy
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