Both by area and population, the Dominican Republic is second only to Cuba in the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic offers picturesque nature coupled with a warm and beautiful culture. National parks and scientific reserves make up more than a quarter of the landscape where visitors can completely unplug. Still, not far are the city centers where visitors catch a future Major League Baseball player or learn to dance the merengue among the locals.
For an unforgettable trip, follow these top Dominican Republic travel tips:
Go for a Swim
Whether it’s in the Atlantic Ocean to the North or in the Caribbean Sea to the South, the Dominican Republic boasts some of the best swiming spots in the world. Hailed as a haven for both divers and snorkelers, stunning reefs are often easily accessible from shore! Don’t be surprised when nurse sharks and stingrays swim at your side, or when, in February and March, you may be lucky enough to catch humpback whales during their migrations. Be sure to load up on plenty of sun screen and check out one of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic.
Spanish is by far the universal language of the island. Even if your Spanish skills are fairly elementary, an effort to speak to locals in their native tongue will truly go a long way. This simple act will usually encourage Dominicans to show their kind and hospitable nature to visitors. Often, Dominicans will also jump at the chance to practice their English, and conversations can turn into an entertaining mix between the two languages (also known as Spanglish). Even in the most rural areas, an attempt at speaking Spanish will often get you what you need, giving Dominicans a chance to show how they got their reputation for being incredibly accommodating.
Catch a Baseball Game
Baseball is sometimes touted as the Dominican Republic’s second religion. Boasting the second-most current Major League Baseball players, the Dominican Republic is home to winter leagues that run from October to January each year. While the winter leagues are primarily used to develop future Major League pros, many will participate to improve their skills during the MLB offseason. Taking in a local game gives a glimpse into this diverse culture, where fans occasionally bring their own musical instruments and team flags to the ballpark, creating an incredible spectacle.
Learn to Dance Merengue
The Merengue is a beautiful and very quick dance performed to music with a tempo of between 110 to 160 beats per minute. Folklore has it that the dance originated when enslaved laborers working in sugar beet fields were chained together at their ankles and had to walk in a manner that required them to drag one leg. There is a wide variety of ways to learn merengue, from one-day courses to 8-week intensive programs, that will leave travelers with a wonderful skill to show off to their friends back home.
From the sands of pristine beaches to the dirt of the infield, the Dominican Republic offers a wonderful destination in the Caribbean for both adventurous and luxury travelers alike.