plage en République dominicaine – pixabay

Dominican Republic: Travel guide, all-inclusives and best activities

To the point This guide to the Dominican Republic will help you explore the best activities and all-inclusive resorts in the main tourist regions.

If you’re looking for an all-inclusive place to enjoy the sun, the beach and great activities, the Dominican Republic is the place to go! We love the Dominican Republic for its superb beaches and pleasant year-round tropical climate, but also for its warm Caribbean culture.

In every corner of the island, you’ll find a generous selection of hotels, including the many all-inclusive resorts that contribute to the destination’s popularity among travellers in search of relaxation, entertainment and even luxury.

kiosques à la plage

With an ever-expanding tourism industry, there is now something for every taste and budget in the Dominican Republic.

If you love white sandy beaches, outdoor or cultural activities and quality accommodation, this guide will help you choose the perfect destination to suit your preferences.

drapeau de la République dominicaine – Unsplash

Introduction to the Dominican Republic

Close to the United States (about 2h30 between Miami and Punta Cana), the Dominican Republic is a Caribbean city occupying the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti. Famous for its heavenly beaches, ideal weather conditions, all-inclusive resorts and varied landscapes, this country is a popular tourist destination for travelers worldwide, including Canadians.

Its capital, Santo Domingo, is the oldest city in the New World. It is packed with historical and cultural sites, including the first cathedral and the first university in the Americas.

We’ve selected all-inclusives for you in every major city: some are adults-only, while others offer childcare and activities. A multitude of activities await you, from hiking in the mountains of the Cordillera Central to exploring the caves of Los Haitises National Park or whale-watching boat trips in Samana.

The richness of its culture is reflected in its music, mainly merengue and bachata, as well as in its cuisine, which blends Spanish, African and Taina influences. You’ll be seduced by the hospitality of the locals. It’s an ideal destination for families and couples.

How to get to the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is served by major airlines from Canada, such as Air Canada, Sunwing, WestJet and Air Transat, as well as low-cost carriers like Flair Airlines.

For example, Air Transat serves several destinations in the Dominican Republic, including the major cities of Punta Cana (PUJ), Puerto Plata (POP) and Samana (AZS), with flights departing from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

Delta Airlines operates flights from the United States, as do Jet Blue and American Airlines. From Paris, there are direct flights with Air France or Air Caraïbes to Santo Domingo (SDQ) and Punta Cana (PUJ).

A travel agency, such as Air Canada Vacations, allows you to take an all-inclusive package to the Dominican Republic, without any headache. What’s more, Aeroplan Members earn up to 12,000 additional Aeroplan Points per Member on select packages.

VAC Republique Dominicaine

Or, if you have Aeroplan points, you can go on your own, whenever you want.

For a low-cost vacation, use your Reward Points to escape to the South. For example, take advantage of Easter vacations and statutory holidays to visit the Dominican Republic. With 23,100 Aeroplan points and $197, see the best this island has to offer.

YUL PUJ republique dominicaine

What’s more, with an Aeroplan credit card, such as the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card, the first baggage item is free, as is that of the 8 other people on your reservation.

Where to go in the Dominican Republic?

Punta Cana

Punta Cana is the country’s most important tourist region. If you’re looking for a hassle-free vacation in the sun, with or without children, Punta Cana is the place to be.

The region offers a wide range of all-inclusive resorts, with extensive facilities for the comfort of vacationers. Punta Cana is also renowned for its lively nightlife and a variety of water sports and outdoor activities, attracting adventure seekers.

Excellence Punta Cana
Lopesan Costa Bavaro Resort, Spa & Casino

Suggested activities in Punta Cana

A day at Bavaro Adventure Park for an immersive outdoor adventure, with zip lines, exploration of the Blue Lagoon cenote, a peaceful stroll along a river winding through the jungle, and a magnificent natural swimming pool embellished with a picturesque waterfall.

A visit to the Ojos Indígenas Ecological Reserve, home to cenotes, tropical rainforests and several animal species, offers an immersive experience in Dominican nature.

Réserve écologique Ojos Indígenas

For the whole family, visit Katmandu Park Punta Cana. This new theme park stands out as the very first of its kind in the Caribbean, with immersive entertainment, games and innovative attractions inspired by characters from the Katmandu franchise.

Parc Katmandu

Golf enthusiasts will love the magnificent Punta Espada Golf Course, a world-renowned golf course renowned for its panoramic ocean views, or Corales Golf Course, another superb Punta Cana course.

Corales Golf Course

Other popular activities in Punta Cana include a Dune Buggy excursion into the hinterland, followed by scuba diving or catamaran sailing; or why not discover the high-quality handicrafts and culture of the Dominican Republic: rum, coffee, tobacco and chocolate?

Santo Domingo

If you’re passionate about history and culture, Santo Domingo is a must-see destination. Located on the south coast, it is the country’s capital and largest city.

Founded in 1498 by Barthélemy Colomb, son of Christopher Columbus, Santo Domingo is also the oldest permanent European city in the Americas. With a rich history marked by Spanish colonization, it has played a major role in the development of the history of the New World.

santo-domingo 1

Santo Domingo is less well known for its all-inclusive resorts than beach destinations such as Punta Cana and Puerto Plata. However, there are some interesting options for those who wish to enjoy the conveniences of an all-inclusive while being close to the city’s cultural and historical riches:


Suggested activities

Stroll through the colonial zone, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to discover historic buildings, fascinating museums and an authentic atmosphere. The tours are both educational and fascinating for children. Don’t miss the National Palace and explore the Catedral Primada de América.

santo domingo

The 4D cinema, The Colonial Gate, plunges you into the Battle of Santo Domingo, a historic event that shaped the destiny of the Dominican Republic.

cinéma 4D, The Colonial Gate

On the outskirts of Santo Domingo, in Juan Dolio:

The Ron Barceló History Center offers an immersive experience, revealing modern rum production processes while showcasing vintage equipment for a captivating perspective on the distillery’s past and present. The program includes a museum, plant tour and tastings.

Centro Historico Ron Barceló

La Cueva de Las Maravillas, also known as the Cave of Wonders, is an impressive cave with an underground labyrinth of fascinating rock formations, stalactites and stalagmites that tell the story of millions of years of geological processes.

La Romana

On the south coast, La Romana is as popular with families with children as it is with honeymooners, divers and golf enthusiasts.

It features the renowned Casa de Campo resort, a marina and world-class golf courses.

Nearby, the Bayahibe region offers picturesque beaches and several all-inclusive resorts.

Casa de Campo Resort & Villas
hilton la romana

Suggested activities

A day’s catamaran cruise to Saona will take you to a paradise island of white sand, crystal-clear waters and unspoilt tropical landscapes. This tour is also available from Punta Cana.


Built in the 1970s to evoke 16th-century architecture, the Altos de Chavon village is sure to charm you. With its craft stores, art galleries, restaurants, picturesque church and open-air amphitheater, it hosts concerts by major international artists.


Located in the north-east of the Dominican Republic, Samana is the ideal haven for nature lovers. Here you’ll find superb landscapes and secluded beaches.

This region offers all-inclusive hotels set in unspoilt natural surroundings. The province’s main town is Santa Bárbara de Samaná.

The town of Las Terrenas has a charming atmosphere with lively streets, local stores and several restaurants.

wyndham v
Hôtel Cayo Levantado Resort

Suggested activities

Humpback whale watching, available from January to March, is an unforgettable experience for visitors to Samaná, who can admire these majestic marine creatures in their natural habitat.

The hike to the El Limón waterfall plunges you into a tropical jungle, with a spectacular waterfall to discover as a reward!

The beaches of Las Terrenas seduce with their stretches of white sand lined with palm trees, an idyllic setting for relaxation and water sports.


In Los Haitises National Park, you’ll discover unique karst formations, lush mangroves and caves home to a rich diversity of birds and wildlife.

Puerto Plata

On the north coast, Puerto Plata is a vibrant seaside destination renowned for its historic charm and golden sandy beaches, such as Playa Dorada.

The city center, rich in colonial architecture, invites you to stroll through its cobbled streets and lively squares.

Puerto plata

Suggested activities

In Puerto Plata, you’ll love riding the cable car to the top of Isabel de Torres mountain, offering spectacular panoramic views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean.

Visit history at Fort San Felipe, a historic fortress offering a fascinating glimpse of 16th-century military architecture.

Stroll through the city center to admire the colonial architecture, visit local stores and discover everyday Dominican life.

If you love museums, head to the Amber Museum to learn more about the geological and cultural history of the Dominican Republic, including amber, a local gemstone.

If you’re more of a watersports enthusiast, nearby Cabarete is renowned for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

Bottom Line

From Santo Domingo to Samana, you’ll be enchanted by the beauty and diversity of the Dominican Republic’s major cities and hidden treasures: it’s a sun destination that’s easier than ever to get to, whether from Canada, the U.S. or Europe.

danseurs à punta cana

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to visit the Dominican Republic?

The best time to visit the Dominican Republic is between December and April. During this period, the climate is drier and temperatures pleasant, making it the ideal time to enjoy beaches and outdoor activities.

Do we speak French in the Dominican Republic?

Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic. However, in tourist areas, you’ll often find people who speak English and, to a lesser extent, French.

Is the Canadian dollar accepted in the Dominican Republic?

The Canadian dollar is not generally accepted in the Dominican Republic. We recommend that you exchange your Canadian dollars for Dominican pesos or U.S. dollars, as the latter are more widely accepted.

What are the risks in the Dominican Republic?

The main risks in the Dominican Republic include petty crime, such as pickpocketing, and natural hazards, such as hurricanes during the rainy season (June to November). It is advisable to take basic precautions and stay informed about weather conditions.

What are the formalities for entering the Dominican Republic?

Tourists are required to fill in an electronic form before travelling to the Dominican Republic and on departure. Once completed, a QR code will be sent to the traveler, who must present it to the authorities at the airport.

What is the currency in the Dominican Republic and can I use Canadian or American money?

The official currency of the Dominican Republic is the Dominican peso (DOP). It is advisable to carry a certain amount of Dominican pesos for small daily expenses, such as cabs, meals in small local restaurants and market purchases.

Unlike the Canadian dollar, the US dollar is widely accepted in tourist areas and can be used for payment in many hotels, restaurants and stores. However, prices can sometimes be slightly higher if you pay in dollars, so it’s worth checking the current exchange rate.

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Marjorie has three passions in life: writing, travel and the world of wellness. The last decade has been full of exploration for her! Her travels have taken her all over the world, from Central America to Asia, Europe and Africa. This former travel consultant loves to inspire us and share her best discoveries. She is also the author of several novels and guides.

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