Tropical holiday destinations always make me very excited. Is there anything better than having a coconut on a white sand beach, swimming in the Caribbean sea, and watching the epic scenery surrounded by palm trees? No? Then I think you’re ready to go to the Dominican Republic to have an amazing summer holiday!
The Dominican Republic is located where the waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. This beautiful tropical island is visited by travelers all year round thanks to its beautiful climate and in order to have a safe and sound holiday, I will help you to understand the Dominican Republic’s best areas.
The Dominican Republic offers a great selection of all inclusive resorts as well as boutique hotels for all budgets. In this blog post on the best areas to stay in Dominican Republic, I will talk about the 5 best areas to stay with hotels from luxury to budget while giving you an idea of the vibe of the area so you can pick the best one for your taste.
Since the Dominican Republic is one of the most popular Caribbean destinations, hotels can be filled up faster than you think. That’s why I highly recommend you make your reservation in advance to get better deals on hotels and to not miss the best places that I handpicked for you. Many of the hotels have a free cancelation, so don’t worry if you change your mind!
If you are ready, let’s start our island exploration!
If you are in a hurry
Here are the best places to stay in the Dominican Republic with hotels from luxury to budget. They are all conveniently located and have great reviews!
Westin Puntacana Resort
Best luxury hotel
Chic Poolside Condo
An Airbnb with amazing reviews
Four Points Sheraton
Best value for money
Aparta Hotel Yamilí
Best affordable accommodation in the center
Here is a map of the Dominican Republic best areas that I will be talking about in this blog post so you can easily visualize them:
for water sports
1. Punta Cana – where to stay in Dominican Republic for the first time
Located on the east coast of the island with its white sand beaches and beautiful beachfront hotels, Punta Cana is the most popular place to stay in the Dominican Republic and the closest airport to here is Punta Cana International Airport. Once you arrive in this beautiful town you will literally see the postcard kinda view with a stunning beach surrounded by palm trees. Get ready to have a suntan and amazing photos!
There are 11 gorgeous beaches in Punta Cana and 2 of them are great for surfing. But if surfing doesn’t interest you, you’ll be pleased to know that the Dominican Republic is famous for its beautiful all-inclusive resorts.
To be honest, you won’t even need to leave your hotel as they offer many delicious meals and drinks all day long. All you have to worry about is enjoying your beach time, soaking up the Caribbean vibe and swimming in the crystal clear water!
Below are my top 4 places to stay in Punta Cana for each budget but If you are looking for more accommodation options, check out our dedicated post for the best hotels and resorts in Punta Cana. Since Punta Cana is the most popular place to stay in the Dominican Republic do not forget to make your booking in advance to catch these beautiful places and have better deals.
Westin Puntacana Resort is one of the best all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana. This luxury resort has private beach access, 2 swimming pools, tennis courts, a spa, and a very good onsite restaurant. The gorgeous hotel rooms have stylish interiors with a balcony overlooking the Caribbean sea. With its stunning white sand beach and impressive natural setting, Westin Puntacana Resort is the best hotel in Punta Cana.
Other accommodation options in Punta Cana
Centrally located in Punta Cana, this hotel features a swimming pool, a spa, fitness center, modern rooms, and a great breakfast
This affordable hotel in Punta Cana offers a fitness center, a bar, free parking, and clean rooms with free wifi
This Airbnb has beautifully decorated rooms, a swimming pool, garden and is a great place to stay for families in Punta Cana
Things to do in Punta Cana
- Take golf lessons at Corales Puntacana Resort & Club
- Visit the natural beauty of Hoyo Azul
- Have fun at Scape Park
- Join a sunset horseback riding tour
- Visit the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Reserve
- Chill on the withe sand beaches, Bavaro Beach and Playa Macao
- Join a scuba diving tour and see beautiful sea creatures
- Take a day trip to Saona Island
2. Santo Domingo – the best area for sightseeing
Santa Domingo is located on the southern coast and is 2 hours drive from Punta Cana. It is the capital city of the Dominican Republic and also the oldest European city in the Americas.
Santo Domingo’s beautiful buildings with impressive architecture in the colonial zone are also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site so if you are into history and Caribbean culture and want to combine your beach holiday with sightseeing you will love Santa Domingo!
Start your day by discovering the historic streets of the colonial zone and check out the beautiful shops and seafood restaurants at the Old Quarter. If you are into nightlife you will find plenty of bars in the city center too and how could I forget the beautiful beaches, you will also find them here as well!
Santa Domingo offers a great selection of hotels for all budgets but I just want to remind you to make your reservation in advance as I don’t want you to miss the chance of staying in one of the best. For those who are already dreaming about their next Caribbean destination, you might also want to check out the top 16 Airbnbs in Puerto Rico as it’s right next door and you might even be able to squeeze two holidays into one!
Royal Hideaway Hotel is one of the best luxury hotels in Santo Domingo. This 5-star hotel offers a spa where you can relax in the hot tub, a large swimming pool, a restaurant with international cuisine, and spacious rooms. If you are looking for world-class treatment this hotel is the best one in the town!
Other accommodation options in Santo Domingo
This hotel has a beachfront location and offers affordable rooms with free wifi that is perfect for backpackers and solo travelers
This Airbnb has a perfect location in Santo Domingo and features spacious rooms with modern amenities
Things to do in Santo Domingo
- See the impressive church Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación
- Visit the Museum of the Royal Houses
- See Plaza de la Bandera República Dominicana
- Have fun at Caribbean Splash Water Park
- Explore beautiful gardens of Parque Mirador Del Norte
- Take a cable car to San Felipe and check out spectacular views
- Go for a stroll at lush green Mirador Del Sur Joaquín Balaguer Park
- Learn about Dominican culture at the National Museum of Natural History
- Visit the interesting Santo Domingo Colonial Zone
3. Las Terrenas – the best area in Dominican Republic for couples
Las Terrenas is located on the northeastern coast and is half an hour drive from Samaná El Catey International Airport. With its white-sand beaches, stunning coastline, coconut plantations, and romantic hotels, it is definitely the best place to stay in the Dominican Republic for those who are looking for a romantic getaway.
Imagine spending days on the white sand beach, having a coconut under the palm trees, and swimming in the Caribbean sea. Las Terrenas has everything you expect from a tropical island holiday!
Even though you can find beautiful beaches all around the island, here you will be able to find more couple-friendly hotels in secluded areas. I know you can’t wait to run to the beach so let’s find a perfect place for you to have an unforgettable holiday.
Located right on the beach, this luxury hotel offers 2 large swimming pools, romantic rooms with Caribbean sea views, a private beach, a fitness center, and free parking. Have a nice cocktail in the hotel’s bar overlooking the beach and enjoy watching the sunset. I highly recommend this hotel for couples who would like to have a romantic getaway!
Other accommodation options in Las Terrenas
This hotel offers a large swimming pool, spacious rooms with free wifi and is within walking distance to the beach
Centrally located in Las Terrenas, this hotel features a swimming pool, free parking, and clean rooms with free wifi
This Airbnb has fully furnished rooms, a big kitchen, and a large terrace with a nice view
Things to do in Las Terrenas
- Take a kitesurfing lesson at LT’Kite – Las Terrenas Kitesurf
- Spend some time at the beautiful beach, Cayos Las Ballenas
- Swim in the crystal clear water at Punta Bonita
- Have a sunset stroll at the stunning beach, Coson
- Join a boat tour to Los Haitises National Park
- Chill on the golden sand beach and take postcard-like photos at Playa El Portillo
4. Las Galeras – where to stay in Dominican Republic for relaxation
Located on the northeastern coast, Las Galeras is a 1.5 hours drive from Las Terrenas. This beautiful fishing village offers some of the most stunning hidden beaches in the Dominican Republic. If you want to avoid crowds and have a relaxing beach holiday with a peaceful atmosphere, I definitely recommend staying in Las Galeras!
Once you step into Las Galeras I’m sure you will only want to lay on the powdery sands and swim in the Caribbean sea. This fishing town also offers amazing seafood restaurants and local shops so there is certainly enough to give you the holiday vibe you’re after.
Offering all kinds of accommodations for all budgets, here are my top picks to stay in Las Galeras.
Chalet Tropical is the best hotel to stay in Las Galeras. This hotel offers a unique stay with its bungalow hidden in nature, 5 swimming pools, a fully-equipped fitness center, and a great restaurant. You can arrange hiking, snorkeling, and horse riding tours from the hotel. For those who would like to be surrounded by amazing landscapes, you will love this ecological hotel.
Other accommodation options in Las Galeras
This beachfront hotel has spacious rooms with a Caribbean sea view, a swimming pool, and is a great place to stay for families
Located right on the beach, this hotel offers beachfront rooms overlooking the Caribbean sea and a great breakfast
This Airbnb overlooking the beach has a very large garden, fully furnished rooms, and is very suitable for families
Things to do in Las Galeras
- Get a suntan and swim in the turquoise water at Playa Rincon
- Have a nice dinner at the local restaurant, El Pescador
- Take postcards-like photos at the stunning beach Playa Fronton
- Go to Kaio Natural Aquarium for snorkeling
- Have an afternoon walk at the scenic Playa del Aserradero
- Attend a fishing tour
- Take a day trip to the secluded beach Cayo Levantado
- Have a delicious seafood meal at La Playita Restaurant & Beach Bar
5. Cabarete – the best place to stay in DR for water sports
Cabarete is located on the north coast and is just a half an hour drive from Puerto Plata International Airport. If you are into water sports, this town is a paradise for surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kite surfing, and windsurfing. Thanks to being the best kitesurfing spot in the Dominican Republic, Cabaret has a more bohemian vibe with a lot of young and adventurous tourists. Does that sound like you?
In Cabarete, you will be able to find cool cafes, beach bars, trendy restaurants, and also some lively nightlife. For those who are looking for a more active holiday with a friendly vibe, my answer for where to stay in the Dominican Republic is definitely Cabarete!
As I mentioned before this area has a young vibe, and thanks to the great selection of budget accommodation, I also recommend staying in Cabarete for backpackers.
Ultravioleta Boutique Residences
Ultravioleta Boutique Residences is one of the best boutique hotels in the Dominican Republic. This stunning boutique hotel offers spacious rooms with a terrace overlooking the Caribbean sea, 2 swimming pools, a private beach, and free parking. You can have an amazing night enjoying dinner on your private terrace while watching the spectacular views!
Other accommodation options in Cabarete
This hotel has a charming infinity pool, private beach, rooms with a sea view, and free wifi
Diamond Hotel Cabarete offers a swimming pool, quiet rooms with a private terrace, and free parking
This Airbnb has rooms with unique decorations, a nice swimming pool, a large garden and is suitable for families
Things to do in Cabarete
- Visit Las Cuevas de Cabarete
- Learn kitesurfing at Kite Beach
- Go for a walk at Parque Nacional El Choco y Las Cuevas de Cabarete
- Surf at Encuentro Beach
- Chill at the beautiful beach Playa Cabarete
- Join a tour to discover the 27 Waterfalls in Damajagua
|👑 Luxury price:||€300|
|💵 Mid-range hotel:||€150|
|💰 Accommodation prices:||Medium|
|📍 Best Area:||Punta Cana|
|🛎️ Best luxury hotel:||Westin Puntacana Resort|
|👛 Best budget hotel:||Aparta Hotel Yamilí|
BONUS: How to get around in the Dominican Republic
Now that you know where to stay it’s time to start planning the smaller parts of your vacation. It can be challenging to understand getting around on the island especially if the areas are spread out. That’s why I want to give you some useful information about transportation in the Dominican Republic so you can make your travel plan more efficient.
The Airports in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic has 8 airports and it is very important to choose the closest one to your hotel in order to avoid long drives.
If you are planning to stay in Punta Cana you should definitely land at Punta Cana International Airport. This airport is located on the easternmost tip and the most convenient one for those planning to stay on the eastern coast.
If you are planning to stay in the capital city Santo Domingo, the closest airport will be the Las Américas International Airport that is located on the southern coast.
For those planning to stay in Las Terrenas and Las Galeras, the most convenient airport is Samaná El Catey International Airport. Located on the north coast, Gregorio Luperón International Airport is the best if you want to stay in Cabarete.
Buses & Guaguas
There are 2 kinds of buses or guaguas as they are called in the Dominican Republic. Within the cities you have OMSA buses which are managed by the government, as well as private buses. OMSA buses have better standards but can be found in fewer areas. In order to take OMSA buses, you need to go to the bus station and routes and timetables can be found on their website.
Private companies run mid-size buses which pick up and drop off passengers anywhere along the route in the cities. You can easily take them on the road by raising your hand. Most guaguas (buses) pass every 15 to 30 minutes and a ride costs around 1$ – 2$. Although you can reach more places with these types of buses, they are less reliable than the government OMSA buses.
Intercity lines are known as luxury buses but don’t get too excited. This just means they often (but not always) have an air conditioner and wifi in them. There are 3 good companies for these types of journeys, Metro tours, Caribe Tours and Expreso Bavaro. You can expect to pay between RD$200 ($3.50) – RD$500 ($9) for a one way trip depending on the distance you are going.
Taxis and Ride-Hailing
Taxis and Uber are available 24 hours and safe to use in the Dominican Republic. Taxis usually have fixed prices and you can expect a 15min ride to cost around RD 985 ($17 USD) but you should negotiate the price in advance. Each town has its own taxi service so it’s best to search online for the one local to you or ask your hotel.
Uber is a bit cheaper than taxis but in some citiesUber might not be available. There is also another ride-hailing company called Cabify which is more widely available. You can download their app and easily take a ride.
Renting a car
Renting a car is for sure giving you more flexibility and freedom. If you want to discover other parts of the islands or a remote beach then I highly recommend you to drive. You can easily rent a car from the airports and the city centers in the Dominican Republic from around $40 per day.
Frequently asked questions about the Dominican Republic
🗺️ Which is the best side of the Dominican Republic?
Offering stunning white sand beaches, the East Coast is the best side of the Dominican Republic. Some of the best hotels on the East Coast are located in Punta Cana are Westin Puntacana Resort and Four Points Sheraton.
🤔 What is the safest area in the Dominican Republic?
Punta Cana and Santo Domingo are the safest areas in the Dominican Republic.
🌴 Which is better, Santo Domingo or Punta Cana?
For first-time visitors, Punta Cana is better. Some of the best hotels I recommend you to stay in are the Westin Puntacana Resort and Four Points Sheraton.
🕺🏻 What is the best place to stay in the Dominican Republic for singles?
Offering a lively nightlife and friendly atmosphere, Santo Domingo is the best place to stay in the Dominican Republic. Hilton Santo Domingo and Royal Hideaway Hotel are the best hotels here.
🛎️ What are the best all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic?
Westin Puntacana Resort in Punta Cana and Bahia Principe Grand El Portillo in Las Terrenas are the best all inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic.
⏳ How many days do you need in Punta Cana?
It totally depends on your choice as I don’t think you will be bored enjoying the stunning beaches in Punta Cana but I recommend staying 5 days – 1 week.
😋 Which all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana has the best food?
Westin Puntacana Resort in Punta Cana has the best food.
☀️ What is the best month to go to the Dominican Republic?
The best time to visit the Dominican Republic is between April – May, when it is not overwhelmed by the tourists, the weather is warm and there are fewer rainy days.
💰 Is Dominican Republic cheap?
The Dominican Republic is one of the cheapest countries on the Caribbean coast.
Here we came to the end of our island tour. In this blog post, I talked about the best areas to stay in the Dominican Republic with hotels from luxury to budget, as well as Airbnbs in each area. I also tried to give you an idea about the vibe of each one.
As I’ve said earlier, Punta Cana is the best place to stay in the Dominican Republic for first-timers. However, feel free to pick your favorite hotel according to your taste as the Dominican Republic offers a great selection of hotels that you might not even want to leave your hotel.
I would like to remind you again that in order not to miss your favorite place and get better deals on accommodations, do not forget to make a reservation in advance!
For those who couldn’t choose among many options, I would like to wrap up. Here are
the 2 best hotels that I can highly recommend you to stay in for an epic holiday. They both have perfect locations and great reviews.
- Westin Puntacana Resort – The best all-inclusive resort in The Dominican Republic for luxury travelers
- Four Points Sheraton – A great place to stay in the Dominican Republic with a swimming pool and a gym
If you have any other suggestions or questions about the Dominican Republic don’t be shy and leave a comment below. I’ll be happy to leave a reply to them!
Have an amazing holiday,
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