Discovering the hidden jewels of the Dominican Republic

Recognized for its sprawling all-inclusive East Coast resorts, the Dominican Republic is a busy place.

However keep away from the constructed up seashores, the golf programs and throbbing music and also you’ll discover some well-kept secrets and techniques, particularly within the stunning south, with cliffs falling into the ocean, nature reserves and miles of undeveloped shoreline with not a soul in sight.

Listed here are six extremely rated ideas . . .

Dominican delights: The palm-fringed seaside in Mano Juan, East Nationwide Park, Dominican Republic 

NATURE AND NURTURE

From the Dominican Republic’s capital Santo Domingo it’s a lengthy, bumpy drive all the way down to the Parque Nacional Jaragua and Bahia de las Aguilas on the border with Haiti.

However those that make an effort are rewarded with a number of the prettiest seashores within the Caribbean alongside this 8km of unspoilt shoreline. There are not any solar loungers, no seaside bars, no pedalos and no pounding reggae at Bahia de las Aguilas.

From my spot on the white sand, a brief boat trip from Eco Del Mar eco-lodge, there’s simply me and so many white butterflies that it seems like a snow flurry.

WHAT TO DO: If you happen to can prise your self away from the seaside, go to the Jaragua Nationwide Park, of which Bahia de las Aguilas is part, the place there are mountaineering trails to come across ugly however endearing rhinoceros iguanas within the inexperienced saltwater Lago de Oviedo, additionally residence to flamingos, parrots and pelicans.

STAY: Eco Del Mar dinner is a toes-in-the- sand affair with tables on the seaside and contemporary grilled langoustine. There’s no wi-fi so company are studying and chatting by the sunshine of a bonfire. You generally is a funds camper or a luxurious glamper right here with lodging starting from tents to snug cabanas, from £126 (ecodelmar.com.do).

HIDDEN TREASURE

Though solely three hours from the capital, the province of Barahona seems like a forgotten land. The coastal highway from the south has the ocean on one aspect and mountains on the opposite.

Regardless of its unworldly vibe, that is the background late Dominican designer Oscar de la Renta selected for journal shoots. Barahona is the one place on the earth the place they mine larimar, a semi-precious stone the color of the ocean. Locals say larimar can heal a damaged coronary heart.

WHAT TO DO: Cease at Los Patos, the nation’s shortest river, the place youngsters cool off in water from the mountain. It additionally has a seaside widespread with surfers because of its deep waters.

STAY: Casa Bonita is a household retreat turned boutique resort tucked within the coronary heart of the rainforest. The beautiful 18-room hideaway has a zipper wire the place individuals glide by way of the treetops. Or go for the infinity pool with views of the forest and the ocean, from £191 (slh.com).

Back to nature at Eco Del Mar where dinner is a toes-in-the- sand affair with tables on the beach and fresh grilled langoustine

Again to nature at Eco Del Mar the place dinner is a toes-in-the- sand affair with tables on the seaside and contemporary grilled langoustine

PEARL OF THE SOUTH

Journey alongside the untouched coast of Barahona and you’ll encounter small seashores widespread with locals however undiscovered by vacationers.

WHAT TO DO: Escape the warmth in a sequence of pure swimming pools fed by the San Rafael River that runs within the grounds of Villa Miriam, a non-public home open to the general public.

STAY: Perla Del Sur is a brand new luxurious challenge within the undeveloped space of Barahona which is able to comprise a boutique lodge, villas and residences. The lodge is because of open subsequent yr and villas are already open. Financed by native households, it’s a sustainable challenge aimed toward re-energising the realm and benefiting the neighborhood (perladelsur.com).

TRAVEL FACTS 

  • The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti — one island, two nations.
  • It’s the most visited vacation spot within the Caribbean; about 5 million a yr.
  • Columbus landed in 1492, establishing the primary European settlement within the Americas. His stays had been as soon as housed within the capital’s cathedral.
  • The nation was often called Santo Domingo till the early 20th century.
  • The nationwide sport is baseball.
  • The Latin dance merengue originates from the Dominican Republic.

FRUIT OF THE VINE 

Azua de Compostela was based in 1504 by Diego Velazquez de Cuellar, Cuba’s conqueror. However guests immediately are drawn to Azua province by its winding shoreline with views to Corbanito’s beautiful seashores.

WHAT TO DO: Take a dip at Playa Chiquita, an open cove with gray sand and clear waters that creates a secluded spot good for swimming.

STAY: Ocoa Bay is the Caribbean’s solely winery, present in Azua about one-and-a-half hours from the capital Santo Domingo, the place its place between the Central Mountains and the ocean has a dry local weather good for cultivating grapes. The winery, which is run by husband and spouse Maria Claudia and Guillermo Mallarino, already runs wine-tasting experiences and excursions. Plans are in hand to open a boutique winery lodge and villas early subsequent yr (ocoabay.com).

BEACH LIFE 

The coast west of Santo Domingo is tranquil and unspoilt, backed by mountains teeming with wildlife.

WHAT TO DO: This space actually is animal magic. Discover the hills to the north of Bahia de las Calderas and meet iguanas and sea birds. Nearer the coast count on pelicans and flamingos.

STAY: A lot of different new initiatives within the space are set to vary the sleepy panorama together with Puntarena, the brainchild of Frank Rainieri who based the well-known Punta Cana. The brand new improvement can have 4 resorts, beachfront condos, a golf course and nature trails. A seaside membership home and restaurant are already open (puntarena.com.do).

Stop at Los Patos, the country’s shortest river, where children cool off in water from the mountain. It also has a beach popular with surfers due to its deep waters

Cease at Los Patos, the nation’s shortest river, the place youngsters cool off in water from the mountain. It additionally has a seaside widespread with surfers because of its deep waters 

ROMANTIC RUSTIC 

Alongside the south-east coast there’s a huge expanse with sugar cane fields which give the backdrop to a number of the nation’s most stunning seashores. The neighborhood of Romana was based within the early 19th century and prospered because of the sugar cane cultivation.

WHAT TO DO: Go to the fishing village of Bayahibe based in 1874 the place the Dominican Republic’s nationwide flower The Rose of Bayahibe has its roots.

STAY: Rancho Ecologico el Campeche is a pleasant eco-lodge with rustic rooms amongst tropical greenery. There’s an off-the-beaten-track really feel and the lodge has an space for tenting and alternatives for bird-watching by day and evening, from £75 (ranchocampeche.com).

TRAVEL FACTS

Iberia flies to Santo Domingo from Heathrow by way of Madrid from about £600 return, iberia.com. Tui gives seven nights in La Romana with return flights from Gatwick from £990 pp. For extra data, go to godominicanrepublic.com.