If variety really is the spice of life, then the Dominican Republic must rival Grenada for the honour of being the Caribbean’s ‘spice island’. Occupying over half the island of Hispaniola, the DR offers a heady mix of sugar-sand beaches fringed by coconut palms and off-shore reefs, and an interior of soaring mountains and cooling waterfalls. Add vibrant cities like Santo Domingo to the equation, plus a good choice of resorts and excellent golf, and you’ve got the recipe for the perfect holiday.
With around 800 miles of coastline to choose from, it’s hard not to find a beach to suit on Dominican Republic holidays. Punta Cana/Bavaro in the east is famed for its 20-mile stretch of silken sands lapped by water the colour of topaz, and with every facility imaginable to be found here, it’s a beach baby’s dream. The north coast is every bit as gorgeous, and pulls in both sun worshippers and windsurfers with its double whammy of appealing resorts and Atlantic swell.
Down among the beautiful beaches of the south coast there’s fantastic diving and snorkelling on offer, plus a chance to get away from it all on Isla Saona, an idyllic island where the famous Bounty bar adverts were filmed. Meanwhile the Samana headland to the north-east invites visitors to take a walk on the DR’s wilder side among lush tropical forests, coves, bays and cliffs. On the white-sand beach at Playa Rincon, you could imagine bumping into Robinson Crusoe.
All this is set against the backdrop of the locals’ friendly, welcoming attitude, and their love of a party fuelled by merengue and rum. With that in mind, it’s easy to understand why Dominican Republic package holidays are the most popular in the Caribbean.