10 Epic Things To Do In Dominican Republic For Adventurous Women
Pristine beaches, stunning turquoise waters, and adrenaline-filled fun all on a tropical island in the Caribbean Sea? Count us in! While the Dominican Republic is known as a dreamy resort destination (which it is), there’s SO much more to it than sipping margs in a cabana.
Rich in vibrant culture, colonial history, and incredible grub, there’s never a dull moment in the DR. So whether you’re visiting for a few days or a few weeks, we’ll show you all the can’t miss adventures in this tropical nation.
7 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in the Dominican Republic
What are the most exhilarating adventures near Puerto Plata? Which of the DR’s beautiful beaches offers the best surfing? When do the humpbacks return to the coast? We’ve got all the answers. Here are some insider tips to transform your vacay into an aDRenaline-filled DReam.
1. Go Surfing at Encuentro Beach
Why we like it: We love Encuentro for its consistent surf – year around and every morning until the afternoon when the wind picks up.
It’s sinful to visit the Dominican Republic without catching some waves, and Encuentro Beach is the best place to do it. Kick-off your morning with surf lessons at the remote beach, then kick ass riding the tides.
In fact, that’s why Explorer Chick chose Encuentro Beach for surf lesson on the epic adventure vacation in DR. The waves are so good that the trip promises that you’ll be cruising on the board within 2 hours. We can’t make any promises though 😉
2. Explore the Mountains, Rivers, and Adventure in Jarabacoa
Why we like it: Jarabacoa – home to the mountains where you’ll experience cooler temps and pine trees!
Beat the heat by escaping to Jarabacoa’s national parks, where it’s cooler in both temperatures and vibes. Then, crush the highest mountain in the Caribbean, Pico Duarte, nestled between Armando Bermudez and Jaragua National Park. Clocking in at a whopping 10,614 feet, summiting Pico Duarte will change. Your. Life. But if that’s not enough adrenaline for you, white water raft down the Yaque del Norte River’s 12-foot vertical drop, better known as the “Mike Tyson” rapid.
3. Go Horseback Riding up Salto El Limón
Don’t go chasing just any waterfall — chase Salto El Limón. Book a private tour, then make the half day trip from Punta Cana or Santo Domingo to the Samaná peninsula. Admire the lush forests while hiking or horse riding towards the pristine cascading falls. Don’t forget your bathing suit! The trip isn’t complete without a swim in the crystal clear natural pool at the base of the falls.
- When to go: Between November and May for drier trails, between May and November for fuller waterfalls
- Where to book: Runners Adventures
- Price: $49 per adult
4. Go Whale Watching on the Samaná Bay
Planning a winter getaway to the Dominican Republic? Booking a boat ride off the country’s north coast in Samaná Bay is a necessity. Hundreds of humpback whales make a nursery out of the bay’s warm water every season as they migrate through the Atlantic Ocean. No self guided tours in these protected waters! But you’ll leave with maaajor heart eyes, guaranteed.
- Best time to go: During the winter as whales migrate south
- Where to book: Whale Samaná
- Price: $59 per person for whale watching only
5. Visit All of the Waterfalls at 27 Chacos of Damajagua
Forget amusement parks. Try some legit outdoor activities. Go canyoneering through the 27 Charcos, just a short drive from Puerto Plata! You’ll jump, swim, and slide down limestone falls surrounded by the natural beauty of soaring coastal mountains. Though the canyon’s fairly family-friendly, most tourists only hit the seventh fall. But if you’ve got the guts to continue, you’ll enjoy one of the Dominican Republic’s few tourist attractions that lack tourists!
- How to get there: grab a taxi to Damajagua 57000, Dominican Republic
- More info: 27 Charcos
- Price: about $15 entrance + $2 to rent the gear (if you’re not a part of a tour)
As for us Explorer Chicks? We do Ciguapa which is much more challenging without any tourists. What can we say, we like the adventures that are off the beaten path 🤙 But more on that in #7 of this list.
6. Get a Dose of Culture at Santo Domingo
Break from sipping cervezas on white sand beaches to explore the busy city of Santo Domingo. Start in Zona Colonial, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This oldest European settlement in the Americas booms with colonial architecture, beautifully preserved buildings, and early Dominican culture. Check out historic sites like Spanish explorer Ponce de Léon’s residence and the cross shaped Columbus Lighthouse: a museum and mausoleum honoring Christopher Columbus himself.
- Best time to go: winter is the dry season, so it’s a popular time to visit
- Where to stay: in Zona Colonial 😍
- What to do: visit @microteatrosd, explore the historical sites, see the beauty at Los Tres Ojos National Park
7. Go Canyoneering at Cigupa Falls
Itching to get away from the all inclusive resorts and into nature? Get your blood pumping as you start this Puerto Plata excursion with the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had, followed by a steep trek down the canyon, then, uhh…jumping off a 23-foot cliff? If the java didn’t wake you up, the frigid water will! This incredibly fun 2.5-hour journey will test you.
After 15 jumps (or rappels) off waterfalls up to 35 feet tall (!!!), you’ll emerge from the canyon and start the climb back up. Optionally, book a donkey ride to take you back to base camp, where you’ll down some delicious food and continuously think, “I can’t believe I just did THAT!” Yeah, you did!
Sound intriguing? Hell yeah it does. That’s why we spend an entire day jumping off of cliffs and swimming in the pools of Cigupa on our adventure trip in DR (and it’s why this trip always sells out). Join us on the next one!
3 Off the Beaten Path Bonus Places to Visit in the Dominican Republic
Stray from the luxury resorts and overpopulated nearby attractions. Instead, get a real taste of the fun things that the Dominican Republic offers. But don’t worry: you can still be your best tourist self. These unique excursions make for awesome day trips and totally #InstaWorthy pics.
1. Have a Beach Day at Playa Bonita
It’s palm trees and aquamarine waters galore at this soft sand beach! Try your hand at windsurfing or get lost in a cheesy romance novel on this public yet quiet shore. Grab some fresh seafood at the beachside restaurants or check out the small beach town of Las Terrenas nearby. Keep an eye out for farmers’ markets and produce stands — you’ll eat the best seasonal fruit of your LIFE in the Dominican Republic.
2. Swim Monte Cristi Underwater National Park
An underwater park? Yep, it exists! Grab your scuba diving or snorkeling equipment and head to Monte Cristi province to explore the Dominican Republic below the surface. Fun fact: this marine reserve doesn’t just protect waters but the whole ocean floor. So you’ll see centuries-old shipwrecks PLUS sea turtles, manatees, and numerous schools of exotic fish. Did you know this reef contains a whopping 90% of the nation’s coral, yet it’s the least visited? So skip the crowded Saona Island. Come here instead!
3. Dine in a Cave at El Mesón de la Cava
Forget casual restaurants — eat your dinner in a cave! Book a reservation at El Masón de la Cava in Santo Domingo for the most unique dining experience ever. After descending 40-feet into the quaint limestone basement, you’ll enjoy a fun fusion of local cuisines. To add even more intrigue, the space was previously used for military storage. What?! Just Dominican Republic things.
Where to Get Travel Information for the DR
Stay up to date on current travel information from the United States to the Dominican Republic using the following resources:
- U.S. Department of State: Dominican Republic International Travel Information
- U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic
- Go Dominican Republic: Getting Here
- U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic: COVID-19 Requirements
Explore the Dominican Republic with the Gals!
Ready for a tropical adventure to the real Dominican Republic? Join an incredible group of women trekking canyons, jumping down waterfalls, flying high on the trapeze, and so. Much. More. Our Explorer Chick fam will be here the whole time to help you conquer your fears, then pass you an ice-cold cerveza. We can’t wait to meet you!
Meet the Writer
Megan Wray is a queer, mixed-race Japanese-Canadian freelance writer based on Treaty 1 Territory. Passionate about pleasure, identity, and anti-oppression, Megan’s fuelled by meaningful chats about topics that aren’t “appropriate” for dinner table conversation. When she’s not writing, you can find Megan cooking vegan food, singing to live music, and trying to understand astrology.
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