If you’re looking for culture, beauty, and adventure all rolled in to one neat little package, you simply can’t beat a trip to the Dominican Republic! Located on the island of Hispanolo in the Caribbean region, the Dominican Republic has everything from beautiful beaches to breathtaking mountain ranges, from tiny towns to booming cities…there is no doubt that you will find exactly what you are looking for on this tropical paradise.
The Dominican Republic is a place rich with history, both geographic and cultural. While bathing in the sun on one of the many white sand beaches, and swimming to your hearts content in the crystal blue ocean waters are both activities that are basically “no branier” additions to any Dominican Republic vacation, there are also many other wonderful things to experience during your stay.
One of the most traditional festivities in the Dominican Republic is the Carnival. With loud music, streets filled with dancing locals and tourists, outrageous costumes, and a generally animalistic tone, Carnival is something that simply can’t be missed. The most famous of all the traditional Carnivals is called La Vega’s Diablos, which is held in the small town of La Vega every weekend in the month of February, culminating in the largest celebration on February 27th. You can expect to see a surreal scene of grotesquely beautiful decorated performers running through the streets “whipping” anyone who gets in their way with a sac made from cow bladder. The meringue music with fill your ears, the bright costumes with overtake your eyes, and the mass of energetic and happy people will overcome your heart. As with any large public gathering, take care to guard your personal belongings, as there is quite a rampant amount of pickpocketing and theft.
CATHEDRAL OF SANTA MARIA
Located in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo, you will find the oldest standing cathedral in the Western hemisphere. Built in 1523 using a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance elements, this magnificent cathedral is actually still in use today. The cathedral has a rich history, and was actually the headquarters of Sir Francis Drake when he captured the town and held it for ransom. A walk through this beautiful building and across its grounds will give you a great sense of Spanish Renaissance architecture.
THE NATIONAL AQUARIUM
Also located in Santo Domingo, the National Aquarium is considered the best public aquarium in all of the Caribbean.