Summer & Winter Activities to Do in the Dominican Republic

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Most tourists think of the Dominican Republic only as a winter escape from icy temperatures. But this beautiful country is a year-round destination full of awe-inspiring adventures any time of year. If you’re unsure which season to travel to the Dominican Republic, this post offers some helpful tips. 

For help planning your itinerary, several of the best summer and winter activities are listed below. From whale-watching to mountain biking, there’s no shortage of exciting ways to spend your time. So, check out these fun activities and start planning your Dominican Republic getaway. 

Summer Activities 

Summer is the perfect time to travel to the Dominican Republic for outdoor adventures. Snowbird tourists are gone, and there’s more space for adrenaline-pumping activities. If you visit during the Dominican Republic’s low season, these are awesome ways to get your heart racing. 

Kitesurfing in Cabarete

The winds pick up during summer, and the northern coast town of Cabarete turns into a kitesurfing paradise. Cabarete was one of the sport’s first hotspots, and it attracts some of the world’s top competitors. Its coral reef and steady trade winds form the perfect recipe for sick waves. Even if you’re a novice, there are tons of local kitesurfers to show you the ropes. 

Although there are consistent winds throughout the year, June to August is prime kitesurfing season. And the backdrop of mountains and swaying palm trees make it a picturesque vacation spot. After a thrilling afternoon riding the waves, Cabarete boasts a bohemian vibe with exciting nightlife.

Mountain Biking in El Choco National Park

If you made it to Cabarete, then more action awaits at El Choco National Park next door. Its lush forests and rolling hills make it one of the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic for mountain biking. The biking routes are challenging but well-maintained for a heart-racing ride through diverse terrain. 

El Choco National Park covers 30 square miles of scenic beauty, and its dirt trails make it perfect for riding. As you course through forests, lagoons, and local farms, you’ll race towards the top of El Choco Mountain. And summer is a great time to hit the mountain biking trails since they’ll be less crowded than peak season.

Whitewater Rafting on the Yaque del Norte

Did you know the Dominican Republic has the only white-water rafting excursions in the Caribbean? Nestled in the Central Highlands, the Yaque del Norte River is one of the Caribbean’s longest rivers and treats adventurers to an unforgettable ride. Start your journey from the mountain town of Jarabacoa and paddle alongside cloud forests, rocky canyons, and gushing cascades. 

The Central Highlands ranks among the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic for thrill-seekers, and white-water rafting should be your top activity. Water levels in the Yaque del Norte during summer and provide the most exciting rafting trips in the Dominican Republic. And if you want to enjoy the scenic countryside for a few extra days, the Valle del Tetero boasts surreal stargazing.

Winter Activities 

Winter is high season in the Dominican Republic, and many tourists flock here for a tropical getaway. White-sand beaches, luxurious resorts, and water sports are the main draw, but the Dominican Republic has much more to offer. For a unique Caribbean vacation you’ll never forget, try these activities during your winter escape.

Whale Watching in Samaná Bay

From December to March, Samaná Bay hosts thousands of humpback whales for their mating season. With only whale-watching boats allowed in these waters, it’s one of the world’s best places to witness these majestic creatures. Base yourself in the city of Samaná to experience an intimate connection with nature you’ll never forget. 

The Humpback Whale Sanctuary nurtures nearly 2,000 of these beauties, and whale-watching excursions let you watch them in the wild. As you cruise the Samaná Bay, its jungle-backed beaches and turquoise waters are a tropical escape from frigid winters back home.  

Scuba Diving in Bayahibe

Bayahibe is the best place in the Dominican Republic for scuba diving, and the calm waters of winters create the perfect diving conditions. Around 10 miles from La Romana, Bayahibe is a launching pad to explore Catalina and Saona Islands. There are stunning coral reefs and underwater caves just offshore of Bayahibe and near Saona. 

If shipwrecks fascinate you, two noted vessels sank around the crystalline waters of Bayahibe. The Atlantic Princess rests only 45 feet beneath the surface, but the 120 ft Saint George is harder to access. Whether you’re an advanced diver or beginner, there are dives in Bayahibe for all skill levels.

Río San Juan Boat Tour

When you travel to the Dominican Republic in winter, escaping the crowds is tricky sometimes. But only 55 miles from the bustling Puerto Plata, the serene Río San Juan offers a secluded coastal adventure. Its rocky coast and thick mangrove forests see few tourists and boast a more authentic vibe than resort towns. 

Lush vegetation hides Río San Juan’s idyllic beaches and form a perfect hideaway from reality. But for the most enchanting experience, you must embark on a Laguna Gri-Gri Boat Tour. Your vessel cruises through the dense mangroves and transports you to an emerald lagoon for an otherworldly swim.

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