Dominican Republic best areas

Where To Stay in the Dominican Republic: 5 Best Areas & Places

Updated: January 23, 2024

The Dominican Republic is an impressive gem located within the Caribbean isles, known for its diverse culture and beautiful beaches, it attracts travelers to its shores from around the globe.

If you are looking for an idyllic beachside retreat with some of the most pristine beaches you have ever seen, then the Dominican Republic is the place to go. Stunning stretches of white sand and crystal-clear waters can be found around the coast offering picture-perfect hideaways for people looking to escape modern life.

Although the coastline offers some truly wonderful gems, there is more to the Dominican than its striking beaches. The bustling capital town of Santo Domingo is alive with historical architecture, and a lively nightlife, whereas the town of La Romana is brimming with artisanal craft and fairytale-like street scenes.

Outside of the cities and coastal areas, the inland area of the Dominican Republic is an eco-haven offering unspoiled lush green forests and hidden waterfall systems. Here people traverse the expansive green valleys on horseback or hike along mountain trails offering spectacular views of the ocean beyond.

Whether you are looking to enjoy historic city life, explore secret waterfalls and tropical forests, or relax at a luxurious seaside getaway, the Dominican Republic offers a captivating place to visit that goes beyond the expectations of a laid-back Caribbean life.

Here we will share with you the five best areas to stay in the Dominican Republic to ensure you choose the best location for a truly memorable trip.

 

In this travel guide:

 

Punta Cana

Punta Cana

The area of Punta Cana is nestled along the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic and is a renowned slice of paradise that epitomizes the Caribbean’s allure.

Known for its pristine white-sand beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters, this area is a haven for travelers seeking sun-soaked relaxation, water adventures, and luxurious getaways.

The region is famed for its array of all-inclusive resorts, boutique hotels, and upscale villas, which jostle for a piece of the picturesque coastline. Idyllic palm-fringed beaches hug the coast here, offering scenic strolls, sunbathing, and invigorating water activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing.

When it comes to beaches, Punta Cana has some of the best in the Dominican Republic, with Bavaro Beach, and Playa Blanca being popular choices for those postcard-perfect scenes.

Beyond the coastline, Punta Cana brims with an array of world-class golf courses, attracting golf enthusiasts from around the globe. Courses such as the beautiful oceanfront Corales Golf Coast, designed by Tom Fazio offer excellent recreation opportunities among the region’s magnificent landscapes.

The vibrant area of Punta Cana is an attractive destination for anyone seeking an idyllic Caribbean break. The perfect coastal stretches and invigorating range of activities create the ideal place to unwind and relax within the Dominican Republic’s stunning natural beauty.

Best place to stay in Punta Cana

Eden Roc Cap Cana. Address: Cap Cana, 23000 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Cheaper alternative:

Four Points by Sheraton. Address: 1ero de Noviembre Boulevard, 23302 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

 

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic, is a vibrant and historically rich metropolis that seamlessly blends the old world with the new.

As the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas, Santo Domingo boasts an interesting mix of colonial charm, modernity, and cultural significance.

The heart of the city is the Zona Colonial, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a treasure trove of historic landmarks that draw in curious travelers. Cobblestone streets wind past beautifully preserved 16th-century buildings, including the iconic Catedral Primada de América, the oldest standing Cathedral in the Western hemisphere.

Visitors can explore museums, such as the Museo de las Casas Reales, to delve into the city’s colonial past and the Museo Alcázar de Colón, the former residence of Christopher Columbus’s son.

Beyond its historic allure, Santo Domingo has a lively energy, with a superb nightlife scene, boutique stores as well as modern shopping districts, and a diverse culinary landscape.

There are many wonderful cultural events held throughout the year including live music performances, art exhibitions, and festivals that celebrate the vibrant Dominican heritage of the city.

The Malecón, a scenic waterfront promenade, offers stunning views of the Caribbean Sea and is a place where locals and visitors combine to enjoy the picturesque views.

Best place to stay in Santo Domingo

Casas del XVI. Address: 252 Padre Billini, Colonial Zone, 23000 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

 

Las Terrenas

Las Terrenas

Las Terrenas, situated on the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic, is a hidden gem known for its stunning beaches and laid-back atmosphere.

Located within the Samaná Peninsula, this coastal town has evolved from a quiet fishing village into a charming and diverse destination that attracts couples looking for a romantic yet authentic Caribbean experience.

The area boasts some of the most picturesque beaches in the country, with stretches of pristine powdery white sands fringed by swaying palm trees. Playa Bonita and Playa Cosón are among the popular beaches, offering a serene setting for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports like kiteboarding.

The town center exudes a vibrant energy, with lively markets selling artisan crafts, fresh produce, and local delicacies.

As evening falls, the seaside promenade comes alive with bars, restaurants, and cafes where visitors can experience the local beachfront eateries serving freshly caught seafood, while enjoying breathtaking ocean views where humpback whales can sometimes be seen.

Beyond its scenic beaches, Las Terrenas has lush forests set along the rugged landscapes of the Samaná Peninsula. Here eco-travelers can explore nearby waterfalls, the El Limón waterfall being a notable highlight, or explore the vast tropical valleys on horseback.

Las Terrenas is welcoming yet relaxed and is the epitome of Caribbean life, making it the ideal place for those wishing to retreat from the modern world and connect with the natural beauty, and slower pace of the Dominican Republic.

Best place to stay in Las Terrenas

Mahona Boutique Hotel. Address: Calle Italia, 32200 Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic.

 

Bayahibe

Bayahibe

Bayahibe, a picturesque coastal town located on the southeastern coast of the Dominican Republic, attracts visitors to its pristine beaches, and vibrant local culture. It’s renowned for its crystal-clear waters that are ideal for snorkeling, and diving with historic shipwrecks located just off the coast.

The town itself maintains a charming, laid-back vibe with colorful buildings, lively local shops, and restaurants serving delicious Dominican cuisine. Here you’ll find a blend of traditional Dominican culture and the easygoing vibe of a beachside paradise.

For those looking to explore the natural treasures of the island, Bayahibe is the ideal location. Hiking trails wind around the coastline leading to hidden caves or nature lovers can discover the National Park of the East (Parque Nacional del Este), a biodiverse reserve including mangroves, subtropical forests, and limestone landscapes.

Visitors can also take boat tours to the nearby Saona Island, a pristine natural sanctuary boasting powder-white beaches, and incredible snorkeling with abundant marine life.

The town is warm and welcoming, offering visitors a taste of local Dominican life where the country’s beloved rhythms of merengue and bachata can be heard from the cafes, and bars with views across the ocean.

Best place to stay in Bayahibe

Hilton La Romana. Address: Playa Bayahibe La Romana, 23000 Bayahibe, Dominican Republic.

 

La Romana

La Romana

La Romana, a bustling city situated on the southeastern coast of the Dominican Republic, exudes a vibrant blend of sophistication and history.

The area is well known for its lively local city life which contrasts against the ultra-sleek resorts of the area which attract a wealthy crowd to its secluded landscapes and super yacht marina.

The energetic city center makes for the perfect place for history seekers to explore, with its spirited markets, colorful streets, and upmarket local stores being at the heart of Dominican life.

Visitors looking for an authentic view of the island will find it in La Romana with local street stalls selling fresh produce and traditional crafts, while the echoes of traditional music fill the air.

Just beyond the city, visitors can also explore Altos de Chavón, a remarkable Mediterranean-style village perched on a cliff overlooking the Chavón River. This cultural center is adorned with cobblestone streets, a Roman amphitheater, and a design school affiliated with the Parsons School of Design in New York City.

It looks straight out of a fairytale with its charming historic buildings and is a testament to the Dominican Republic’s artistic and cultural heritage.

Whether exploring the city’s picturesque streets, immersing in local culture at Altos de Chavón, or unwinding on the nearby beaches, La Romana is an upmarket destination that wonderfully blends tradition with modernity within beautiful natural surroundings.

Best place to stay in La Romana

Casa de Campo. Address: Carretera La Romana – Higuey, 22000 La Romana, Dominican Republic.

 

Cayo Levantado Resort

Where travel critics stay in the Dominican Republic

Curious to discover the accommodation choices of travel experts from renowned publishers such as The New York Times, Frommer’s, Fodor’s and Lonely Planet when they are in the Dominican Republic? Delve into our comprehensive guide showcasing all highly recommended hotels in the Dominican Republic. This includes everything from hostels to B&Bs that these critics prefer during their stay.

 

Budget

The Bannister Hotel.

“This stylish marina complex smack on the Bay of Samaná has changed the face of tourism in this area and become the social center for the upscale residents, a safe harbor for visiting yacht owners, and a deluxe, yet reasonably priced option for international visitors.” – Fodor’s.

Address: Carretera Sanchez Samana Km5, 11517 Santa Bárbara de Samaná, Dominican Republic.

 

Mid-range

Zoëtry Agua.

“The moment you walk into the intimate Zoetry, relaxation befalls you. Wooden accents and Balinese touches abound at this small property, with 96 suites that radiate out from the dramatic, cathedral-style lobby forged from bamboo and palm leaves.” – Lonely Planet.

Address: Playa De Uvero Alto , Uvero Alto, 22000 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

 

Luxury

Eden Roc Cap Cana.

“Part of the Dominican Republic’s 30,000-acre Cap Cana enclave, Eden Roc is a Relais & Châteaux property flush with lush gardens, jewel-toned villas and one of the prettiest sugar-white sand strips on the island.” – Forbes.

Address: Cap Cana, 23000 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

 

Dominican Republic hotel tips

FAQ: hotel tips for the Dominican Republic

Looking for the best budget, boutique, or luxury hotel in the Dominican Republic? Or maybe you’re a backpacker looking for a splendid hostel? Want to know which hotel serves a great breakfast? Here are the answers to all those and other questions about where to stay in the Dominican Republic.

 

How much do I have to pay for a night in a hotel in the Dominican Republic?

For 3-star hotels, the average rate is around $130 per night. If you’re looking for a 4-star hotel, then the rates are around $260 per night. The average rate for a 5-star hotel in the Dominican Republic is around $490 per night.

 

What is the best boutique hotel in the Dominican Republic?

If you fancy a bit of extravagance but prefer to stay away from the well-known chain hotels, then Casa de Campo is an excellent option for you. This hotel has been very well-reviewed by travelers and experts alike. For more information on other cool hotels, take a look at our list of the best boutique hotels in the Dominican Republic.

 

What is the best luxury resort in the Dominican Republic?

If cost is not an issue, Tortuga Bay Hotel is a great option for those seeking a luxurious hotel in the Dominican Republic. This establishment offers magnificent customer service, is in an ideal location, and has garnered high reviews from customers and travel experts alike. To discover more 5-star hotels, take a look at our selection of the best luxury resorts in the Dominican Republic.

 

What is the best cheap hotel in the Dominican Republic?

If you are on the hunt for an affordable hotel, then you should consider reserving El Balata Residence. It is a great option for those on a budget, as it provides good value for your money. Additionally, the hotel is in a suitable location, and professional travelers have given it their approval. Moreover, the guests who have stayed at the hotel have shared positive reviews. We also have a list of the best cheap hotels in the Dominican Republic.

 

What is the best hostel in the Dominican Republic?

If you’re in search of a well-priced private room or comfy dorm in the Dominican Republic, Afreeka Beach Hostel is worth a look. The hostel has been highly praised by backpackers. Additionally, we have compiled a shortlist of the best hostels in the Dominican Republic based on thousands of reviews from backpackers.

 

What is the most romantic hotel in Punta Cana?

When it comes to planning a romantic getaway, there is nothing more important than choosing the perfect hotel. We recommend Breathless Resort if you want to make your stay in Punta Cana truly memorable. It’s also an adults-only hotel.

 

Which is the best hotel in the Dominican Republic for a family stay?

If you and your family are considering a holiday getaway to the Dominican Republic, travelers who have gone there with their families have had splendid feedback about Hotel Villa Colonial.

 

Best time to visit the Dominican Republic

Best time to visit the Dominican Republic

The best time to visit the Dominican Republic is from December to April, the peak tourist season, when the weather is just perfect with balmy temperatures and clear skies.

It’s exciting to imagine basking in the Caribbean sun on a beach in Punta Cana or exploring the colonial architecture in Santo Domingo during this time. You can also participate in the annual Carnival festivities in February, which is a riot of colors, music, and dance.

The whale-watching season in Samana Bay from January to March is another thrilling experience that you won’t want to miss.

 

Best things to do in the Dominican Republic

Best things to do in the Dominican Republic

There are many things to do in the Dominican Republic, including day trips, attractions, museums, sightseeing tours and many other activities. Here’s our list of 3 things you should do when you’re in the Dominican Republic:

 

Punta Cana Half-Day Adventure: 4×4 ATV, Water Cave and Dominican Culture

Take a ride on a robust all-terrain vehicle designed for the challenging landscapes of the Dominican Republic’s hinterland, cutting through a lush forest to reach a domestic organic farm. Sample the rich flavors of coffee, chocolate, and rum. Next, delve into a native cave and its subterranean river network. Conclude your adventure at the serene Macao Beach, where you can unwind and take a refreshing swim before making your way back to Punta Cana. Price: $64. More info.

 

Santo Domingo Zona Colonial Guided Bike Tour

Embark on a guided cycling adventure around the Ciudad Colonial district in Santo Domingo. Take in the scenic vistas of the Caribbean sea and uncover prime locales for dancing and libations. Price: $40. More info.

 

Punta Cana Snorkeling Catamaran Trip

Dedicate a morning or afternoon to appreciate the picturesque landscapes surrounding Cabeza de Toro Natural Reserve. Once done, use the given snorkeling equipment to discover the aquatic life beneath the waves. If you’re feeling adventurous, give the boat’s slide toboggan a whirl, or just kick back on deck, basking in the sunlight. Price: $89. More info.

 

More things to do in the Dominican Republic

 

Deciding where to stay in the Dominican Republic

As a closing note, let’s summarize this travel guide. We covered the best areas of the Dominican Republic, so you can decide which part of town you want to stay in.

 

Top 5 areas to stay in the Dominican Republic

 

As you have seen in this article, there are plenty of things to explore, and deciding where to stay in the Dominican Republic is important. Whether you stay in Punta Cana, Santo Domingo, Las Terrenas, La Romana or Bayahibe, all those neighborhoods are great areas for your stay.

When deliberating your stay in the Dominican Republic, several factors may come into play. The ambiance of the area, whether your journey to this magnificent country is prompted by business or pleasure, and who you’re traveling with family or friends. Also significant is how close you’ll be to the attractions that spark your interest.

Regardless of these variables, one thing remains certain – a fantastic time awaits you during your stay in the Dominican Republic!

 

Dominican Republic overview

🏨 Hotel prices: High
🛏 Budget hotel: $118
💑 Boutique hotel: $235
5-star hotel: $440
🌎 Best area for first visit: Punta Cana
👪 Best area for families: Santo Domingo
💎 Best luxury hotel: Hotel Tortuga Bay
👫 Best boutique hotel: Casa de Campo
💰 Best cheap hotel: Residencia El Balata
🎒 Best hostel: Afreeka Beach Hostel

 

More tips for the Dominican Republic

Get to know the country even better by reading our other articles about the Dominican Republic:

Best hotels in the Dominican Republic

Boutique hotels in the Dominican Republic

Luxury resorts in the Dominican Republic

Cheap hotels in the Dominican Republic

Hostels in the Dominican Republic