From the opulence of five-star beach-side resorts to the untouched wilderness of exotic jungles, the Dominican Republic is the like the jewel of the Caribbean. Indeed, it's the most popular holiday destination in the entire Caribbean Sea, and was discovered by Christopher Columbus more than five centuries ago. The capital, Santo Domingo, is also the most populous city in the island range, and marked its 500th anniversary in 1996. This nation is decorated with many enchanting colonial landmarks, and is overlooked by the highest peak in the Caribbean, the 3,098-metre Pico Duarte. The majority of flights to Dominican Republic arrive at Punta Cana International Airport in Punta Cana, or Las Américas International Airport in Santo Domingo.
Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor
Santo Domingo is the home of the enchanting Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Menor, which was founded in 1512 and is older than any other cathedral in the Americas. The church, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is renowned for its art collection and jewellery, and is a harmonious blend of Gothic and Baroque architecture.
This resort has some of the finest beaches in the country, if not the Caribbean, and offers plenty of charming hotels, restaurants and boutiques. Visit the splendid Macao Beach, La Vacama beach and other magnificent sandy bays, then head to the nearby Los Haitises National Park, a terrific forest with dramatic caverns.
For truly luxurious, romantic accommodation with awe-inspiring sea views, you could book a stay at the Tortuga Bay Hotel Puntacana Resort & Club in Punta Cana, the Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection in Samana Province, or the Iberostar Grand Hotel in Bavaro. Other more affordable hotels include the delightful ClubHotel Riu Bachata and the value-for-money ClubHotel Riu Merengue, both in Puerto Plata.
Where to eat out
If you're eager to try some delicious, authentic Caribbean food, you could dine at the VacaBar in Cabarete or the Caribbean-, Spanish- and Basque-themed Passion By Martin Berasategui at Paradisus restaurant in Punta Cana. For mouthwatering Italian dishes, head to the Bliss Restaurant Lounge Bar Pool, also in Cabarate or enjoy some tantalising French and Asian fusion cuisine at EL MONTE AZUL - Pierre et Vanina in Las Galeras.