Discovering the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with Haiti, covering the eastern two-thirds of this relatively large island located between Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east. The Dominican Republic has lovely mountains, protected valleys and gentle coastal plains; great beaches with serene lagoons; and year-round golf courses. The island is also known for merengue music, a love of baseball and a flavorful mix of Spanish, African and native Taino cuisines.
Cruise ships may call on the capital city of Santo Domingo on the island’s southern coast. The pier at Don Diego Quay is a short walk from the city’s Old Town area. There are many wonderful colonial era buildings, including the Alcazar de Colòn, a World Heritage site that houses an excellent art museum. Originally, the alcazar was the family home and governor’s mansion of Diego Colòn, son of Christopher Columbus. The Fortaleza Ozama is a 16th-century castle built by the Spanish to guard the entrance to the port, and was so well constructed that it served as a prison until the 1960s.
Some ships call on Puerto Plata on the island’s north shore, where you can browse through Central Artesanal, an artist’s cooperative, for unique wood carvings, paintings and jewelry. But, you may be distracted from shopping by the city’s Victorian architecture, the surrounding mountains or the beautiful beaches. This area is also known for its rich supply of amber, with some spectacular pieces on display at the town’s Amber Museum.
Other ships dock near the village of La Romana, a great place to search for locally made crafts in the boutiques and shops located around the town. While visiting, you’ll be able to pick from a variety of shore excursions, such as snorkeling or diving, horseback riding, golf, city tours, bird watching or a relaxing day at the beach.
One or two port calls in the Dominican Republic are often included on cruises of the Eastern Caribbean, which also encompasses the British and American Virgin Islands. Winter is a terrific time to cruise there, and a variety of cruise lengths and itineraries are available. Talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert about all of your options for discovering the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic is also known for its all-inclusive resorts. Learn more about the differences between cruising and all-inclusive resorts here.