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With hundreds of islands spread across thousands of miles of turquoise blue waters, it’s no wonder that the Caribbean is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. No matter what your vacation style, there is an island that will suit your needs, from the luxury and refinement of St. Barth to the family fun of the Bahamas to the natural beauty of Dominica. And while every island has something different to offer and its own charms, there is one Caribbean nation that’s quickly climbing to the top of many travelers’ “must visit” lists.
The Dominican Republic is the second largest country in the Caribbean after Cuba, and it shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. Long popular with travelers from Europe and Canada in search of warm breezes and beautiful beaches, over the past five years, the popularity of the Dominican, as it’s commonly known, has grown in leaps and bounds with American travelers. In fact, based on the number of flights that take off and land from the island’s four major airports, the Dominican is the hottest island destination in the Caribbean.
So what made this friendly country rise from relative obscurity to one of the most popular spots in an already popular region? The explosive growth is attributed to a number of factors.
Easy to Get Here, Easy to StayA few decades ago, travel to the Dominican was largely limited to Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic’s capital city. While Santo Domingo offers a wide array of cultural and historic attractions, it wasn’t until developers began building large resorts along the island’s beaches that visitors began arriving in droves. Punta Cana became the most popular destination on the island — almost 55 percent of all tourists arriving on the island do so through Punta Cana International Airport — while other beach towns, including Punta Plata and La Romana, also see a brisk tourism business. It’s not just the large resorts that offer every possible amenity along with access to the beach that draw visitors, though. Unlike other Caribbean islands, which often require several flight or boat transfers (or both), getting to the Dominican is easy. Most U.S. airlines offer nonstop or one-stop flights to the island from major cities throughout the day. It’s also a short flight; from New York, it only takes a little over three hours to arrive in paradise.
Beautiful BeachesBy many accounts, the beaches of the Dominican Republic are the most beautiful in the Caribbean. While such a claim is subjective, it’s hard to deny that the beaches are excellent: in many areas, the beaches are wide, with powdery soft white sand and clear turquoise waters. Near the major resorts the beaches are more on the crowded side, but it’s not difficult to find more secluded and private stretches of shoreline.
A Rich HistoryOne of the first visitors to the Dominican was none other than Christopher Columbus; in fact, the capital city of Santo Domingo was founded by the notorious explorer’s younger brother. Much of the country’s history is centered on the capital of Santo Domingo (the largest city in the Caribbean by population) where you’ll find Catedral Primada de America, Fortaleza Ozada, and Calle las Damas, the oldest church, fort and street in the Americas, respectively. While many visitors don’t stray much beyond the beach resorts, it’s well worth exploring the country’s rich history.
Wide Variety of ActivitiesWhen many vacationers look for Dominican Republic resorts online, they want to find a spot where they can kick back, relax and soak up the sun. However, the Dominican is more than beach chairs and umbrella drinks. Most resorts offer everything from golf and tennis to dance lessons, horseback riding and water sports, and beyond the resorts you’ll find even more to do, from cave exploration to mountain biking in the lush interior mountain region. For those wanting more leisurely pursuits, the Dominican is a haven for artists and musicians.
AffordabilityIn a time when most people are watching every dollar, the Dominican Republic represents an exceptional value. The majority of the large resorts are all-inclusive — making it easy to budget — and offer great deals to travelers throughout the year. The large capacity of most resorts and the country’s popularity among travelers keep rates low, making it an attractive option to anyone wanting a Caribbean vacation without breaking the bank.
With so much to offer, it’s easy to see why the Dominican Republic is such a popular destination. If you’re planning an island getaway, do not overlook this exceptional option.
NOTE: This is a post from one of our contributors. Any views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views on www.pinoyadventurista.com.
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