Santo Domingo remains the country’s most important city – a historic place filled with remnants of colonialism alongside modern-day Dominican culture – but tourism means that destinations like Punta Cana and La Romana are more vibrant than ever.
The resorts on these magnificent stretches of coastline offer a range of holidays, from an all-inclusive family trip to a romantic couple’s holiday or a party-filled break with mates. Below, we’ve selected some of the best flight and hotel packages for a sun-drenched seven days.
La Romana at the end of high season
If the crowds of Punta Cana don’t appeal, visit the less touristy region of La Romana. A British Airways Holiday lets you base yourself in the Casa de Campo Resort, one of the most luxurious in the country. It’s spread out over 7,000 acres on the coast, offering sophisticated, modern rooms with large terraces, a private section of beach with a beach club, and three vast pool areas for guests to spend the day in.
The resort is home to three championship golf courses, an 18,000-square-foot spa and 12 tennis courts, and it offers extra activities such as water sports, fishing and horse riding. The bars provide evening entertainment, and there are excursions to take you as far as Santo Domingo.
La Romana is found on the southern coast, around an hour from Punta Cana. It provides a more laid-back environment with less crowds, but is still known as a luxury destination, with beach-fronted resorts and golf courses galore. One of the main attractions is the Altos de Chavon, a re-creation of a 16th-century Mediterranean village.
Prices from £2,619pp including seven nights’ accommodation all-inclusive, return flights from London Gatwick and one piece of checked luggage per passenger. Departing 15 April 2024.
Punta Cana at Christmas
Christmas in the Dominican Republic means days spent basking in the sun on white sands, with a unique fusion of Latin and Caribbean celebrations, culture and cuisine. Daytime temperatures will hover between the mid- to high 20s, and Punta Cana will be awash with late-night parties and hotel-hosted Christmas celebrations.
British Airways Holidays offers an all-inclusive stay at the adults-only Melia Punta Cana Beach Resort for a week from 19 December. Guests can spend the days leading up to Christmas on palm-fringed beaches, at the nearby Cocotal Golf Club or trying out sports and wellness activities, while all meals are taken care of in the hotel’s three restaurants (which offer continental and American breakfasts, Vietnamese cuisine and an international buffet).
The hotel is centred around a large outdoor pool, where a handful of huts are dotted among the sea of palm trees that leads to the beach. Rooms are spacious and modern, with simple yet stylish decoration and generous outdoor terrace areas.
Prices from £2,183pp including seven nights’ accommodation all-inclusive, return flights from London Gatwick and one piece of checked luggage per passenger. Departing 19 December 2024.
Bayahibe in May
Tourists can escape the chaos of Punta Cana while still enjoying lively evenings and entertaining days in the resorts of Bayahibe. The Thomas Cook package to the Catalonia Royal puts guests right on the beachfront – just 400m from Dominicus Beach – in a tropical paradise hotel with serene outdoor swimming pools.
Rooms come with large terraces, and each pool area has plenty of seating and cabanas. Five restaurants serve cuisine ranging from Italian and Asian fusion to Peruvian dishes, while guests can also enjoy access to two nearby golf courses and make the most of activities including diving courses and evening entertainment.
Bayahibe sits around 10 miles east of La Romana. Many resorts carry the name of La Romana in their titles, but the area around the beaches of Bayahibe and Dominicus is home to most of the hotels. These two stretches of sand are the focal points of the area, with popular activities including excursions to Isla Saona and diving around the shipwrecks off the coast.
Prices from £1,424pp including seven nights’ accommodation all-inclusive and return flights from London Gatwick. Departing 9 May 2024.
Punta Cana in low season
Though Punta Cana may be renowned for its lively high season, beat the crowds – and save some cash – by visiting in June. At this time of year you may experience some rainfall, but this usually only comes in short bursts and you can expect plenty of sunshine and clear skies.
Tui‘s all-inclusive package to the Grand Bavaro Princess resort, located less than 30 minutes north of the city with a privileged location right next to Cortecito Beach (a popular water sports destination) is great value. The resort consists of a series of white-washed buildings that house a casino, a full-service spa (with massages, hydrotherapies and facials), four bars and 10 restaurants. You’ll likely spend your time on the nearby beach (there are shuttles for beaches further afield) or by any of the three swimming pools, while you can try a different restaurant every night with a choice of international buffets, Italian, Indian and Japanese cuisine (among others).
Rooms at the Grand Bavaro are contemporary if a little simple, with a spacious terrace area and king-sized beds. The hotel also provides plenty of activities, from volleyball and tennis to dance classes and kayaking.
Prices from £1,355pp including seven nights’ accommodation all-inclusive, return flights from London Gatwick, one piece of checked luggage per passenger and airport transfers. Departing 2 June 2024.
A visit to the capital
Many providers only serve the country’s beach resorts, but Expedia offers dozens of options for visiting Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic’s lively capital. Stay at the Casas del XVI for a holiday suited to such a historic city. A collection of 16th-century houses forms a hotel complex, where the villas have retained many period features – think original brickwork and vaulted ceilings – but have been updated to offer modern luxury, with pools, refurbished courtyards and stylish interiors.
When you do leave the hotel you’re right in the middle of the ‘Zona Colonial’, home to the best of Santo Domingo’s medieval landmarks, buzzing squares like Plaza Espana, and the vibrant Malecon promenade area.
Prices from £1,479 including seven nights’ accommodation, return flights from London Heathrow or Gatwick, and airport transfers. Departing 14 April 2024.
Last-minute winter sun in Punta Cana
The Thomas Cook package at the AC Hotel by Marriott provides guests with a week-long stay in one of few hotels that offers ‘room only’ options, meaning guests are free to explore the delights of Punta Cana rather than spending most of their time and having all their meals in the resort (though there is an informal restaurant open until late in the evening).
Rooms are slick and stylish – as are interiors throughout the hotel – and an outdoor pool and terrace area surrounded by landscaped gardens is AC’s centrepiece. There are several local activities on offer, from rounds of golf and spa visits to snorkelling cruises and island day trips. A visit to Punta Cana in March will allow you to avoid the worst of the crowds while still being able to enjoy fantastic weather and gorgeous natural sites like the Blue Hole.