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Published on : Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Known as the Golf Capital of the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic offers golfing visitors some of the best courses you can play – but make sure you allow time to enjoy some of its other draws away from the fairways.
With its wealth of off-course options, from nature to adventure, culture, nightlife, dining and other sporting activities, the country makes an unrivalled choice for a “Golf Plus” vacation where you can combine some of them with a few rounds of golf. These are just some of the things to do or see besides golf:
Explore amazing nature
Spanning nine ecological zones and the Caribbean’s highest and lowest points (Duarte Peak at 10,560 feet and Lake Enriquillo, the Caribbean’s largest lake, at 15 feet below sea level), the Dominican Republic is incredibly diverse. Its natural landscapes incorporate tropical rain forests, arid desert and wonderful geological formations offering a spectacular visual experience.
Take a trip to the central region and discover the cool climate of the Scientific Reserve Ébano Verde in Constanza, where an unforgettable trekking experience will showcase more than 600 flora species and rich native fauna. Or hop in a kayak to explore the Cotubanamá National Park and marvel at mangroves, sea turtles and caves decorated with Taíno pictographs.
Known for its dazzling beaches, Dominican Republic is covered with multiple options to soak up the sun. A visit to Pedernales beckons to make a stop in the bay Bahía de las Águilas, a renowned protected area located in the south and looked after for its serene atmosphere, crystal clear waters and breathtaking sunsets.
Thrill seekers can enjoy adrenaline adventures galore. Helicopter tours give a bird’s eye view of the coastline, resorts and golf courses; you can even take a heli-golf trip, landing at the golf course to tee off. Go paragliding over the lush mountain region of Jarabacoa or fly high on a hot-air balloon trip in Punta Cana at dawn.
For those who enjoy making a splash, white river rafting in Jarabacoa, surfing in the mecca town of watersports Cabarete or a dive in one of the exceptional sites around the country will surely satisfy the soul and leave a lasting impression.
Enjoy the Dominican life
There are shopping centers conveniently located in tourist areas and major towns and cities, where you can indulge in international designer shopping or take the opportunity to get an exclusive piece of a local designer in the cities of Santo Domingo and La Romana.
A tour of a local rum factory, a relaxing time in a cigar shop or a wine tasting at a winery are always excellent options to enjoy the finest things in life.
Dominican spas are highly acclaimed for its exclusivities, where services like hot stone massage, chocolate fantasy wrap and thermal circuit will give the touch of wellness and luxury to your vacation time.
Soak up culture
Discover delightful local history and atmosphere in nearby towns. You might also witness a colorful fiesta, parade or carnival. In historic Higüey city, close to Bávaro and Punta Cana, the Basílica de la Altagracia honors the patron saint of Dominicans, the Virgin of La Altagracia.
From La Isabela in Puerto Plata, one of the first settlements of Europeans in the Americas to Ciudad Colonial in Santo Domingo, visitors will step into the rich history and heritage of the early colonial era, with monuments and buildings dating back 500 years.
With the variety of festivals and their sheer number year round, it is very likely you will experience the true sounds of the Dominican Republic. Merengue, bachata, salsa and urban music come into the scene during the Festival de Merengue y Ritmos Caribeños. Be sure to also to visit on a Sunday the San Francisco Ruins in the Colonial City, where Grupo Bonyé brings to life the best of traditional songs of son, merengue and salsa.
Eat like a local
No visit is complete without experiencing traditional Dominican cuisine. There are many restaurants in tourist areas and towns where you can try local dishes such as the country famous national dishes Sancocho (stew of meats and víveres) and La Bandera Dominicana (“the Dominican Flag”) using rice, beans and beef or chicken, mangú (mashed plantains) with fried cheese, mofongo (garlic-flavored mashed plantains, sometimes also containing pork), chicharrón (pork or chicken cooked in salt water with oil) and sea specialities such as fried fish, lobster and shrimp with coconut sauce.
With all those options besides golf, you will need to plan return visits to get the most out of the Dominican Republic