Travel to the Dominican Republic – Episode 495

categories: caribbean travel

Travel to the Dominican Republic – Amateur Traveler Episode 495

Hear about travel to the Dominican Republic as the Amateur Traveler talks to guidebook author and travel writer Lebawit Lily Girma who is working on the Moon Guide to the Dominican Republic.


Lilly says, “I have travelled the caribbean a lot over the past 10 years and I think that the Dominican Republic is the most well-rounded destination just because it has very varied landscape. Whether you are an outdoors person, you are into hiking or into beaches of course, diving, birding, rivers, waterfalls, the variety is really astounding.”

Lilly recommends you start in the newly renovated Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo. This city dates back to Columbus. “It’s lovely. It almost feels like your in Spain. It has huge plazas, sidewalk cafes, lots of museums. There’s a lot of history there.”

Then she recommends a visit to the uncrowded beaches of the Samana Peninsula. “I would even say that the top 5 beaches for this country are in Samana.” One of the beaches, Playa el Valle, Lilly also names as the most beautiful spot in the country. You will also find surprises like Las Terrenas which is filled with French expats.

And then Lilly recommends a trip to Puerto Plata “which has water sports, hiking, adventure. Puerto Plata is one of my favorite regions. It’s very special. The reason is that of all the Dominican Republic’s destinations it is the most varied. For instance here in Puerto Plata City, which is the 4th largest city in the Dominican Republic there is a little bit of history here. There are lot of city type conveniences like better restaurants, but at the same time we have beaches. If I walk about two blocks down I am on the malecon and they have lots of little restaurants along the malecon. It’s a great place to walk, jog and you’re right by the sea, very clean beaches. You can swim there. ”

Only 45 minutes from Puerto Plata is the more touristy Cabarete with kite surfing and “excellent restaurants all along the beach. It’s more social. It has a really nice cosmopolitan vibe, lot’s of affordable hotels and guesthouses and a huge nightlife scene. There’s lots of diving near by, it’s not the best diving in the world. There’s also cave diving here.”

Lily also recommends the Merengue experience at Guananico or the cacoa experience at Hacienda Cufa.

Another itinerary could include the Cibao Valley in the central heart of the Dominican Republic. “In my opinion it is the most stunning part of the country that a lot of people miss. It has mountain ranges. You could actually hike the tallest peak in the Caribbean which is  Pico Duarte and then you have Constanza which is the agricultural side of this country. I almost want to say that if you haven’t been to the Cibao region you haven’t been to the Dominican Republic.”

Lily says there is always a bar, there is always a party in the Dominican Republic. Just follow the music, order yourself a Presidente beer and enjoy.

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Show Notes
Moon Belize (Lily is the author)
Ciudad Colonial (Santo Domingo)
Samana Peninsula
Christopher Columbus
Nicolás de Ovando
Parque Nacional del Este
Cueva del Puente
Parque Nacional Los Haitises
Alcázar de Colón (House of the Son of Christopher Columbus)
Restaurant Meson De Bari
La Bandera Dominicana (The Dominican Flag) dish
Punta Cana
El Cabito guesthouse in Las Galeras, Samaná
Valle Nuevo National Park
Sierra de Bahoruco National Park
Bachata (music)
The Dominican Republic’s Most Underrated Lanscapes
Adventure on the Coconut Coast


Sorry we forgot to talk about the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in the San Diego episode even though we referred to it twice.

Mitch wrote:


I feel compelled to write you a quick thank you for the podcast. I am 27 and have never taking a vacation outside of North America. I was always planning a trip to Europe, or Asia, or Latin America- somewhere, anywhere! But there always seemed to be a reason not to go. Well to make a long story short I was inspired by you and the many guests on your podcast to finally just do it.

As I write this I am sitting in my rented apartment in Santiago, Chile. I have spent the last few weeks exploring Argentina and Chile and have loved every second of it. While I do look forward to coming back home in a few days, I know that when I get there I will let my mind wander to the next location, and I will undoubtedly continue to use your podcast as inspiration.

Thank you again!


Places to visit in the Dominican Republic | Things to do in the Dominican Republic | Punta Cana, Santo Domingo, Samana Peninsula |Travel to the Dominican Republic – Amateur Traveler Episode 495

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

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