Bookended by San Juan and Bahia Maimon, the Dominican Republic’s north coast packs a lot in. The tick-list in lively Puerto Plata town, for example, covers everything from a rum factory to a seafront fortress. The pretty old quarter is worth a wander, too. But Puerto Plata’s crowning glory has to be the cable car – it climbs a giddy 800 metres to the top of Mount Isabel del Torres.
Punta Cana’s plonked on the Dominican Republic’s east coast, and there’s no denying its beaches are the stars of the show. Its sizeable squad of white-sand, pillow-soft numbers are all fringed by lofty, coconut-shaking palms. Not only are they sun-worshipper and swimmer-friendly, but they’re prime snorkelling territory, too – snap on some goggles to see the rainbow-coloured reefs. You’ve got plenty of spots to choose from, but chilled-out Uvero Alto and energetic Bavaro Beach are our faves. Both have a solid selection of All Inclusive resorts.
If you see a flag waving in La Romana, chances are it’ll be blue. Strips of lily-white sand are standard practice for this stretch of the Dominican Republic’s coastline, and eight of them have been welcomed with open arms to the Blue Flag club. Thatched parasols and beach bars keep sunbathers company, and the electric blue waters pip hotel pools to first place in the swimming rankings.
The Samana Peninsula is straight out of a David Attenborough documentary. Thanks to a landscape blanketed in waterfalls, lagoons and rainforests, this pincer of land sticking out from the north-east coast is home to all creatures great and small. We’re talking everything from humpback whales to exotic birds.