Family activity holiday itineraries in Dominican Republic

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Dominican Republic is the second largest country in the Caribbean, and easily one of the most popular for family activity holidays. Its beaches are stunning, almost every region has at least one iconic national park, and there isn’t a coastline that doesn’t come good on adventure parks, water parks, eco-activities and unforgettable experiences.

It’s fun to plan a holiday here yourself, but a little local help comes in handy too. Have a look at four imaginative itineraries created by Dominican Republic Tourist Board with active families in mind.

Four thrill-filled family days in Punta Cana

Punta Cana is Dominican Republic’s most popular holiday area, home to major resort hotels, golf courses, and shimmering white sand beaches.

Day one – Scape Park, Cap Cana

Spend a day at Scape Park. It’s like an enormous natural playground where you can get up to anything from jungle trekking to tree canopy ziplining.

  • Tropical forest walks to Las Ondas cenote.
  • Iguabonita caving adventures.
  • Tree canopy ziplining, skywalks and via ferrata.
  • Countryside horse riding tours.
  • Watersports on Playa Juanillo.

A seven hour Scape Park pass includes a choice of three activities, lunch, beach time and transport from your resort.

Day two – Isla Saona day cruise

Idyllic Isla Saona sits right at the tip of Del Este National Park, it’s famous for beaches and natural swimming pools. 

  • Shuttle from Punta Cana resorts to Bayahibe town.
  • Speedboat round the coast of Del Este National Park to Saona.
  • Stop off to see the starfish at Playa Palmilla Beach.
  • Hours for playing on beaches and in natural swimming pools.
  • Traditional Caribbean buffet lunch.

The Isla Saona day cruise takes about 10 hours, and transport is included from most Punta Cana resorts.

Day three – Bávaro Adventure Park

Another incredible Punta Cana eco-park with dozens of activities for kids of all ages.

  • Bungee trampolining.
  • BMX and mountain biking.
  • Ziplining and downhill zorbing.
  • Aerial rope courses.
  • Swimming under waterfalls.

Bávaro Adventure Plus covers an eight hour day and includes seven different activities, the waterfall pool and transport from your resort.

Day four – Marinarium Marine Park

Marinarium is made up of 40,000m² of protected marine park, where kids can try anything from power snorkelling to swimming with stingrays.

  • Snorkelling cruises.
  • Swimming with stingray and whale sharks.
  • SUP, kayaking, power snorkelling.
  • Juanillo Beach spa treatments.
  • Full-day catamaran cruises.

The six hour Sunny Day catamaran cruise at Marinarium is family friendly, great for kids of all ages, and includes snorkelling, sailing the Bávaro reef, and traditional Caribbean lunch.

Find out more about Punta Cana for family holidays

Three kid-friendly days in Santo Domingo

The oldest city in the New World, Santo Domingo is also one of the Caribbean’s loveliest capitals, and great fun to explore with older kids and teens.

Day one – Trikke Tour of historic Santo Domingo

Trikke are a cross between a trike and an electric bike, but more fun than either, and a great way to tour Santo Domingo with local guides.

  • See enormous Rio Ozama from Fortaleza Ozama.
  • Visit Catedral Primada de América: one of the oldest in the Caribbean.
  • Tour round the city’s medieval gates.
  • Drop in on Museo de las Casas Reales.
  • Gaze at the ancient Monasteria de San Francisco.
  • Explore the Museo Mundo de Ambar.

Guided tours take about two hours and leave from Trikke on Calle Padre Billini. Take one in the morning, and then spend the afternoon checking out the historic quarter’s shops and cafés.

Day two – Los Tres Ojos

Los Tres Ojos is one of the city’s most famous natural wonders, and an easy day out, minutes from the centre.

  • Take a self-guided tour of the three underground lakes.
  • Cruise round the hidden ‘secret’ lake with local guides.
  • Kids can spot subterranean wildlife and see thousands of fish in lake three.
  • Come up for air and spend a few hours in sunny Mirador del Este Park.

Catch a taxi from the city centre and Los Tres Ojos is about 20 minutes drive east in Mirador del Este Park.

Day three – National Botanical Gardens

  • One of the world’s loveliest botanical gardens.
  • 200 acres of lush planting and adventure trails.
  • Haven for exotic wildlife and birds.
  • Ride the miniature train with younger kids.

The National Botanical Gardens are about 20 minutes by taxi from the city centre.

Find out more about Santo Domingo for family holidays

Three days of family fun in Puerto Plata

Framed by the backdrop of towering Mt. Isabel de Torres and looking out over the ocean, the north coast city of Puerto Plata is second only to Santo Domingo for grandeur.

Day one – Punta Rucia Marine Mammal Sanctuary

One of the few places to see manatee up close, Punta Rucia is an unforgettable experience with kids.

  • Spot manatee in their natural habitat.
  • Learn about conservation with local guides.
  • Cruise from Playa Punta Rucia to Cayo Arena AKA Paradise Island.
  • Snorkel round one of the Caribbean’s most pristine reefs.

Guided tours of Punta Rucia take about seven hours and include lunch, snorkelling on transport from Puerto Plata. 

Day two – tour historic Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata’s 19th century historic quarter is one of the most photographed in the Caribbean. 

  • Take a guided walking tour with local Victorian re-enactors.
  • Visit the historic homes turned into restaurants and shops.
  • Tour the historic quarter by horse-drawn carriage.
  • Leave time to visit the quarter’s galleries and museums.
  • Have traditional afternoon tea at a vintage café.

You’ll find guided tours of Puerto Plata, morning or afternoon, with a choice of walking or riding in a horse-drawn carriage.

Day three – Mt. Isabel de Torres cable car

One of the Puerto Plata highlights for kids is the cable car ride up enormous Mt. Isabel de Torres.

  • The only cable car in the entire Caribbean.
  • Panoramic views of Puerto Plata and the Caribbean coast.
  • Don’t miss the botanical gardens at the top.
  • Look out for the miniature Christ the Redeemer statue.
  • Spend a few hours walking the marked trails and paths round the summit.

The Télérifico (cable car) station is 20 minutes west of the city centre. Open Monday to Sunday, from 8.30am to 5pm

Find out more about Puerto Plata for family holidays

Two eco-adventurous days in Semaná

Semaná Bay is right on the north east tip of Dominican Republic, home to Los Haitises National Park, and one of the world’s most spectacular natural playgrounds for kids.

Day one  Los Haitises National Park

One of the most admired national parks in the world, Los Haitises has family friendly eco-tours all year round, from whale watching in winter to summer jungle treks.

  • Dominican Republics last remaining rainforest.
  • 1006km² of mangrove forest
  • Jurassic Park was filmed in Los Haitises
  • Thousands of whales overwinter here in Semaná Bay 
  • A haven for exotic birds, rare wildlife and reptiles.
  • Half-an-hour from Las Terranas, 40 minutes from Semaná town

Guided eco-tours of Los Haitises are available all year round. Whale watching cruises from Semaná town run from January to March.

Day two – Semaná Whale Museum

If you miss overwintering humpbacks in Semaná Bay, the next best thing is a guided tour of the excellent Semaná Whale Museum.

  • Kid-friendly exhibits and great guides.
  • In-depth information on life cycle and habits of cetacean.
  • Fun intro to local and international conservation work.
  • The lowdown on why Los Haitises is such a popular winter retreat for whales. 

You’ll find Semaná Whale Museum on the waterfront, minutes from Semaná town centre.

Visit Dominican Republic Tourist Board and have a look at dozens more great ways for families fill day after day all over the Dominican Republic. 

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