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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.
Punta Cana is Dominican Republic’s most popular holiday area, home to major resort hotels, golf courses, and shimmering white sand beaches.
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.
A seven hour Scape Park pass includes a choice of three activities, lunch, beach time and transport from your resort.
Idyllic Isla Saona sits right at the tip of Del Este National Park, it’s famous for beaches and natural swimming pools.
The Isla Saona day cruise takes about 10 hours, and transport is included from most Punta Cana resorts.
Another incredible Punta Cana eco-park with dozens of activities for kids of all ages.
Bávaro Adventure Plus covers an eight hour day and includes seven different activities, the waterfall pool and transport from your resort.
Marinarium is made up of 40,000m² of protected marine park, where kids can try anything from power snorkelling to swimming with stingrays.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Los Tres Ojos is one of the city’s most famous natural wonders, and an easy day out, minutes from the centre.
Catch a taxi from the city centre and Los Tres Ojos is about 20 minutes drive east in Mirador del Este Park.
The National Botanical Gardens are about 20 minutes by taxi from the city centre.
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.
One of the few places to see manatee up close, Punta Rucia is an unforgettable experience with kids.
Guided tours of Punta Rucia take about seven hours and include lunch, snorkelling on transport from Puerto Plata.
Puerto Plata’s 19th century historic quarter is one of the most photographed in the Caribbean.
You’ll find guided tours of Puerto Plata, morning or afternoon, with a choice of walking or riding in a horse-drawn carriage.
One of the Puerto Plata highlights for kids is the cable car ride up enormous Mt. Isabel de Torres.
The Télérifico (cable car) station is 20 minutes west of the city centre. Open Monday to Sunday, from 8.30am to 5pm
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.
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.
Guided eco-tours of Los Haitises are available all year round. Whale watching cruises from Semaná town run from January to March.
If you miss overwintering humpbacks in Semaná Bay, the next best thing is a guided tour of the excellent Semaná Whale Museum.
You’ll find Semaná Whale Museum on the waterfront, minutes from Semaná town centre.