20x the Best excursions in the Dominican Republic: day tours and trips

Written by Sam Van den Haute aka CheckOutSam

The Dominican Republic has one of the most unique landscapes of all the Caribbean islands. In addition to the endless beaches, the mountainous center, pristine jungles, large lakes and the magnificent sand dunes also attract many visitors. From almost every city there are (day) trips departing daily to the various sights of this big island.
Below I have listed the 20 best excursions in the Dominican Republic to facilitate your choice.

Sam Van den Haute CheckoutSam

Hi, I'm Sam, the blogger behind CheckOutSam!

Sam Van den Haute has been a full-time world traveler for ten years and has therefore gained a lot of travel and lifestyle inspiration on all continents. Do you still have questions after reading this blog? Ask them in the comments section or send me a message at [email protected] and I'll be happy to help you wherever I can!

instagram checkoutsam facebook checkoutsam

5/5 - (4 votes)

Dominican Republic tours

Excursions from anywhere in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is surprisingly big! Therefore it is not possible to book the same excursions in every province. Still, there are some tours that are quite popular and can be arranged from all over the country. These are the best ones:

Visit the El Limon waterfall and Bacardi Island

The legendary Samana peninsula has become famous for its picturesque bay, breathtaking waterfalls and tropical green forests.
Therefore it is only logical that you can find several of the most beautiful sights of the Dominican Republic here. Both grown-ups and kids will love it here! That is why you should definitely arrange an excursion from Samana (or a day tour from Punta Cana) to the tropical Bacardi Island and the stunning El Limon.

This day trip starts with a visit to El Limon waterfall which will undoubtedly make a lasting impression on you. As you hike to the top of this wonder of nature, you can admire the local plants and trees from up close. Pick some tropical fruit along the way or look for coffee and cocoa beans. Once you have reached the waterfall you will have enough time to take a dip and enjoy the amazingly beautiful surroundings.

When you arrive at Cayo Levantado afterwards, you may already recognize the area from a Bacardi commercial from the 1990s – hence the island’s nickname. But that is certainly not the only reason why many day trippers find their way here. With its white sand, towering palm trees and bright blue sea, it really is a true paradise. Bacardi Island is not very big, so you can quickly explore the island on foot. Fortunately, that also means that you have enough time to chill on the beach with a delicious Piña Colada.

El Limon excursion Samana Punta Cana

Mother Nature gives the best of herself during this excursion in the Dominican Republic!


On photo Bacardi Island is already stunning, but in real life it is even more wonderful!

Plan a buggy ride in Puerto Plata or Punta Cana

There are many more things to do in the Dominican Republic than just chilling on the beach. The island has another, much rougher side that is worth exploring. And the best way to do this is with an adventurous buggy ride from Puerto Plata!

During this three-hour off-road tour, you and your co-pilot are bound to scream with joy. The tour takes place along the muddy, unpaved roads on the north coast of the island.

You will see breathtaking scenery along the way, so make sure to hold a pit stop every now and then to take photos of the stunning views of the mountains and the Caribbean Sea. If you prefer to keep your hands on the wheel, an action camera would help you greatly during this excursion!

You can also book this tour in the Dominican Republic if you are staying in Punta Cana.

tour dominican republic buggy

A buggy tour in the Dominican Republic will appeal to speed devils for sure!

Horse riding on the beach during sunset

If you are re looking for the icing on the cake during a romantic vacation in the Dominican Republic, horseback riding on the beach with the sun slowly setting over Puerto Plata must definitely be on top your list.
In Punta Cana you can also book a horseback ride on the beach.

If you’re planning to propose to your girlfriend or boyfriend, you might want to book this activity a little more secretive ;-).

During a stroll on the beach during sunset, you are guaranteed to feel loved and in love. As the sun sets, make your way across the sand and watch the moon take its place in the sky. The trip takes an average of two hours and it is the perfect way to escape the lively resorts.

You can also take a dip in the ocean with your graceful four-legged friend, so don’t forget to put on your bathing suit or swimming trunks.

horseback riding dominican republic excursions

With this excursion you will discover the beautiful beaches in a sporty way.

Spot whales in the Dominican Republic

Whale watching is without doubt one of the most popular excursions in the Dominican Republic. You have the best chance to spot these giants off the coast of Samana, because the huge animals call this their home. From this peninsula, a trip costs about $50 per person.
Are you not in the immediate vicinity? Fortunately, you can also book day tours from Puerto Plata and Punta Cana to view these special creatures.

Every year between December and March, these whales come to rest in the Dominican Republic after a hard  and long journey. Although “resting” is perhaps not exactly what they do either, because they actually reproduce in the Caribbean waters.

The males go to great lengths to attract the attention of the females. They imagine themselves to be great acrobats and jump out of the water or sing a song to please the woman of their dreams. I have already experienced whale safaris around the world, but I have never seen a show like I did here. If you only want to book one excursion in the Dominican Republic, then I urge you to plan this one.

samana whale watching excursions

My favorite tour in the Dominican Republic? That is undoubtedly whale watching in Samana!

Go fishing on the high seas

The Dominican Republic is a paradise for people that love fishing. Many excursions from Puerto Plata and Punta Cana are also organized to go fishing for a full day. Make sure to bring sun cream along, because the reflecting sun on the sea surface might burn!

During this day trip you will quickly discover why the Dominican Republic is one of the best places in the world for fishing. On the coast of Puerto Plata and Punta Cana you will find a lot of exotic fish that you can not find anywhere else in the world. If you are lucky you can even string fantastic beasts like the mahi mahi, wahoo and blue marlin.

Have you had enough of this activity (because believe me… Reeling in big fish can be exhausting!)? Then sit back with a fresh pint while enjoying the paradisiacal coastline.

excursions punta cana deep sea fishing

While you wait for the fish to bite, you can enjoy a cocktail (and the views!).

Diving in the Caribbean Sea

When you are visiting the tropical Dominican Republic, you might even consider making it a full-on diving holidays. Online you will mainly find excursions from Punta Cana, Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo, but it is also possible to take a dip in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Samana.

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to breathe underwater? Then this excursion in the Dominican Republic is definitely for you. You descend deep into the sea – with a diving suit and oxygen tank of course – to embark on a formidable underwater adventure. Admire the coral reefs (but don’t touch them!) and see some playful fish and other sea creatures from up close. It is truly a unique experience and before you know it the tour is already over. Luckily you can always book a second trip to the under water world around the Dominican Republic!

diving Caribbean

What a wonderful feeling it is to breathe underwater!

diving dominican republic shark

You may even get to see a shark. And rest assured, they don’t bite!

Book a snorkel tour

If diving is not for you, then snorkeling might be an even better alternative for your list of excursions in the Dominican Republic. Both in Punta Cana and Puerto Plata there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy an underwater adventure.

Snorkeling in the Caribbean sea has something magical and you will soon be enchanted by this trip.

Such a day tour usually includes a boat ride on a catamaran. The boat then stops in the middle of the sea and that also means that you can put on your snorkeling equipment to finally swim among the tropical colorful fish. This will undoubtedly become a memory for life!

snorkel tour dominican republic

You will be amazed at how many colorful fish and coral reefs you can see with just your snorkel gear.

Spend a day on Isla Saona

Saona is a tropical island in the southeast of the Dominican Republic. It is a fantastic place for a day trip and many excursions leave from Santo Domingo to this piece of paradise. Also from Punta Cana daily tours are organized to Isla Saona.

Only 300 people live on the island, so you can always find a bit of peace and quiet.

You can take long walks, relax in the shallow water or sunbathe on the white sandy beach.

Pleasure boats are regularly frequenting the island. Before you visit the beaches, you get some time to snorkel among colorful coral reefs and see some huge starfish.

It should come as no surprise that Isla Saona is by far considered one of the most beautiful places that the Dominican Republic has to offer.

Saona Island

Saona island is one of the most beautiful places in the Dominican Republic.

day tour dominican republic saona island

This is a day trip that you should not miss!

Visit a cigar factory

Make sure to visit a cigar factory during your vacation to the Dominican Republic. It is one of those tours in the Dominican Republic that should not be missed, especially because the cigars are at least as tasty as the ones from Cuba. Even if you don’t smoke, a tour of a local factory is very interesting. Excursions to a local company are organized daily from Santo Domingo and Punta Cana.

You will first be guided through the factory so that you can see the different stages of cigar production. Discover how tobacco leaves are transformed into a finished product and taste one yourself (or smell it if you don’t smoke). At the end of the tour, you will also have the chance to purchase hand-rolled cigars on the spot.

cigar factory tour punta cana

Are you looking for a nice souvenir? Take home some hand-rolled cigars!

Go and taste rum in a rum factory

Feel like a real pirate and spend an afternoon on a rum tasting via an excursion from Santo Domingo. You can also visit a rum factory from Punta Cana and Puerto Plata. Usually it is also combined with a tour of a cigar factory. This way you kill two birds with one stone!

Different flavors of rum are fired in the Dominican Republic. Flavors such as coconut, banana, passion fruit and pineapple give the drink an even more exotic touch. On this tasteful excursion in the Dominican Republic, you will learn about the history and origins of this awesome drink. At the end of the excursion, you can of course buy one (or more!) bottle(s) of rum in the factory shop: a wonderful souvenir to take back home!

rum tasting dominican republic excursion

As you can see there is more than enough rum to taste!

Excursions from Punta Cana

Punta Cana is the undisputed king of tourism in the Dominican Republic. And that is mainly due to the long stretches of white beaches, such as Bavaro, Macao and Arena Gorda.

Yet there is also much more to experience here. Do you want to discover more trips and excursions in Punta Cana? Then take a look at the possibilities from GetYourGuide and Viator.

Parasailing on the most beautiful beaches

Do you want to see the beautiful beaches from up in the sky? Then parasailing is one of the most memorable things to do in Punta Cana.

With parasailing you have the feeling that you are flying and that is a truly fantastic experience! You are first attached to a parachute which on its turn is attached to a boat. When the boat starts to sail, the air in the parachute is captured so that you float upwards. It’s fantastic to see the five star resorts, golf courses and beaches of Punta Cana from a bird’s eye view. Even if you are afraid of heights, I recommend giving it a try. Afterwards you will feel freer than ever before!

parasailing Dominican Republic

Parasailing in a tropical environment is truly magical!

Plan a day trip to Catalina Island

I bet you fall in love with this island immediately. Many excursions are organized from Punta Cana to Catalina and often they are combined with a visit to Altos de Chavon, a recreated medieval Italian town. But the icing on the cake of this tour is, of course, Catalina Island itself.

It is a breathtaking paradise where you will have the time of your life. If you really want to enjoy all the splendor, leave your smartphone in the hotel – or try to leave it in your backpack as much as possible. Catalina is a piece of heaven on earth with its swaying palm trees and soft sand where you can sunbathe for hours (so don’t forget your sunscreen). It is also the perfect spot to snorkel, because the shallow water gives you the best chances to see the abundant sea creatures that swim around the island.

Catalina Island excursions in Dominican Republic

No one wants to miss out on this gem!

Catalina Island

Although this is a popular excursion in the Dominican Republic, it is always possible to find a place all for yourself.

Experience a day of adventure

If you are looking for some of the best excursions in Punta Cana, you will find several sensational adventure parks nearby, such as Bávaro Adventure Park and Scape Park. In both parks you should definitely try the zipline, so that you can enjoy an unforgettable view of the Dominican nature.

The Bávaro Adventure Park -with its 40 dinosaurs and a real trampoline park- may be a bit more aimed at children, but as an adult it can not hurt to find your inner child too, right?
The Scape Park in the Cap Cana Resort is built entirely around nature and the attractions are therefore a bit rougher than in Bavaro. Admire the endless views of the picturesque surroundings while screaming on one of the exciting rides.

Day trips to an adventure park are also organized from Puerto Plata. This excursion takes you to an adventure park in Maimón. There you can try out one of the many zip lines, speed through the mud with an ATV vehicle, go horseback riding or stroll through a tropical garden if adrenaline rushes aren’t really your thing.

adventure park dominican republic

Ready for a day filled with adventure?!

Have a party in Punta Cana

When planning your vacation, you might also think about a relaxing evening activity in the Dominican Republic. With a lively tourist sector, Punta Cana also has many opportunities for party animals. There are many hotels and resorts with their own bars and discos for everyone who stays there, but if you want something different, you will certainly have fun in the city and even at sea.

One of the best ways to enjoy the nightlife in Punta Cana is of course during a sunrise on a boat. But if you prefer something a bit more unique, you have to throw a party with pirates on a real pirate ship. The pirates provide the necessary entertainment and who knows… After a few drinks at the open bar you might have even hooked up with one (no pun intended) ;-).

If you don’t have sea legs, you may prefer to party on the mainland. The place to be in that case is Coco Bongo, perhaps the most famous club on the whole island. Sometimes no fewer than twelve shows are organized in one evening. Enjoy the acrobatic performances or just dance the night away during an unforgettable party.

Tip: buy your all-inclusive entrance ticket online for a better price so that you can enjoy free drinks all evening.

pirate party ship punta cana excursions

Yo, Ho, Ho, and a Bottle of Rum!!

Discover how the locals live in Higuey

A holiday in the Dominican Republic is much more than sunbathing on the beach and drinking cocktails in your luxury resort. There is also a lot of culture to experience and you will discover all of that perfectly during this excursion from Punta Cana to bustling Higuey. It is the perfect way to discover how the inhabitants of the exotic island actually live.

Higuey is the place to explore the country’s incredible Catholic heritage. Be sure to visit the Nuestra Señora de La Altagracia Basilica, the most important and largest church in the Dominican Republic. The 500-year-old Church of Saint Dionysus is also worth admiring, by the way.

But not only these religious attractions are worth some of your time, because the local life will also amaze you. Stroll through the streets and enjoy the curious habits of the inhabitants of this gorgeous town.

cathedral Higuey

The highlight of your visit to Higuey is of course a look at this special cathedral!

Take a safari trip through the countryside

When you’ve had enough of lively Punta Cana, a safari drive through the picturesque countryside may be a welcome relaxation. During this excursion in the Dominican Republic you will have the chance to discover the magnificent surroundings of the island.

With this tour from Punta Cana, you will trek into the amazing Anamuya Mountains. You will visit an old sugar plantation, discover how cigars are rolled by hand and finally relax on the quiet beach of Macao Beach. Moreover, you also get the chance to go horseback riding through the region. To finish this beautiful off, you can enjoy a buffet with typical local dishes: absolutely delicious!

tours dominican republic safari

Doing a safari is fun. But in a colorful vehicle like this it becomes even more fun!

Excursions from Samana

My personal favorite destination in the Dominican Republic is Samana. This peninsula is completely untouched and shows you the real life of this Caribbean island.

Another reason I like Samana so much is because there is so much to do. Do you want more inspiration? Take a look at tours in Samana on GetYourGuide and Viator.

Boat ride through Los Haitises National Park

A visit to Los Haitises National Park is one of the best excursions in Samana. This magnificent nature reserve has become a magnet for nature lovers and other tourists in the last ten years. With the clear blue sea of ​​Samana Bay at your fingertips, it is home to hundreds of giant mountains and deep valleys filled with thousands of trees.

As you follow the hiking trails through the pristine forests and mangrove swamps, you become one with nature. Admire how hutias (a type of rodent) and pelicans meet and interact. Also visit the Taino Caves here and decipher the mysterious rock paintings of a distant past.

excursions samana los haitises

Los Haitises is the largest national park in the Dominican Republic.

los haitises mangroves

Nature lovers will love this place!

Excursions in Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata is one of the prettiest cities in the Dominican Republic. The colonial remains and colorful Caribbean houses will easily keep you entertained for a day, but even if you stay here longer, there is a lot to do!

Do you need more ideas for excursions in Puerto Plata? Then take a look at these tours at GetYourGuide or Viator.

Admire the waterfalls of Damajagua

The 27 waterfalls –Charcos de Damajagua– are the pinnacle of the island’s natural beauty. It is therefore one of the best excursions in Puerto Plata that you can book.
Don’t forget to pack a pair of sturdy walking shoes and start dreaming of this idyllic day trip in the Dominican Republic.

You can book a tour online to the Charcos de Damajagua departing from Puerto Plata.

You will be picked up from your hotel in the morning and the guides will prepare you thoroughly for what to expect. If you are an adventurous water lover, you will undoubtedly have fun here. There are more than enough waterfalls to jump down or slide down: it will be completely unforgettable and magical!

Damajagua waterfalls Puerto Plata

Adventure guaranteed in the Dominican wilderness!

damajague waterfalls

Nature here is really dazzlingly beautiful!

Dream away on Paradise Island

A day trip to Cayo Arena should not be missed during a holiday in the Dominican Republic. This gorgeous island is also called Cayo Paraíso (Paradise Island) and when you set foot ashore it will immediately become clear why. From Puerto Plata you can easily book a tour to this dazzling sand bank, including a tour of the Monte Cristi National Park.

The day starts with a walk along the pearly white sandy beach on Paradise Island. You will soon notice that the temperature can get high and thus a swim in the crystal clear water will become the ideal solution to cool down.

To finish the day, you will take another ride with the speedboat through the lush mangrove forest of Monte Cristi National Park. You will be amazed by the beautiful fauna and flora in the lagoon.

Cayo Paraiso Puerto Plata

This is a true gem, isn’t it?

Cayo Paraiso Puerto Plata excursions

After a day on this paradise island, you will also explore the beautiful mangrove forests nearby.

Excursions from Santo Domingo

In the capital of the Dominican Republic there are also many excursions that you can arrange. Below I already list the best.
Would you like more inspiration? Take a look at the tours of GetYourGuide and Viator.

Take a tour of the colonial center of Santo Domingo

A tour of the historic heart of Santo Domingo is one of the most interesting excursions in the Dominican Republic. The Zona Colonial is actually a small city in the middle of the capital and consists of beautiful streets and quaint squares. You’ll find some of the oldest colonial buildings in the Western Hemisphere here, including the Cathedral, Convent and University of Santo Domingo.

Walking along Calle de las Damas, you will follow in the footsteps of the first Spanish conquerors who used this city as a base to conquer Latin America. However, this district is not only a museum piece. It is dotted with shops, cozy restaurants and cafes housed in the colonial buildings. The Zona Colonial is also a real neighborhood where families can enjoy an evening out.

A city tour of Santo Domingo is therefore a must-do excursion if you stay in the city. If you want to take a somewhat original tour of the Zona Colonial, try a sightseeing-tour with a Trike, a unique mix between a bicycle and a scooter.

It is also possible to book a day tour starting from Punta Cana.

zona colonial santo domingo excursions dominican republic

The colonial zone is somewhat reminiscent of Europe.

excursions santo domingo

Outside the Zona Colonial there are some beautiful sights as well!

Beware of animal cruelty

Although the Dominican Republic is a paradise on earth, always be aware of animal abuse when you book an excursion.

Never go swimming with captive dolphins, but instead go diving into the sea where you can swim with wild ones. I also advise you not to visit the El Limon waterfall with a horse. The paths are often so slippery that the animals could break their legs and you wouldn’t want that, right?
Finally, I also ask you not to cuddle with monkeys in parks. They have been captured and often live in poor conditions.

swimming dolphins dominican republic

Don’t swim with captive dolphins in the Dominican Republic! There are plenty of other things to do.

The Dominican Republic is heaven on earth because of its many sights. A holiday on this island is therefore the ideal opportunity to book several nice excursions. From Punta Cana as well as from Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata and Samana, unforgettable day trips depart every day to fantastic places and attractions. I have listed the best for you, so that the choice will become at least a little bit easier ;-).

5/5 - (4 votes)
Did you like this article? Then please give it 5 stars. Thanks!
In this article you'll find a few affiliate links. When you book something with these travel organizations, I get a small commission. You don't pay anything extra for that. You can thus see it as a way to support this blog if you found the information helpful. I use all of these travel organizations myself, and I will only recommend the ones that I really like.

Are you following me on Social Media?

Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
Come join us and get the latest updates!

Like Checkoutsam on Facebook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Check Out Sam | Travel guide, blog and info.