Backpacking Dominican Republic

Hello to all seasoned and aspiring backpackers!

The Dominican Republic is without doubt a true paradise – just look at some of the pictures, they really speak for themselves. But is it also a paradise for backpackers? This is news to many and, to be honest, it sounds almost too good to be true that this paradisical country would also make a superb backpacking destination. However, backpacking in the Dominican Republic is indeed possible and even affordable, as there are more and more possibilities for budget accommodations in this charming country.
Therefore, those who feel like spending some time with their backpack in the sun and wish to leave all their cares behind don’t have to wait any longer: The Dominican Republic is calling.

For many, the Dominican Republic symbolizes the perfect Caribbean holiday. And that's exactly what it is: white sandy beaches, tropical palm forests, crystal-clear water and, of course, plenty of sunshine.
With an average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius and an average water temperature of pleasant 26 degrees throughout the year, the country that shares an island with Haiti in the Caribbean is the perfect destination to escape the winter blues in Europe. With only a few rainy days per month, good weather is almost guaranteed.

Your trip in the Caribbean is not difficult to plan because there is one thing that’s for sure: You’ll want to spend time at the beach, the beach, and the beach. And indeed, you must enjoy this paradisical location to the fullest, but it might surprise you that there is much more to do here than getting a suntan.


The largest airport on the island is in Punta Cana. The flights are often a little more expensive during the holiday periods, so we do not recommend flying during this time. For a cheap price, you can get from one city to the next with the public buses on the island. The public transportation system is surprisingly well developed and punctual. In case of a delay, just remember that you are in the Caribbean and that clocks tick a bit differently here than in other countries. If you do not want to rely on buses and taxis, there is also the possibility to rent a car. This is not the cheapest option, but it allows you to explore places which are otherwise difficult to reach.


Culturally, the Dominican Republic is influenced by the heritage of the Spanish conquerors, but there are also Creole and African influences. The Spanish influences can be traced particularly well in the colonial-style buildings in Santo Domingo. The culture and the traditional cuisine of the country is also influenced by African cultures as well as the Taíno, an indigenous tribe that was living on the Greater and Lesser Antilles before the Spanish conquered the islands.
The country’s cuisine shares many similarities with other Caribbean countries. The national dish is mangú, which can be eaten at any time, day or night. In general, the dishes consist of a lot of meat and are often served with hearty stews, rice and red beans. Besides rum and beer, you should also try out Mama Juana, which is mixture of red wine, rum and honey stored in a bottle together with a piece of oak wood for some time, which explains the drink’s special taste. And even then, it is certainly not the only speciality the island has in store for you.

On the coast alone, you can do so many things. The must-dos for backpackers in the Dominican Republic range from diving excursions to dolphin watching or looking out for the other giants of the ocean. If you truly ever get tired of the turquoise sea and the endless white sandy beaches, the interior of the country offers a stark contrast: green nature and dense forests which invite you to go on a hike. Backpacking in the Dominican Republic has many surprises in store for you; after all, who would have thought of hiking in the Caribbean? The view from the mountains will make you want to stay forever.

When you get to know the culture and way of life of the locals, you will not want to leave. Dominican culture is as colourful and manifold as the locals themselves, and one thing is guaranteed in it: lots of laughter and good humour. Backpacking in the Dominican Republic not only puts you in an extremely good mood, but it also provides you with many unforgettable experiences which will warm you up even in the cold winter.

See below for the perfect Dominican Republic itinerary for an unforgettable journey:


Important Basics

Official Language

Spanish

Basic Vocabulary
EnglishSpanish
HelloHola
GoodbyeAdiós
Thank youGracias
Yes
NoNo
Capital city

Santo Domingo

Form of government

Unitary presidential republic

Telephone area code

+1-809

Currency

Dominican peso (DOP)

Best time to visit

April to May

Climate

ø Maximum temperature: 28 degrees

Ø Minimum temperature: 25 degrees

Fun Fact

Tourism is the largest industry in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic’s flag is the only flag in the world that features the Bible

Cities

Punta Cana

The city is considered one of the most important tourist centres on the island. Here, at the outermost edge of the island, the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. On top of that, there are more than 40 kilometres of white sandy beaches to explore in this area. It should not surprise you that this is the perfect place for you to get into holiday mood.
However, bear in mind that the Dominican Republic and especially Punta Cana is a popular destination for package tourists, so you will never have the beach all to yourself.

In case you’d want to explore something else besides the beach or a sunburn has ruined your plans, there’s plenty for you to explore; for example the kind of attraction you’d least expect to encounter on a Caribbean island: a replica of a 16th-century Italian village just outside of Punta Cana. Altos de Chavón is located above the canyon of the Chavón River. This cultural centre even offers an amphitheatre and everything that comes with it.

If your budget allows it, take a sailing trip to the island of Saona in the south. If the beaches in Punta Cana have already impressed you, you will like Saona even more, as the island is part of the East National Park and simply overwhelming. If you don't feel like going on a full day tour, feel free to explore Cap Cana. This is the district where the rich and famous own their houses on the island. This may not sound very exciting at first, but there are also some beaches that are open to the public. It is much quieter there than in the centre. Don't forget to always take diving goggles with you so that you can explore the underwater world at any time.

In Punta Cana, you will spend the night at the Macao Beach Hostel.

Samaná

A 300-km-long bus ride takes you to Samaná, which is situated on a headland in the northwest of the island. Compared to many other places, the peninsula is not very touristy and therefore invites you to relax.
Las Terrenas on the north coast is regarded as the tourist centre of the region. You can find anything from supermarkets to pharmacies here, but the highlight is the beach. White palm beach seems to have no end, no matter which direction you look.

A must-do during your stay in Samaná is a trip to the El Limón waterfall. You can either join a tour or explore it on your own with a bus tour to the town of the same name. Then, start the short hike from there. The scenery around the waterfall is really breathtaking and with a height of about 50 metres, this is the tallest waterfall of the island. The natural pool below just invites you to splash around.
During an excursion to Las Galeras in the northeast of the peninsula, you should definitely take a side trip to the "Boca del Diablo", the "mouth of the devil". This is a cave formed by water in the rocks, which is connected to the sea through a so-called blowhole and creates water fountains. The best part: the entrance is free! All you have to do is to pay for transportation.

While exploring the peninsula on the island, you will stay at Dan and Manty's Guesthouse in a 10-bed dorm for €14 per night.

Santo Domingo

After total relaxation in Samaná, you're probably ready for some excitement again. Time to explore the capital, Santo Domingo. Off we go to the south coast by bus.
It quickly becomes clear that this city is special – after all, it is the oldest city in the Caribbean built by Europeans. It was founded in 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus, the brother of Christopher Columbus.

During a walk through the city, the Spanish influence can be felt in the plaza when you admire the cathedral of Santo Domingo and the numerous colonial-style buildings. Make sure you take enough time to explore the old town before you go back to the beach. In the Parque Independencia, you can relax in the shade of the tall palm trees before you mingle with the locals in the Mercado Modelo and look for souvenirs and street food. Take a side trip to Calle El Conde at night, which is the oldest commercial street in the city. There are many hip bars and shops where you can watch people passing by while having a beer or a Cuba Libre.

If you are up for nature, Santo Domingo has something very special in store for you, and you don't even have to leave the city for it. Los Tres Ojos are three natural pools in the middle of the city. Since Santo Domingo is situated on the river Ozama, some parts of the city are washed out and there is a lagoon and refreshing pools right in the centre. One of the caves can only be reached by a short boat ride, which you shouldn't miss out on. In order to maintain the area, the government now charges some money for the entrance, but it's worth it.
During your stay in Santo Domingo, you will sleep in the Island Life Hostel in a 12-bed dorm for €14 per night.

Jarabacoa

Since most of your backpacking trip so far has been relaxed, you can now get your adrenaline pumping again – if you want to, that is. 
From Santo Domingo we'll head inland to Jarabacoa in the region of La Vega. This part of the country is especially known for one thing: the river Yaquo del Norte and white-water rafting. If you like some action, you should not miss a rafting tour.
If wild water is not your thing, there is still a lot to experience. The mountainous landscape is ideal for longer or shorter exploration tours. We highly recommend climbing El Mogote: this is the highest point of the region, and the view compensates for all your effort. It is best to start early in the morning and take enough water with you. If you like to stay close to the water, you can also hike to Salto Baiguate, where another impressive waterfall with a natural pool invites you to refresh yourself.

Movie fans should hike to Salto de Jimenao, which is the location of a very, very famous movie: This is where the opening scene of Jurassic Park was shot. So, let's go and take a picture!
After so much action, you can end the day in the restaurant Jamaca de Dios (The Hammock of God). From the terrace, you can once again enjoy the incredible view over the wide landscape.

Sleep in a relaxed atmosphere at the Jarabacoa Mountain Hostel for only €16 a night.

All good things come to an end, and so does your tropical Caribbean backpacking trip. You will return to Punta Cana, from where you will start your journey back home (or to your next destination) filled with sun, action, and great memories.


Punta Cana

Punta Cana

The city is considered one of the most important tourist centres on the island. Here, at the outermost edge of the island, the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. On top of that, there are more than 40 kilometres of white sandy beaches to explore in this area. It should not surprise you that this is the perfect place for you to get into holiday mood.
However, bear in mind that the Dominican Republic and especially Punta Cana is a popular destination for package tourists, so you will never have the beach all to yourself.

In case you’d want to explore something else besides the beach or a sunburn has ruined your plans, there’s plenty for you to explore; for example the kind of attraction you’d least expect to encounter on a Caribbean island: a replica of a 16th-century Italian village just outside of Punta Cana. Altos de Chavón is located above the canyon of the Chavón River. This cultural centre even offers an amphitheatre and everything that comes with it.

If your budget allows it, take a sailing trip to the island of Saona in the south. If the beaches in Punta Cana have already impressed you, you will like Saona even more, as the island is part of the East National Park and simply overwhelming. If you don't feel like going on a full day tour, feel free to explore Cap Cana. This is the district where the rich and famous own their houses on the island. This may not sound very exciting at first, but there are also some beaches that are open to the public. It is much quieter there than in the centre. Don't forget to always take diving goggles with you so that you can explore the underwater world at any time.

In Punta Cana, you will spend the night at the Macao Beach Hostel.

Samaná

Samaná

A 300-km-long bus ride takes you to Samaná, which is situated on a headland in the northwest of the island. Compared to many other places, the peninsula is not very touristy and therefore invites you to relax.
Las Terrenas on the north coast is regarded as the tourist centre of the region. You can find anything from supermarkets to pharmacies here, but the highlight is the beach. White palm beach seems to have no end, no matter which direction you look.

A must-do during your stay in Samaná is a trip to the El Limón waterfall. You can either join a tour or explore it on your own with a bus tour to the town of the same name. Then, start the short hike from there. The scenery around the waterfall is really breathtaking and with a height of about 50 metres, this is the tallest waterfall of the island. The natural pool below just invites you to splash around.
During an excursion to Las Galeras in the northeast of the peninsula, you should definitely take a side trip to the "Boca del Diablo", the "mouth of the devil". This is a cave formed by water in the rocks, which is connected to the sea through a so-called blowhole and creates water fountains. The best part: the entrance is free! All you have to do is to pay for transportation.

While exploring the peninsula on the island, you will stay at Dan and Manty's Guesthouse in a 10-bed dorm for €14 per night.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo

After total relaxation in Samaná, you're probably ready for some excitement again. Time to explore the capital, Santo Domingo. Off we go to the south coast by bus.
It quickly becomes clear that this city is special – after all, it is the oldest city in the Caribbean built by Europeans. It was founded in 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus, the brother of Christopher Columbus.

During a walk through the city, the Spanish influence can be felt in the plaza when you admire the cathedral of Santo Domingo and the numerous colonial-style buildings. Make sure you take enough time to explore the old town before you go back to the beach. In the Parque Independencia, you can relax in the shade of the tall palm trees before you mingle with the locals in the Mercado Modelo and look for souvenirs and street food. Take a side trip to Calle El Conde at night, which is the oldest commercial street in the city. There are many hip bars and shops where you can watch people passing by while having a beer or a Cuba Libre.

If you are up for nature, Santo Domingo has something very special in store for you, and you don't even have to leave the city for it. Los Tres Ojos are three natural pools in the middle of the city. Since Santo Domingo is situated on the river Ozama, some parts of the city are washed out and there is a lagoon and refreshing pools right in the centre. One of the caves can only be reached by a short boat ride, which you shouldn't miss out on. In order to maintain the area, the government now charges some money for the entrance, but it's worth it.
During your stay in Santo Domingo, you will sleep in the Island Life Hostel in a 12-bed dorm for €14 per night.

Jarabacoa

Jarabacoa

Since most of your backpacking trip so far has been relaxed, you can now get your adrenaline pumping again – if you want to, that is. 
From Santo Domingo we'll head inland to Jarabacoa in the region of La Vega. This part of the country is especially known for one thing: the river Yaquo del Norte and white-water rafting. If you like some action, you should not miss a rafting tour.
If wild water is not your thing, there is still a lot to experience. The mountainous landscape is ideal for longer or shorter exploration tours. We highly recommend climbing El Mogote: this is the highest point of the region, and the view compensates for all your effort. It is best to start early in the morning and take enough water with you. If you like to stay close to the water, you can also hike to Salto Baiguate, where another impressive waterfall with a natural pool invites you to refresh yourself.

Movie fans should hike to Salto de Jimenao, which is the location of a very, very famous movie: This is where the opening scene of Jurassic Park was shot. So, let's go and take a picture!
After so much action, you can end the day in the restaurant Jamaca de Dios (The Hammock of God). From the terrace, you can once again enjoy the incredible view over the wide landscape.

Sleep in a relaxed atmosphere at the Jarabacoa Mountain Hostel for only €16 a night.

All good things come to an end, and so does your tropical Caribbean backpacking trip. You will return to Punta Cana, from where you will start your journey back home (or to your next destination) filled with sun, action, and great memories.

Dominican Republic Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home - Punta Cana
Home - Punta Cana
Flight
250
Macao Beach Hostel €13/night (4-bed dorm)
13
2. Punta Cana
Punta Cana
-
Macao Beach Hostel €13/night (4-bed dorm)
13
3. Punta Cana
Punta Cana
-
Macao Beach Hostel €13/night (4-bed dorm)
13
4. Punta Cana - Samaná
Punta Cana - Samaná
Bus
13
Dan and Manty’s Guesthouse 10-bed dorm
14
5. Samana
Samana
-
Dan and Manty’s Guesthouse 10-bed dorm
14
6. Samana
Samana
-
Dan and Manty’s Guesthouse 10-bed dorm
14
7. Samaná - Santo Domingo
Samaná - Santo Domingo
Bus
6
Island Life Hostel 12-bed dorm
14
8. Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
-
Island Life Hostel 12-bed dorm
14
9. Santo Domingo - Jarabacoa
Santo Domingo - Jarabacoa
Bus
6
Jarabacoa Mountain Hostel 6-bed dorm
16
10. Jarabacoa
Jarabacoa
-
Jarabacoa Mountain Hostel 6-bed dorm
16
11. Jarabacoa
Jarabacoa
-
Jarabacoa Mountain Hostel 6-bed dorm
16
12. Jarabacoa - Punta Cana
Jarabacoa - Punta Cana
Bus
12
Macao Beach Hostel 4-bed dorm
13
13. Punta Cana
Punta Cana
-
Macao Beach Hostel 4-bed dorm
13
14. Punta Cana – Home
Punta Cana – Home
Flight
250

Total price.

Flights 500,00
Transportation 37,00
Tours 0,00
Accommodations 183,00
Total720,00

Du möchtest 

deine eigene

Reise erstellen?

Du möchtest deine

eigene Reise erstellen?

Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Mangú: the Dominican breakfast. Bananas are mixed with cream cheese and a sweet dish made from eggs and syrup.

Soups

Sancocho: a classic soup for lunch. It consists of many different vegetables with chicken. Often, green bananas are also among the ingredients – a Dominican specialty.

Main courses

Bandera Dominicana: This dish consists of meat with rice and vegetables, served with fried bananas. A classic in the country!

Locrio: Dominican rice, which is often prepared individually. The general mixture consists of a lentil stew and green bananas.

Quipe: This minced meat is made from bulgur and often served with a slice of bread.

Pastelitos: This dish consists of croquettes topped with traditional cheese and chicken meat.

Drinks & Snacks

Rum: The rum produced in the Caribbean might be familiar to you. Little tip: It tastes especially good in its country of origin.

Pastel de Mango: This mango cake is super delicious at any time of the day!

Frios Frios: This is finely chopped ice cream that is sweetened with syrup.

Dominican Republic

The exchange rate for 10 Dominican Peso is about €0.17 (as of February 2020). You can see the prices for certain products as well as the cost of living below.

Cost of living 

Food

Free time

Personal hygiene

Dos

Leave your valuables at home: if you don't want to lose anything, it's best to leave your valuables in the hostel or (even better) at home.

Learn a few words in Spanish: You want to connect with the locals? Then it's great if you can speak some words in Spanish.

Enjoy the ocean: Whether it’s surfing or a boat trip, this is how you experience the ocean breeze and the country properly.

Don'ts

Don't walk around alone at night: It's best to stay in the hostel or in a large group. Play it safe.

Just beach holidays: The Dominican Republic is indeed perfect for a beach holiday, but besides diving and sunbathing, a trip into the interior is a must-do as well.

Quarrel: Good mood is the rule among locals. Any kind of bad mood should stay at home.

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

No

Temporary national ID

No

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

(Not necessary)

Vaccine

Robert-Koch-Instituts

Additional Remarks.

According to the Dominican migration authority (Dirección General de Migración), foreign passports must be valid for at least another six months upon entry.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

Success message!
Warning message!
Error message!