The white-sand beaches, impressive mountain ranges veined with spectacular rivers and waterfalls, and saltwater lakes teeming with exotic wildlife are part of the

Dominican Republic's appeal.

 

Whether looking to party, relax or explore, the Dominican Republic has a lot to offer. Steer a small boat through endless mangrove forests in search of gentle manatees. Spy on lovesick humpback whales in the Bahía de Samaná. Get back to civilization and prepare to party. The locals throw festivals, parties, and carnivals. Folks in the Americas' first European city, Santo Domingo, don't just spend their time admiring the fine colonial architecture gracing their home. This town has not one, but two complete Carnivals, complete with parades, elaborate floats, live music, and dancing in the streets. Pre-Lent Carnivals are celebrated in Santiago, Cabral, Monte Cristi, and La Vega as well.

 

Check out the country's two major merengue festivals, the annual Latin Music Festival and the national surfing and windsurfing championships.

Dominican Republic Vacations

 

La Romana
Punta Cana

What to wear

 

Dress is casual in most of the country, but certain situations call for more conservative attire—the importance of a good dress cannot be overstated. Pack plenty of loose-fitting cotton clothes. If you want to blend in, don't wear shorts in cities and save your swimsuit for the ocean or the pool. Women should cover their shoulders and knees when visiting cathedrals, or risk being turned away; this also applies to men wearing shorts.

 

If you plan to dine at nice restaurants and visit the nightclubs in Santo Domingo or Punta Cana, be sure to pack some semiformal attire (at least slacks and a collared shirt). Los dominicanos, as the residents are known, dress with class when they go out, as much as their budgets allow. Suits and ties and cocktail dresses can be left at home unless you anticipate business meetings, fine dining at classy restaurants, or a night at a classical concert.