Imagine a vacation destination with everything. Is it possible? Spoiler alert: it is. But, let’s lay down one rule: we’re talking about a Caribbean vacation. So, since we’re imagining a Caribbean vacation –with everything – ice skating is probably off the imagination table. Same with igloo building. But if you let your imagination go to the Dominican Republic, it doesn’t take long to imagine beaches. Amazing beaches, stretching for kilometres, caressed by crystal blue waters. And where there’s beaches, there’s sand castles… How about an igloo, made of sand? Imagine how cool that’s going to look on your Instagram feed.
Punta Cana boasts over 30 kilometers of some of the most incredible beaches in the Caribbean. In fact, Punta Cana has several beaches ranked among the world’s best by Copenhagen’s esteemed Blue Flag organization. Blue Flag recognizes beaches for their high standards in water quality, environmental sustainability, accessibility and safety. International recognition and soft sands make Punta Cana the perfect place for a relaxing vacation. With a fine selection of four and five star resorts – including Iberostar Grand Hotel Bávaro, Barceló Bávaro Palace, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, and the family-friendly Nickelodeon – vacationers have a wealth of options. Punta Cana also features many great choices for dining and entertainment, world class shopping, and for the more adventurous, Coco Bongo, rated the number three night club in the world.
Adventure of a more down-to-earth kind can be found in Samana, where every day showcases the spectacular beauty of nature, in every direction. You just have to look. A kayak tour of Los Haitises National Park is awe-inspiring: 30-metre high rock formations thrust out of the sea, in relief against the emerald green of the densely forested hills. Explore some of the many caves and grottos, and you’ll likely find indigenous Taino petroglyphs. Los Haitises is one of Dominican’s most popular attractions, so you may meet a few fellow adventurers, as well as sea birds, manatees and dolphins. Samana Bay is considered one of the world’s best places to watch humpback whales. From mid-January to the end of March, humpback whales come to mate and to give birth (winter in the Dominican – smart whales). Humpbacks are the most active whales in the Atlantic, and to see them flipping their tails or launching themselves out of the churning sea is truly an unforgettable sight. Samana offers a wide range of resorts and accommodation, all of which take advantage of the area’s natural splendor.
In the rolling hills west of Puerto Plata, you’ll find another unforgettable experience. The Damajaqua Cascades, or 27 Charcos (waterfalls), are a series of pools and waterfalls carved by nature into the native limestone. With cliff-jumping, swimming and lots of splashing, this is one of the most enjoyable guided hikes you’ll ever take. For an experience that rises above, it’s a short trip from Puerto Plata to Mount Isabel de Torres. Rising 2600 feet above sea level, it’s a ten-minute cable car ride to the summit, where you’ll find the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer, as well as truly breathtaking views of the sea and landscape below. On the Dominican’s Atlantic coast, Puerto Plata is well known for its amazing beaches, tremendous variety of recreation including some truly outstanding golf courses, and hotel and resort accommodation to suit most budgets.
The Dominican Republic truly is a destination with everything – with vacations for every kind of traveller. WestJet offers service to Punta Cana, Samana and Puerto Plata. WestJet Vacations offers a wide variety of vacation packages, including custom packages for the vacation of your dreams.