With white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, world-class resorts and plenty of history, the Dominican Republic is the perfect destination for families, couples and history buffs alike.
It doesn’t get much more luxurious than the <a href="http://www.travelchannel.com/topics/dominican-republic/index.html">Dominican Republic's</a> Tortuga Bay resort. Designed by Oscar de la Renta, each room at Tortuga Bay also includes a private golf cart, so you can make your way from the pool to the beach in minutes.
Don’t leave the Dominican Republic without sampling chicharrones, a traditional Latin American dish made from fried pork rinds.
El Faro a Colon, or the Columbus Lighthouse, is an enormous, cross-shaped monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus – the Americas’ most celebrated explorer. The monument is located in Santo Domingo, the first permanent European settlement in North or South America. Dedicated in 1992 on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the Americas, the Columbus Lighthouse is said to house the remains of its namesake.
Casa de Campo, which means “country house” in Spanish, is one of the most prestigious resorts in the Dominican Republic. Its golf course is the only Caribbean course that’s consistently recognized as one of the world’s top 100, and the resort was the backdrop for the 1971 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.
First developed as a town for the Dominican Republic’s many resort employees, Bavaro Beach has developed into its own resort destination in Punta Cana.
The house of Dominican government, the National Palace in Santo Domingo is not only an example of impressive architecture, but it’s also a symbol of the country’s sovereignty
The Majestic Colonial is a family-oriented resort that offers more than 600 rooms in a laid-back atmosphere where people come from all over the world to relax and enjoy a pina colada or 2.
While in the Dominican Republic, snack on some tostones – a popular side-dish made of twice-fried sliced plantains.
The Museo de Las Casas Reales, or the Museum of the Royal Houses, contains an impressive collection of colonial-era artifacts from Santo Domingo -- including intricately-gilded furniture, military artifacts and replicas of Columbus’ 3 famous ships -- the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria.
The oldest remaining European military fort in the Americas, Fortaleza Ozama offers an interesting look at life in 16th century colonial Santo Domingo. Climb the tower for great views of the nearby city.
An island in Semana Bay, Cayo Levantado is known for its powdery sand and crystal-clear water -- perfect for snorkeling.
Pay a visit to Atlos de Chavon, a charming re-creation of a 16th century European village -- complete with cobblestone streets, limestone buildings and a 5,000-seat amphitheater. During construction, which started in 1976, designer Roberto Copa insisted that each stone was hand-cut and each piece of decorative metalwork was hand-forged … and it shows. Eat at one of the quaint Mediterranean-style restaurants, browse the small shops or visit one of the galleries full of work by students at Atlos de Chavon’s art school.
Cabarete Bay has played host to some of the biggest events in the world for kiteboarding, and many professionals train year-round in the small Caribbean town. Don’t worry if you’re not exactly at world-championship level yet – there are plenty of kite schools located on both Kite Beach and Bozo Beach, so you’ll be doing board grabs in no time!
In addition to its white sand and glass-like waters, Playa Boca Chica is home to vendors peddling silver jewelry, paintings or other wares out of their shops that run parallel to the beach.