A Walk on the Wild Side
As well as picture-perfect beaches and a cool Caribbean culture, the Dominican Republic has unparalleled natural beauty and a world of opportunities for outdoor adventure
As the most geographically diverse Caribbean country, the Dominican Republic has more to offer beyond decadent cocktails on porcelain-white sands. Go for a week, and there’s no telling where your travels will take you, be it mountain biking along remote dirt tracks, riding the best windsurfing waves in the hemisphere or heading out in a fishing boat to see humpback whales crashing about in the bay of Samaná. The country contains both the Caribbean’s highest peak, Pico Duarte, and its lowest point at Lago Enriquillo, so whether you want to challenge the tallest mount or dive to the deepest depths, the Dominican Republic’s landscape is a veritable rollercoaster for adventure.
Characterised by rocky coasts, mangrove ecosystems, wetlands and coral reefs, the northern province of Puerto Plata is also known for its sandy beaches, which carpet 115 miles of the shoreline. This area is home to the Master of the Ocean watersports competition. The 15th annual event will be held in February 2017, and will attract international athletes across four disciplines over five days. Pitch up and watch or be inspired to learn yourself – choose surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing or stand-up paddle; or, like the pros, try all four.
The Dominican Republic has no shortage of rocky ranges to challenge even the most intrepid of travellers. The Cordillera Central mountain range is home to Pico Duarte, the highest peak in the Caribbean at 3,087 metres. Climb it on a two- or four-day excursion through tropical forestry and alpine landscapes. If you’re still eager for adventure, try an exhilarating white-water raft ride down the Yaque del Norte River, then take the chance to paraglide, abseil or join a horseriding trek in the mountains.
The crystal-clear waters of this island country are beautiful to look at from above, but what lies below the surface is equally enchanting: rare coral reefs and a rich marine life. Divers are drawn to Catalina Island, just of the south coast, where a 30-metre drop offers prime views of the aquatic wonders below. La Caleta National Marine Parkis also known as a top diving spot, with shipwrecks and an underwater sculpture park to offset the faunas deep blue backdrop.