Dominican Republic

Things to do in Dominican Republic

The first cathedral to be built in the New World is grand and imposing, with a curious combination of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque features.

The former house of Columbus's son Diego is crammed with antiques. For a more thorough explanation of the sacristies, it's worth it to hire (for a 30-peso tip) one of the guides who congregates here.

Everything from swimsuits and housewares to Italian and Portuguese food, plus movie rentals and a full-service pharmacy.

The extravagant Marina blends well with the 7,000-acre Casa de Campo luxury resort along the southern shore of the Dominican Republic. Italian architect Gianfranco Fini designed the slips and boatyard to highlight the beauty of the Chavon River flowing into the Caribbean Sea.

Factory workers hand-roll some of the world’s finest cigars at this two-level store on Calle el Conde, one of the major shopping streets in the Zona Colonial (Colonial Zone).

Cheerful market street in the heart of the Zona with missable trinkets and unmissable atmosphere. (Handicrafts, other than cigars, are not the Dominican Republic's strong suit.)

Beachside palm trees wrapped in red cloth and tiny white lights announce the presence of Lax Beach Bar along the Cabarete stretch.

Celeb-favorite, Cycalle Dias opened this Dominican Republic spa that offers CHS Nourishing Facials, which includes a pistachio-mint energizing mask to balance dry skin. Hit the on-site apothecary for the small-batch "gourmet skin care" made from edible ingredients (cucumber, sea salt, honey).

Located about a $5 taxi ride outside the Zona Colonial, this spot is where the children of sugar barons and visiting movie stars go to let their blow-outs down. House music, dance hall, and, of course, reggaeton are on the system. Space-age furniture creates a mod setting.

Sip a mango smoothie in an outdoor suite as you wait for a Tropical Fruit Body Smoother, an exfoliating blend of papaya, pineapple, watermelon, and rice grains.

Cabarete, on the North Shore of the Dominican Republic, is known as the surfing capital of the Caribbean; it's also an ideal location for kiteboarding and windsurfing.

Grungy but welcoming two-room bar and club with an attractive, bohemian crowd, plus a live merengue trio on weekends.

Visit this plantation where you can watch craftsmen roast coffee beans. You get to sample the results in the adjacent café.

If you can tear yourself away from the cruising teenagers on Puerto Plata's neighboring boardwalk, pop into this colonial fort, built to protect precious metal–rich Puerto Plata from 16th-century pirates.

Once the seat of the colonial government, this museum houses everything from Taino artifacts to 16th-century armor to an old apothecary shop lined with ceramic jars.