Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

10 Day Dominican Republic Itinerary

10 Day Dominican Republic Itinerary was originally published in January 2021

All-inclusive resorts, tourist-traps, and package tour groups were what came to mind when I had imagined visiting Dominican Republic. And not that there’s anything inherently wrong with those things, they’re just not things that I’m looking for in a destination. Well, guys, I was dead wrong. 

A couple of years back I was invited to visit the island nation by the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Tourism and was shown that the country has so much more to offer. Dominican Republic is blessed with vibrant culture, delectable cuisine, diverse landscapes, and captivating history.

I departed Santo Domingo with a completely changed perspective. I was already thinking of where I’d like to visit on a return trip before I even had left. 

You see, Hispañola, the island that Dominican Republic comprises with Haiti is massive. At first glance at a map, I figured you could see the whole of Dominican Republic in no time flat. Not the case at all. 

You can easily spend a few weeks exploring the island, getting to know the land a bit better, but I know that many are on limited time-constraints thanks to jobs and other responsibilities back home. So before I get too carried away, here is a 10 day Dominican Republic itinerary to help you start planning your island adventure.

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How To Get To Dominican Republic

By Flight

The majority of tourists arrive in Dominican Republic by flight. With eight international airports it’s easy to see why. With that said, Punta Cana, Santo Domingo, and Puerto Plata are the most common entry points.

For this 10 day Dominican Republic itinerary, it would be easiest to fly in and out of either Punta Cana or Santo Domingo or book a ticket into one and out of the other. Shop flights on Expedia and Skyscanner.

By Ferry

There is a ferry that connects Santo Domingo with San Juan, Puerto Rico, making the journey three times per week in each direction. Find out more about the Dominican Republic-Puerto Rico ferry.

Dominican Republic, DR, Puerto Plata, What to do in Puerto Plata, Caribbean, Cabarete, Sea Horse Ranch

Getting Around In Dominican Republic

Bus & Guagua

Most major towns and cities are connected by a network of either private bus companies or guaguas. Guaguas are minibusses (if you frequently read my blog posts you’ll know these operate like marshrutka in Eastern Europe and Central Asia… and as my friend Fidel said, if they’d have named the country Doministan, it’d have gotten me there a lot sooner 😂) that depart when full, so they do not have a set schedule.

Rental Car

Dominicans are known to be crazy drivers, but honestly, I felt no more or less crazy than Italians, Moroccans, Puerto Ricans, or Central Asians (and I’ve driven in all these places!). So if you feel up to the challenge rent a car and cruise on your own. 

Shop rental cars on ExpediaSkyscanner, and rentalcars.com.

10 Day Dominican Republic Itinerary

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Day 1 & 2: Punta Cana & Bavaro

Kick-off your 10 day Dominican Republic itinerary in sunny Punta Cana! Punta Cana and Bavaro are essentially one long beach that runs together. This area is home to the bulk of the all-inclusive resorts, making it a good place to start, especially if you’re nursing a case of jetlag. 

Both Punta Cana and Bavaro are home to a long stretch of beautiful palm-fringed white sand beaches with crystal clear water, making it feel like a perfect oasis in which to relax. Not to worry for thrill-seekers and explorer types- there are plenty of activities on offer by most of the accommodations that line the beaches of Punta Cana. 


Looking for ideas of things to do? Check out these awesome tours in and around Punta Cana


Restaurants to try in Punta Cana:

Where To Stay In Punta Cana & Bavaro

Getting To Punta Cana & Bavaro

Most hotels in Punta Cana offer airport pickups, though if you’re staying in a hostel this may not be an option. You can plan to pay roughly $20 USD for a taxi into town from the airport. 

There are also guaguas (the equivalent of a marshrutka/minibus) that leave when full outside the arrivals terminal at Punta Cana Airport for 50 pesos per person. 

If you’re arriving in Santo Domingo, you can book the Expreso Bavaro bus for 400 pesos per person.

Samana, Dominican Republic
Samana

Day 3 & 4: Los Haitises National Park & Samana Bay

On the morning of day 3 of your 10 day Dominican Republic itinerary, check out of Punta Cana and make way for Samana, where you’ll be basing yourself for the next couple of nights. Spend one of your days exploring what Samana Bay has to offer and the other as an adventure into Los Haitises National Park. 

Samana Bay is known for its top-notch diving and whale watching if you’re looking for more active things to do here, otherwise enjoy the beautiful beaches around this bay.

In Los Haitises National Park you’ll have the opportunity to explore its lush hills and fascinating caves. 

Restaurants to try in Las Terrenas:

  • Empanadas y más: Delicious empanadas
  • El Dieciocho: Caribbean and International fare
  • The Beach Restaurant: Seafood
Samana, Dominican Republic

Where To Stay In Las Terrenas, Samana

Getting To Las Terrenas

Getting to the Samana area by public transport is decently long, but totally doable from Punta Cana and Bavaro. You’ll need to take the Expreso Bavaro Bus from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo (400 pesos) and then take the Asotrapusa Bus from Santo Domingo to Samana for 500 pesos. 

Dominican Republic, DR, Puerto Plata, What to do in Puerto Plata, Caribbean, Cabarete, Sea Horse Ranch
Cabarete

Day 5 & 6: Puerto Plata & Cabarete

Over the next two days of your 10 day Dominican Republic itinerary, you’ll get to know the northern Dominican Republic better. Puerto Plata is where tourism in Dominican Republic started. The area offers lush mountains & valleys and beautiful beaches. Nearby Cabarete is the adventure capital of Dominican Republic, with kitesurfing, yoga, mountain biking, and diving all on offer.

Things to do in Puerto Plata & Cabarete:


Check out my post, 16 best things to do in Puerto Plata for more ideas


Restaurants to try in Puerto Plata & Cabarete:

Dominican Republic, DR, Puerto Plata, What to do in Puerto Plata, Caribbean, Casa Colonial, Casa Colonial sunrise, Casa Colonial Puerto Plata, Casa Colonial Dominican Republic, Playa Dorada, Playa Dorada sunrise
Sunrise at Casa Colonial

Where To Stay In Puerto Plata & Cabarete

Getting To Puerto Plata

Guaguas run between Samana and Puerto Plata for about 350 pesos. Confirm with your accommodation where to grab it. 

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Traditional Carnival costumes in La Vega

Day 7: La Vega

To break up the long journey between Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo, I recommend a few hours here in La Vega, home to Dominican Republic’s largest and most impressive Carnival.

Things to do in La Vega:

  • Carnival Museum (or attend Carnival if you’re here in February)
  • La Vega Vieja ruins
  • Santo Cerro Cathedral

Getting To La Vega

Caribe Tours has a bus route between Puerto Plata and La Vega that costs about 200 pesos. 

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Day 8-10: Santo Domingo & Boca Chica

On to your final leg of the 10 day Dominican Republic itinerary, you’ll arrive in Santo Domingo on the evening of day 7. Once you’re settled in for the evening go out and grab dinner at one of Santo Domingo’s top restaurants. 

Over the next two days, take your time getting to know Santo Domingo and nearby Boca Chica a bit better. 

Things to do in Santo Domingo include:

  • Hospital of Saint Nicolas of Bari
  • Ciudad Colonial
  • Calle Las Damas
  • Primada de America Cathedral
  • Alcazar de Colón Palace & Museum
  • Iglesia Regina Angelorum 
  • Convento de los Dominicos
  • Panteon Nacional
  • Fort Ozama
  • Ruinas de San Francisco
  • Calle La Atarazana

Want an in-depth itinerary? Check out my two day Santo Domingo & Boca Chica itinerary


2 days Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Caribbean, Boca Chica, Boca Chica Marina Restaurant
Boca Chica

Things to do in Boca Chica:

  • Laze on the beach in Boca Chica

Restaurants to try in Santo Domingo:

  • Meson d’Bari: Traditional Dominican with new-age twists
  • Buché Perico: Modern Dominican-fusion
  • Time Vegetarian Kitchen: Vegetarian and vegan cuisine

Restaurants to try in Boca Chica:

2 days Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Caribbean, Santo Domingo, Bonye, Grupo Bonyé, Grupo Bonye, San Francisco Monastery, San Francisco Monastery Santo Domingo
Grupo Bonyé

Santo Domingo Nightlife:

  • Jalao: Live music and dancing
  • Colmados: Tienda that transforms into a bar in the evenings
  • Duarte Square: Best LGBTQ+ nightlife
  • Onno’s Bar: A local bar and restaurant with vibrant dance parties
  • Grupo Bonyé: A Sunday night concert in Santo Domingo
2 days Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Caribbean, Santo Domingo, Colonial Zone, Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando, Hotel Nicolas Ovando
Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando

Where To Stay In Santo Domingo

Getting To Santo Domingo

Frequent buses run from La Vega to Santo Domingo with Caribe Tours for about 300 pesos. It’s possible to grab a direct bus from Puerto Plata to Santo Domingo if you plan to slip La Vega.

Getting to Boca Chica

Frequent buses make the trip between Santo Domingo and Boca Chica for about 100 pesos. If you opt to grab a taxi, plan to pay about 1,750 pesos.

2 days Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Caribbean, Boca Chica

Have Any Questions About This 10 Day Dominican Republic Itinerary?

Ask in the comments section below. 

More posts from Dominican Republic: 

2 thoughts on “10 Day Dominican Republic Itinerary”

  1. Amazing article! Very complete and illustrative!
    Once again, Dominican Rep has it all !! Like no other in the region !!
    Thanks for share these amazing joruneys!!

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