In this article, I will tell you about the different types of excursions and tours in the Dominican Republic. How much they cost, and what to pay attention to. I will give tips on where you can skip the excursion in favor of a self-visit. I will say right away that I do not sell Dominican excursions, and this article should be objective. Although, of course, there will be personal recommendations.
Table of contents:
- Tours in the Dominican Republic: general points
- Dominican excursions list with prices
- Where to buy a tour or excursion
- Travel tips
Tours in the Dominican Republic: general points
Further, general facts and what you need to know:
- If you are not purchasing a private, VIP, or individual tour, then the standard group size for any tour is up to 40 people (bus).
- All prices and payments for Dominican tours are in American dollars.
- There are many agencies that sell tours in the Dominican Republic, and what is most interesting is that each company tries to come up with its own program that will differ from its competitors.
- Each tour will have a different name and different program, and the price will also be different. For example:
- Some offer a 5D Saona tour with visits to two beaches and a sailboat ride;
- Others offer a mix of Saona and Altos de Chavon, the city of artists;
- Others combine Saona with the beach of Bayahibe.
- Always pay attention to the travel time. Although the Dominican Republic is a small country, it’s easy to buy a tour where the one-way transfer is 4-5 hours and the same back.
- Such efforts are worth only one tour in the country – this is humpback whales watching.
- In any agency in any part of the country there is a set of ready-made tours specifically in your region. To make the transfer short.
Excursions in the Dominican Republic: list, prices
Below, I will list the main tours in the Dominican Republic that are available and where they take place. I will write how much they cost and provide my recommendations. And you will then decide for yourself what you want to visit.
I advise you to read the article here: 10 reasons why you should choose the Dominican Republic.
Types of excursions in the Dominican Republic:
- Extreme activities
- Beaches and islands
- Cities, history and architecture
- To a specific point of interest, such as a waterfall or mountain
- VIP or exclusive Dominican tours
Activities and extreme tours in the Dominican Republic
This includes Dominican excursions where you will get a lot of adrenaline. Often such tours are held in the jungle of a region. And there are such excursions in every resort.
Buggy, ATVs, SUVs ride
In the Dominican Republic, the jungle is everywhere and nature is always breathtaking. Off-road quad bike tours are available in any part of the country, close to your resort. The goal is not to see any specific attraction, but to experience the thrill and adrenaline of riding on rough terrain.
- The tour usually lasts for 2 hours, but with the transfer, preparation, and briefing, plan for 4 hours or half a day.
- These activities can be found in any tour agency.
- The language spoken by the guide is not particularly important, but one should at least have an understanding of the safety techniques.
- Renting a quad bike independently is more difficult, so if you want to ride through real jungles, it’s best to purchase a ready-made tour.
- Tour prices range from $40 to $150, depending on the type of vehicle. Quad bikes are more expensive than buggies. Inquire in advance about the tour duration and whether lunch is included.
Author’s recommendation:7 out of 10. If you like such activities and you have already seen all the sights in the area of your resort, and you don’t want to go far, then this is a great option to diversify your leisure time.
The most complete list of extreme activities in the Dominican Republic: buggies, ATVs, helicopter tours, bungee rides can be found on this service at the link.
Helicopter or plane tour
Helicopter excursions in the Dominican Republic are undoubtedly an exhilarating experience, but they come at a cost. Imagine seeing the stunning beaches of the Dominican Republic, with its palm trees and turquoise waters, from a bird’s eye view. Add to that the lush jungles, towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and secluded islands, and you have a truly breathtaking experience that is worth every penny.
There are three main routes or locations for helicopter tours in the Dominican Republic:
- Over the beaches of Punta Cana and Bavaro
- Over the island of Saona
- Over the Samana Peninsula
Typically, the flight time for these Dominican tours is 30 minutes. Each helicopter can accommodate 2 or 3 passengers, in addition to the pilot. If you’re traveling in a group, there may be discounts available. The cost per person for a 10-minute flight is around $80-100, while a 30-minute flight ranges from $250-400.
Author’s recommendation:8 out of 10. If you have ever flown on such excursions over Rio de Janeiro or over the island of Mauritius, then you know how cool it is. It is no different here. The views are simply breathtaking. The only downside is the price. If your budget allows, I highly recommend taking a flight over the Samana Peninsula or the island of Saona. It is here where you will truly experience the Caribbean.
- Here is an example of a full day private jet tour from Punta Cana to Samana for whale watching.
Tour to Pico Duarte
The Pico Duarte is the highest peak of all the Antillean islands and the entire Caribbean basin. Standing at a majestic 3083 meters tall, the climb to the summit is not for the faint of heart.
- Depending on the tour package, the ascent can take place over the course of two days with one overnight stay or three days with two overnight stays.
- Independent climbing is not allowed and all hikers must be accompanied by a guide and mules.
Adequate preparation is required for this challenging hike. For a detailed report of our own climb to the summit of the Pico Duarte, please follow the link provided.
- A two or three day time frame should be planned for this excursion, depending on the tour package.
- Guides typically speak only Spanish, but English-speaking guides can also be found.
- Prices for the tour package range from $100 to $400, all-inclusive.
Author’s recommendation:If you love mountains and hiking, then a 10 out of 10. It’s a great accomplishment and a fantastic test of oneself. However, if mountain trekking is not your thing and you’re only in the Dominican Republic for a week to enjoy the beaches and ocean, then it’s a 3 out of 10.
Beach and island tours in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic, being an island nation itself, boasts of numerous smaller islands that are nothing short of paradise on earth. Excursions to one of these islands for a full day, with visits to wild beaches, lunch, and other activities are highly popular among tourists.
Additionally, many agencies combine these Dominican excursions with other attractions for more active tourists who do not want to spend their entire day lounging on the beach, even if it is beautiful.
Below are the most popular excursions in the Dominican Republic for beaches and islands.
The largest island of the country and the most visited by tourists. Its advantage is that it is relatively close to the popular resort of Punta Cana and Bavaro. The entire island is a reserve and there are no hotels or other buildings, only palm trees and kilometers-long beaches.
- Tourists usually come here as part of an excursion. You can reach it independently, but the advantage is questionable.
- Read more about visiting the island of Saona by clicking the link.
- The excursion always includes a transfer.
- Be sure to check about lunch, as some agencies include it while others don’t. If you plan to buy lunch on the island, keep in mind that it will cost about $15.
- Do not forget to bring a mask as the snorkeling here is excellent.
- Also, bring a phone and power bank as there are no outlets on the island, but you will want to take many photos.
- The price ranges from $50 to $150. Excursions to only the beach of Saona island are rare. They are usually combined with other activities.
Author’s recommendation:9 out of 10. The place is amazing and a must-visit. In this case, I recommend buying a ready-made excursion, it’s not much more expensive, but it’s easier to reach. Because getting to the beach of Bajaibes is not easy by public transport. And then you still need to find a boat to Saona.
- The best Dominican excursions to Saona Island. There are ones with food and alcohol, by helicopter or luxurious catamaran. Twenty excellent excursion programs to Saona.
Excursion to Bacardi Island
If the island of Saona is located in the south in the Caribbean Sea, then the island of Bacardi is in the north in the Atlantic Ocean. The island of Bacardi is also beautiful, but it has one big downside and one advantage:
- Disadvantage: The area of the island is less than 1 square kilometer, it is very tiny and half of the area is occupied by an expensive hotel, which can only be accessed by hotel guests.
- Advantage: If you book a room in the hotel, you can live on this tiny paradise island. After 4pm, almost nobody stays on the island except for hotel guests.
Read more about visiting Bacardi Island here.
- Half a day can be allocated to visit the island.
- It is easy to reach on your own if you stay on the Samana peninsula, without a tour.
- A visit to Bacardi Island is included in the whale watching tour program.
- Price: If only visiting the island with lunch, it is around 30-40$
Author’s recommendation:3 out of 10. If it is not whale watching season, and your hotel is far from Samana, then there is no point in going here. Yes, the beach is beautiful, but it is small and crowded. But if you are traveling during whale watching season (January-March), then it is definitely worth purchasing this excursion, and visiting the island of Bacardi will be a bonus.
City tours in the Dominican Republic
Such city tours are only conducted in one city of the country, in its capital, Santo Domingo. It is the only city where there are enough architectural and historical sights for a fantastic tour. In Santo Domingo, you can encounter the following types of Dominican tours:
- Religious, as there are many churches here
- Historical tours following the footsteps of Christopher Columbus and his son Diego
The price of the tour depends heavily on the transfer, and the farther your resort is from the capital, the more expensive the tour will be. Additionally, the price will also be higher if the program includes attractions where you have to pay for entry.
- In such a tour, it is extremely important to have an English-speaking guide (if you do not know Spanish), as there is a lot of interesting information and you need to understand the guide.
- Be sure to check in advance if the entrance tickets are included in the cost. Often they may not be.
- Planned time: 3-4 hours for the tour + travel time.
- Price: From $30 to $100.
Author’s recommendations:8 out of 10. If you love architecture and history as much as beaches and oceans, then you must visit Santo Domingo. If you don’t speak Spanish and haven’t found an English-speaking guide, you can still come to Santo Domingo and prepare for a self-guided tour of the city by reading articles on this website. It will certainly be cheaper.
- A huge selection of excursions in Santo Domingo, museums and food tours.
- And where to look for more Dominican excursions in the capital, read the review article about Santo Domingo
Tour of a specific attraction
Before reading further, I recommend checking out the article about the most amazing attractions in the Dominican Republic. This is a top-20 list of places that you must see. There, you can choose the places that are close to you and that you want to visit. Some of them are easy to visit on your own, while others are better to visit as part of a tour. I will write about the places where you can buy tours in the Dominican Republic.
It is important to know:Overall, if you have a rental car, all the sights are easily visited on your own. There’s a detailed article about each one in this guidebook. But if you don’t have a rental car, the journey on public transport in the Dominican Republic is not an easy task. So it’s easier to buy a tour without a car. The transfer to the sights will greatly simplify your life and save you time.
Below are some popular excursions in the Dominican Republic, where it is quite difficult to get there without a car.
El Limon waterfall
The third largest waterfall in the Dominican Republic, located in the lush jungles in a very beautiful place. Among the main advantages are:
- Overall, it is accessible for people with any level of physical fitness. A 45-minute walk through the jungle to the waterfall
- You can swim
- The views along the way are breathtaking
- The waterfall itself is located in the center of the Samana peninsula, there are many other attractions nearby.
- If you live far from Samana, you can often visit in one day: whale watching, Bacardi Island, El Limon waterfall, Coson beach, Dudu lagoon.
- If you love horseback riding or dream of riding a horse, you will have the opportunity here.
A detailed report on how we visited El Limon in a separate article.
- Time at the waterfall: 2.5 hours with swimming
- If you go on horseback, make sure to bring an additional $10 tip for the boy who will lead your horse
- An English-speaking guide is not necessary
- The cost of the tour, if purchased from agencies in Samana, where the transfer is short, is about $40-50. If purchased from the Punta Cana hotel, it is about $150, as it is far to go.
- A selection of cool all-day Dominican excursions: Bacardi Island + El Limon Falls – there are plenty to choose from
Author’s recommendation:10 out of 10. A truly spectacular waterfall. Whether you choose to visit it on your own or take a guided tour, the place is simply breathtaking.
Excursion to 27 waterfalls
Actually it is not 27 waterfalls, but rather a stretch of mountainous river with cascades numbering around 27. The entertainment consists of the following:
- You will have a personal guide
- You will be given a helmet, a life jacket, and footwear (coral shoes or sneakers)
- First, you will spend between 30 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the chosen route, hiking up the mountain with the guide
- And then for 2 hours, you will descend down the river and its cascades. With jumps into the water, rapids, and narrow canyons, and simply swimming downstream.
The location is very exciting and atmospheric. You can read a full report about our visit to 27 waterfalls here. There are also links to tours to these waterfalls.
- The attraction itself without the road should be planned for 2 to 4 hours.
- The guide usually speaks Spanish, but sometimes knows English. But in any case, everything is intuitively understandable.
- As for the downsides, the location: convenient for those who live in Puerto Plata, not very convenient for those who are in Samana. And quite far for everyone from Bavaro and Punta Cana.
- The price: 60-150$.
Author’s recommendation:8 out of 10. If you have the time and you are staying relatively close, it is definitely worth visiting. Ideally, it should be combined with a visit to the Isabel de Torres mountain in Puerto Plata. Dominican excursions are often sold for these two attractions together.
One of the best Dominican tours: whales watching
In short, as there is already a comprehensive article-review detailing how to see the whales in the Dominican Republic, I recommend reading it for valuable tips. However, if you are looking for a brief summary of what you need to know, here it is:
- Whale watching excursions in the Dominican Republic are only available during the season when the whales migrate to the country’s shores, which is from January to March.
- It is not possible to see or swim with the whales on your own, an excursion must be purchased. The question is only where to do it: directly at the pier in Samana or through your hotel.
- The likelihood of whale watching in February is 99%.
- The whales comes to the bay of Samana.
- The excursion package includes a visit to the island of Bacardi and lunch.
- Time to allocate: approximately 5-6 hours.
- Cost: between $50-60 if purchased at the pier in Samana and $120 or higher in Punta Cana.
Author’s recommendation:10 out of 10. If you find yourself in the Dominican Republic between January and March, no matter how far you are from Samana, this excursion is a must-see for everyone. There are not many places in the world where you can witness the majestic humpback whales right from the shore, year after year, as if on schedule.
- Follow the link to find all possible whale watching tours with transfer from anywhere in the country: humpback whales in the Dominican Republic
VIP, individual or exclusive tours in the Dominican Republic
I will not go into detail about these Dominican tours. Just know that you can go to any place on the map of the Dominican Republic or even fly there in an individual order. The only question is: are you willing to spend that much money?
In individual tours, you can rent a yacht or helicopter and choose your own route and beach. In such Dominican excursions, you can expect:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Excellent lunch and snacks
- Transportation not by bus, but by a decent car
- And of course, a small group: only you or your company or family
Prices are very individual, but for comparison, the cheapest excursion to the island of Saona will cost you a whole day for $50-60. An exclusive private excursion to the same place, on a catamaran for your small group (or just for you), with drinks, a fabulous lunch and private beaches – $800 for half a day.
Where to buy tours in the Dominican Republic
It’s all very simple. We are now in the 21st century. You can buy an excursion just as easily:
- at your hotel (the most expensive option)
- at any excursion agency on your resort beach
The first two options are convenient for those who have no plan and decide and choose excursions as they go on vacation. If you have even the slightest plan for your trip, then buying Dominican excursions online is a very good option.
Finding online agencies now will not be difficult. All major Dominican excursions tour agencies have been offering their programs to tourists online for a long time. It’s very convenient.
It is important to know:Prices for excursions on the beach and in the hotel are usually higher than when buying on the Internet.
Booking online has several major advantages.
- One can thoroughly study what is included in the tour and what is not. A beach vendor will promise you anything to sell you a tour.
- All your money is protected. And fraud is excluded. There is always the opportunity to cancel the tour in advance and get a refund.
You can try to save money and buy a tour on the beach. But only if you have good conversational Spanish. English is very poorly understood here. But be careful: apparently you will save and buy a tour for $10 cheaper, but then it turns out that there is no lunch in your tour, entrance tickets are not included, sun loungers are extra and so on.
- The most complete database of Dominican tours from all major agencies in the country, over 300 tours in Dominican Republic – GetYourGuide
Tips and recommendations for tourists
In summary, the main points are:
- The price and payment for tour excursions are always in US dollars.
- Many places can be easily accessed without purchasing tours.
- Transportation is often the most difficult aspect, but renting a car and self-driving can be an option if time and budget allow.
- Bargain when buying on the beach.
- Always clarify what is included in the tour, especially food, drinks and entrance tickets to attractions.
- It’s best to book Dominican tours in advance online.
- Certain attractions, such as observing humpback whales and climbing Pico Duarte, can only be accessed through tours.
In conclusion, excursions in the Dominican Republic are available for every tourist, whether you enjoy the beach, sea and alcohol or mountain tracking, waterfalls, and adrenaline. The most important thing is to choose what you want to visit and do and to clarify what is included in the excursion.
We wish you the best and unforgettable excursions in your life! All links below.
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Dominican Republic
- Flights at the best prices with discounts
- Car rental in Dominican (cheaper – only by bus):
- Discovery Cars – a largest international resource
- Hotels and apartments all over the country: Booking
- Vacation packages:
- Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
- GYG – more than 150 tours (whales tours)
- Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
- eSIM virtual sim card with internet in Dominican
- Taxi and transfers from Dominican airports: Intui.Travel