Established in 1502, Puerto Plata earned its name, Port of Silver, from the glistening silver color of its coast at sunset. The seaside city served as the last stop for ships carrying goods back to the Old World. Today, Puerto Plata welcomes those taking a different type of journey: from hectic real life to tranquil, all-inclusive decadence.
The sugary sand of a Punta Cana beach is so soft, so perfectly golden that you might think it was synthetic. And in fact, in this easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic, it's possible. By definition, Punta Cana is a manufactured Caribbean getaway, completely catering to the needs of sun-seeking vacationers who enjoy all-inclusive resorts but care little about venturing away from their hotel. Boasting more than 24,000 hotel rooms at affordable rates, Punta Cana beckons to jetsetters, especially the budget-minded kind.
Christopher Columbus tried to settle in the "New World" several times before getting it right. The first and second attempts, La Navidad (in Haiti) and La Isabela (near Puerto Plata), were plagued with fire and disease. It wasn't until the third time, on an opposite coast of Hispaniola, that he and his men perfected the recipe. To this day, Santo Domingo is still a lively, thriving metropolis and acts as both the capital city of the Dominican Republic and the largest city in the Caribbean by population. But it's also so much more: The sounds of merengue, bachata and salsa drifting from a Malecón nightclub or the smells of conch gratinée wafting from a romantic café in Zona Colonial. Due to its history, it's also a city of superlatives: where you'll find the first church (Catedral Primada de América), the first stronghold (Fortaleza Ozama) and the oldest street (Calle Las Damas) in the Americas. This is the real Santo Domingo.
Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean