Holidays with kids often allude to Disneyland adventures or all-inclusive resort holidays where the young ones are catered to by the attentive staff in bright play areas. But if you are looking for a destination where the whole family can enjoy food, culture, and nature, look no further than the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic recorded staggering tourism figures in 2022 and became the most visited location in the Caribbean.
Here is everything you need to know to spend a well-deserved holiday by the beach with your kids and have the most memorable time in the Dominican Republic.
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General Information for the Dominican Republic
More than 100 nationalities will enjoy visa-free entry to the Dominican Republic with only some countries from Africa and Asia needing visas to enter. All passengers need a Dominican Republic e-ticket to enter, which includes an entry and exit card, a health affidavit, and a customs declaration.
Despite its Caribbean location, you can easily reach the island from several airports in the USA and there are even direct flights from Europe’s Spanish, German, and French airports.
The two biggest health concerns in the Dominican Republic are Malaria and Hepatitis B. Both are preventable; you should eat at reputable establishments and always wear mosquito repellent.
Things to do with kids in the Dominican Republic
Now that the formalities are out of the way, we can get into the fun stuff! These are the attractions and activities you simply can’t miss when traveling with kids to the Dominican Republic:
Get an adrenaline rush at Bavaro Adventure Park
You know you are in for a treat when ‘adventure’ is in the name. Here the whole family can ride on Segways, go zorbing, hop on a bungee trampoline, walk on a high line, and get up close to a gigantic animatronic dinosaur.
Make your dreams come true at the Dolphin Island Park
Every 90s child with a Lisa Frank notebook dreamt of one day swimming with dolphins. Now you can make that dream a reality and share this precious memory with your own kids at Dolphin Island Park.
Explore the magical ocean at Marinarium Marine Park and Aquarium
This unique 40,000 m2 marine park takes you on an aquarium adventure like you couldn’t dream of. Snorkel with sting rays and take selfies with sharks, all in their natural habitat. Go on a glass-bottom boat cruise and explore the fascinating underwater world of the island’s reefs.
Enjoy a lazy day on Isla Saona
The Dominican Republic is a treasure trove of activities but sometimes you just need to sit back, relax, and soak in the outrageously beautiful setting you find yourself in. Take a day trip to Isla Soana, off the eastern tip of the island, and enjoy the day lazing on the marble sand with palm trees swaying in the breeze.
Go whale watching in Samana Bay
If you are lucky enough to be in the Dominican Republic between December and March you should venture out in search of the gentle giants of the ocean. The Samana Peninsula offers some of the best whale watching on earth during this time as thousands of humpback whales gather to mate and give birth, a spectacle your family won’t soon forget.
Travel tips for families to the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic has developed into a world-class tourist destination and families can visit the Caribbean gem knowing they will have unparalleled facilities. But there are a few things to keep in mind when traveling abroad with children.
Resorts have excellent food options and there will always be child-friendly options available. You will even find basics like yogurt and fruit available for fussy eaters. But if your baby is drinking formula or eats very specific packaged soft food, you might want to bring your own supply. Many leading brands from the USA are available but you might have trouble getting to local shops and the prices are usually substantially inflated.
I do highly recommend trying to get your kids to eat Dominican food. It is so good. An easy item to introduce is Dominican potato salad.
The beachfront in the Dominican Republic is laden with all-inclusive resorts where both kids and parents will have the time of their lives. Places like Eden Rock Cap Cana and Club Med Punta Cana are in private bays and there is everything from golf to Zumba classes and children’s activities. You can also opt for a more private option and rent a house where multiple families can spend time together and explore the island’s hidden treasures.
Other hotels we like include
Many people opt for all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic, minimizing the need for transportation. If you do want to visit a town or an attraction away from your hotel, arrange with a reputable transportation company and make sure your driver is licensed. They won’t have car seats so you might want to bring one with you if you are traveling with an infant. You will also want to have a body sling to carry your baby because strollers are difficult to manage in historic towns.
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I use Skyscanner to find flights. I use it so much, I wrote an entire guide to finding cheap flights with Skyscanner! My second favorite site to find flights is Momondo, another great site for finding cheap flights.
Book a Place to Stay
If you prefer staying in a vacation rental instead, I recommend VRBO.
Rent clothes for your trip with Travel Style Expert for only $50 a month!
Choose Activities and Tours
To find great activities in any area I use Get Your Guide and Viator. If we are visiting a city with lots of popular attractions I always check CityPass and GoCard to see if they have discount cards available.
When I want to book a full-on multi-day tour I use TourRadar. They’ve got fantastic weekly deals.