My first visit to the Dominican Republic

Trevor Smith on 25 September 2013
I had an amazing opportunity to visit the Dominican Republic courtesy of British Airways and the Dominican Republic Tourist Board. There was a group of ten travel agents from the UK of which included myself and two other Travel Counsellors.

On these trips, the intention is to visit as much as possible in the shortest possible time, so 15,000 km, 17 hotels, various attractions later and meeting many sales people, I have a great knowledge now of the Dominican Republic. I stayed in four different hotels; Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Dreams La Romana, Hostal Nicolas de Ovando and the Now Larimar Hotel. I visited various resorts including Bavaro, Punta Cana and the Capital Santo Domingo as well as many gated hotel complexes.

The Dominican Republic has a population of over nine million and is a fantastic location in the Caribbean. I was amazed how good this destination was as I had little knowledge of what I now know to be a great destination. It is also very affordable, perhaps replacing destinations like Dubai, Maldives and Mauritius.

Apart from the amazing hotels and beaches I saw, I also enjoyed great excursions such as the Cave of Wonders, a natural wonder with a great guide to show us around the caves, the Cigar Factory to see how cigars are made and the best one of all the Bavaro Runners - a day out on a 4 x 4 vehicle to show us all the natural products available - sugar cane, coffee, chocolate, pineapples, bananas, passion fruit, vanilla, rum and the list goes on.

This is definitely a destination that I want to go back to and making a three centre destination would make it a very enjoyable experience to see the island, the sights, the history and also, probably most important the beaches and water sports. A must is a day excursion to the Isla Saona and a BBQ lunch.

I would personally recommend the Dreams Romana for three nights, Hostal St Nicolas de Ovando for three nights and the Paradisus Palm Real Reserve for six nights to make a holiday one to remember.

This is a great destination for couples, families, golfers, honeymooners and of course a destination for weddings.