Nestled among the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea is the beautiful country of the Dominican Republic. Among all the Caribbean Islands, the Dominican is the second-largest, following Cuba. The Dominican Republic usually has over 5 million visitors a year! Unfortunately, this country has seen a decline in visitors due to the COVID-19. With that being stated, the Dominican hotels, resorts, and tourist destinations have safety measures in place so tourists can enjoy the Dominican experience without worrying too much. In fact, while there, you should get into the D.R. culture and enjoy its food! So let’s get into the juicy details of when in the best time to visit the Dominican Republic.
Best Time to Visit the Dominican Republic
(& When to Avoid!)
For those of you who have never been to the Dominican then you will be in for a treat, in terms of weather. Thanks to the tropical climate, almost all seasons offer sunny and warm weather. Due to the constant average temperatures being mostly warm, the beaches of the Dominican are over flooded with people. Obviously, this can change due to the rainy season (on and off from April-November), the wet season (September-November), and tropical storms.
The average temperatures range from 75 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, with the higher altitude among the mountain ranges reaching a low 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Needless to say, your odds of needing a winter jacket and gloves are very slim. But I do recommend bringing a light jacket on your trip because you never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Spring Season (March-May)
In my personal opinion, the best time of the year to visit the Dominican is during the spring season. The months between March and May are the peak season of the Dominican. The average daytime temperatures range from 82-87 degrees Fahrenheit, with the nighttime minimum average hitting around 67 degrees.
The south coast of the Dominican is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and is home to resort towns such as Boca Chica and La Romana. La Romana is a charming town near the Chavon River. Some of the attractions to visit in this area include artisan shops, the archaeological museum, and the Altos de Chavon. The Bahia Principe Grand La Romana and the Villa Real Playa Nueva Romana are two amazing inclusive resorts in La Romana area.
Festivals of the Season
I think it’s a good idea to check out the local events and festivals that take place during the spring. For example, in April the Plaza de la Cultura Square in Santa Domingo hosts an International Book Fair.
The Semana Santa (which refers to the Holy Week in the Christian religion) is a week to spend with family in a peaceful atmosphere. This week (which can vary during the month of April) is dedicated to the Gaga festivals, the Carnival Cimarron (in the town of Cabral), and other religious activities throughout the country. Another huge festival celebrated in the spring is in San Felipe on May 3rd. This festival is celebrated in Puerto Plata and there is live music, plenty of good food and drinks.
Cruise Bonus Tips
Although it is not an official rule, most cruise lines and airlines have “sales” during mid to late April. You can find a good deal on a cruise to the Dominican at roughly 50% off!
One useful tip I can give you is to book your airport transportation to your hotel in advance. While some hotels offer airport transportation, double-check your hotel to ensure that is the case. If not, then book your travel ride prior to arriving in the Dominican Republic
Summer Season (June-August)
The summer months in the Dominican are sure to bring lots of hours of sunshine and plenty of water sports activities to engage in. With that being said, make sure to note that June, July, and August are considered the hottest months of the year. The best activities to participate in include: snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, and sunbathing. Don’t be surprised if the temperature spikes up to almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Punta Cana is a wonderful coastal town to visit that is packed with stunning white sandy beaches and lovely resorts. If you are traveling with kids or with family, I recommend taking them to Scape Park. This park is packed with fun adventures such as cave exploring, ziplining, and boat excursions. You and your family are sure to have a great time at this park. Make sure to make time for surfing, jet skiing, and diving to the D.R.’s Coral Reef System. You are sure to have a memorable experience as you dive through historical shipwrecks and through the colorful reefs.
Festivals of the Season in Santa Domingo
One of the biggest festivals in Santa Domingo that will guarantee you a good time is the Merengue Festival. No, I am not talking about merengue the food, but the traditional music. The festival occurs from late July to early August in the Malecon area. The Merengue Festival takes place for two weeks and each night hosts dance shows, people in traditional costumes and musical bands, and restaurant stands.
Another festival in the summer is Food & Wine Festival in Punta Cana. This festival takes place at the beginning of June and hosts wine and food from different parts of the country.
More Bonus Tips
Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit, sunscreen, hat, and umbrella. Yup, you read that right, you will definitely need an umbrella. Summer is considered one of the rainy seasons so you should expect rainy days during your trip.
Since the summer is the low season in the Dominican, expect there to be a chance of hurricanes or rainy weather, and humid weather. But the plus side is you can find cheap prices at luxury resorts and hotels.
Fall Season (September-November)
In my opinion, the fall season is my least favorite time of year to visit the Dominican. Although there are warm temperatures throughout the island, there is a high chance of storms and high winds. You will definitely notice is a storm is on its way thanks to the heavy swaying of the palm trees. Don’t fret about the impending bad weather, take the opportunity to visit indoor locations and attractions.
Visit the Amber Museum in Santo Domingo, which is a quaint museum that carries Amber collections from around the world. A great way to get up-close and personal with the marine life (without diving in the water) is to visit the aquarium in Santa Domingo along the Southern Coast. The Aquamondo Sambil Santo Domingo takes its guests on a journey through the Coral Garden, shark tank, and reptile exhibit.
Festivals of the Season
The fall season hosts many months where days are dedicated to specific Saints and there are festivals in their honor. For example, San Miguel is celebrated on September 29th. And the city of Villa Mella honors this saint with a festival colored with white and green decorations and cake. The patron saint of Elias Pina and Santa Teresa de Avila is celebrated on October 14th and 15th respectfully. November 1st is a day to honor all the saints of the Catholic religion.
Although it is not a festival, the Museum’s Long Night is wonderful and unique. This event takes place once during each season and allows guests to visit local museums, with free admission and the museums are open until midnight.
Bonus Tip: Exchange Dollars
Remember to exchange your dollars for Dominican Pesos. You may find yourself in a store or other place that does not have an ATM, nor excepts cards for payment. Adding a few extra Dominican Pesos surely won’t hurt your wallet but it’ll make it feel heavier.
Winter Season (December-February)
The winter months are considered the high season of traveling to the D.R. The weather is almost perfect, the days are dry and the hot weather is cooled down for the northeastern coast trade winds. During these months is a good idea to visit some of the beautiful national parks. There are at least 18 national parks in the Dominican and while you don’t have to visit them all, I recommend visiting the Jaragua National Park, Jose Armando Bermudez National Park, and the Parque Nacional Los Tres Ojos. The Jaragua National Park is the largest of the parks in the Dominican. It is home to over 100 bird species, stunning rock formations, and pictographs.
The best months to catch a glimpse of the humpback whales are between December and March. The north coast of this island, specifically the Bay of Samana, is packed with humpback whales waiting for you to greet them. Thanks to the busy mating season in March for humpback whales, there are plenty of tourists who gather around the northwest part of the island. It is truly a unique experience to watch these whales fight for attention, splash around and “put on” a show.
Festivals of the Season
The best month to celebrate the festivities is in January. To start off, the festivities of December is the Fiesta Patronal of Santa Barbara. This patron saint of the country is Saint Barbara and festivities are held through the country with music from Dona Bertilia. The first of January is a day to celebrate plenty of events including New Year’s Day, Santa Cristo de Bayaguana, and the Guloya Festival. The Three King’s Day is celebrated throughout the country, it is similar to Christmas and is celebrated on January 5th and 6th.
The month of February allows hosts wonderful festivals including Carnival and Independence Day. Carnival is like the American Mardi Gras. Carnival takes place in February and there are weekly celebrations on Sunday which build up to the grand festival on February 27th. The Dominican Republic celebrates its independence by hosting several festivals throughout the country on February 27th.
Tip: Be Aware of Tourist Scams
Be aware of tourist scams. During the high season, people take advantage of tourists and try to lure them to events or buy tickets to events that are fake.
When to Avoid!
There are certain periods or times during the different seasons which I recommend avoiding. This is not to say that you should completely avoid that season, just a specific time frame. For example, I think it is great to vacation during the spring but I would AVOID Spring break. College students usually have spring break in mid-March while high school students have theirs in mid-April. Avoid those two weeks out of the three months in the spring and you’ll be golden.
So, there you have it. I have broken down the different seasons to visit the Dominican Republic. Like I previously mentioned, it is a good idea to visit the D.R. during the spring. I recommend avoiding crowded seasons like the winter and Spring Break. Overall, you should pick and choose which season, activities, and events you want to participate in and then decide when to visit. Everyone is different, so what might work for you might not be good for others. My favorite and best time to visit the Dominican Republic is in the spring. You will never know if you don’t visit, so get yourself to the sunny Dominican.
What is your favorite time to visit the Dominican Republic?