Well it’s finally here. We are headed to the Dominican Republic in just a couple days for our wedding!! We’re super excited. Obviously for our marriage, but that we also have this opportunity to take a family vacation exploring a new country. We are lucky that we live in southern California and have lots of options for family fun close by – like world renown museums, beaches, parks, the zoo, the aquarium, and more theme parks than you can shake a stick at but there is something about stepping on foreign soil and experiencing a new culture with your children and spouse.
Family vacations create a lifetime of memories for kids and parents but it can also be costly. However, with a little research you can usually find resorts that want to help make your family dream vacations affordable by offering great travel deals periodically throughout the year. Many resorts will have Kids Stay Free type promotions throughout the year, just sign up for their newsletter to stay up to date!
Even though whatever resort you choose to stay at will offer plenty to keep you and your family busy for days, you should definitely make sure you venture off resort to experience the local culture and family fun that the Dominican Republic has to offer. Here is a list of our top 10 things to do with kids in the Dominican Republic.
Hacienda Higueral Tour
Kids will love finding out what it’s like to be a real cowboy or cowgirl at Hacienda Higueral. This beautiful historic ranch is dedicated to breeding cattle and horses. You can see what it’s like to work with cattle and horse herds while riding a horse through cane fields, pastures and by lagoons.
Take to the Trails
If you’re looking for a scenic ride try a trail ride. Trails take you on a scenic one-hour ride through Villas Polo – or get a private guide. Rides are available whether your novice or skilled, ride english or western. Basic riding lessons are available year round for children of all ages and novice adults.
One Fish, Two Fish..
Take to the deep seas or stick to the fresh waters, whatever your calling there are plenty of red and blue fish to catch! Catch a tuna, kingfish, marlin or barracuda out in the deep sea. Navigate through fresh water down the Chavon River for equally as thrilling fishing – some near world record snook have been caught in the Chavon. Bring along your camera to catch more than just record breakers. The Chavon offers superb views of tropical vegetation, tall cliffs and palms – a perfect backdrop for a family photo too.
Explore The Deepest Depths of Las Maravillas Cave
The tour begins with a short stroll through La Romana on your way to Las Maravillas Cave, the West Indies first natural museum of Rupestrian artwork, located inside a 100,000 year old cave. Visitors will have a chance to learn about the cave’s extraordinary geological formations and the history of the pictographs left by the native Taino Indians that lived here before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.
Two Words: Donkey Polo
If you’ve never played polo or ridden a donkey you can still play donkey polo! It’s a fun sport for adults and kids – best of all they can play together. With a Dominican Burro and a little fun kids can become a championship polo player.
Hit the Beach
It’s usually the more adventurous activities that we look forward to on vacation but sometimes it’s just as nice to kick back and relax. Beaches in the Dominican Republic feature open-air pavilions, beach huts and plenty of places to lounge and relax. Just off the beach you can see and even try some of the adventurous activities like snorkeling, kayaking, windsurfing and sailing.
If you enjoy snorkeling, you´ll have a great time in the Dominican Republic. Besides an almost unlimited number of beaches to choose from, there are many offshore islands in the Dominican Republic. The colorful reefs and fish capture and keep kids attention. What’s great about snorkeling is that kids don’t need to be strong swimmers with proper life jackets and snorkel gear.
Whether you’re interested in kayaking the Caribbean Sea or along the tranquil Chavon River it’s a great time for the whole family. With one and two person kayaks even the younger kids can participate by hitching a ride with mom or dad. While the Caribbean sounds exciting most people recommend the Chavon with it’s architectural cliffs and the picturesque Altos de Chavon Village perched on top of cliffs. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!
Visit Catalina or Saona Island via a Catamaran
Catalina or Soana Island is just a short Catamaran ride from the Dominican Republic. You can take a day long excursion to the island to explore “Parque Nacional del Este” (National Park of the East) on Catalina Island or just try your hand at sunbathing, snorkeling and of course exploring it’s beautiful sandy beaches. It’s the perfect adventure for the whole family. Some excursions to Saona Island stop at Palmilla – a popular spot for playing with giant starfish.
Did you know Santo Domingo is the oldest city in the New World? It’s long history and rich culture of the Dominican Republic’s capital can all be experienced on a city tour.
Have you been to the Dominican Republic with your kids? What were your favorite kid friendly activities?