Guest Author - Kara Williams
West of Puerto Rico, and east of Cuba and Jamaica, the Dominican Island actually shares an island with Haiti. When Christopher Columbus landed in the lush area back in 1492 he called it "beautiful island paradise with high forested mountains and large river valleys."
With its rich history, the Dominican Republic is Caribbean island to choose if you enjoy touring archaeological sites and museums. The arts and culture scene in the DR is vibrant, too; chances are, on your tropical honeymoon you'll enjoy at least one performance of the merengue, the national dance, or the bachata, which features slower steps.
Of course, all the typical outdoor island activities are available in the Dominican Republic, including windsurfing, snorkeling, horseback riding, fishing and golf. Save some time on your itinerary for shopping and picking up some fun souvenirs: amber jewelry, sweet rum distilled on the island, or perhaps some cigars.
You'll find sprawling beachfront resorts and smaller boutique hotels in these regions of the island:
On the southeast coast, La Romana is a city that was founded around the local sugar mill; the local baseball team is called La Romana "Sugar Bowls." Shop the giant open-air market, visit the Taino artifacts museum, or take a ferry to Catalina Island for a relaxing day trip.
Puerto Plata sits on the northern side of the island, also called the "Amber Coast," for its prevalence of this semi-precious gem. The area's jungle forests, mountain ranges, blue waters and golden beaches make it an outdoor lover's paradise.
Many resorts in the Punta Cana area, on the eastern tip of the island, are all-inclusive properties. That means that for one price, you can enjoy accommodations, meals, many activities and other included features. The region's endless white-sand beaches lined with tall palm trees are exquisite.
The capital of the Dominican Republic has an incredible history: the first "New World" hospital, cathedral, university and monastery are all found here. Feel transported in time as you stroll the cobblestone streets and admire the Spanish architecture in the Colonial Zone.