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Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico. Which destination is better?


Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico. Which destination is better?

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The islands bathed by the Caribbean Sea are some of the most frequently visited destinations on the entire planet. Characterised by their warm climate 365 days a year and their beautiful white sandy beaches, there are two destinations that stand out, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. 

Both islands were discovered by Christopher Columbus on his trip to America, and although they bear many similarities due to their proximity, these two Caribbean countries are very different. 

The similarities are easy to pick up: endless hours of sunshine throughout the year, crystal clear, warm waters for swimming, a significant Spanish cultural influence, or their irresistible tropical nature. But what are the differences that make these two countries vary from one another? 

Food in Puerto Rico vs the Dominican Republic

Although the diet in both countries is characterised by the influence of their Spanish colonisation, there are many aspects that differentiate them. 

The typical food in the Dominican Republic stands out for the exoticism with which it surprises its visitors. The most traditional dishes are those that represent the Creole cuisine that characterises Dominican cooking, resulting from the fusion of the Spanish, African and Taino cultures. Among the most elaborate recipes, we can find highlights such as the “Dominican Flag”, Asopao, grilled meats and fresh seafood.

Likewise, desserts of Spanish descent also stand out, such as the hot chocolate and coffee, which you can try in towns like Cabarete, where there are bars and restaurants that serve freshly prepared coffees and chocolates of the highest quality.

For its part, the food in Puerto Rico is characterised by its extravagant mix of Spanish and Asian flavours and influences, including dishes such as the mofongo, a beef or pork stew, as well as seafood in purée with garlic-covered bananas. In addition, rice is the main ingredient in many of the country’s recipes, found in dishes such as rice with pigeon peas (with beans and spices) and various pies (pork pasties wrapped in banana leaves). 

Typical Puerto Rican food

Activities in Puerto Rico vs the Dominican Republic

Although the activities in both countries revolve around the sand and the sea, there are certain differences between these two islands. 

In the Dominican Republic, sports such as surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing or kayaking are practiced throughout the year, as well as other activities that may be included in hotel packs such as water aerobics. In places like Saona Island or Catalina Island, you can go diving after a visit to the Sea Turtle Sanctuary. Likewise, in addition to these water activities, other sports such as hiking or cycling can also be practiced, following some of the routes that explore the protected nature reserves. 

The island also is home to impressive, historical places to visit, such as the Colonial City of Santo Domingo, deeply influenced by Spanish culture, as well as the Altos de Chavón or Catalina Island. 

For its part, Puerto Rico, although it doesn’t have the same cultural variety and diversity of options as the Dominican Republic, offers several places to explore in addition to its stunning beaches. San Juan, the capital of the country, is characterised by its incredible historical value, with highlights including the fortresses ordered by the Spanish crown in the 16th century: the Fortaleza (the official residence of the governor of Puerto Rico) and San Felipe del Morro. The Puerto Rican country also offers excellent places for going surfing, diving, snorkelling or horseback riding. 

Windsurfing in the Dominican Republic 

Safety in Puerto Rico vs the Dominican Republic

One of the main aspects to consider when choosing your holiday destination is always safety. In this regard, some islands are safer than others, and between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, there are also some differences. 

In the Dominican country, many resorts, such as the Lopesán Costa Bávaro Spa, Resort & Casino, offer a very high level of security 24/7, in addition to providing advice on which areas to visit in the country and tips to take into account in order to fully enjoy your visit. 

On the other hand, in Puerto Rico, although most of its places are safe, it’s a good idea to always be aware of your surroundings and take all the necessary precautions. The country’s capital, San Juan, as a city with more than half a million inhabitants, has areas that are best to be avoided. 

Best beaches in Puerto Rico vs the Dominican Republic

This is one of the aspects that both countries have in common and, without a doubt, one of their strongest points. Many people are looking to feel the gentle ocean breeze on their holidays, and both the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico offer extensive and impressive kilometres of white sandy beaches with turquoise water.  

The Dominican Republic stands out for its infinite kilometres of white sand, the warm weather throughout the year and the activities offered for any type of visitor. If you decide to stay in Santo Domingo, the most comfortable beach access will be Boca Chica Beach, one of the most popular coasts in all of the Dominican Republic, with highlights such as the coral reef that protects it. However, the Punta Cana area offers a greater variety of leisure and culture options, where Playa Bávaro stands out, the beach that receives the least amount of rainfall throughout the entire Dominican Republic. 

Puerto Rico also offers a wide variety of options for swimming on its shores, although most visitors go to the beaches bordering the city of San Juan. Another less busy area is Flamenco Beach, in Culebra, a beautiful spot with turquoise waters and white sand. 

Playa Bávaro

Hotels in Puerto Rico vs the Dominican Republic

The main hotels in both countries are located along their coasts, however, apart from this important characteristics, there are many differences between them.  

The areas with the greatest selection of hotels in the Dominican Republic are Punta Cana, La Romana and Puerto Plata, with an emphasis on the first due to the length of its coasts. Within Punta Cana, you will find different coastal areas, with one of the most important being Playa Bávaro, where the Lopesan Costa Bávaro Spa, Resort & Casino is located, a perfect spot for relaxation from where you can explore every inch of the Dominican Republic. 

Hotel Lopesan Costa Bavaro

On the other hand, Puerto Rico, although it grants the visitor more freedom to explore and discover the island, is a more expensive destination than the Dominican Republic, and offers fewer All-Inclusive options compared to the Dominican country. 

Therefore, and although both destinations are great options for enjoying a pleasant holiday, the Dominican Republic offers a greater variety in general at a more affordable price. 

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