Backpacking and travel guide Dominican Republic

Whale watching tour Dominican Republic

07 April 2019

Backpacking and travel guide Dominican Republic

When I found cheap tickets to Dominican Republic I hesitated a little as this country is well known for package all inclusive deals. So would this be a backpackers' destination?

My husband and I were going to find out!

We booked our flight to Santo Domingo. This airport is in the Middle and Southern part of the DR. We would have the choice to visit the Atlantic coast or the Caribbean coast. To get the most out of our 9 days holiday we choose yo do both!

Day 1 Santo Domingo

Around 3PM we arrived in Santo Domingo airport. We were lucky to have WIFI so we could order an Uber, which saved us about $25. Our hotel Maison Grateux was just outside the colonial area so we had a few more hours to wander around in the old historical city. We didn’t visit any museum this time, and just enjoyed a lovely meal and wandered around in the streets.

Accommodation: Hotel Maison Gauteaux

Day 2 Las Terrenas

Hello jet leg! I got awake early so we decided to take the bus at 8.30AM to Las Terrenas. The bus station is situated on Calle Baharona and the bus is direct. It got us in Las terrenas in about 3 hours. As we had an early start and we could have an early check in, we would have the afternoon to spend on Poppy beach of Las Terrenas. This golden beach is stretching a long way and it has some really nice restaurants to choose from.

Accommodation: Hotel Palococo

Day 3 Whale watching and Cayo Levantado

First things I found out about the Dominican Depublic is that whales will come to breed and nurse in the bay of Samana from January till late March. As I would love to see some whales one more time this would be a great opportunity!

We booked the cheapest option tour we could find and this would include a visit to Cayo Levantado too.

We were lucky the ocean was really calm today and we got to see the whales soon we arrived in the bay of Samana. After an hour, we went to Paradise Island Cayo Levantado. A great way to finish the day!

Accommodation: Hotel Palococo

Day 4 waterfall Salto El Limon

We were in doubt what to do this day. Going on another tour or are we going to do a self arranged tour. As we could safe a lot of money we opted for the last option. Waterfall Salto Limon it is!

With a guagua (small bus) we went to the entrance of the waterfall from there it about an hour uphill hike to the restaurant with a view. From there you can walk in 10 minutes down to the waterfall.

All in all this day would take about 5-5.5 hours if you do it slowly like we did. It is really easy to do it on your own so no tour is needed.

Accommodation: Hotel Palococo

Day 5 Playa Bayahibe/Dominicus beach

Another day in the bus. We choose to go with the 9am bus to Santo Domingo. And there we needed to change buses to Playa Bayahibe. Our bus transfer to Santo Domingo was fast and straight forward which gave us the change to get the bus at noon to Playa de Bayahibe. Apparently we needed to change bus in La Romana, but the connection was fast. It took us 5.5 hours to go from Las Terrenas to Playa Dominicus (the beach next to Playa Bayahibe)

We had a relaxing afternoon at the swimming pool of the resort.

Day 6 Saona island

Fun beach day! Saona island supposed to be tropical paradise and fun and that's what we were looking for!

A whole day we went by speedboat from one to another beautiful beach enjoying beach, sun, rum and fun! I really enjoyed this tour as it was relaxed and with many nice people on our group.

Day 7 Whala Bayahibe resort

As this was the last day we could choose to do a jungle tour to see caves and hiking in the jungle of Parque del Este or do another relaxing day at the resort.

We both wanted to spoil ourselves and we bought an all day pass on our Whalla resort. As we rent an apartment, we only got to use the swimming pool. With the pass we could the all inclusive concept from 9am until 6pm. This means we could eat breakfast and lunch from a buffet. Drinks are included all day and we could get snacks from the snack bar at the swimming pool.

We enjoyed the food and drinks a lot!

Day 8 Whala Bayahibe resort and flight back home

We had to be on the airport at 2pm. There would be a direct bus from Playa Bayahibe to Dominicus at noon, which would be right on time to catch our flight. The bus left according the schedule at noon.

This means we could do some sunbathing ans swimming in the morning. A perfect way to finish the holiday!


As you could read, the Dominican Republic is really easy to go backpacking. There are several hotels and hostels around to choose from. The price range is as low as 20USD for a private’s room up to 300USD for a room in an all inclusive resort.

Public transport was easy and fast, but make sure you’ll have the right place for the bus stop. In cities and other places it is common to use moto taxis for a short ride.

Budget backpacking Dominican Republic

Accommodation: 50 USD per night based on double room and with a private bathroom

Transport: A bus from Santo Domingo would cost 6 USD while a guagua for about 30 minutes would cost 2 USD

Food: A meal with fish, rice/potatoes and vegetable cost 15 - 20 USD in the tourist places.

Water: 0.30 USD for 1,5 liter in a supermarket


Whale watching tour full day all inclusive: 65 USD

Saona island full day tour all inclusive: 60 USD

DIY El Limon waterfall: 10 USD