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Beyond the beach in the Dominican Republic

 Often overlooked by adrenaline junkies because of its reputation as a beach bunny destination, the pristine shores of the Dominican Republic are a gateway to thrill-seeking activities. Those looking to get their blood pumping or try an ‘extreme’ sport, should take a second glance. Beyond the unspoiled beaches and crystalline waters a world of intrigue awaits. Combine this with vacation package prices that are so reasonable that other typical ‘adventure’ destinations cannot compare, and the Dominican Republic will soon top all adventure addicts ‘must visit’ list.

Our 3 favourite pulse-pumping, heart-throbbing activities while in the Dominican Republic:
If surfboarding, wakeboarding, waterskiing and windsurfing have taught us anything, it’s that man has a fixation with walking on water. In the continuous quest to achieve this, another water sport has been born … kiteboarding. With a dedicated following of adrenalin junkies, kiteboarding has been climbing the charts to become one of the hottest, most exhilarating water sport experiences available. Strapped to a smaller version of a surfboard, riders use a power kite to harness the unpredictable strength of the wind and propel themselves through waves and over jumps. While it sounds basic in description, kiteboarding requires a sense of balance, upper body control, lower body strength and, of course, no fear. 
So where does one go to try out this new water experience? Cabarete, Dominican Republic! Playing host to several professional and amateur events, Cabarete boasts the steady trade winds and flat water needed to gracefully skim across ocean waves. Considered to be one of the top ten kiteboarding locations in the world, its friendly and colourful atmosphere has been home to many professionals and amateurs seeking experience and practice. 
Travellers wishing to get a first-hand experience should head to hotels in Puerto Plata (a tourist area near Cabarete) where staff can recommend professional lessons & rental companies.
Mountain biking
Quite often mountains are the last type of terrain associated with the Dominican Republic. But did you know that this diverse island is actually home to the highest peaks in the Caribbean?   Pico Duarte, measuring 3087 meters, and La Pelona, 3085 meters. Something no biker will be able to resist. 
Rugged and imposing, these natural wonders provide gratifying challenges and never-before encounters. The plethora of trails that wind up, down and sideways will have you travelling through lush countryside catching glimpses of coffee plantations and tobacco fields. Fording rivers, where locals gather water for cooking and climbing, to soaring peaks, you’ll forget you’ve travelled to a country commonly known as a ‘beach destination’.
An adventure not to be missed, Dominican mountain biking can be made possible by staying in the Puerto Plata area. From here many companies can take you inland to the Dominican Alps to partake in this incredible experience.
Trekking to the inner soul of the Dominican, eco-enthusiasts are met with plush valleys, deep ravines and phenomenal thrills. Buried amongst the Cordillera Central mountain region and Cibao Valley are no less than eighteen sets of thundering waterfalls. Awe-inspiring, these beauties plunge from impossibly high peaks to places deeper than can be seen by the human eye. A gift from Mother Nature, each one provides more than a fantastic photo opportunity for the brave and confident. With a securely stabled rope in hand, climbers descend down over slick rocks while being ‘refreshed’ by gushing water. An activity not intended for those with a fear of heights. While it might sound dangerous, anyone who has tried rappelling will tell you it offers an amazing natural high. Plus, ending in a cool plunge pool while water pulses over your muscles, giving you a special Mother Nature massage, isn’t anything to complain about!
Like the activities mentioned before, you are best to start your adventure in the tourist area of Puerto Plata. Speak with your tour operator representative about arranging an in-land encounter.
Making it happen
From May until October, Signature Vacations offers package holidays to Puerto Plata with departures from Toronto and Montreal. During the winter months, November to October, Signature expands its program to include departures from Toronto, Kitchener, Ottawa, Halifax, St. John’s, Montreal, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton. 

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