Dominican Republic

The true Dominican Republic is ironically far less discovered by travelers than more faraway destinations like Egypt or Vietnam. The sprawling all-inclusive resorts of Punta Cana have over-shadowed arguably the most culturally and ecologically diverse destination in the Caribbean. As the first European settlement in the New World, Santo Domingo is teeming with history, culture and arts, while the outer-lying territories offer coffee and cacao plantations, pristine lakes, charming cigar factories, deserted beaches and cloud forests. For the traveler looking to combine relaxing beaches with something else - whether bird-watching, explorations into African, Taino Indian and Spanish culture, diving on shipwrecks, great surfing or mountain trekking - DR is certainly worth discovering.