Holidaying in the Dominican Republic is very popular with tourists from around the world. Famed for its year round warmth, generous hospitality and amazing beaches the Dominican Republic is visited by over six million tourists
each year. Perhaps a little far for European travellers, unless you have a few weeks
to spare, but evidently the short hop from American for short breaks
has really helped the Dominican Republic flourish.
The high temperatures are paired with high humidity, as is the tropical way, but the location of the Dominican Republic means trade winds blow in from the Atlantic, doing much to alleviate any oppressive conditions. Considering the sun shines down for around 12 hours every day, a little wind is to be appreciated.
The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipegalo of the Caribbean with Haiti. After Cuba, the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation in terms of size, and the third most populous. Where the Dominican Republic takes first place however is in the ‘most visited destination’ category.
Considered a year round destination, with an balmy average temperature of 26 °C (78.8 °F), the nation boasts tremendous diversity in terms of climate and biodiversity; it is home to both the tallest and lowest points in the Caribben, Pico Duarte and Lake Enriquillo. There are many micro-climates in the Dominican Republic. Up in the mountainous areas, known as the Switzerland of the Caribbean, the country shows its cooler side with many reporting a distinctly un-Caribbean feel to the area and weather.
The Dominican Republic’s climate is described as tropical
maritime by geographical bodies, yielding little temperature variation throughout the year, but with distinctive seasonal variations in rainfall; or to put it another way, hurricanes.
Hurricanes in the Dominican Republic
From June to November the Dominican Republic braces itself for hurricanes and tropical storms. These storms can pose incredibly serious threats to life and property. Although do not confuse the Domincan Republic with its similar sounding island sibling, Dominica.
During this time travel is less appealing, though much cheaper. The peak month for hurricanes and tropical storms is September. For instance in the eastern town of Punta Cana September brings an average of 125mm of rainfall and six or seven rainy (that is stormy) days.
A direct hit from a hurricane is not as likely as some destinations in the Caribbean, or even the United States, but be aware of the potential for powerful winds, strong ocean currents, high waves and the risk of flooding.
Whilst on the topic of natural disasters, the island of Hispaniola is seismically active with a history of immensely destructive earthquakes, such as the one which hit neighbouring Haiti in 2010, causing tens of thousands of deaths. While the Dominican Republic is at risk from earthquakes it is far more developed eocnomically and architecturally at withstanding their impacts.
The rainy season in the Dominican Republic
The rainy season changes depending on the region, in the south and the east of the country rainy months are September and October, but also May. In Puerto Plata on the north coast rain falls mostly from November through to February.
The high season
High season in the Dominican Republic runs from mid-December to mid-April. At this time the weather is usually dry, although showers can strike in any period, and temperatures are cooled nicely by the trade winds blowing from a north-easterly direction.
Beating the crowds
If you want to beat the crowds, travelling after Easter is your best bet. This gives a six to eight week window before hurricane season begins. But if you really want to chance or are even desperate to experience a hurricane, June and August offer cheaper deals and will still grant you some time on the beach, golf course or for a peaceful honeymoon.
When to golf
Golf course designers such as Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio have turned the Dominican Republic into a golfing paradise
– aided of course by fantastic weather conditions. To the north in Punta Cana lie all-inclusive resorts and tourist areas, while to the south in La Romana are more subtle courses (subtle for a golf course) which sit next to rainforests and beaches.