Dominican Republic: When to Visit
Best time for Good Weather: December – April
Best time for Sightseeing: March – May
Best time for Saving Money: Mid April / Autumn
Best time for Partying: February & August
Best time for Surfing & Kitesurfing: July – November
Best Time for Snorkeling & Diving: December – February
Best time for Whale watching: December – March
Best time for White Water Rafting on Yaque del Norte River: July & August
Best time for Lobster: July – February
Best Time to Visit the Dominican Republic
Best Time to Visit the Dominican Republic: Dominican Republic now ranks as the most visited country in the Caribbean with over 6 million tourists arriving each year. Known for its beaches, resorts and golfing, the best time to visit the Dominican Republic is from March to May, when the peak tourist season is at its tail end and the dry season begins. Wait until the day after Easter to arrive when crowds thin out. You’ll find relatively few crowds at Puerto Cana, Puerto Plata and the Amber Coast. In March you’ll find fewer crowds than over the winter months, noticeably less children, and slightly lower hotel rates. Lower occupancy levels also mean you don’t have to plan months in advance. By mid-April, hotel rates really start to drop, fewer tourists are around and the great weather continues, making it an ideal time to visit, especially if you’re hoping to avoid both crowds and hurricane season. However, local businesses also take advantage of the off-season, meaning you’ll most likely run into a few places that are closed for renovations.
Best Time to Book Hotels in the Dominican Republic: When visiting during the busy winter season, December to February, try to make reservations 2 to 3 months in advance. If booking for Christmas book 4-6 months in advance as hotels fill up quickly and often run out of vacancies. And it is recommended to make restaurant reservations, and contact tour companies to sign up for any activities to pre-plan in advance and avoid disappointment.
Best Time to visit the Dominican Republic for Good Weather: The winter season between December and February is when the Dominican climate is at its optimum, and is the best time to experience D.R. ‘s best snorkeling, diving, whale watching but it also means visiting during peak season. The weather in March and April is comfortable, with highs above 25°C and lows around 15°C. Since March to April is a relatively dry period in the D.R., it’s a great time to go hiking or try your hand at rappelling and canyoning in the mountains and the crowds won’t be as heavy. Avoid visiting in August and September as they mark the height of prime hurricane season so it’s not a good time to visit for good weather.
Best Time to Visit for Partying: February to mid April brings the countrywide carnivals, Independence Day (Feb 27th), Spring Break, and Easter holidays making it the best times to visit for partying. February brings the first of two annual Carnival celebrations, Dominican Carnaval, which runs every Sunday in February around the island. The parades vary in every city, but La Vega is the place to be for big, bold celebrations. Locals march through the streets with masks, dance their way through the crowds while showcasing the country’s history. The second Carnival celebration is Barcelo Desalia Festival where 5,000 party-goers dance on the beach to the best of the international electronic music scene. During Easter holidays or Semana Santa – Holy Week, hotels fill up in popular areas and look out for beach closures due to a high level of drinking that weekend. In Santo Domingo, the Malecón is partly turned into a pedestrian zone, and becomes a beach party in the city with games and music.
Best Time to visit for Bargains: After April 15, hotel prices can drop as much as 50 percent. Cruise and airline prices also fall during this time of year. The temperature is only slightly warmer during the summer months, and the island still hosts many activities. If you feel like taking your chances with the weather, you’ll find cheaper hotel prices and discounts on vacation packages, especially in September and October when tourist volume is at its lowest, beaches and the golf courses are rained out and the threat of hurricanes is at its highest. Keep in mind, however, that local businesses often use this time of year for construction projects and renovations. This includes hotels and restaurants. If you’re traveling during this unpredictable period, make sure you contact your hotel to ensure there are no weather-related closures and to determine if they will be making any renovations during the time you’d like to visit.
Best Time to visit for Whale watching: A beautiful, natural display takes place every winter in Samaná Bay when thousands of humpback whales arrive to breed and give birth. December is the start of whale-watching season, and every year, over 2,000 humpback whales are drawn to the warm waters at the Samana Peninsula. Samana Bay’s Sanctuary of the Humpback Whales is a top spot for catching a glimpse of newborn whales swimming against their mothers. March marks your last chance for whale watching
Dominican Republic Travel Seasons:
High Season: Mid December to late February: Winter is the high travel season, between December and late February, when the Dominican climate is at its optimum, having cooled down a little from the summer. The weather is perfect for beach conditions, it’s usually dry, and the temperatures are moderated by cooling trade winds blowing in from the northeast. This is the most popular time to visit the Dominican Republic because many visitors find this time the perfect opportunity to escape the cold weather.
Shoulder Season: March to May & November to mid-December: The shoulder season sees fewer crowds and decent prices on accommodations compared to the winter high season, though there will be an uptick in visitors in March and April for spring break. The weather is also pleasant with sunny skies and average highs hovering around 25°C. You’ll find fewer crowds than over the winter months, noticeably less children, and slightly lower hotel rates. Lower occupancy levels also mean you don’t have to plan months in advance, like in the winter.
Low Season: June to November: Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30, but that doesn’t mean every day is a cyclonic threat. Storm activity and chances for hurricanes build beginning the second week in August and peak throughout September. It’s a good idea to buy trip insurance if you plan to travel to the Dominican Republic during those two months. Increased humidity, rain, higher temperatures and strong Caribbean storms make this a less desirable time to go for more tourists. However, if saving money is the goal, you can find hotel rooms in low season for as little as $21 USD.
Weather of Dominican Republic:
Boasting 300 days of sunshine the Dominican Republic’s climate is warm to hot throughout the year. The island sees little variation temperature-wise throughout the year however it is rainfall that helps to mark the change in season. The weather in the Dominican Republic has very nominal differences from coast to coast, the most noteworthy being the impact of the mountainous portions of the island on levels of rainfall between the south-eastern coasts (Santo Domingo & Punta Cana) and the north-western coast (Puerto Plata). The Dominican Republic also experiences the effects of the Atlantic hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30. And Punta Cana in particular has been known to face severe tropical storms, with October being the rainiest month. You can avoid the worst of it by staying close to the coastline. The mountains see a lot more rain and temperatures can get very low at the highest elevation points. Bring a light jacket if you want to experience cooler weather in the mountains of Jarabacoa and Constanza where temps get down to 10°C. On the coldest winter days, the mercury might even dip down to 0 in the highest mountains. During the summer, the weather can get very hot and humid. Year-round humidity averages 80 percent, so comfort levels can vary greatly between just a few degrees in temperature.
Like the rest of the Caribbean, the rainy season is between late April and October for the south-eastern coast, whereas the northern-coast experiences less rainfall from June to September but has rainy weather during the winter season which is typically drier everywhere else. In the Dominican Republic, the rains occur mainly as short showers and thunderstorms, sometimes intense, but the rain does not reduce the sunshine hours by very much. The rain is concentrated in certain periods, so it might not rain for an entire week even in the rainy season. For the purposes of this article, we have summarized the weather for both coasts, rather than separating, as precipitation is the only difference between the coasts.
Dominican Republic in January:
Dominican Republic Weather in January: Though it is the winter season, it is very sunny and warm in January with the average daytime temperature being a very pleasant 23°C, although nighttime temperatures fall as low as 19°C. January has one of the coldest overnight lows throughout the year in the Dominican, and is one of the wettest months for the northern coast with an average of 12 rainy days in Puerto Plata and 10 rainy days in Punta Cana in the south-east. The sun frequently shines for most of the year, but it does not shine as often as on the southern coast, especially in the months when the trade winds blow so in January Puerto Plata sees an average of 6 hours of sunshine while Punta Cana sees 8 hours. Pack light summer clothing, your swimsuit and flip flops but also come prepared with a rain jacket or an umbrella, and a light sweater and long pants for the evening hours. (Average Max Temperature: 28°C. Average Precipitation for the North: 148mm, South: 65mm)
Dominican Republic in February:
Dominican Republic Weather in February: February brings somewhat drier conditions to better enjoy the warm temperature and sun. The average daytime temperature is 25°C, with nighttime temperatures falling as low as 19°C. Water temperatures are pleasantly warm, averaging 26°C so make sure to pack a swimsuit. February still sees rain on the north coast with an average of 9 rainy days but there’s still plenty of sun with 7 hours of daily sunshine in Puerto Plata and 9 hours in Punta Cana. Pack similarly to January with light summer clothing, swimsuit, comfortable shoes to take advantage of hikes on cooler days, and bring some rain gear as well as a light cardigan and pants for the evenings. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Precipitation for the North: 140mm, South: 55mm.)
Dominican Republic in March:
Dominican Republic Weather in March: March brings warmer temperatures, plenty of sunshine with only a 12% chance of cloudy skies. Since March is a relatively dry month in the D.R., it’s a great time to go hiking or try your hand at rappelling and canyoning in the mountains. The average daily temperature is 26°C and nighttime lows are on average 20°C, providing a welcome relief from the heat (and ideal conditions for comfortable sleeping). The temperature can reach up to 29°C at the hottest part of the day so make sure to seek shade, wear a wide brimmed hat and use plenty of sunscreen. March still sees a decent amount of rain in the north with an average of 8 rainy days but with 7 hours of daily sunshine, rain showers don’t last long and can provide a nice cooling down effect, cutting through the humidity. Punta Cana sees an average of 9 hours of sunshine and 7 rainy days. March is also the beginning of the seasonal lobster ban. Bring dry-wick clothing, plenty of t-shirts, shorts, sundresses and your swimsuit. Pack a light cardigan for the evenings. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Precipitation for the North: 130mm, South: 55mm.)
Dominican Republic in April:
Dominican Republic Weather in April: The weather in April is very pleasant and can be nicely enjoyed since by mid April tourism slows down, the crowds are less and the beaches are more relaxed and less party. Temperatures continue to get warmer with maximum highs of 30°C while the daily average is usually 24°C. Overnight, the temperature drops to 20°C which can be chilly for some travelers so it is wise to bring a light layer for the evenings. Rainfalls continue into April so some extra rainproof gear will be necessary to pack since thunderstorms are known to suddenly appear and there is an average of 10 rainy days expected in April for the north, 7 rainy days for the south. Storms don’t last very long as there is also an average of 7 hours of daily sunlight for the north and 9 hours for the south. Bring sunscreen, a sunhat, light summer layers and a swimsuit since the ocean averages 26°C – making it ideal for very comfortable swimming conditions. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Precipitation for the North: 115mm, South: 70)
Dominican Republic in May:
North Western Dominican Republic Weather in May: May is one of the Dominican Republic’s wettest months, for both Puerto Plata and Punta Cana. With an average of 130mm of precipitation over 11 days for both coasts, packing good rain gear like a rain jacket, waterproof shoes, umbrella is highly recommended. The rain in May can easily wash out scheduled golf games or planned beach days. The average daily temperature is 26°C in May, with highs of 30°C in the afternoon. The humidity is often high at this time of year, so swimming regularly in the Caribbean Sea, which is a lovely 27°C, will be a welcome respite from the muggy heat. Overnight, temperatures go down to a pleasant 20°C so warm layers won’t be necessary. The island does see an average of 7-8 hours of daily sunshine but with May being the rainiest month there will be more cloud coverage. May is not the best month for underwater activities, since storms can disrupt the sand, reducing visibility for things like snorkeling and scuba diving but the waves are perfect for beginners or intermediate surfers so above-water activities are still possible. Pack light summer clothing, t-shirts, shorts, dresses, rain gear and rain proof shoes. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Precipitation for North: 130mm, South: 125mm)
Dominican Republic in June:
North Western Dominican Republic Weather in June: June 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season and since the D.R. is smack in the middle of the Atlantic hurricane belt, it can be a real threat. Despite the risk of hurricanes, June typically tends to have less rain than May or even October. Like with other tropical destinations, the rainy season here means you might find short, heavy showers lasting only a little while with the sky clearing fairly quickly afterwards with only a 10% chance of seeing clouds throughout the month. In Puerto Plata sees an average of 6 days with rain with only 50mm of precipitation in June while Punta Cana gets 105mm and 9 rainy days so rain gear may be needed if you are visiting the South-eastern Coast. Light summer layers are recommended for both coasts since June is one of the hottest months in the Dominican Republic with an average daily temperature of 28°C, with afternoon highs of 32°C. Nighttime lows barely dip down, with an average overnight temperature of 22°C so warm layers most likely won’t be necessary for most travellers but booking a room with a fan or AC might be desirable to stay comfortable while sleeping. During this time of year, the amount of daily sunshine starts to increase, expect an average of 8 hours of daily sunshine. Pack light summer clothing, plenty of sun protection including sunscreen, wide brimmed sun hat and sunglasses. Bring swim gear to take advantage of the lovely and warm sea, averaging 28°C in June. (Average Max Temperature: 32°C. Average Precipitation for the North: 50mm, South: 105mm)
Dominican Republic in July:
Dominican Republic Weather in July: In July the Dominican Republic is wet but sunny, so you’ll see some showers but there will also be plenty of chances for relaxing on the beach or swimming in the warm sea. Precipitation and temperatures do increase just slightly in July with an average of 70mm of precipitation over 7 days for Puerto Plata and 80mm over 9 days for Punta Cana. The average daytime temperature is 29°C in July, with highs of 33°C in the afternoon. The daily amount of sunshine is up to 8-9 long hours, contributing to warm and comfortable ocean temperatures so swimming is a great reprieve from the heat. Overnight temperatures average 23°C so booking a room with a fan or air conditioning is recommended to have a comfortable sleep. Same as June, pack light summer clothing, plenty of sun protection including sunscreen, wide brimmed sun hat and sunglasses. Warm layers won’t be necessary but a light rain jacket and waterproof shoes would be wise to stay dry during the rain showers that tend to last an hour. (Average Max Temperature: 33°C. Average Precipitation for the North: 70mm, South: 80mm)
Dominican Republic in August:
Dominican Republic Weather in August: On average, August in one of the warmest months with average daily temperatures of 31°C and night-time lows of 23°C. As the weather continues to get warmer, the hurricane threat begins to increase. August, along with September are usually the two most active months for tropical storms so visitors are advised to watch forecasts and plan accordingly. Though the chance of precipitation increases in August, there are still plenty of days to enjoy the beach and swimming in the ocean with an average ocean temperature of 29°C. August sees an average of 9 days with rain and an average of 70mm of precipitation in the North, and 105mm of raina over 10 rainy days in the South. So light rain gear may be needed. During August, the amount of daily sunshine averages 8.5 hours and a total of 12.5 hours of daylight. Despite the rain and cloud coverage, the UV index remains high so sun protection is necessary to prevent burning. Pack light summer clothing, plenty of sun protection including sunscreen, wide brimmed sun hat and sunglasses. (Average Max Temperature: 33°C. Average Precipitation for the North: 70mm, South: 105mm)
Dominican Republic in September:
Dominican Republic Weather in September: September brings the start of the second, more serious wet season for the Dominican Republic. The weather continues to get warmer and the threat of hurricanes increases. It is during this period the Caribbean experiences the most tropical storms, and the most violent as well so visitors are advised to take care. Mid-September marks the peak of the hurricane season for some areas in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Since September and October present the highest threat for hurricanes, as a result, some of the cheapest hotel rates all year can be found during these months. Precipitation spikes to 100mm over a stretch of 10 days for Punta Cana in the South, while Puerto Plata in the North receives 65mm over 7 days. However, there is still a good amount of sunshine with the island getting about 8 hours of daily sunlight with only some cloud coverage. The average daily temperature is 28°C in September, with highs of 33°C in the afternoon. The humidity is very high at this time of year, so swimming regularly in the Caribbean Sea, which is a very warm 29°C, will be a welcome respite from the muggy heat. Overnight, temperatures go down to 22°C but the humidity does not let up which is very uncomfortable and fairly oppressive so you will most likely require air-conditioning. Pack light summer clothing, some rainproof gear, and plenty of sun protection including sunscreen, wide brimmed sun hat and sunglasses. (Average Max Temperature: 33°C. Average Precipitation for the North: 65mm, South: 100mm.)
Dominican Republic in October:
Dominican Republic Weather in October: October brings high precipitation, warm ocean temperatures and hot, humid days. October is the beginning of one of the wettest periods of the year and with ocean temperature remaining very warm the development of tropical storms are possible if the conditions are right. The average precipitation rises to 150mm over a stretch of 11 days for Punta Cana, while Puerto Plata receives 110mm over 10 days. Some of this rain appears as tropical downpours, so most showers rarely last very long. The daily average temperature hovers around 27°C, increasing to an average maximum of 32°C with an average humidity rate of 80% so finding a hotel room with air-conditioning or very easy beach/pool access is key as nightly lows only dip down to 22°C. Packing rainproof shoes, a light rain jacket or umbrella, along with light summer clothing and plenty of sun protection is highly recommended with an average of 7.6 hours of daily sunshine. (Average Max Temperature: 32°C. Average Precipitation for the North: 110mm, South: 150mm)
Dominican Republic in November:
Dominican Republic Weather in November: November is the last month of hurricane season but also the first of two wettest months in the Dominican Republic. The average precipitation rises to a whopping 230mm over a stretch of 14 days for Puerto Plata while Punta Cana receives 115mm over 12 days. Even though winter is approaching, the temperature stays warm, with an average temperature of 26°C. The evening low drops to an average 19°C in the North – which might require long sleeves or a light jacket for the evenings. The average nightly low in the South is 23°C. The humidity does not decrease very much from October so a hotel with AC for comfortable sleeping conditions might still be necessary. Sunshine does decrease in November with an average of 6 hours of sunlight by the end of the month for Puerto Plata and 8 hours for Punta Cana. Pack layers if you’re visiting in November – light summer layers along with long sleeves and rainproof jackets and shoes for the cooler nights and rainy days. Even though the UV index is lower in November, sunscreen and other sun protection is recommended as the UV index averages around 8 which is high enough to cause burning. Tanning will be safest before 10am and after 4pm but only with a good application of sunscreen – so make sure to pack some! (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Precipitation for the North: 230mm, South: 115mm)
Dominican Republic in December:
Dominican Republic Weather in December: December is the second wettest month of the year for the North Western coast, with some of the coolest temperatures of the year. The average daytime temperature is a very pleasant 26°C, although nighttime temperatures fall as low as 18°C in Puerto Plata and 23°C in Punta Cana. December has one of the coldest overnight lows throughout the year in the Dominican, and one of the wettest months for the northern coast with an average of 15 rainy days and 230mm of precipitation. While Punta Cana in the South sees 80mm of rain over 11 days. In Puerto Plata, the sun shines for most of the year, but it does not shine as often as on the southern coast, especially in the months when the trade winds blow so December sees an average of 6 hours of sunshine in Puerto Plata and 8 hours in Punta Cana. Pack light summer clothing, your swimsuit and flip flops but also come prepared with a rain jacket or an umbrella, and a light sweater and long pants for the evening hours. (Average Max Temperature: 29°C. Average Precipitation for the North: 230mm, South: 80mm)
Dominican Republic Events and Festivals:
Domincan Republic in January:
New Years Day / Año Nuevo (Jan 1) – New Year’s Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed. The New Year day is usually celebrated at home with a massive dinner accompanied by dance and music. On New Year’s Day, Dominicans keep their doors and windows open as they believe that the evil spirits will run away giving space to good spirits. It’s common for Dominicans to give their house a fresh coat of paint for the occasion. If you visit the DR in January, look out for the freshly painted coloured houses and new brooms sitting outside of houses as they are bought to signify the new year.
Three Kings’ Day (Jan 5–6) – The major gift-giving day of the Dominican year. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.
Virgen de Altagracia (January 21) – The most important religious day on the Dominican calendar, a day of intercessory prayers and a tribute to the country’s patron saint, the Virgin of Altagracia, and a massive gathering of celebrants in Higüey. Once the praying ends, the parties begin. Depending on what day of the week, 21st January falls on, this holiday can be moved to a Monday or Friday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.
Juan Pablo Duarte Day – This public holiday celebrates Juan Pablo Duarte, one of the biggest fighters for an independent Dominican Republic, is held on the closest Monday to Duarte’s birthday, January 26. Public fiestas are held in all the major towns, the biggest can be found in Santiago and La Vega. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.
Domincan Republic in February
Dominican Republic’s Independence Day (February 27) – Dominican Republic’s National Day and it commemorates independence from Haiti in 1844. The anniversary of independence from Haiti coincides with the last day of DR’s annual Carnaval. It is a national holiday and therefore a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.
Carnaval (February 27th) – Dominican Republic’s biggest annual celebration. There’s a street party every Sunday of the month, culminating in a massive all-day, all-night culmination party along the Malecón seafront with floats and processions. Floats, costumed performers, and lots of street dancing, rum drinking, and street food. Masks are worn by the parade participants, symbolizing good and evil. The largest festivals can be found in La Vega, Santo Domingo and Bonao. In Santo Domingo, the big event is 2 or 3 days before February 27, but festivities range around the country in all the towns and cities. Some 30,000 merrymakers parade along the Malecón in Santo Domingo.
Cabarete Sand Castle Festival – Cabarete is transformed for 10 days every February into a giant sand sculpture park.
Domincan Republic in March
March 19 de Marzo (March 19th) – The major fiesta in Azua, in honour of the battle in which the Haitians were defeated, ensuring Dominican independence.
Domincan Republic in April
Santa Samana: The Christian Holy Week and one of the most celebrated holidays throughout the year, the week preceding Easter Sunday. It is also the most important week of Haitian and Dominican Vodú. Traditional gagá festivals take place in the Haitian bateyes (sugar worker settlements). The fusion of Afro-Dominican Vodú celebrations makes this a really interesting time of year to travel the country. Many Dominicans are given the week off work, so many activities might not be available if you are planning on visiting during this time. Alcohol is banned in the towns and cities of the Dominican Republic throughout the week so people visiting city centres on excursions or day trips will not be able to order or purchase alcohol. Restaurants and bars at all-inclusive resorts are exempt from this ban. Some resorts will close their bars and excursions on Good Friday (the Friday of Holy Week).
Carnival Cimarrón – The same week as Santa Samana, in which the townspeople of Cabral wear devil horns, demon masks, descend on the city from the lagoon and whack each other with balloons and passers-by with whips.
Domincan Republic in May
Santa Cruz (May 2–3) – A popular nine-night celebration in El Seibo, with a cattle procession to a sixteenth-century church on the final day and a very different spring festival in Azua and Baní, where all of the crosses in the area are covered with bright-coloured paper.
Domincan Republic in June
San Juan Bautista Festival (3rd week of June) – A religious festival or fiesta patronal in San Juan de la Maguana in honour of John the Baptist and his African counterpart Chango – a god or spirit lifted directly from the West African Yoruba religion.
Espiritu Santo festival (First of second week of June): Although honoured by the entire island, the festivities are in Villa Mella near Santo Domingo. African instruments are played throughout the town to show appreciation for things like crops, rain and earth.
Domincan Republic in July
Festival del Merengue (last week of July): Every year since 1967 top bands perform for 6 days at Santo Domingo’s seaside promenade, El Malecón, and related events are held throughout the city of Santo Domingo to celebrate the traditional Merengue Festival, dedicated to the Dominican Republic’s national dance, merengue.
Santiago Apóstol (July 24–26 ) – Celebrating Santiago, the warrior patron saint of the Christian armies that conquered Moorish Spain. A large civic festival in Santiago with a lot of partying around the Monument.
Domincan Republic in August
Fiesta Patria de la Restauración (Restoration Day – Aug 16) – Nationwide celebration of independence from Spain, with large parties in Santiago around the Monument and around Plaza España in Santo Domingo.
Domincan Republic in September
San Miguel (Sept 29) – Also known as Belíe Belcán, San Miguel is honoured with major festivals taking place in the capital’s Villa Mella and barrio San Miguel, Haina and across the country. Green-and-white-frosted cakes are consumed on this day.
Our Lady of Mercedes (September 24) – A national holiday in the Dominican Republic, the day honours the Virgin Mary on the feast day established by the Mercedian order in the 17th century. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.
Domincan Republic in October
Puerto Plata Festival (dates vary) – Like the Merengue Festival, this is the major cultural event on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, a weeklong festival with parades, food fairs, costumes and the best merengue, blues, jazz, and folk bands! Performers from all over the island come to perform traditional songs and dances, along with salsa, merengue steps, and African spirituals in Fuerte San Felipe at the end of the Malecón.
Descubrimiento de América / “Discovery Day” (Oct 12) – Christopher Columbus’s arrival is not as widely celebrated as it used to be, but because of the D.R.’s strong link to Spain, festivities in Santo Domingo continue, culminating with celebrations at Columbus’ tomb at Faro a Colón and at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo.
Dominican Baseball: The start of the baseball season
Domincan Republic in November
Constitution Day (November 6th) – Until 2011, this public holiday was held on November 6th. Since then, it has been observed on the nearest Monday or Friday to that date, to create a three-day weekend. This holiday marks the adoption of the country’s first Constitution on this day way back in 1844. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.
Todo los Santos (Nov 1) – A major Vodú festival in the San Juan de la Maguana and southern border region. Locals proceed to the cemetery to ask for the release of their relatives for the day.
Domincan Republic in December
Christmas Eve (December 24) – Christmas Eve in the Dominican Republic is known as La Noche Buena – the “Good Night”. Most businesses will close by 6 PM on Christmas Eve and some will not be open at all. In most tourist areas businesses are open, but it is safer to have everything you need beforehand in case they are not. The main celebration happens on La Noche Buena. Dominicans often gather for a big family feast, with traditional food and drink and sing Christmas songs. Many Dominicans go to church on Christmas Eve as well, for a midnight Catholic mass service known as La Misa del Gallo – “Rooster’s Mass”. In the Dominican Republic, one of the most popular La Misa del Gallo celebrations takes place at Cathedral de Santa Maria in Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone. This service is one of the largest and most elaborate in the whole country.
Christmas Day (December 25) – The Christmas season in Dominican Republic lasts for about 3 months, more or less, starting in October. There are parties, both private and community gatherings everywhere, firework displays and winter markets. Christmas Day is a public holiday. Christmas Day is the time when everyone recuperates from Christmas Eve. There is also a mass on Christmas Day usually held at noon. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and businesses are closed.
New Years Eve (December 31) – New Year’s Eve in the Dominican Republic is celebrated by cleaning house, buying new clothes to wear in the colour that signifies what you want from the new year and a big feast with family and friends. Before the parties begin however, the most important part of the day is cleaning the home before the New Year rolls in. Every corner of the home is cleaned and every speck of dirt is dusted away before New Year’s Day. No one touches the broom on New Year’s Day as sweeping anything might ‘sweep’ your luck away. Locals discard the old brooms and purchase new brooms which are left outside the doors and are brought inside the next day. Some Dominicans also go to the extent of repainting their houses in order to make it look perfect and welcome lucky spirits. NYE culminates with the clock striking midnight and what is known as “El Cañonazo” in the Dominican Republic. Everyone exchanges hugs and toasts with their family, their friends and anyone they run into on the street. This is to start the year off in a friendly fashion so get ready to hug some strangers! After the Cañonazo most people head out for parties and celebrations. Gathering to watch the sunrise along the Malecon (boardwalk) is common in coastal cities like Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata. Depending on where you are staying, most resorts have a New Year’s Eve celebration to partake in.