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The Best Things to Do in La Romana – A Complete Visitors Guide

The Best Things to Do in La Romana – A Complete Visitors Guide

Most tourists visit Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, but there is a hidden slice of paradise an hour south of the popular beach destination that you must visit. Let me introduce you to La Romana!

There are so many amazing things to do in La Romana for a family vacation or couples getaway. You can feed cute monkeys, play golf on world-class courses, enjoy a boat ride to stunning islands, discover caverns, explore a lush jungle, visit a Mediterranean-inspired village, learn how to make cigars, and more.

My guide to La Romana is for anyone visiting this gorgeous Caribbean destination. Whether you are here for a port day or a weeklong vacation, I have the ultimate list of the best things to do in La Romana.

A dad and mom each holding a toddler boy while swimming a young boy in a crystal clear turquoise beach at La Romana.

Getting to La Romana

La Romana is located in the southeastern region of the Dominican Republic. It is a well-known cruise port in the Caribbean and an all-inclusive paradise for families and adults—but did you know it’s also an exclusive retreat for celebrities? That itself should tell you that La Romana is a beautiful destination!

Cruise visitors – If you are coming from the port of La Romana and do not have a booked excursion, you can easily find licensed taxis or public buses at the cruise terminal to get you to the public beaches.

Getting to La Romana by Plane

When it comes to airports, you have a variety of options to choose from to get to La Romana. Two are between 55 to 75 minutes away, while one is a mere 20 minutes from the beach. The best airport for you will depend on your location and budget, giving you the power to tailor your travel plans to your needs.

The most popular and leading airport in the Dominican Republic is Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ). Many tourists travel to PUJ as it is usually the most budget-friendly and conveniently located airport to several Dominican Republic destinations. It takes about 55 minutes to travel by car from PUJ to La Romana.

A long pool overlooking the runway at Punta Cana International Airport.

Traveling tip: If you have the Priority Pass, you will LOVE the lounge at PUJ. It has a pool overlooking the runway. So bring your swimsuit!

Another great option is Las Américas International Airport (SDQ) in Santo Domingo. It is about 1 hour and 15 minutes by car from SDQ to La Romana.

Ideally, the best airport to fly into is La Romana Casa De Campo International Airport (LRM). As a beloved destination for Europeans, many airlines have nonstop flights to the small airport, making it a great option for many European countries.

Atlanta, Miami, and New York also have nonstop flights to La Romana. If you can fly into La Romana airport, you will save at least an hour of driving from Punta Cana or Santo Domingo. Within 20 minutes, you could be putting your feet into the sand.

Best Tour Companies to Book Excursions in La Romana

Like any Caribbean beach destination, La Romana has many tour companies to choose from. I can confidently say that these three companies are all you need to enjoy the best things in La Romana.

A family enjoying one of the best things to do in La Romana - a visit to Altos de Chavon, a beautiful Mediterranean-inspired village.

Slow Dive Casa Chihuahua

Are you looking to learn to scuba dive, enhance your underwater knowledge, or explore Saona Island? Then book with Slow Dive Casa Chihuahua.

We try to be conscious travelers as much as possible, so we LOVE Slow Dive Casa Chihuahua. This eco-friendly dive center offers PADI courses, full-day and night dives, snorkeling, and land and sea excursions.

What makes Slow Dive Casa Chihuahua stand out amongst others is its dedication to teaching beginner and advanced divers how to dive sustainably. They also focus on small group excursions and dives in the La Romana—Bayahibe area, giving you the best and most authentic experience with knowledgeable tour guides.

Moreover, Slow Dive Casa Chihuahua has a strong passion for marine conservation. So when you book dives or excursions with Marine Conservation, you are supporting their cause to help protect our oceans. Better yet, be a part of the cause and book one of their fantastic coral restoration dives.

Palm trees swaying in the wind on a remote beach on Saona Island.

Dominican Attitude

Dominican Attitude is an excursion agency offering the best small group and private excursions in the La Romana—Bayahibe area. The Dominican Attitude team is the perfect local company to work with if you are a cruise guest or want an exclusive private experience.

In addition to the popular boat and catamaran excursions to Saona Island and Catalina Island, Dominican Attitude can create tailor-made excursions just for you! We couldn’t find any excursions online that catered to our needs until we found Dominican Attitude.

They created a perfect, family-friendly city tour of La Romana, including a visit to a cigar factory, chocolate factory, Altos de Chavón, and Cueva De Las Maravillas. So, if you do not see a specific tour program that you want, contact Dominican Attitude, and they will make it happen!

Huge iguanas hanging out in the shade outside the Cave of Wonders at La Romana.

Runners Adventures

Some of the best things to do in La Romana include visiting Monkeyland, taking a plantation tour, ziplining through the jungle, and having a muddy buggie adventure. If any of these activities sound fun, you should book with Runners Adventures.

Runners Adventures operates its most popular excursions (mentioned above) in the Dominican countryside, surrounded by beautiful lush mountains and jungles. Therefore, you can easily combine multiple excursions for one epic day!

Whether you choose a half-day Monkeyland and Plantation tour or the ultimate combo of Monkeyland, Ziplining, and Jungle Buggies—you will have a great time with Runners Adventures. 

Read next: Best Things to Do in Tulum with Kids – A Complete Guide

The Best Things to Do in La Romana

La Romana is a tropical destination that has it all. You can explore Cotubanamá National Park by trekking through the jungle, swimming in a cenote, sailing on a luxurious catamaran to serene islands, and diving into colorful coral reefs.

Go on a wild adventure zip-lining through the jungle, getting muddy on a buggy, visiting a plantation, and feeding cute monkeys. You can also embrace the culture, visit the iconic Altos de Chavón village, learn how to make cigars, and more.

So whether you are here for a stopover at the port of La Romana or staying at an all-inclusive resort, here are the best things to do in La Romana.

Explore Cotubanamá National Park

A treeline of palm trees along a turquoise coast on Cotubanamá National Park.

Cotubanamá National Park is one of the most beautiful protected areas of the Dominican Republic. It spans across a vast region of a lush jungle, mangroves, and two tranquil islands. It is also home to more than 500 flora species, 300 types of birds, and a rich underwater marine life.

The best way to visit Cotubanamá National Park is by booking an excursion to hike through the jungle, snorkel at Catalina Island, and enjoy a boat tour to Saona Island.

Relax on Catalina Island

Catalina Island is a gorgeous, uninhabited island in Cotubanamá National Park. You can relax on white-sand beaches or put on snorkel gear and explore an underwater oasis teeming with marine life, coral reefs, and a shipwreck.

For those seeking an exhilarating snorkeling experience, Catalina Island is a must-visit. The highlight is ‘The Wall,’ a renowned reef that is the pinnacle of excitement for snorkelers.

After exploring Catalina Island’s underwater haven, dry off in the sun with your feet in powdery white sand. Then, enjoy a traditional Dominican lunch buffet and purchase a souvenir at the small artisan shops.

Take an Epic Boat Tour to Saona Island

A leaning palm tree on a remote beach on Saona Island.

Saona Island is one of the most popular and best things to do in La Romana. The water surrounding Saona Island is some of the prettiest water you will ever see. Its crystal clear turquoise blue water and white sand beaches with leaning palm trees are a screensaver picturesque destination that will leave you breathless.

You can enjoy Soana Island in two ways: on a party boat or an eco-friendly experience. The latter is a full-day excursion that takes you on an epic journey to many beautiful places.

You snorkel in a lagoon filled with giant starfish, soak up the sun and play in the sand at multiple remote beaches, enjoy a traditional Dominican lunch at the local fishing village of Mano Juan, visit a turtle sanctuary, and explore a lush mangrove to find spotted eagle rays and turtles.

Book a small group eco-friendly tour to Saona Island 

Swim Inside Cueva Padre Nuestro’s Cenote

Take a short trek through Cotubanamá National Park and discover Cueva Padre Nuestro, a cenote inside the bottom of a cave. As you journey through the jungle, you will encounter beautiful fauna and flora and learn about the Taino Indians who once inhabited the jungle and their way of life.

At the end of the trail, you will reach Chicho’s cave, which has several petroglyphs. Then, you will venture deeper into the cave to find bats, stalagmites, stalactites, and a beautiful, crystal-clear swimming hole. Grab your gear and enjoy snorkeling in the refreshing water.

Book a small hiking tour to Cueva Padre Nuestro

Feed Cute Squirrel Monkeys and Visit a Plantation

A squirrel monkey sitting on a tree limb at Monkeyland in La Romana.

Monkeyland is one of the best things to do in La Romana. A short one-hour drive away, this half-day excursion is fun for all ages.

Monkeyland is in the heart of the Dominican countryside, surrounded by a mountainous jungle. The first part of the excursion is the plantation tour.

It includes a quick walk through local houses and an open-air sitting area that overlooks the plantation and jungle. The tour includes several demonstrations, during which you learn how coconut oil is extracted and how coffee and chocolate start from a bean and end up in your cup.

In addition to trying your hand at grinding roasted coffee beans and chocolate, you will also get to taste it. Guests will receive samples of hot chocolate, black coffee, and the famous Mama Juana!

Then, you get to walk next door to Monkeyland, a five-acre natural habitat for over 30 cute squirrel monkeys. You will have several opportunities to feed and observe the playful monkeys. It is a really fun experience for any animal lover, but be warned—they are cheeky and will climb all over you!

The guides do a great job of ensuring an unforgettable experience and capturing every moment. In addition to the professional cameraman, the guide also helps take plenty of pictures with your phones and cameras. At the end of the tour, you can purchase all the pictures as a perfect Monkeyland souvenir.

Book the half-day Monkeyland and Plantation Tour

Learn How to Make Cigars

A mold of cigars from the VegaFina factory - one of the best things to do in La Romana.

Whether you enjoy the luxury of a cigar or not, visiting a cigar factory tour is one of the best things to do in La Romana. The tour is very informative for cigar lovers or even non-smokers like me. I was blown away by the process and dedication of making a cigar. 

Since cigars are the Dominican Republic’s largest export, La Romana has many cigar factories. One of the best cigar factories to tour is VegaFina.

At the VegaFina cigar factory tour, you watch the last few steps of hand-rolling a premium cigar. It’s enjoyable to watch and a unique experience. At the end of the tour, you can purchase some of the Dominican Republic’s finest cigars at a duty-free price. 

Visit Altos de Chavón

Transport yourself to another part of the world at Altos de Chavón, a 16th-century Mediterranean-inspired village built entirely of stone and corrals from the Dominican Republic’s coastlines.

The village has a 5,000-seat Grecian-style amphitheater, an archeological museum, local shops, restaurants, and a cultural center. It is also home to the gorgeous St. Stanislaus Church and the renowned Altos de Chavón School of Design.

Residents, visitors, and artists from around the world come to explore, enjoy, and study Altos de Chavón’s significant design. Walking the cobblestone streets and admiring the incredible architecture is easily one of the best things to do in La Romana.

Book a city and cultural tour of La Romana

Enjoy a River Cruise on Chavón River

The Chavon River makes a bend between the lush jungle.

Did you know that the Chavón River was a filming location for famous movies such as Jurassic ParkApocalypse NowRambo First Blood Part II, and Rambo II? Embark on a river cruise down the Chavón River and see why it’s one of the most beautiful rivers and filming locations in the Caribbean. 

Enjoy a scenic cruise along the Chavón River through its gorge, surrounded by a rich tropical jungle. Most tour companies combine a cruise down the Chavón River with Catalina Island or Altos de Chavón. 

Or truly immerse yourself in the jungle with Seavis. This tour will take you further into the gorge until you reach a riverside farm. At the farm, you will learn about the Taino lifestyle, enjoy a traditional Dominican “barbacoa,” kayak down a side river, hike a fruit trail, and even relax in a jacuzzi or hammock high above the river! 

Go on Snorkel or Scuba Dive Trip

One of the best things to do in La Romana is to discover its underwater world of vibrant coral reefs, marine life, and ancient artifacts. Hop on a boat and charter out to some of the best snorkel areas in the Caribbean Sea, such as “The Wall” near Catalina Island.

You can also earn your PADI course and explore 16th-century shipwrecks and artifacts. Pirate enthusiasts will enjoy diving to the underwater Living Museums in the Sea, which boasts remnants of shipwrecks dating back to the Golden Age of Piracy.

Read next: Fun Activities You Cannot Miss in Bermuda!

Explore the Wonder of Cueva De Las Maravillas

The Cave of Wonders and its reflection from still water.

Cueva De Las Maravillas (The Cave of Wonders) is a gorgeous cave system with stalactites, stalagmites, and a small underground lake. It is also home to several well-preserved pictograms and petroglyphs engraved by the Taíno Indians.

After you wander through the enormous cave system, revisit the surface and walk the paved trail among native vegetation. Watch where you go because, surprisingly, a highlight of the Cueva De Las Maravillas tour is seeing hundreds of iguanas roam the premises!

Sail into the Sunset

Who is ready for a romantic adventure? Set sail on a luxurious catamaran with an open rum bar and a guided snorkel to colorful coral reefs. Then, watch a breathtaking sunset over the endless turquoise ocean. It’s an evening you will never forget!

Read next: Best Things to Do in the Grand Cayman

Play at the #1 Golf Course in the Caribbean

La Romana is a great destination for golf enthusiasts. It is home to six world-class golf courses, including a PGA course and the number one golf course in the Caribbean.

Playing a round of golf on Pete Dye’s prestigious 18-hole course at the Teeth of the Dog is the best thing to do in La Romana for any golfer. The course is set alongside the coral coastline of the Dominican Republic and offers panoramic views of the turquoise ocean.

Taste Some of the Best Chocolate in the World

Colorful bars of chocolate from Choco Punto by Mabel.

The Dominican Republic is a world leader in organic cocoa and produces some of the best chocolate. There are many amazing chocolatiers in the country, and one of the best is in La Romana.

Choco Punto by Mabel (next to the VegaFina Cigar Country factory) is an internationally award-winning local chocolate shop. Here, you can learn how the exotic cocoa fruit goes from bean to single-origin chocolate bar. Then, head next door to the shop to taste and purchase all the delicious chocolates. 

Go on a Jungle Buggy Adventure

Drive a 4×4 buggy for one of the most exhilarating adventures in La Romana. The adventure begins amongst the majestic mountain of Anamuya in the Dominican countryside.

Be prepared to get wet and muddy! You will drive on rough terrain through local villages, sugarcane fields, the jungle, and riverbeds. The buggy adventure ends with a swim in the Anamuya River and tasting local exotic fruit, coffee, and cacao. The tour is combined with either a visit to Monkeyland or ziplining.

Book the Jungle Buggy Adventure with Monkeyland and/or ziplining

Zipline Through the Jungle

Zipline through tree canopies suspended up to 800 meters high! Enjoy the thrill of zipping through the dense jungle on a course with 18 platforms and 12 lines. Of those 12 lines, two are the longest in the Caribbean!

While you enjoy the adrenaline rush, remember to take in the scenery. The Anamuya Mountain range surrounds the zipline course. What better way to enjoy the jungle’s scenery than suspended high above the air?!

Book the Zipline Adventure

Relax on White Sand Beaches

Of course, one of the best things to do in La Romana is to hit the beach! The Dominican Republic has beautiful beaches, but some of the best powder-soft, white beaches are in La Romana and its surrounding area.

Minitas Beach at Casa de Campo is a picture-perfect beach with calm, crystal-clear turquoise blue water. The beach is open to Casa de Campo residents and non-hotel guests for a fee. 

You can relax on loungers underneath umbrellas or enjoy watersports like kayaking and paddle boating. Minitas Beach also has a roped-off area, which makes it family-friendly and safe for swimming. 

Gorgeous turquoise water along the a coastline lined with loungers and palm trees. A private portion of Hilton La Romana on Bayahibe Beach.

Bayahibe Beach is one of the most popular public beaches in La Romana. Thus, it can get very crowded with cruise visitors and tourists departing or arriving from island excursions. 

It is near the Bayahibe fishing village. So you can easily walk to restaurants and enjoy a scenic beach picnic on the soft sand. 

Dominicus Beach is a gorgeous beach with its famous black-and-white painted lighthouse-shaped bar. Grab a cocktail from this iconic landmark and enjoy the warm turquoise water with a cold drink in hand.

Dominicus Beach is also known as the first beach in the Caribbean to receive the Blue Flag certification. It strives for high sustainability standards, quality, safety, and environmental education. Thanks to its calm, shallow waters, it is one of the safest beaches.

Stay or Play at Casa de Campo

Casa de Campo is one of the world’s most exclusive and luxurious resort communities. Celebrities like Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Rihanna, the Kardashians, Michael Jordan, and former U.S. Presidents are frequently seen relaxing, playing golf, or throwing A-list parties. The property has also been seen in popular TV shows like the final two episodes of the 10th season of The Bachelorette.

If you want a glimpse of the rich and famous lifestyle, this is it! Non-hotel guests can access the property and participate in its on-site activities for a small fee. You can play golf on world-class courses, relax on the beach, ride horseback, indulge in spa amenities, and more.

Read next: How to Fly and Stay in the Maldives on Points

Stay at an All-Inclusive Resort

The main pool at Hilton La Romana with white cabana beds.

Staying at an all-inclusive resort is one of the best things to do in La Romana. As one of the most beautiful destinations in the Caribbean, it’s the perfect place for some much-needed R&R.

Like its neighboring city, Punta Cana, and the always famous Rivera Maya in Mexico, La Romana has several luxurious all-inclusive (family-friendly and adults-only) resorts. Some popular all-inclusive resorts in La Romana include Hilton La Romana, Bahia Principe Grand La Romana, Dreams Dominicus La Romana, Viva Dominicus Beach by Wyndham, Iberostar Selection Hacienda Dominicus, and Casa de Campo.

Three waterslides from the Hilton La Romana waterpark.

Our favorite place to stay in La Romana is the Hilton La Romana All-Inclusive. It is a family-friendly and adults-only resort. As a young family, it’s the perfect resort for us.

Hilton La Romana has an epic water park with some of the best water slides I’ve ever experienced, a beautiful lazy river, and a kid’s aquatic playground. The water park alone is enough reason to stay here.

Enjoy an All-Inclusive Resort Day Pass

La Romana has luxury resorts along its beautiful coastline. So, if you are coming from a cruise, one of the best things to do in La Romana is to get a day pass to one of these resorts.

The best part about getting a resort day pass is accessing almost everything at the resort except a room with a bed! You can enjoy its pristine beaches, pools, activities, and unlimited food and drinks from on-site restaurants and bars. 

I hope you have found inspiration from my guide to the best things to do in La Romana. As you can see, there are many fun things to enjoy in this little slice of paradise in the Caribbean. You would easily need a week to enjoy all of its beauty!