Now that travel restrictions have dropped across the entire Caribbean, and Americans are no longer faced with complex entry regulations and mounting uncertainty, the region is exploding in popularity once more.
From the bustling Hotel Zone in Cancun to the most recluse beaches in Jamaica, Americans are once again flocking into the tropical sea’s resort hotspots – and now that the numbers are in, we know for a fact they have elected a new favorite.
They are visiting the Dominican Republic (DR) in record numbers, with as many as 5.3 million tourists registered this semester, a majority of those hailing from the U.S. and Canada.
In June alone, figures grew by more than 20% over the pre-pandemic year of 2019, totaling 707,283 arrivals.
Cruise figures are on the up again, too, with 1,267,451 cruiser passengers arriving at the DR’s international ports, yet another record increase year-on-year – but why is it so trendy right now among Americans, and what’s changed since the health crisis?
Focus On Wellness
Now that we can finally put the stressful COVID years behind us, a growing number of Americans are prioritizing relaxation and slow-paced vacations when going abroad, as noted in the publication of the Top 10 Biggest Travel Trends for 2023.
Whether it’s simply enjoying the five-star amenities at a luxury hotel or doing nothing as they lounge all day by the poolside, it’s clear now most Americans want to avoid any of the stressful aspects of international travel, such as action-packed itineraries and focus instead on their well-being.
Lucky for them, the DR is the perfect place to go and unwind, with its ample selection of all-inclusive resorts, white-sand beaches bounded by the turquoise-colored Caribbean, and most importantly, the laid-back atmosphere of Hispaniola island, where the country is located.
More Investment In Luxurious Amenities
Still on the topic of hotels, the DR has continued to improve its already-vast portfolio, with new exciting openings taking place this year, such as the 130-room Hilton Garden Inn in La Romana, overlooking both the Caribbean Sea and the charming 16th-century colonial city.
On top of that, well-reputed properties have been ensuring guests have the highest level of comfort and the smoothest possible experiencing of vacationing in the DR, with Punta Cana’s landmark Live Aqua Beach Resort being a textbook example.
Now that travel demand is soaring, competition among hospitality brands in the Caribbean is fiercer than ever before, and Punta Cana resorts are truly upping their game by investing massively in the quality of service at the point of delivery and diversifying the offer.
As Tyler Fox, Managing Editor for Travel Off Path, has concurred, the DR checks all the boxes for the ‘typical American traveler’, namely those looking for a more chill sunny getaway and enjoying some pampering.
Staying at the Live Aqua Beach Resort, he felt ‘right at home’.
Crime-Free Resort Zones
Safety remains a major concern for U.S. citizens going abroad now that numerous countries in the Global South, particularly Latin America, are reporting higher rates of crime.
In Colombia for instance, violence has got so out of control in major urban centers Americans are now advised to ‘reconsider’ visiting.
In the DR, however, safety levels are still within normal parameters, despite the subcontinent’s unstable political situation. It continues to be defined as a Level 2 destination by the U.S. State Department, meaning it is only moderately risky.
Recently, a new alert issued by the entity pointed out the higher incidence of pickpocketing and petty crimes in tourist areas, though these are hardly a cause for alarm as general safety advice applies.
In other words, as long as you don’t display obvious signs of wealth, you should be just fine.
Staying behind gated communities or within resorts, your risk of getting your wallet or phone stolen is even lower, if not non-existent, as security tends to be tight, and no one gets in or out unless they are residents, guests, or authorized staff.
Growing Appetite For Culture
Though wellness and relaxation remain the main incentives for Americans jetting off the Eastern Hispaniola republic, the DR’s soaring popularity can also be attributed to a rekindled interest in cultural immersions.
More and more, Americans are becoming aware of the country’s historical value, especially cities like Santo Domingo, the once-overlooked capital, the first European settlement in the Americas, and where some of the oldest colonial-era monuments can be found.
Santiago is not to be missed, as well, what with its buzzing downtown district, lined with stately buildings, charming plazas, and off-path appeal.
In this article, we give you 7 reasons why it is one of the most underrated destinations in the DR.
Besides going for swims in the Caribbean and living it up in an all-inclusive resort, U.S. visitors can explore 15th-century fortresses that will make you feel as if they were suddenly in Europe, well-preserved coastal citadels dotted with Spanish civic buildings and palaces, and UNESCO-listed cathedrals.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com