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This Is The Top Trending Winter Getaway This Year According To Tripadvisor

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With days getting colder and shorter as we get through December, bookings for Caribbean vacations are on the up.

All around the region, rooms are filling up while beaches start to get crowded, and this is hardly a surprise after one-third of Americans indicated they plan on traveling abroad this season, and as Tripadvisor‘s latest Winter Travel Index shows, there is one sunny place they have in mind.

Aerial View Of Samana Peninsula, The Dominican Republic, Caribbean Sea

The Dominican Republic (DR) is one of two nations sharing the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, the other being Haiti.

While the latter is decades behind on development and arguably a failing state, the DR is a well-loved destination famous for its luxurious resorts and tourist-friendly beaches.

Already a hugely popular beach hotspot, the DR is set for a record-breaking winter as it ranks as the number one winter getaway for U.S. passport holders in 2023:

A Lesser-Known Coastal Spot We've Overlooked For Far Too Long

samana national park dominican republic

According to Tripadvisor, the Dominican Republic is trending as the trendiest international destination for Americans this winter, overtaking the wellness center that is Jamaica and even Cancun, the leading resort zone in Mexico and the Giant of the Caribbean.

The DR has been going toe to toe with these close competitors for years now, and it usually alternates with Cancun for the spot of the busiest Caribbean hub.

This time, it seems to have opened the season with a strong lead, mainly due to a rise in bookings for Las Galeras.

Las Galeras, Dominican Republic, Caribbean Sea

Punta Cana is undoubtedly the DR's best-promoted tourist offer globally, as well as one of the year's most sought-after beach destinations, but it's the alternative, lesser-known Las Galeras that's risen to the top of the charts this time, and you may be wondering why.

Seeing that Punta Cana is the best-equipped resort zone in the republic, and it's where beaches are truly pristine and a majority of the country's award-winning hotels are located, how would a remote fishing village in the eastern end of the unexplored Samaná peninsula be the next big thing?

Fewer Crowds, More Attractive Prices

Las Galeras Summer Pavillion Stretching Out Into The Caribbean Sea In The Dominican Republic

A small coastal settlement with just over 6,000 inhabitants, Las Galeras is a postcard view of long, white-sand strips lined by palm trees, still mostly protected from the damaging overdevelopment that has ruined the charm of numerous other coastal areas across the DR.

That's not to say Las Galeras is under-developed: there are several boutique hotels and guesthouses to pick from, usually with limited room availability, offering crowd-wary guests the comfort and exclusivity they so desperately crave when flying to the sunny Caribbean.

Vibrant Houses In Samana, Dominican Republic, Caribbean Sea

One of the top-rated hotels in Las Galeras is the marvelous Villa Serena, a small, five-star seafront hotel bounded by the teal-colored Caribbean that is 18% cheaper to stay at this season, with overnight rates starting from a very reasonable $218.

If it's a stress-free vacation you're after, where you can simply kick it back and not do much other than relax by the poolside throughout your entire stay, your best option is Grand Paradise Samaná, the only all-inclusive property in the area, with prices ranging from to $218 to $287 this winter.

Woman Admiring The Caribbean Sea On A Beach

Other top options on Hotels.com include the rustic Chalet Tropical Bio Hotel, which has a 9.2/10 approval rating based on customer reviews on the booking platform, and the affordable B&B La Isleta Apart Hotel, featuring a scenic pool, and within walking distance to Playa Grande, the main beach.

What To See Around Las Galeras

Las Galeras is becoming trendier to visit due to its off-path appeal, as it offers the same great weather, beautiful swimming spots, and world-class hospitality Americans commonly experience in Punta Cana without the shocking price hikes and surging crowds.

caribbean food

Other than Playa Grande, two of the main points of interest in the area are El Cabito Restaraunt, perched on a coastal cliff with a jumping platform divers routinely use to plunge into the bright-blue sea below, and the scenic Javo Beach (La Playita), well-loved by visitors and locals alike.

Natural world experiences are at the top of travelers' list of priorities when traveling abroad, especially now that normality has fully been reinstated and they have caught the travel bug after being stuck inside a big city apartment block for the best part of three years.

woman on the beach with a hat with the colors of the Dominican Republic flag

Besides living it up by the seaside, visitors who are feeling adventurous can go horseback riding on the sands or even ATVing through verdant forests, making it an ideal destination for putting the phone down and reconnecting with nature.

The DR Is More Diverse Than You Might Think

Historically, Las Galeras has been the backpacking capital of the DR, with foreign visitors mostly being part of a younger, more adventurous demographic, but as recent booking trends on Tripadvisor show, the general public is also finding their own version of paradise in the Samaná peninsula.

Columbus Statue and Cathedral, Parque Colon, Santo Domingo, Caribbean

Las Galeras may be the number one trendy Caribbean spot on Tripadvisor this winter, but it is not the DR's only attraction this winter.

Culture-based trips are also on the rise, with a record number of Americans booking trips with cultural immersions in mind, and for that, many of them are headed to Santo Domingo, the Dominican capital and one of the oldest post-Columbian settlements in the Americas.

Being nearer nature and exploring the outdoors is just as important for tourists in this post-health crisis context, and the waterfall-dotted Jaraboacoa Natural Park, the ecotourism center in Los Haitises, and the Cordillera town of Constanza, nestled in a valley flanked by verdant mountains, are bracing for a surge in visitors themselves.

Tourist woman appreciating the beauty of the colonial city of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

As you can now see, there is an entire, hugely diverse country to explore beyond the resort strip in Punta Cana, and once the promised scenic train linking the touristy town to the capital launches at the end of the decade, it will become even easier to get around the DR and discover all of these hidden gems.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.