The Caribbean country of the Dominican Republic (DR) borders Haiti on the island of Hispaniola. Despite a tumultuous history, the country boasts the strongest economy in the Caribbean/Central American region, due in large part to tourism. Each year over 6 million tourists flock to the white sands, swaying palms, and crystalline waters of the DR, making it the most visited destination in the Caribbean. Running in the Dominican Republic is somewhat challenging, given the prevalence of resorts in the most visited areas and the lack of quieter coastal roads. But there’s plenty of beach running accessible to the public and some nice coastal paths (Malecón).
In the capital of Santo Domingo, while streets are narrow, hilly, and cursed with traffic, there is good running in the Mirador linear park and the splendid Botanical Gardens. There’s also an extensive coastal boardwalk (Malecón). Of course, the beaches are a big attraction in the DR — and while the sand is softer, it’s generally runnable close to the water and near low tide. Favorites include the area between Playa Guayacanes and Playa Real east of Santo Domingo. The most popular tourist area in the DR is Punta Cana, the easternmost point of the island, where we’ve also researched some of the best beach running spots. Further north in the popular resort area of Puerto Plata, there’s a lovely coastal path that leads to Parque La Puntilla. Samana, another popular destination in the DR, has a wonderful run around the bay including a series of pedestrian bridges. No matter where you run, it’s best to go early in the morning and bring plenty of water in order to beat the strong sun and tropical humidity.
If traveling around Santo Domingo, the ever-expanding metro service is a good way to get around the city. Otherwise, públicos, passenger cars that follow a set route along main streets function similar to busses. The most brave of travelers get around via motorcycle taxi, but these are impractical for longer trips. If you’re staying at a hotel or resort, many have their own transportation services which are the safest and most reliable option.
Note: Crime is a concern in some areas of the Dominican Republic. When running, stick to open public areas and, if possible, bring a friend!