punta cana road trips

Miches remains one of the least developed parts of the DR, with virgin beaches, verdant farm fields and more. (Photo: Lebawit Lily Girma)

Road Trips

Coasts To Peaks: Scenic Road Trips Beyond Punta Cana

The Dominican Republic enjoys a vast network of modern highways, making it quite easy to explore the country on your own. Drive away from the beach resort towns to see a surprisingly diverse landscape, as well as a glimpse of the “real” DR.

From rugged cliffside roads to mountainous vistas that seem to almost reach down to the sea, these road trips will fill your eyes with color and culture. Get your camera ready.

Punta Cana to Miches

Drive north of the Punta Cana region, past Üvero Alto, and continue towards Miches. This northeastern highway takes you along views that stand in stark contrast to the resort scenery you’re leaving behind. Miches remains one of the least developed parts of the country, with mostly virgin beaches, verdant farm fields, and nary a sight on the road save for the occasional farmer on a donkey.

Veer off the main highway at one of the beach signs, like Playa Limón, to glimpse the wild beauty in these parts. Bring your own picnic, as restaurants are sparse in these parts.

La Ruta Panorámica

Hugging the Cordillera Septentrional mountain range, this hilly and bumpy northern road connects Puerto Plata and Santiago. It offers an alternate route for those who want to travel slow; those who are in a rush can take the Navarrete highway to Santiago.

Also known as the Carretera Turística Gregorio Luperón, this panoramic 18-mile long road takes you alongside local communities and homes, with the opportunity for stops at local shops and bars. It’s a peek into the rural life in the DR.

Boulevard del Atlántico

Punta cana road trips
Not quite like any other boulevard. (Photo: Lebawit Lily Girma)

There’s simply no otherworldly tropical scenery quite like the one that graces the Boulevard del Atlántico on the way to Las Terrenas, a beach town on the Samaná Peninsula. You’ll want to take your time with the sharp, ascending curvy highway along towering rocks.

Stop at the Mirador Cosón for a selfie against Playa Cosón’s vast coconut tree fields in the distance, and a turquoise Atlantic Ocean.

Barahona-Enriquillo Coastal Highway

punta cana road trips
Build in time for photo stops. (Photo: Lebawit Lily Girma)

The southwest of the Dominican Republic is the least visited and the least developed region of all. But those who venture here will find plenty of natural attractions all along the Enriquillo Barahona Coastal Highway. The road begins just outside of Barahona city and winds its way all along the rustic southwestern coastline of the Dominican Republic.

Verdant bluffs on one side lead to views of dramatic cliffs and an iridescent turquoise Caribbean Sea on the other. You’ll pass fishing villages, and balnearios (recreational river parks) that lead to beaches.

Stop roadside in San Rafael or in Los Patos for a plate of fish and a drink. Be sure to bring your camera — the backdrop scenery all along this highway is unique in the DR.

Jarabacoa to Constanza

The road that links two of the most scenic mountain towns in the DR is a winding, exhilarating twist and turn along rocky cliff tops for a good half-hour. Take your time, and stop roadside for a fresh coconut or coffee.

Closer to Constanza, look out for local shops selling fresh strawberries, which grow abundantly in these parts. Buy a few boxes, or order a strawberry smoothie to go.