Dominican Republic vs. Cuba

The Dominican Republic and Cuba are known to be two of the most affordable and well-known Caribbean destinations. Both places boast breathtaking beaches and sights. In Cuba and the Dominican Republic, you will definitely be able to relax. However, the similarities between the two destinations end there. These two places offer very different experiences. Choosing which is better is all about knowing what experience you want to dive into.
Dominican Republic vs. Cuba

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The Dominican Republic is a large Caribbean destination. With this, you can expect to explore so many things that a couple of days is not enough. Although it’s a famous tourist spot and a crowd favorite for Caribbean-goers, it still has that authentic Caribbean vibe that’s so fun to immerse in.

If you’re looking for a picture-perfect tropical getaway, there’s nothing better than the Dominican Republic.

On the other hand, Cuba is an island that gives all of your senses a treat. The Dominican Republic may be picture-perfect, but Cuba is no less. Beauty is spread throughout Cuba like no other. There’s unspoiled beauty in nature and its culture.

If you’re looking for a place that boasts breathtaking places but still manages to look untouched, Cuba is the place to be. It might as well be an undiscovered gem.

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is the perfect mix of nature, history, and architecture. With all the country has to offer, you can expect there to be no idle time for you. Everywhere you go and look will be an adventure.

This Latin American country is the perfect definition of diversity, relaxation, and a warm atmosphere. From the beaches to the mountains, to the welcoming people of the Dominican Republic, there’s nothing in this country that will not leave you in awe.

What Makes Dominican Republic Unique?

Colorful Country

The Latin American culture of the Dominican Republic begs to be noticed. Once you step foot in the Dominican Republic, you will understand that it’s one of the most vibrant and colorful countries you will ever visit.

The streets of the Dominican Republic are pulsing with music. This unique music mixes percussion, piano, and traditional instruments. With the music of the Dominican Republic, you will feel like you’re already immersing in such a beautiful and colorful culture.

Once you dive deeper into what the Dominican Republic can offer, you will know that there are so many festivities for you to enjoy. It is through these celebrations that the Dominican Republic truly showcases just how exciting and colorful it can be.

One major celebration and festival that you can witness in the Dominican Republic is the Festival de Merengue. The festival is so big that the country dedicates two full weeks to celebrate it. The Festival de Merengue is a festival celebrating the national dance of the Dominican Republic: the merengue.

From July to August, some of the world’s best merengue dancers dance to the wonderful and unique merengue music of the Dominican Republic. During this time, the Dominican Republic is filled with music, laughter, color, and life. Everywhere you look is decorated to add spirit to this big festival. There’s nothing else that the Dominican Republic celebrates more than this event.

Extremely Breathtaking Beaches

When it comes to beaches, there’s no contest that the Dominican Republic has some of the best in the world. Stepping onto one of the beaches in the Dominican Republic feels like going into a postcard. The sights are picture-perfect.

Whether you’re someone who enjoys a busy beach or a tranquil one, there’s a beach in the Dominican Republic for you. And it’s always breathtakingly beautiful. Regardless of what kind of adventure you’re looking for, you can find a beach that’s the perfect fit for your preferences.

The beaches in the Dominican Republic are continuously regarded as top tourist attractions. This means that you can never go wrong with any of them.

Here are some of the must-see beaches in the Dominican Republic:

Playa Rincon

Almost all Dominican Republic beaches are filled with people. However, despite this fact, you can still find some hidden gems that are unspoiled and untouched. Playa Rincon is one of the beaches that are underdeveloped and perfect for a quiet and relaxing time.

The only things you can find in Playa Rincon are the smooth white sand paired with the clear aquamarine waves. Palm trees of various heights line up the island. In the background of Playa Rincon, you can find green mountains that perfectly complement the beach. Everything you’ll find here is brought to you by nature.

There aren’t any structures in Playa Rincon except for a small restaurant at the end of the beach. If you’re looking to bask in nature in all its glory, this is the beach to visit.

Cayo Levantado

If a remote and private island is more your style, the Dominican Republic has that for you. Cayo Levantado will give you a luxurious experience. Just off the coast of the Samana Peninsula, you can find this island that’s surrounded by white sand and shallow turquoise waters.

Cayo Levantado is an all-inclusive and adults-only location. If you’re looking to step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and want to experience a piece of the high life, don’t miss out on Cayo Levantado.

Kite Beach, Cabarete

If you’re looking for an action-packed and people-packed beach, the Kite Beach in Cabarete is unlike any other. It’s a world-renowned kitesurfing destination, so you can expect people to flock here.

Because of the flock of people here, it’s the perfect place to experience a warm and friendly vibe. People are generally sociable here and there’s a feeling that you’re welcome to stay, regardless if you’re kitesurfing or not. However, if you’re interested, you can find tons of lessons in the area.

Annually, the Master of the Ocean world watersports championship is done here. It’s a spectacle to see all the people enjoying different kinds of watersports.

La Playita

In the western part of Las Galeras, tucked away is the small beach of La Playita. In La Playita, everything is calm and beautiful. Like much of the Dominican Republic’s beaches, it’s lined with beautiful palm trees and soft white sand. The towering mountains add drama to the scene that makes everything even more beautiful.

The beach of La Playita is not big, but it’s enough to spend a day relaxing in. There are enough amenities around for you to stick around the whole day.

The Most Welcoming People

People go to the Dominican Republic to experience the tropical beaches and overflowing adventure. However, the biggest draw of the Dominican Republic is really with its locals. Dominicans are known to be some of the most friendly, welcoming, and fun-loving people in the world.

What’s better than a vacation destination that seemingly has all the adventures for you? When it’s paired with sociable people who are willing to enjoy the place with you. You will feel like you’re part of something bigger – a community.

The Dominicans are definitely very generous with their culture. They welcome anyone who wants to learn more about it with open arms. They inject a unique kind of fun into their everyday lives that you will feel like you never want to leave the place anymore.

If you want your vacation destination to be filled with fun from the locals, then the Dominican Republic should be on top of your list.

Adventures Left and Right

You will not be at a loss when it comes to things to do in the Dominican Republic. It’s a big country, and there’s a lot to explore. Whether it’s the architecture or purely nature, there’s something in the Dominican Republic that can catch your attention.

The adventures that the country has to offer are a testament to how everything in the Dominican Republic is simply charming and exciting.

Here are some of the adventures that you must try in the Dominican Republic:

Whale Watching

One unique thing about the Dominican Republic is that peak season brings in not only tourists but also humpback whales. They are definitely a unique sight to see. Thousands of humpback whales can be spotted in the area of Samana in the Dominican Republic every year, from December to March.

When you’re in the Dominican Republic during these months, you should not miss seeing the awe-inspiring whales. They leap through the waves and clap their tails. A simple boat trip can give you the opportunity to see these lovely humpback whales.

Los Haitises National Park

The Los Haitises National Park, which means “high ground”, is one of the Dominican Republic’s most protected landscapes. Covering 617 square miles (1,600 square kilometers) of land, it comprises diverse and rich ecosystems. In this national park, there’s so much you can find. There are caves, sinkholes, and mangroves, among others.

The National Park isn’t only home to the rich landscape of the Dominican Republic. It is also a great place to get a deeper view of the country’s historical and cultural heritage.

Some of the places that you should most see in the Los Haitises National Park are the Caves of Los Haitises and the Cayo de Los Pájaros.

The Caves of Los Haitises showcases the beautiful rock formations. More than that, you can find breathtaking collections of petroglyphs and pictographs. These are surely some things that will give you a deeper look at the history of the country.

The Cayo de Los Pájaros or Key of Birds is a city in the national park that is fully inhabited by birds of all kinds. For some unknown reason, this specific place is the favorite gathering place of many bird species. Some that you will find here are the herons and pelicans.

Diverse Watersports

It’s a fact that the Dominican Republic hosts the annual Master of the Ocean watersports competition. This means that the country is a great place to enjoy different kinds of watersports.

The warm water and steady strong winds of the Dominican Republic make it an ideal place for a large number of watersports. Some that you can enjoy in the country are kitesurfing, kayaking, snorkeling, and sailing. Regardless of whether you’re an expert or a beginner, there’s an activity and a spot for you to enjoy these activities.

27 Waterfalls of Damajagua

There’s no shortage of breathtaking waterfalls in the Dominican Republic. The 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua are a testament to that. It’s considered one of the best adventure-tourism sites in the Dominican Republic.

There are 27 natural pools etched out from limestone. If that’s not enough to excite you, what you will do in this place is to climb the top of the narrow canyon. Once you’re on top, you will jump into one of the many pools down below. It’s definitely an adventure for the thrill-seekers.


Cuba draws you in with its salsa and rumba. You come to Cuba because it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean. However, you stay for everything else that it has to offer.

Despite not being commercialized like its neighboring countries, Cuba continues to wow tourists. This is because it manages to stay unspoiled and filled with a colorful personality.

Cuba is a treat for all your senses, but it manages to give off a laid-back and relaxing vibe. There’s the perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and everything in between.

What Makes Cuba Unique?

Cuban Gastronomy

Cuban food is the perfect mixture of African, Spanish, Caribbean, and Chinese cuisines. The draw of Cuban cuisine is the intense but neutral flavor that it has. Despite being an amalgamation of different cuisines, it manages to balance it out and not go to extremes.

The diversity and mixture of flavors are enough to make your taste buds celebrate. There’s a lot that Cuban gastronomy has to offer. From the famous Cuban sandwich to the well-beloved Cuban coffee, there’s something for each individual to enjoy.

Here are the must-try food and drinks in Cuba:


Cuba’s rum is part of Cuba’s national identity. It’s even in its core. Along with cigars, it’s the fuel for the Cuban economy.

Most of the bars in Cuba offer the classical and famous Cuban rum in different local flavors. A trip to Cuba means that you should try the local rum at least once. Rum is so personal to Cuba that you can find some being sold in juice boxes.


Cuban coffee is also as much part of its culture as rum is. It’s already part of Cubans’ daily lives. Whether you’re up for a classic Cuban espresso or a Cortadito, you can be assured that the coffee in Cuba tastes unlike any other.

In fact, coffee is so important to Cuba that the first coffee plantation in the country is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja is one of the most famous Cuban food throughout the world. It’s also considered one of the national dishes of the country. The dish has roots in Spanish cuisine. The name ropa vieja comes from the fact that it was frequently made using leftover food from earlier meals.

Lechon Asado

Lechon Asado or roast pork is one of the special dishes that are bountiful during festivities and celebrations in Cuba. A holiday in Cuba is not complete without a serving of this famous roast pork.

The method for roasting the pork varies from each restaurant and family, but something constant with this dish is the mojo salsa. The mojo salsa is a Cuban sauce made up of garlic, vinegar, and different seasonings.

Don’t miss out on this juicy dish when you’re in Cuba. It should be one of the highlights of your trip.

Sandwich Cubano

If there’s one dish that you shouldn’t leave Cuba without trying, it’s definitely the famous Sandwich Cubano (Cuban Sandwich). It’s a well-known contribution of the Cuban American community to Cuban cuisine.

The pan con lechón (roast pork) and the ham and cheese sandwich are both made using this semihard bread of the Cuban Sandwich.

Stunning Architecture

If there’s one thing that Cuba should be most known for, it’s the stunning architecture that makes you feel like you’re stepping back in time. In Cuba, you can still find baroque townhouses and prehistoric arcades.

La Habana Vieja or the Old Havana District is the key place to be in if you want to be stunned by the eclectic architecture of Cuba. It’s a UNESCO Heritage Site with so many iconic buildings to see.

Here are some of the iconic buildings in the Old Havana District in Cuba:

Hotel Nacional de Cuba

The Hotel Nacional de Cuba is the first luxury hotel in Havana. It was built in two years and immediately become a crowd favorite.

The Hotel is surrounded by terraces that overlook the Bay of Havana. It’s definitely a sight to see. There’s also an elegant garden, formal restaurants, and a high-ceilinged bar that’s definitely not something you see all the time.

The interior is a perfect blend of Art Deco and Neo-Baroque styles which brings out the feeling of being in the past.

Bacardi Building

The Bacardi Building is probably one of the most famous landmarks in the Old Havana district. It’s a historical building that sports an Art Deco architectural style.

The building is 12 stories high. The facade of the Bacardi building is an abundantly decorated granite with brass embellishments. Many parts of the building, especially the mezzanine bar, have retained all the original furniture and decorations. These all date back to when it was first completed in 1930.

La Casa de la Obra Pía

The La Casa de la Obra Pía or House of Charitable Works is the most distinguished building in Havana. It’s one of the city’s largest colonial houses.

The grand entrance of this building was sculpted in Spain, with sections brought part by part to Havana. If you visit the site, you will see that it has a lot of Spanish design influences. It has an eccentric design that plays with rules of perspective.

Awe-Inspiring Beaches

Cuba is the largest Caribbean island. This means that you can expect there to be a whole lot more beaches than on the other islands. The beautiful beaches of Cuba are additional treasures to the already timeless beauty of the country itself.

A trip to Cuba will not be complete without spending a day under the warm sun on one of its picture-perfect beaches.

Here are some of the best beaches in Cuba:

Varadero Beach

Varadero Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Cuba. It’s known as the complete package, especially on a holiday trip. Whatever you’re looking for on a beach can be found in Varadero Beach. It’s 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) of pure soft white sand and perfectly teal and green waters.

This is the beach to go to if you enjoy seeing the picture-perfect beach with an influx of people. It’s not like other Cuban places in the sense that this always sees a lot of people from day to day.

This beach is best for diving and snorkeling, so if these activities are right up your alley, there’s no other beach to go to.

Playa Los Flamencos

Playa Los Flamencos is also known as the Cayo Coco Beach of Cuba. This place is known for its luxurious and all-inclusive resorts. To beach lovers, this place is a dream. The silky smooth sand and turquoise waters are enough to give you the ultimate relaxation experience.

The clear waters of Cayo Coco Beach are filled with starfish. This makes it a great spot for snorkeling if you want to see such wonderful marine life.

Cayo Sabinal

If a deserted beach is more your drift, then Cayo Sabinal will fill your heart with glee. Cayo Sabinal is not your usual Cuban beach. The atmosphere here is so relaxing and serene that it feels like you’re not in reality.

It’s tucked away at the end of a bumpy track which is the main reason why it’s not as developed as other beaches in Cuba. Its natural beauty is still intact, which is not very usual on Cuban beaches.

Playa Guardalavaca

Playa Guardalavaca was described by Columbus as the most beautiful place he had set foot in. Although it’s up for debate because it’s a subjective matter, it’s not hard to understand where he’s coming from.

The beach is a popular destination for the locals but is well-loved by tourists alike. This gives off the vibes of an authentic Cuban experience, not like other more commercialized and touristy beaches.

The almost 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) stretch of sand is decorated with palm trees and sea grapes. These give a great backdrop to the already beautiful Playa Guardalavaca.

Colorful History and Culture

Cuba is a country of music, dance, and overall vibrant culture. For first-time visitors, the colors and culture that surround the country can be overwhelming. However, once you get used to this, you will appreciate what Cuba is really all about. It’s a place filled with laughter, fun, and pure joy.

The people of Cuba are some of the most welcoming people you will ever meet. In fact, it’s best to stay with them instead of hotels when you visit. In Cuba, you can stay with the locals. There are private homes where you can pay rent to live in a local’s house or apartment. Staying with the locals will give you the best experience of immersing in the local culture.

Once you step foot in Cuba, you will think that you’re in a living museum. Stepping into Cuba is like stepping into the past. However, nowhere else in the entire world will you find a country that’s so filled with many old American cars still in use. Walking through the streets of Cuba will give you a sense of walking down a street in 1959.

The Dominican Republic or Cuba – Which Is Better?

Choosing which is better between the Dominican Republic and Cuba is not an easy task. Both destinations offer very unique attractions and experiences that it’s hard to choose one over the other. However, if you’re really looking for a vacation destination that will sweep you off your feet, nothing comes close to what Cuba offers.

Cuba is an extremely unique country that is unlike any other. It gives the perfect blend of unspoiled beauty and commercialized tourist attractions. It’s not as modernized as its neighboring islands, but it doesn’t need to keep up to attract people. Cuba is colorful and vibrant on its own.

The main draw of Cuba is its uniqueness and originality. A trip to Cuba will leave you wanting more because of how different the experience is.

However, this doesn’t mean that the Dominican Republic isn’t a great destination to go to. It’s a perfect blend of relaxation and high-energy entertainment. There’s more thrill to find in the Dominican Republic. Every direction you go, you will find an adventure. It’s a charming country, especially once you get to immerse into it and see more of the breathtaking sights.

Choosing which is better is hard, but choosing which destination to visit first is a decision you can arrive at. It’s impossible to go to only one when you know that adventure and unique experiences await you in both destinations.


Is Cuba Safer Than Dominican Republic?

Both Cuba and the Dominican Republic are relatively safe countries for tourists to visit. However, Cuba is well-known for how safe it is for both locals and tourists. Between the two, Cuba has a better image of being a safe place to travel to.

However, there’s really nothing to worry about in the Dominican Republic.

It’s best to stay alert and vigilant while traveling, regardless of where you plan to go. It should be a common mindset to put precautionary steps in place to ensure that your trip will be worry-free and the most fun.

Is Cuba Richer or Poorer Than Dominican Republic?

Between Cuba and the Dominican Republic, Cuba is the poorer country in terms of economy. Cuba has a lesser GDP compared to the Dominican Republic. However, when you look at things in terms of culture and tourist attractions, Cuba is definitely not poor. Neither is the Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic vs. Cuba All-Inclusive

Both the Dominican Republic and Cuba are on top of the list when it comes to all-inclusive resorts and holidays. However, between the two, all-inclusive resorts and places will cost you less.

Because Cuba is a bigger country, you can also expect there to be more options for you.

The level of service in the Dominican Republic is higher than in Cuba for the most part, though, so it can be more expensive.

Is the Dominican Republic in Cuba?

The Dominican Republic and Cuba are not in the same territory. This means that the Dominican Republic is not in Cuba.

Cuba is on the island Cuba, which is the largest in the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic is on the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti.

Is Cuba Near the Dominican Republic?

Cuba and the Dominican Republic are relatively near to each other. The island of Hispaniola where the Dominican Republic is is roughly 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the east coast of Cuba.

How Far Is Cuba From the Dominican Republic?

Although the island of Hispaniola is close to Cuba, the distance from Cuba to the Dominican Republic is farther. Cuba is approximately 530 miles (853 kilometers) away from the Dominican Republic.

Which Is Bigger – Cuba or the Dominican Republic?

Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, so there’s no contest that it is bigger than the Dominican Republic. In fact, Cuba is more than a hundred percent larger than the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic is approximately 18,792 square miles (48,670 square kilometers). Meanwhile, Cuba is 42,804 square miles (110,860 square kilometers).

Is the Dominican Republic Similar to Cuba?

There are a lot of similarities between the Dominican Republic and Cuba. This is especially considering that they are neighboring islands in the Caribbean. You can have as much excitement and relaxation in the Dominican Republic as much as in Cuba.

However, the similarities between the two countries end there. The Dominican Republic offers different attractions and experiences compared to Cuba.

Are Cubans and Dominicans Similar?

Cubans and Dominicans are similar in the sense that they are both very welcoming and fun-loving locals. They are always more than happy to share a part of their culture with tourists.

Cubans and Dominicans have almost the same roots so it’s not hard to see why they are similar. Although they each have their own set of cultures and beliefs, they have a lot of similarities. This is all rooted in the fact that they come from the same mix of cultures and traditions.

Do Cubans and Dominicans Speak the Same Language?

Yes. Cubans and Dominicans speak the same kind of Spanish which is Castillian Spanish. They more or less can easily understand each other, although there may be some slight differences in the accents and slang words.

What Do Cuba and the Dominican Republic Have in Common?

Both Cuba and the Dominican Republic are a mix of different cultures, most importantly Spanish and Caribbean. This makes the culture and traditions in both countries very similar. The locals are both fun-loving and warm. They both speak the same languages.

Both Cuba and the Dominican Republic are also agricultural countries that put a lot of effort and care into their rum. When you visit these countries, it’s a must to buy rum, or something else based on it, as a souvenir.

How Is Cuba’s Government Different From That of the Dominican Republic?

The two countries have different government types. Cuba is a communist state while the Dominican Republic is a presidential republic.

Can You Travel to Cuba From Dominican Republic?

Yes, there are many ways to get from Cuba to the Dominican Republic. Cuba and the Dominican Republic don’t have any restrictions, so it’s free to travel to and from these countries.

How Do You Get From the Dominican Republic to Cuba?

The main and most accessible way to get from the Dominican Republic to Cuba is through a plane ride. Depending on where you’re coming from and where you’re headed, the flight will take anywhere from 3 hours to 5 hours.

Can You Fly From the Dominican Republic to Cuba?

Yes. In fact, it is the only easy way to get from the Dominican Republic to Cuba. There are 5 kinds of flights that you can ride from the Dominican Republic to Cuba. Each one of these will bring you to a different part of Cuba.

Are There Direct Flights From Dominican Republic to Cuba?

Yes, there are at least 5 direct flights from the Dominican Republic to Cuba. There are flights that go from the Dominican Republic to Santo Domingo, Santiago, Punta Cana, Higuero, and Puerto Plata. All of these are direct flights that take no more than 5 hours.

What Airlines Fly to Cuba From the Dominican Republic?

There are at least five airlines that fly from Cuba to the Dominican Republic. Two of the most well-known airlines that fly this route are Spirit Airlines and JetBlue Airways. The flights they have from Cuba to the Dominican Republic are direct flights.

How Long Is the Flight From Cuba to the Dominican Republic?

The duration of the flight from Cuba to the Dominican Republic depends on your starting and end point.

The fastest flight from Cuba to the Dominican Republic is a flight that comes from Higuero to the Dominican Republic. This flight will take approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.

The longest flight from Cuba to the Dominican Republic is a flight that comes from Puerto Plata to the Dominican Republic. This direct flight will take approximately 5 hours.