Consistently warm weather, balmy waters and year-round adventures make the Dominican Republic an enticing destination no matter what the season. Whether your idea of a vacation involves maneuvering an ATV through hilly jungles, watching whales off the coast, hiking to cascading waterfalls or simply soaking up the sun in blissful peace at a luxe resort, this Caribbean island won’t disappoint.

As with other Caribbean locales, the winter high season sees crowds on the beaches and peak prices. The summertime off-season brings a blistering brand of heat, along with occasional midday thunderstorms that dissipate as quickly as they arrive. However, this is one of the best times to score a deal on your travel package, as prices fall in line with falling visitor numbers. 

Whenever you come, there'll be something happening on the cultural calendar. Here's our guide to the best times to visit the Dominican Republic.

The high season brings perfect weather and huge crowds (December–April)

Sun-kissed days and low rainfall make the period from December through to April the prime time to visit the Dominican Republic. Daytime temperatures tend to hover between a refreshing 70ºF (21ºC) in the morning and evening and a warming 82ºF (28ºC) in the heat of the day, although you’ll find it’s a bit cooler in the mountainous interior of the island.

The summertime rain – and humidity, its stifling partner-in-crime – are practically non-existent during the winter months, making this the perfect weather for both beaches and inland exploring. The country also hosts lots of festivals during this period, making this a great time to mingle with the locals and dive into the island’s culture.

The only problem is that everyone else will have come to the same conclusion, making everywhere very crowded at this time of year. Expect packed venues and higher prices for accommodations and excursions — especially around the Christmas holiday and spring break peaks.

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Head outdoors for fun in the shoulder season (May) 

Couched between the idyllic weather of high season and the bargain prices of low season, May brings the best of both worlds. Thanks to sunny skies, warm water temperatures and low rainfall, you can escape the peak season crowds and take full advantage of the Dominican Republic’s myriad outdoor activities — from snorkeling and kiteboarding to hiking and horseback riding.

Daytime temperatures start to tip into the high 80s (the low 30s centigrade), making dips in the ocean extremely refreshing. But the trade winds coming from the coast also help keep things comfortable, taking the edge off the heat. With the end of the high season, you can find some great travel deals for your stay.

Family riding horses on the beach at Rincon, Dominican Republic
The shoulder season is a great time for outdoor adventures such as beach horse-riding © Stefano Ember / Shutterstock

Low season is the best time for a bargain (June–November)

Summer in the Dominican Republic means daily rainstorms and the start of hurricane season. It doesn't rain all day every day, but blazing temperatures mixed with frequent downpours contribute to soupy levels of humidity that most travelers are keen to avoid. But the less-than-ideal weather also makes the off-season an incredible deal when it comes to booking hotels and excursions.

While rain is often on the forecast, the good news is that storms sweep through just as fast as they came. You can always count on the sun to make its way out from behind the clouds in quick order — and just in time for your next adventure.

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When is hurricane season in the Dominican Republic?

June kicks off the Caribbean’s hurricane season, which runs through to November 30, bringing a chance of severe weather. Most of the action stirs up around August and September, but any month during the hurricane season is fair game for a major storm. While direct hits are infrequent (the last major hurricane to strike the island was Hurricane Beryl in 2018), it pays to have decent travel insurance if you’re planning to visit at this time, just in case a hurricane decides to crash the party. 

Humpback whales and divers off the Dominican Republic
The winter in the Dominican Republic is a great time for encounters with migrating humpback whales © Westend61 / Getty Images

Go whale watching in January 

New Year’s celebrations and several end-of-month festivals make January a lively time to visit. But it's a popular time to come, so expect crowds and high prices. You can count on nine hours of sunshine every day, with little to no chance of rain, and there are plenty of events, including the colorful Guloya Festival celebrating the island's Cuban community. Temperatures can drop below 70ºF (21ºC) during the evenings, so bring a light long-sleeved layer to cover up with after dark. January is also the peak of the whale watching season off the Península de Samaná, with regular sightings through to mid-March.
Key events: Dia de los Reyes Magos, Dia de la Altagracia, Juan Pablo Duarte Day, Guloya Festival

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Participants in colorful costumes during the Dominican Republic's Carnaval
Carnaval brings a blast of Caribbean color to the Dominican Republic in February, but smaller celebrations run throughout the year © onapalmtree / Shutterstock

Celebrate Carnival season in February

Dry weather, mixed with Carnaval festivities and water sports competitions, makes February the prime time for people-watching and partying. High season is in full swing, so expect big crowds of rowdy revelers taking advantage of the final day of Carnaval, which also coincides with the Dominican Republic’s Independence Day (February 27). Note that some Carnaval parades continue into early March.
Key events: Carnaval Dominican Republic, Master of the Ocean water sports contest

Head to the beach in March

Temperatures are getting warmer, but the heat isn’t swelteringly hot just yet, and rain is still at a minimum. It’s the perfect month for beach-bound sunseekers and for swimming and snorkeling in the warm waters surrounding the island.
Key events: Carnaval Dominican Republic (last events), Isle of Light Music Festival

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Take a hike in April

As the last month of the Dominican Republic’s dry season, April still sees its share of crowds, but they start to dwindle towards the end of the month as the chance of rain starts to increase. With 10 hours of daylight and relatively low humidity, the moderate weather makes for comfortable hikes and sightseeing excursions.
Key event: Puerto Plato Open

El Limon waterfall, Dominican Republic
April and May are fine months for trips inland to sights such as the imposing El Limon waterfall © Don Mammoser / Shutterstock

Budget travelers arrive in May

As the heat index climbs, the crowds start to dwindle and travel deals start to pop up for flights, hotels and activities. Rain becomes more frequent, but the showers don’t have the fervor of the summer storms. A handful of cultural celebrations bring color to the streets of Santo Domingo.
Key events: Santo Domingo de Fiesta, Espiritu Santo Festival 

Hurricane season begins in June, as visitor numbers slump

It’s the official start of hurricane season, and with it comes the rain. Expect hot, sunny days with daily downpours in the late afternoon. On the other hand, prices are low, as are tourist numbers.
Key events: Puerto Plaza Cultural Festival, Punta Cana Food and Wine Festival 

Crowds thin out further in July, and big storms are still rare

Heat and humidity remain constant companions in July, with temperatures reaching sticky and uncomfortable highs. It’s not quite the peak of hurricane season so the risk of dangerous storms remains relatively low.
Key event: Merengue Festival

Rates are at their lowest in August

It’s the height of summer and the peak of hurricane season — and also the hottest month of the year. Most of the heavy storm activity takes place in August and September, so keep a careful eye on the forecast for news on approaching depressions. However, hotel rates are at their lowest during this month.
Key event: Restoration Day

Snorkeller touching starfish on seabed
The water is the best place to be as the humidity levels increase in September ©Sami Sarkis/Getty Images

Heat and humidity are king in September

The hurricane threat remains high during the month of September, but budget travel deals abound. The heat and humidity at this time can be stifling, making outdoor activities difficult (or less enjoyable). But for those who enjoy the heat, it’s an excellent time to sunbathe on the beach in between rain showers. 
Key events: Dia de las Mercedes, Feria Ganadera El Cupey

Do I need a visa to visit the Dominican Republic?

Crowds start to arrive in October

Slightly cooler temperatures take the edge off the heat — expect eight hours of daylight as daytime highs start to fall to more manageable levels. The weather still remains patchy, but toward the end of the month the crowds begin to settle in and prices start to increase.
Key events: Puerto Plata Festival, Festival Presidente, Dominican Republic Jazz Festival 

Enjoy the outdoors in November

The weather finally settles down as the end of the month brings the close of the hurricane and wet seasons. The sun shines more consistently and temperatures aren’t quite as uncomfortably hot. This is a great time to explore the jungle-covered interior or hike to one of the island’s picturesque waterfalls.
Key events: Día de la Constitución, Merengue Típico Festival, Colonial Fest

The holiday season kicks off in December

Blissfully blue skies, low humidity and downright pleasurable temperatures make December a massively popular time to visit the island (the winter holidays in Europe and the US also help). Crowds are growing, and prices are increasing, but so are the parties and festivities. The fun reaches its apex on New Year’s Eve.
Key event: New Year’s Eve

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Top things to do in the Dominican Republic from casinos to whale watching
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