The Dominican Republic is well connected to the outside world and you’ll find a plethora of flight options from North America and Europe. The primary points of entry into the country by air are Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata and Punta Cana, with additional international airports at Santiago and Samaná.
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When travelling to the Dominican Republic, it’s often cheaper to come via a charter flight. Most of these are a result of the huge all-inclusive tourism industry built up along Dominican shores; package deals for airfare, hotel and food abound, with astounding rates available to those willing to shop around. But even if you don’t want to go all-inclusive, the air charters that transfer package tourists to their all-inclusive destinations regularly offer extra seats to independent travellers for a surprisingly low price. Those headed here from South Africa will find fewer bargains, but with a bit of stamina you can make your way to the DR via the major airlines, though you won’t be able to avoid a transfer at some point along the way.
Flights from the US and Canada
There are flights to the Dominican Republic from most major Canadian and US cities (some west-coast connections require an overnight stay in Miami or New York), but the cheapest and most frequent depart from the “gateway” cities of Miami, New York, Montréal and Toronto. The budget airline JetBlue offers cheap flights from North America to Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata and Santiago. All flights go through New York City, requiring a transfer here if coming from elsewhere on the continent.
A number of companies offer good-value package tours to Dominican resorts, usually for one or two weeks. Packages are generally only available to the more commercialized destinations, such as Puerto Plata, Sosúa and Cabarete in the north and Boca Chica, Juan Dolio and Punta Cana/Bávaro in the south. In the US, package tour operators usually operate out of a particular city and can’t book connecting flights from elsewhere; one operator, Inter-Island, books flights with American Airlines and can get you to the DR from any major city in the US, though their prices are a bit higher. In Canada, Dominican packages are serviced by a number of giant travel “wholesalers” and charter airlines which don’t deal directly with the public; if you want to book one of their packages, you’ll have to go through a local travel agent.
Flights from the UK and Ireland
British Airways runs twice-weekly direct flights from London to Punta Cana; they currently fly on Thursdays and Sundays in both directions and cost £300–400 year-round. You can also leverage BA to get to Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo, with a stop-off in Miami and a connecting flight through their partner American Airlines.
Alternatively, there are a number of charter flights that fly direct to Punta Cana or Puerto Plata from London Gatwick and Birmingham; these are typically offered in conjunction with all-inclusive hotel stays, but you can also book empty seats on these at one of several charter flight wholesaler websites. All scheduled services to the Dominican Republic run daily from both Heathrow and Gatwick; Punta Cana trips typically fly via Paris, with Puerto Plata flights stopping off in New York.
Flights from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa
The Caribbean is not a bargain destination from Australia or New Zealand. Because there are no direct flights to the Dominican Republic, you’ll need to travel first to the US or Europe. It’s a day-long slog whichever way you go, but most convenient from Australia is a non stop from Sydney to New York City via Qantas, American or United, followed by an onward connection to the DR via one of the North American airlines listed below. From New Zealand you can take a direct flight from Auckland to New York with a stop in Los Angeles and get an onward connection from there.
Travellers from South Africa can get to Santo Domingo via Iberia airlines, though stops at Madrid and/or London are involved, and to Puerto Plata and Punta Cana via British Airways with stops in London and/or Miami.