Dominican Republic Nightlife | Top 10 Places to Party in 2020
It was a Wednesday night in Santiago de Los Caballeros. I wasn't expecting much. I'd experienced some fantastic Dominican Republic nightlife in Santo Domingo, but the best nights were almost always on the weekend.
Still, locals kept telling my buddy and me about Levels Club on ladies' night. Every single person we spoke with recommended the spot. From the hotel staff to the waitress at the bar – Levels Club was the place to be on a Wednesday in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
We decided to check it out. Hell, we were easily convinced. Enjoying a little rumba was always on the agenda.
Around 10 pm, we walked down the street to the local colmado and grabbed two grandes and a few cups. We sat outside, downing the brews and chilling. Once we finished the beers, we hailed a cab off the street to Levels Club.
It was 11 pm when we arrived. A gaggle of sexy girls in high heels were waiting in line outside the club.
A big ass smile stretched across my face. My buddy had noticed the chicas, too. Maybe the hype was justified. Maybe Levels Club was the spot to be.
Now, I'm not going to get into the gritty details of my first night enjoying the Dominican Republic nightlife in Santiago, but let me tell you…
The hype was more than justified: picture thumping reggaeton music, sexy girls in cocktail dresses and high heels, cheap-ass drinks, and lots of perreando dancing.
But that wasn't the best part. The people were just so friendly. I made friends with the bouncers, some Dominican gym bros, chicas, and the mother of the DJ.
The people in Santiago de Los Caballeros were so damn friendly. My buddy and I felt like they'd never met gringos before. We were treated like royalty.
Understanding Nightlife in the Dominican Republic
Now, not every night partying in the Dominican Republic will be as memorable as my first night out in Santiago.
But, you're sure as hell going to have some fun times enjoying the nightlife in the Dominican Republic. Here are just a few reasons why:
Dominican Nightlife Culture
Nightlife in the Dominican Republic is a little different than back home. The music is different, the people are friendlier, and you have to keep an eye out for chapiadoras from time to time.
Ya tu sabes.
Overall, it's a hell of a time. It's still a Latin, Spanish-speaking country, but people here are more open and willing to talk with others outside their groups. While it's a bit weird to go out hoping to meet other people in Colombia, many a Dominican is up for mingling while partying.
Crazy Friendly People
While you won't notice this much in the tourist areas or Santo Domingo, you definitely will in smaller cities and towns. I made more friends going out one night in Santiago de Los Caballeros than I did the whole time I was in Punta Cana.
If you're a normal person, Dominicans are thrilled to share their country with you. They'll be curious about what you're doing in the DR and how you made it off the resort in Punta Cana.
Be prepared to socialize, talk, drink, and dance with a lot of people on a night out in the DR. Nightlife in the Dominican Republic is pretty damn social. People still speak to each other using words – not Snapchat filters 24/7.
There's not a lot of “gringo” music in the DR. Sure, some of the bigger clubs in Punta Cana play electronic and even hip-hop on occasion. Once you get to Santo Domingo or Santiago, you can expect nothing but:
It's Latin beats all day, every day. Reggaeton tends to be the most popular form of music in the discos, although dembow and bachata can be heard from certain clubs. Salsa isn't nearly as popular here as it is in Colombia.
If you don't know how to dance, the Dominican Republic nightlife might be rough for you. The good news? You'll get a whole lot of leeway as a gringo.
If you're a gringo and can dance a few steps of bachata without looking like a dipshit, people will fawn. If you can grind a little perrenado, they'll think you're a damn tiguere in your own right.
I loved dancing in the DR. Grinding to reggaeton is like dancing to hip-hop back home. Plus, bachata is way easier to dance than salsa, and the music is better, too.
Spanish is Essential for Dominican Republic Nightlife
The Dominican Republic is a Spanish-speaking country. Once you get off the resort scene, English levels are not going to be great.
You'll meet a few English speakers in Santo Domingo, and surprisingly, many people from Santiago speak decent English after visiting their cousins in New York every summer.
Outside of these few people, you'll need to speak Spanish if you want to fully enjoy the country, especially when trying to talk while bachata blares in the background.
Luckily, that's not too hard these days.
Dominican Nightlife Costs
Believe it or not, the Dominican Republic is pretty cheap. Once you get away from the inflated prices of the tourist-centric resort scene, that is.
Scores of cashed up holidaymakers descend on this sunny Carribean island in droves in search of sun, booze, and sand. And their big fat western wallets and carefree vacation mentality make them ready and willing to fork out fat stacks of cash in exchange for a jolly good time. As a result, drink prices can be astronomical in some of the top-end resorts and high-end places that cater exclusively for vacationers.
Head to a sweaty local haunt, however, and you won't have to cough up more than $20 for fine local rum. A whole damn bottle, I mean! Ice cold beers come in at about $2 each at most mid-range local spots, so you won't have to spend big to get your drink on.
In short, a night out in the Dominican Republic is as expensive or cheap as you make it.
Here’s a quick breakdown of prices found in Santiago and Santo Domingo:
- Cover charge: $3-20 USD
- Beer: $1-8 USD
- Drink: $3-12 USD
- Bottle of wine: $16-70 USD
- Bottle of booze at a club: $20-300 USD
You can make partying in the Dominican Republic as cheap or as expensive as you'd like. But generally, everything will be significantly cheaper than partying in the western world — unless you spend a lot of time in Punta Cana.
Where To Party in the Dominican Republic | Top
Where's the top spot for a cheeky bit of late-night rumba in the Dominican Republic? Let's take a quick look at the main options on offer.
Punta Cana is the most popular tourist destination in Latin America. Numero uno.
And with all those cashed-up gringos touching down each day, there's bound to be a lively nightlife scene. There's no denying this ritzy seaside resort boasts some of the most boisterous after-dark entertainment on the entire island.
However, there are a couple of downsides to consider as well:
- It's quite touristy. If you'd rather boogie with the local contingent, you might find there are just too many white faces among the crowd.
- It's more expensive. Shoestring travelers will find the big clubs in Punta Cana a tad on the pricey side. Head elsewhere if you want a crazy night out on the cheap.
The Dominican Republic's capital is my favorite spot for a crazy fiesta: the beers are cheap, the women are beautiful, and the vibe is as authentic as it gets.
Whether you hit up the Ciudad Colonial district for some light-hearted bar hopping or Ensanche Naco for some decadent late-night clubbing, there's always something going on in the city.
Of course, this is a cosmopolitan capital we're talking about here, so you'll need to dress to impress if you want respect from the local crowd.
Santiago de Los Caballeros
As the country's second city, Santiago de Los Caballeros is another excellent choice if you're after an authentic after-dark vibe. Not that many tourists come here to party, so you'll mostly be mingling with the local crowd. And a distinct lack a foreign influence means the locals–incluso las mujeres–are super interested in chatting with pasty face people like you.
A lot of the action centers around Monumento a los Héroes, although I'll give you a couple of specific recommendations later on.
Honestly, this place should be called “Puta Plata” because it's full of whores. Actual prostitutes that is, not just the gold-digging chapiadora variety.
Of course, if that's you're thing, then go right ahead. But the seedy city doesn't have much to offer everyone else.
What City in the Dominican Republic Has the Best Nightlife?
Where's the rumba at in the DR? Which city is top dog in the fiesta stakes?
Although that question is a little subjective, Santo Domingo wins hands down for me. The ciudad capital has the best selection of clubs, the craziest all-night parties, and won't cost you an arm and a leg.
By all means, if you only want to booze the night away with fellow vacationers and don't mind paying extortionate ‘gringo prices,' then give Punta Cana a shot.
Or if you're more interested in procuring a ‘lady of the night,' then Puerta Plata is your best bet.
But if you're like me and just wanna get loose with the local crowd, you can't go past Santo Domingo.
Santiago de Los Caballeros is decent too. Don't get me wrong. The issue with Santiago is you'll visit every club in town within your first few weeks in the city.
Top 10 Places to Party in the DR!
Alright, enough with the cultural insights and tall tales, let's dive into Dominican Republic nightlife and talk about the absolute best places to party in the country.
Here are the top 10 places to party in the Dominican Republic:
~ Santo Domingo ~
- Onno's: This place is legendary. If you're in Zona Colonial on a Thursday night, then head here. It might not look like much, but many of my best nights in Santo Domingo started at this little nightclub. Onno's is excellent on Thursdays and good on Saturdays.
- Mamma Club: If you like large clubs and high-end nightlife, then head here on a weekend night. Mamma Club is located in Naco, one of the nicest neighborhoods in all of the Dominican Republic. It's big, and you'll want to buy a bottle here. One of the best clubs in all of Santo Domingo.
- Zambra: A tiny club in Piantini, you wouldn't think Zambra would be great. You'd be wrong! There's something about this small club that makes it a great place to get wasted and mingle. I've been here at least a dozen times during my time in Santo Domingo.
The best hotel for party people in Santo Domingo is the JW Marriott.
~ Santiago de Los Caballeros ~
- Levels: The best ladies' night in the Dominican Republic happens every Wednesday night at Levels Club in Santiago. I couldn't recommend it enough. The crowd is friendly, and the booze is cheap. Weekends tend to be pretty decent, too.
- 75 Grados: If you want to have a shitshow of a night, head to 75 Grados in Santiago de Los Caballeros on a Saturday. This tiny club plays dembow and reggaeton, but that's not why I come here. I come for the blender drinks. You get a vast blender filled with vodka here for like USD$7! They'll get you drunk. If a Dominican comes to 75 Grados, they're looking to party hard.
The best hotel for alcohol-aficionados in Santiago de Los Caballeros is Matum Hotel.
~ Punta Cana ~
- Imagine Club: This is by far my favorite mega-club in Punta Cana. The place offers an open bar and even plays hip-hop music on Sunday nights. Honestly, if you're in Punta Cana and looking to party off the resort, this is the absolute first place you should go.
- Drink Point: A great bar in Punta Cana where both locals and tourists congregate. The couple times I went, the place was packed, and the vibe was pretty damn fun. The music is Latin, and the prices are way lower than the mega clubs in Punta Cana. If you're looking to party without the “Vegas” club vibe while on vacation, check this place out.
The best hotel for party animals in Punta Cana is Karibo Punta Cana.
~ Cabarete ~
- Onno's Cabarete: For a tourist hotspot, I found the nightlife in Cabarete a little lacking. The town is just so small that there's no one around except tourists and Dominicans working in tourism. Still, the one time I went to Onno's Cabarete in high season, the place was smacking. If you're looking to party in the beach town, this is the place to be!
The best hostel for boozehounds in Cabarete is Velero Beach Resort.
- Kviar Show Disco: Puerto Plata has a seedy reputation as a sex tourism hotspot, especially in Sosua. That being said – this good-sized disco in Puerto Plata City was a damn good time. Here you'll find more Dominicans than tourists, which is a great thing on the north coast. Kviar Show Disco may have been my favorite club on the whole north coast. Great music and a fun vibe.
The best hotel for fiesta fiends in Puerto Plata is Hotel Galsi.
~San Fransisco de Marcois~
- Avalon Disco: I've never been here, but my Dominican buddy couldn't stop raving about Avalon Disco in San Fransisco de Marcois. He claimed this was the best disco in one of the biggest Dominican cities no one has ever heard of. When I head back to the DR, this is the first city I'll go.
The best hotel for party people in San Francisco de Macorís is Hotel Las Caobas.
Best Nights to Rumba in the Dominican Republic?
The best night to party in the Dominican Republic depends on where you're at.
In a tourist-centric spot like Punta Cana, every night is a Saturday night–at least during the tourist season.
Head to the big city's like Santiago or Santo Domingo, on the other hand, and you're much better off saving your weekly liver abuse for the weekends.
Having said that, you can usually find something going down mid-week if you look around hard enough. This is especially true for ladies' nights in Santo Domingo and Santiago. There's some great spots to go out on Wednesdays and Thursdays — you just need to know where to look.
Best Dominican Republic Nightlife | The Verdict
If you don't enjoy the Dominican Republic nightlife, then the problem is you. The clubs pop off here, the people are friendly, and the vibe is great. What's not to love?
Sound off in the comments if I missed anything about Dominican Republic nightlife.
I know y'all got some secret spots too!
Que te vaya bien,