It’s not a surprise that the Dominican Republic says it “has it all.” Because the diverse Caribbean nation has something for everyone, whether you want to gorge on gourmet delicacies, scale waterfalls or discover its pre- and post-colonial history; take in a baseball game, hike a mountain or just lounge on some of the region’s greatest white-sand beaches. We bring you the best Dominican Republic vacation for all sorts of travelers, and then check in to the places we recommend you stay when you get there. Because a Dominican Republic vacation has it all.
BEACH LOVER If you’re searching for miles of pristine white sand bordered by turquoise waters and leaning coconut palms, look no further than the Dominican Republic’s most famous resort town, Punta Cana, where 20 miles of beachy east-coast bliss awaits. And the perfect PC perch has to be Tortuga Bay Hotel Punta Cana Resort & Club, whose 30 sophisticated suites and junior suites (designed by native son Oscar de la Renta) are serviced by solicitous concierges. Factor in 45 holes of championship golf; world-class dining and a Six Senses spa, and the sand is just the beginning of this leisurely but never boring Dominican Republic vacation.
WATER SPORTS ENTHUSIAST Sun and sea are served with sides of high-energy water sports and year-round tradewinds in Cabarete, a bohemian north-coast enclave set against a backdrop of emerald mountains that’s the perfect Dominican Republic vacation for the active traveler. Kiteboarders flock to Bozo Beach and Kite Beach, and surfers hang ten at Encuentro. And when you’re exhausted from your efforts, relax and recover at Millennium Resort & Spa, which has mod one- to three-bedroom condo-style suites; a beachfront restaurant, infinity pool and spa; and a Laurel Eastman Kiteboarding school on-site.
ADVENTURER On the northeast coast, the peaceful Samaná Peninsula offers diversions for visitors who want to do it all. There’s humpback whale watching in the spring; the rugged trails and native birds of Los Haitises national park; as well as water sports and hiking opportunities galore. But because it also has several breezy beaches (the offshore isle of Cayo Levantado is a standout), this region suits those who want to do nothing at all. Either way, you won’t have to choose at the elegant boutique The Peninsula House in Las Terranas (the region’s original tourist hub). The hillside great house-style bed-and-breakfast is an oasis of subtle and sophisticated style, with antique reproductions in just six suites, a garden pool and its own beach club.
CULTURE VULTURE Founded in 1498, the Dominican Republic’s capital of Santo Domingo is where the Americas’ first cathedral, hospital and university were built, and its well-preserved Zona Colonial is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Recognized for its architecture, theater, opera and ballet companies, as well as several museums, it is also the home of the charming 24-suite Billini Hotel, where free breakfast and Wi-Fi; ‘round-the-clock concierge service; and a slick rooftop pool and bar make it a solid choice within walking distance of the city’s sights.
GOURMAND On the island’s eastern tip, Cap Cana is a private community adjacent to Punta Cana’s airport. Completely self-sufficient, it has its own marina, Jack Nicklaus golf course, and even its own adventure park. But it’s the resorts along its three-mile white-sand stretch that draw foodies, seduced by the menus of almost 50 restaurants in the enclave, which serve up everything from tacos to imported steaks. Eden Roc at Cap Cana, arguably the best resort in the whole country, offers a luxurious base for your culinary exploration, with 34 suites and villas that come with their own golf carts for navigating the sprawling property; a club at Caletón Beach; and three superb restaurants of its own.
What’s next? It’s time to choose your next Dominican Republic vacation.