- Where to Go
- The Best of the Dominican Republic
- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
For the utmost in tranquility for your vacation, Punta Cana Resort and Club (Playa Punta Cana, Punta Cana, tel. 809/959-2262, fax 809/959-3951, www.puntacana.com, US$150–200 d depending on season) is a welcome oasis, even if traveling with the entire family. Although there are some things to keep you busy, it is definitely not a party scene. Families and older couples are happiest here. Enjoy a daytime tennis match (night tennis costs US$10/hour). If getting out into the “big blue” is your idea of paradise, you can rent a boat, scuba dive, or go deep-sea fishing at the resort’s full-service marina. Booking these activities ahead of time is highly advised.
Just a quick jaunt to the right of the beach area, by the hotel’s marina, is Punta Cana Resort and Club’s 240-hectare private ecological reserve. Fighting the heat of the Caribbean midday is a joy while taking a dip in the Manantial Yauya natural spring. Guided tours, bird-watching tours, and educational workshops are available at the Parque Ojos Indígenas.
The resort accommodations themselves are set on more than a hectare of lush gardens along five kilometers of powdery coastline. Rooms are very nicely decorated, but lunch and drinks are not included in the price. There are many excursions to choose from, at extra charge, and they can be arranged in the hotel’s own travel agency.
Natura Park Eco-Resort & Spa (Cabeza de Toro, Punta Cana, tel. 809/221-2626, fax 809/221-6060, www.blau-hotels.com, US$150 d) sits next to Laguna Bávaro along a beautiful estuary and a spectacular stretch of white-sand beach great for long walks. This is a good choice if you are an ecoconscious traveler who wants to be pampered at the same time. It is known for its efforts to minimize impact on the environment, such as using only reusable cups and biodegradable soap in your bathroom. There are 510 rooms and 20 suites; the pool has a swim-up bar and a children’s area, and there is a luxurious spa with massage and beauty treatments available. If you don’t speak a word of Spanish, communication might be a challenge since much of the staff does not speak English. Rooms are not luxurious but are more than comfortable, and all have a terrace or balcony.
Barceló Dominican Beach (Bávaro, tel. 809/221-0714, www.barcelodominicanbeach.com, US$110–210) is situated on the gorgeous Playa Bávaro and offers 731 comfortable and nicely decorated rooms with regular amenities. There are over 65 suites that are very pleasing upgrades—including 12 honeymoon suites. The resort as a whole is kept very clean, from the gardens to the restaurants to the rooms. There are six à la carte restaurants, three buffets, and two snack bars (serving snacks 24 hours a day), as well as eight (yes, eight) bars (counting one coffee bar).
It’s a long name—Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort Convention Center Golf & Casino (Playa Bávaro, Punta Cana, tel. 809/686-5797, fax 809/686-5797, www.barcelo.com, from US$110 d)—but for a complex of five all-inclusive resorts (Bávaro Palace, Bávaro Beach, Bávaro Caribe, Bávaro Golf, and Bávaro Casino) within its almost 13-square-kilometer confines, it is only fitting. All but the Bávaro Casino are situated along the ocean. This complex is best for those who want a great number of choices for entertainment in addition to their beloved beach time. It can be a rather lively party scene, especially during spring break. As a guest, you have access to most of the rest of the complex’s amenities as well, including some restaurants, the casino, discos, the Tropicalissimo show, and golf. Make no mistake, though; this is an excellent location for families. The myriad food choices within the entire complex are reason enough; there are water sports galore, kids’ clubs, minigolf, sporting courts (basketball, soccer, tennis), and baby-sitting as well.
The Bávaro Palace (from US$300) recently upgraded its junior suites, which will make your stay truly more luxurious with a hot tub on your balcony. All of the buildings have elevators, making accessibility easier. It has a buffet, five à la carte restaurants, and five bars (one in the pool). If you plan on exploring the rest of the grounds, make sure to ask for a map and catch one of the free shuttles that make frequent tours and stops.
When it comes to all-inclusive affordable luxury, the Iberostar hotels—Iberostar Bávaro, Iberostar Dominicana, and Iberostar Punta Cana (Playa Bávaro, tel. 809/221-6500, fax 809/688-6186, www.iberostar.com, US$150–195)—hit a home run. Located right next to one another, all have ingredients for a tasty cocktail of relaxation and entertainment, offering huge pools, excursion options, open-air buffets as well as à la carte international-themed restaurants, very comfortable rooms, and some of the best beach stretches around.
The Iberostar Bávaro is an all-suite resort. Each junior suite has a sunken living room and balcony or patio; with the cost of your stay, you have access to the other Iberostar hotels. It has nine restaurants and a lake-like pool surrounded by palms with a swim-up bar and separate area for the kids. Also available are children’s programs, a casino, billiards, archery, and even a teen disco among the so many other amenities.
The main attraction at Club Med Punta Cana (Playa Punta Cana, Punta Cana, tel. 809/687-2767, www.clubmed.com, US$125–240) is its variety of activities: many water sports, aerobics, horseback riding, flying trapeze, kickboxing, yoga, tennis, and much more. Children will be kept quite happy with the myriad kid-geared activities, like rollerblading, educational fun, circus lessons, and dancing. Guests are international, mostly from Europe.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition