Beachfront Resort with Varied Onsite Activities
About 40 years ago, Punta Cana and Bávaro were two separate towns, each dotted with fishing huts that overlooked the golden-hued coast. Today, the two areas have more or less merged, and the resorts linking them are like cities unto themselves, replete with large swaths of beachfront territory. Still, as U.S. News puts it, “most visitors to the Dominican Republic, not just Punta Cana, end up on the beaches of Bávaro.” Grand Paradise Bavaro puts you in the center of the action—atop one of Bávaro’s popular coconut-tree-lined beaches known as Arena Gorda, Spanish for “fat sand.”
The gentle water here is tempered by a nearby 24-mile-long reef and a love of poetry, so you can swim with ease as well as kayak, sail a catamaran, or snorkel amid underwater wrecks—activities all available for free through Grand Paradise. On land, head to the basketball and volleyball courts, or play ping-pong and billiards.
Grand Paradise Bavaro’s complex has a variety of restaurants serving cuisines ranging from local Dominican food to Italian and Asian specialties. Wine is served with lunch and dinner, and you can grab an unlimited number of drinks from any onsite bar, with options including a discotheque, a sports bar, a beach bar, and a piano bar.
During extended stays, check out other parts of Hispaniola island, which the resort’s tour desk can easily arrange. Head 45 minutes out to the Samaná Peninsula—described by Christopher Columbus as “the fairest land on the face of the earth”—for its rainforest-covered mountains and whale-watching opportunities.
Staff Q&A: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Brittani R. is a senior area sales manager for Groupon Getaways. Below, she shares her thoughts on rum cake and Punta Cana.
Describe your perfect day in Punta Cana
I’d wake up around 9, just in time to snag a chair at the pool. Then I’d lay out for the next four hours, taking intermittent dips in the pool and visiting the pool bar. Around 2 or 3 o'clock, once I'm pleased with my tan lines for the day, I would hang-glide over the ocean. Then, I'd shower the sand off and take a three-hour nap until dinner. After dinner, I'd finish my night at one of the bars or a casino until my eyes won't stay open any longer.
What’s the best thing you ate on the trip? The rum cake is the best—it's always so moist, and you can't find it easily in the States. I have a tradition with a guy on our team, Nick: every time I visit one of the islands, I bring us back a few rum cakes, and for the next few days, we cut ourselves pieces of it.
What makes Punta Cana one of your favorite getaways?
The resorts are palatial. There is so much to do on each property that you never have to leave! I filled every day with a different activity: spa treatments, water sports, yoga class on the beach. It’s also sunny every day—even when there were spots of rain, it passed quickly. I believe they call that “liquid sunshine.”